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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I agree that mass migration to other bodies is not viable (can’t just float a wind-powered vessel across the ocean), the other problem is that if we manage to go to a body that has even primitive life, that life may be very toxic to us by either the minerals they store within themselves, or by epidemics/pandemics and so forth. We have problems with disease here, let alone finding a whole new reservoir of them elsewhere for which we’ll have no way to battle. Shades of the Andromeda Strain.

What happens if we land on a body populated with left-handed proteins? A veritable planet of mad-cow disease?
In alien environments, some have suggested that the greater the genetic differences the less chance we would be at risk. Is this true? [I‘ve never looked into this idea.]
 
I think interplanetary life toxicity is entirely speculative at this point.

It would not surprise me if either of the following options occurs:
A. The evolved life processes are so different that they simply cannot infect each other, or
B. Both life forms are toxic to each other and both sides die.

I just hope that nobody in a lab somewhere starts trying to figure out what forms of life would be toxic to everything on Earth. Not something I want anybody to know. At least not until we discover it actually exists naturally somewhere.

We will definitely need to take extreme care before exposing ourselves to any planet that has evolved any sort of life. And, we also need to take care not to expose that life to our ecosystem's harms before we know what they will do.
 
Dec 29, 2019
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The capacity for a planet's worth of biochemistry to make novel poisons and allergens shouldn't be underestimated. Even if the atmosphere is similar - and for most of Earth's history it wasn't suitable for humans - and even if the micro-organisms are too different to make viable diseases they could and probably will be making lots of substances that are dangerous. On the other hand there could be useful and valuable ones. I've said before that the alien biology and biochemisty for study may be worth a lot more to humanity than opportunities to colonise.

I think if we become capable of colonising the planets of other stars we won't need to; we will be capable of building space habitats independent of planets, with environments that suit us perfectly.

Easy! We (unintentionally) introduce our own bugs and wipe out their population!

Said in jest, but sadly, just as possible.
And there are people who would do it on purpose without remorse, as their first step - or imagine they would - for the sake of colonisation ambitions. Which I think are a lot less based on advanced logic and reasoning as about indulging more primitive biological urges.
 
I expect that humans are going to need to learn how to control our own reproduction rate and total population here on Earth much sooner than we will have the ability to inhabit another world with alien life forms. If we don't learn to control ourselves here, I think we will destroy our civilization to the extent that we will lose any opportunity to reach another inhabitable planet.

So, what humans will behave like if/when we reach an inhabitable planet of another star may must be different than the way we have been behaving so far.

I wonder if we are up to it.
 
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Jan 2, 2023
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If we want to save humans, I believe we may need to inhabit other planets. Earth is doomed, and we would have to relocate to other planets if we don't achieve all of the goals for 2050. I hope that doesn't occur. But we should populate other planets just in case.
 
Surviving whatever happens on Earth by 2100 is probably still going to be a lot easier than surviving on another planet with the technology that we currently understand and no continuing support from Earth.

Earth does not appear to be completely "doomed" for billions of years.

But, the ecosystem here will clearly change with time, as will humans and human society.

In the long run, technological achievement will determine if our species ever reaches a planet around another star that can support us without extreme dependence on advanced technology. Kind of ironic, isn't it?
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Unc, you have my greatest respect, but I must disagree with you on this question: survival of homo sapiens, in my honest opinion, is not well starred. [No astrological connection intended]. Survival beyond 2100, imho, is not certain. Survival another 500 years has, I believe, a probability close to 0.000000000.

Leaving aside all crank suggestions, and real (but unlikely) asteroid impacts - and a madman slinging around wmd's - let us consider mankind "safe" from such uncontrollable threats. However distributed (no politics please) the average standard of living is proportional to total assets / total population. Or, if you like, one sub-equation, food / population. Thus the future depends on future food supply divided by future population.

Thus the question to be answered is:

Is future food supply (within reason) sufficient to satisfy future population needs (within reason)?
Even if Dan Dare's food capsules were a reality could these suffice?

