Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stephen Hawking: The final frontier

COSMOS magazine September 2008

The human race has existed as a separate species for about two million years. Civilisation began about 10,000 years ago, and the rate of development has been steadily increasing. But, if the human race is to continue for another million years, we will have to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Or, you can build your own new world at the Earth Moon Lagrangian points - L4 and L5. This reminds me of my series of posts on O'Neil Colonies.  The weakness in that idea was that it depended upon the Shuttle living up to its billing, which it didn't.  Let us hope that the Skylon can do what the Shuttle couldn't, as well as SpaceX's reusable rocket technologies.  If there was a way to get people and cargo into space at a reasonable rate and a reasonable price, O'Neill's ideas could become feasible.

Why look for worlds far away when you could build them close to home?  This does not preclude travel to other worlds, but could enable them by creating an economic beach head in space.  If the economics can't be made to work, it will never happen.  On the other hand, if the economics can be made to work, what could stop it?  Then Hawking's vision could be made into reality.

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