multiplanetary species

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pages: 231 words: 72,656

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage


Berlin Wall, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, Copley Medal, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, laissez-faire capitalism, Lao Tzu, multiplanetary species, out of africa, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade

The inhabitants of a Mars colony will need water to drink and wash, to grow crops, and to convert into rocket fuel, which can be made by splitting water into its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen. This, together with the search for extraterrestrial life (which is also assumed to depend on water), explains why so much effort is being put into locating and understanding the distribution of water on other bodies in the solar system. Some scientists even believe that colonizing Mars is necessary to ensure the continued survival of humanity. Only by becoming a "multiplanetary species," they argue, can we truly guard against the possibility of being wiped out by war, disease, or a mass extinction caused by an asteroid or comet crashing into the Earth. But that will depend on finding supplies of water on other worlds. Water was the first drink to steer the course of human history; now, after ten thousand years, it seems to be back in the driving seat. To talk of colonizing other planets seems outlandish, but the idea is surely easier for us to understand than the modern world would be for a person transported through time from a Neolithic village from 5000 BCE.

pages: 376 words: 110,796

Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight by Chris Dubbs, Emeline Paat-dahlstrom, Charles D. Walker


Berlin Wall, call centre, desegregation, Donald Trump, Doomsday Book, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Mark Shuttleworth, Mikhail Gorbachev, multiplanetary species, Norman Mailer, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technoutopianism, V2 rocket, X Prize, young professional

"This is not a result of a childhood epiphany. Why would I have a childhood epiphany? Because I watched Star Trek? That's kind of silly. My interest in space stems from thinking about what are the important problems facing humanity and life itself. The extension of life to multiple planets seems to be actually the most important thing that we could possibly do." The next big step for mankind is to be a multiplanetary species, and Musk thinks he's got the talent and the money to make it happen in our lifetime. Unlike most visionaries, Musk is more sobered by looking back at the challenges already met, than looking forward at those to come. During the interview, he described the difficult process of rocket development. "It's a huge complicated system with a passing grade of ioo percent. It is rocket science."