I add "within reason" because we must consider whether future population can be voluntarily controlled (no politics please) to match food supply? Both questions have some variability without recourse to extra-terrestrial options. Might global warming eventually allow habitation or food production within currently frozen areas like Siberia, Northern Canada, Greenland, Antarctica?
Would this just postpone the question Knowing mankind, would there be wars on the outcome?

Even if there is a way through this option, and no other catastrophe has arisen, would we not just be carrying our death wishes with us beyond this planet?

Cat :)
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Addition to #132. The greater the population, the greater the raw materials and the greater the energy requirement (eventually) to move the population off-planet. *** Assuming no other possibility (cross your fingers) you have less than 5 billion years before the expanding Sun makes it uncomfortably warm.

Cat :)

*** "Last seats available, due to lack of resources, to get you all off-planet (or whatever)". Seen that theme before?
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Addendum:

Let us assume global warming allows the population to have (including synthetic tablets) sufficient "food" to support 50 billion humans. Will there be sufficient resources to ship them all off-planet? And if so, WHERE TO?

See my point? It's called "reductio ad absurdum"

Cat :)
 
Last edited:
Cat, I am not clear on what part(s) of what I have posted you disagree with.

Note that my last post was limited to the near future, up to 2100, in response to a post that "Earth is doomed if we don't achieve all of our goals for 2050." I don't think humans will be extinct by 2100, even if we are heating up rapidly and sea level is rising as predicted in worst cases. Do you disagree with that?

My previous thread to that included:
"I expect that humans are going to need to learn how to control our own reproduction rate and total population here on Earth much sooner than we will have the ability to inhabit another world with alien life forms [emphasis added to quote]. If we don't learn to control ourselves here, I think we will destroy our civilization to the extent that we will lose any opportunity to reach another inhabitable planet." You don't seem to be disagreeing with that.

And, as I have posted before, I am not optimistic that humans will be smart enough to avoid crashing our technological society and kill off most of our population along with it, even if we don't nuke ourselves into it.

So, please clarify what you don't agree with so we can discuss it.
 
Addendum:

Let us assume global warming allows the population to have (including synthetic tablets) sufficient "food" to support 50 billion humans. Will there be sufficient resources to ship them all off-planet? And if so, WHERE TO?

See my point? It's called "reductio ad absurdum"

Cat :)
I am agreeing with that.

Rereading, I think you are saying that you expect the planet to have such a bad climate by 2100 that humans will go extinct as a species. And that you think that is a near certainty within 500 years.

I think that the climate will not be unliveable everywhere on Earth, even in 500 years, due to the ice and water currently present and the climate model predictions. I think some animals, probably including some humans, will still be alive. But certainly not 50 billion humans. That would be like the current population density of India covering all continents except Antarctica. I would expect our technological society to crash long before that, and the technology crash would kill off all but a lot less than a billion humans, even if Antarctica was sprouting palm trees and rice paddies. But, I would still expect some humans to survive, perhaps in a brutish form that would have a long way to go to reestablish substantial technology.

My point is that, if we don't keep ourselves from getting to that point, we will have lost the ability to send people to other plants, and lost the ability to resupply outposts on the Moon, Mars, etc. where some people currently are talking about having "lifeboat colonies". I am not optimistic about the survival of "lifeboat colonies" off Earth once Earth becomes inhospitable for humans. If we can't control ourselves here, then we probably can't control ourselves there, either, at least not in the long term.
 

Catastrophe

"There never was a good war, or a bad peace."
Unc, I totally agree with this:

My point is that, if we don't keep ourselves from getting to that point, we will have lost the ability to send people to other plants, and lost the ability to resupply outposts on the Moon, Mars, etc. where some people currently are talking about having "lifeboat colonies". I am not optimistic about the survival of "lifeboat colonies" off Earth once Earth becomes inhospitable for humans. If we can't control ourselves here, then we probably can't control ourselves there, either, at least not in the long term.
I apologise. I misread one of your posts. We seem to be agreeing about a lot :) :) :)

However, this is based on the assumptions in #132. Earth could be 'killed' quickly by a large asteroid (forget pathetic DART little specimens) - But I do agree that it would be highly unlikely. I will not dwell on the other possibilities.

Cat :) :) :)
 

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