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Do you think humans should colonize other planets and exploit their resources, too?

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Do you think humans should colonize other planets?


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Jun 1, 2020
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I am not preaching, nor even teaching, I am stating. And I am stating the models of climate change and its impact on Earth.
But are you really "stating the models"? Or are you stating what you've read from journalists that find the interesting things to say from those who are stating what comes from their model? In astronomy, the difference between the science and accurate reporting isn't that dramatic, but I find the claims and reporting in Climate Change to be sometimes problematic.

I'm not suggesting each claim shouldn't be taken serious. On the contrary, I'm saying each claim should be taken serious but in a scientific manner - with great scrutiny.

Isn't it a little odd that efforts to establish a "red team" for climate science have been thwarted? They would greatly improve the credibility of most claims within the science, IMO.

Read this:

Yes, that's important to understand. The SLR (Sea Level Rise) has been increasing. [Here's a nice page from: NASA SLR. I tend to trust NASA data over some others.]

Notice the graph. It shows that the rise is now at 3.3 mm per year. [This is an average, of course, as some areas are going down in sea level, but most are going up. It's complicated.] That's significant and it demonstrates a steady acceleration rate. We both would agree on this, no doubt. But look closer at the values over the last year and half and you will see only an increase of 1 mm. Why is that? How can that be given all the recent ice melts (and the drama that goes with it)? The answer to this question is important, too, and it would be important to any modeling. Perhaps the models do explain it, but do they?

[If I post again it will be addressing the OP.]
 
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Yes, I had thought to mention the possibilities of life in some moons of the outer Solar System. Not intelligent life - just microorganisms. Where heating comes from other than sunlight (e.g., friction). But then It seems very unlikely that any technology could develop in oceanic life forms.
And I don't believe that humans will be around long enough to need to colonise beyond Mars (if anywhere).
Yes, and moons with liquid water orbiting Jupiter suffer from radiation from Jupiter so much so that, IIRC, the mass for shielding of surface probes and ships would be about double their original mass. Or was it half again as much? :)
 
Mar 21, 2021
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Yes, I had thought to mention the possibilities of life in some moons of the outer Solar System. Not intelligent life - just microorganisms. Where heating comes from other than sunlight (e.g., friction). But then It seems very unlikely that any technology could develop in oceanic life forms.
And I don't believe that humans will be around long enough to need to colonise beyond Mars (if anywhere).

Cat :)
Yes Cat, good point. I had thought about life possibilities on ocean moons like Europa, and it’ll be interesting to see what they find under 20 km of ice. On whether humans will be around long enough to colonize the solar system, I wouldn’t disagree with you. That may depend on what we call “human”.
 
May 3, 2021
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The question "should we?" assumes that we can. But colonization in the species-lifeboat sense is, to a close approximation, impossible. Outposts -- bubbles of life supported by shipments of stuff from Earth -- are of course possible, but true species-lifeboat independence is not plausibly within our reach. Such independence would entail establishing on another world an absolutely self-sufficient forever economy, from extraction to high-technology product finishing, equivalent to the whole supply and life-support network of Earth itself. And that forever economy would have to be even more durable and redundant than that of Earth because it would have to supply technologically -- without any unrecoverable failure, ever -- the basic life-support functions that the Earth has supplied for free since before the Cambrian. It would have to infallibly (with robustness against unforeseen catastrophies) manufacture from raw materials every crystal, coating, alloy, chip, polymer, gas, reagant, solvent, fiber, ceramic, glass, film, oil, and nutrient (and more) essential to its own replication and to human life.

Those who assume it's within our present or foreseeable power to establish such a system anywhere in the Solar System blip over our civilization's dependence on Earth's vast livable stability, the fantastically diverse mineral wealth of Earth's crust, the sheer mind-boggling scope of our civilization's supply network, the long-term fallibility of complex mechanical and electronic systems, the planetary extent of the human cultural network that makes every widget and bagel possible, and a long list of other complications.

Science fiction conjurs solutions effortlessly. Great fun, but I'm talking about engineering reality. To colonize any planet, libration point, or whatnot in a sustainable, truly Earth-independent way, we would have to duplicate a great deal of Earth itself in an essential fail-proof manner. That's not plausible on any historical timescale this side of the fantasy horizon.
 

ThePatriotBeast

Stars can't shine without darkness
Apr 9, 2021
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The question "should we?" assumes that we can. But colonization in the species-lifeboat sense is, to a close approximation, impossible. Outposts -- bubbles of life supported by shipments of stuff from Earth -- are of course possible, but true species-lifeboat independence is not plausibly within our reach. Such independence would entail establishing on another world an absolutely self-sufficient forever economy, from extraction to high-technology product finishing, equivalent to the whole supply and life-support network of Earth itself. And that forever economy would have to be even more durable and redundant than that of Earth because it would have to supply technologically -- without any unrecoverable failure, ever -- the basic life-support functions that Earth itself has supplied for free since before the Cambrian. It would have to infallibly (with robustness against unforeseen catastrophies) manufacture from raw materials every crystal, coating, alloy, chip, polymer, gas, reagant, solvent, fiber, ceramic, glass, film, oil, and nutrient (and more) essential to its own replication and to human life.

Those who assume it's within our power to establish such a system anywhere in the Solar System blip over our civilization's dependence on Earth's vast livable stability, the fantastically diverse mineral wealth of Earth's crust, the long-term fallibility of complex mechanical and electronic systems, the planetary extent of the human cultural network that makes every widget and bagel possible, and a long list of other complications.

Science fiction conjurs solutions effortlessly. Great fun, but I'm talking about engineering reality. To colonize any planet, libration point, or whatnot in a sustainable, truly Earth-independent way, we would have to duplicate a great deal of Earth itself in an essential fail-proof manner. That's not plausible on any historical timescale this side of the fantasy horizon.
Igilman has a very good point. I also thought of something else: If life was on a certain planet, we couldn't colonize on that planet, because we might displace and endanger that life. Or it could be vise versa, the life there could endanger our lives. This subject has lots of pros and cons.
 
May 3, 2021
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Hi Helio,

How can we know beyond a reasonable doubt that the model today is close to anything bullitproof?
By comparing model to reality. This has been done. Result: climate models have been highly successful. See, for example, Hausfather, Z., Drake, H. F., Abbott, T., & Schmidt, G. A. (2019), “Evaluating the performance of past climate model projections,” Geophysical Research Letters. At https://www.dropbox.com/s/3vjpuqcd6d52so1/2019 - Evaluating the performance of past climate model projections.pdf?dl=0 . From Abstract: “We find that climate models published over the past five decades were skillful in predicting subsequent [global mean surface temperature] changes, with most models examined showing warming consistent with observations . . .”

Where there is scientific controversy, it is mainly about whether scientists have been underpredicting the severity of climate change (not temperature rise per se, but its effects, like Arctic melting): see for example Oreskes et al., "Scientists Have Been Underestimating the Pace of Climate Change,” Scientific American, Aug. 19 2019. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/scientists-have-been-underestimating-the-pace-of-climate-change/

Extraordinary claims do, as you say, require extraordinary evidence. The extraordinary claim that the Earth system is being rapidly pushed into a radically altered climate state has been backed by extraordinary evidence, i.e. the agreement of half a century of physics-based calculations with hundreds of independent evidence streams, paleoclimatic and contemporary. The criterion is met. The extraordinary claim must be credited.

Given the models’ superb real-world performance on global temperature rise, I suggest that your concerns about their complexity can be put aside. Performance is proof. We should move on to dealing with the models' predictions.

I'm not arguing that you are wrong, but interested in knowing a reasonable level of probability of a dire future in 50 years. I have kids and grandkids, after all.
Re. “reasonable”: When considering an existential threat, even a fairly low level of probability not only justifies but actually mandates emergency response. If the police assured you that there was a 20% chance that a sniper would blow your head off as soon as you poked it out the front door, you would, I hope, see your situation as extremely dire. You would not require an "absolute claim" or even a probability estimate in the 80-100 percentile range. An existential risk to civilization, likewise.

That said, the probability of existential crisis is very high. Although stating a specific percentage would be an exercise in spurious precision, I offer the following scientific papers in support of the claim that we are with some very high probability (i.e., high by any survival-oriented standard) in a state of existential emergency:

1) Steffen et al., "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene," Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, August 14, 2018, vol. 115, no. 33. https://www.pnas.org/content/115/33/8252

"We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a ‘Hothouse Earth’ pathway even as human emissions are reduced. . . . Hothouse Earth is likely to be uncontrollable and dangerous to many [and] poses severe risks for health, economies, political stability . . . and ultimately, the habitability of the planet for humans."​

2) Lenton et al., "Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against," Nature, Vol 575, 28 November 2019, 592-595. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0 "

[T]he evidence from tipping points alone suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute . . . [T]he intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best."​

3) “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency,” BioScience 2019. https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/70/1/8/5610806

“We declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency. The climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected . . . It is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural ecosystems and the fate of humanity. . . . [C]limate chain reactions could cause significant disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies, potentially making large areas of Earth uninhabitable.”​

4) Bradshaw et al., “Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future,” Frontiers in Conservation Science, Jan. 2021. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcosc.2020.615419/full

“The scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its lifeforms—including humanity—is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts.”​

Respectfully,

Larry Gilman
 
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May 3, 2021
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I'm not buying the climate change hype

If you don't buy the idea of climate change, then you must live on a very dull and dead planet. Even if human activities had no effect at all, Earth is still a very dynamic world, and it's always changing. One reason the world is warming right now is that we're living in the aftermath of the most recent ice age. Earth is always either warming or cooling. Whether we're exacerbating that is an important question, but the fundamentals don't change.

What matters for us, of course, is to realize that all of human history, and a good bit of pre-history too, has taken place during a very, very brief moment (if considered on geologic time scales) when Earth has been a hospitable place for creatures like us. We either got lucky that the world was hospitable for us when we happened into existence. Or we happened precisely because the world was fit for us to evolve on. Either way, the planet's hospitality isn't endless. Some day, this will no longer be a viable place for current-version humans. Earth will change. It can't do anything else. To survive, we'll have just three choices.

1. Adapt - we'll need to change ourselves (intentionally or by gradual evolution) to suit the new conditions Earth offers.
2. Change the Earth - we'll have to grow technologically so that we can shape and change the planet to suit our needs, and also maintain it consistently.
3. Find other places to live - maybe space habitats, or maybe worlds whose hospitable periods are just beginning, so that we can take full advantage of their longevity.

And, of course, we'll need to do at least one of those things before we all die.

Bad news is, if human activity is hastening the closing of our brief window of opportunity to stay alive on this planet (I happen to think it clearly is), then that's sort of a big deal. The available paths to long term survival are already kinda demanding. Not wise to make things even harder.
 
Apr 16, 2021
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There are no planets (or moons) within reach that can support human life.

That's too bad, because I think we have about 10-20 years before the planet is destroyed.

The earth's population numbers are unsupportable. I read somewhere that within 10-20 years, we will need a second earth's resources to support present day consumption of natural resources. And I don't see any way earth's population will decide to take the extreme measures necessary to save the planet. And IMO, there are no possible measures we CAN take to save earth.
That means we all know, we're destroying the earth. That's why we're hoping to find out another planet to live. Then what!! We'll destroy that again. This not a solution.
 

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