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    Thread: When will humanity expand into space?

    1. #1
      Member Hercuflea's Avatar
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      When will humanity expand into space?

      Your predictions? By "expanding" into space I mean the establishment of permanent -preferably but not necessarily self-sufficient- colonies either in space stations or on celestial bodies such as the Moon, Mars, Venus, Ganymede, Europa, Ceres, the Asteroid Belt, etc. Justifications for your thoughts would be appreciated.

      (posted this on physicsforums and they locked it, bastards.)
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      It would be a little expensive atm. It's certainly possible though. Currently they're trying to set up a reality tv show on mars, hoping the network will fund the expedition.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Technology is hauling ass. We have sent robots to Mars and have an international space station. We are very close to the space age. I think a lot of people who are alive right now will be staying at space resorts in the future, and some will be living in residential areas of space stations and possibly the moon and Mars.

      A lot of science fiction of the 20th century predicted that the space age would be in full swing around the turn of the century. When I was a kid, there was a popular show called Space 1999. There is also of course the book/movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. I think the writers were only off by just a few decades.
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    4. #4
      Xei
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      Hmm. Thing is, you have to create so much novel technology, and it's so much money and so much human effort, for something of rather dubious financial gain. What do you think a lunar colony would do... mine moon diamonds? There would be scientific value in going to Mars or Europa to search for life... that's the only compelling reason I can think of, really. Plus, one area I think we can expect to see rapid progress in is AI and robotics, which would be a much cheaper and safer solution for scientific exploration of those places.

      So, give or take the establishment of a small colony to search for life, and failing another Cold War, I guess I'd have to peg this at quite a few decades away, if and when we become so technologically advanced that we can do this relatively easily, for tourism.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Hmm. Thing is, you have to create so much novel technology, and it's so much money and so much human effort, for something of rather dubious financial gain. What do you think a lunar colony would do... mine moon diamonds? There would be scientific value in going to Mars or Europa to search for life... that's the only compelling reason I can think of, really. Plus, one area I think we can expect to see rapid progress in is AI and robotics, which would be a much cheaper and safer solution for scientific exploration of those places.

      So, give or take the establishment of a small colony to search for life, and failing another Cold War, I guess I'd have to peg this at quite a few decades away, if and when we become so technologically advanced that we can do this relatively easily, for tourism.
      Buzz has been thoroughly killed.
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    6. #6
      Xei
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      Yeah, I'm betting that post alone has delayed the lunar base by at least 15 years.
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      We need to settle conflicts on our planet, before we can really focus on space. The fact that a large portion of the population still lives in a dirt huts suggests to me, that it'll be a little while still. Hopefully within my life time, but it's hard to say.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Marvo View Post
      We need to settle conflicts on our planet, before we can really focus on space.
      Why?

      The only time humanity will be done with conflict is when it's extinct. To believe otherwise is ridiculous - how and why should we become totally different from any other animal species on the planet?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      Why?

      The only time humanity will be done with conflict is when it's extinct. To believe otherwise is ridiculous - how and why should we become totally different from any other animal species on the planet?
      We already are totally different from any other animal species on the planet... and many animals do not have much conflict with each other. When the do they sort it out with a show of strength and nobody needs to be hurt. Even out and out killers like big cats tend to avoid conflict with each other.

      Where on earth do your ideas come from?

      We absolutely have the ability and potential for anything we want and it would make absolute sense to start living in a sustainable way and a more peaceful way without these ridiculous pathological conflicts fought by brainwashed kids and funded by petrified citizens.

      If people can't start to live in a more sustainable less pathological way then i'd rather the race died out than started to infect the rest of the Universe.

      But the best option is that we start to take responsibility for the cultures which we design and stop brainwashing people into thinking we have to behave like much lower and less intelligent animals.

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      Every species on earth, all the way from the beginning, has been involved in the endless conflict - eat or be eaten - kill or be killed. And always will be. Having far more complex psychology than any other species and far more complex societies we've been able to carry that conflict to insane lengths unseen until our arrival. Other species routinely engage in devouring their own young and driving outcasts into the wilderness to die alone etc, but it takes a human level of psychology to develop religious genocides and serial killings.

      And of course I totally agree - we should attempt to solve our issues as well as we can. But there's a vast difference between saying 'we should do as much as we can to improve' and saying 'humans are naughty and shall not be allowed to go into space until they've become perfect'.

    11. #11
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      I'm not going to predict any time frames, but the major barrier at the moment is the cost of launching into space, which companies like SpaceX are starting to tackle. If a space elevator could ever reach the point of practical possibility that would also help to significantly reduce costs, though it would require a lot of advances in materials science.

      The other problem with space is the scales involved, most obviously with distance, and that requires advances in transportation. Whether such barriers can be overcome to make this all practical remains to be seen, even if something like Alcubierre drive currently brings things down from "impossible" to "very likely impossible".

      If humanity is still around by then, and we haven't genocided ourselves, been wiped out by a natural disaster, uploaded ourselves into a computer or so on, then it's going to be something that is needed long term. Terraforming other planets such as Mars, or even the idea of constructing an artificial habitat like the Halo rings or a Dyson sphere is going to be essential.

    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      Every species on earth, all the way from the beginning, has been involved in the endless conflict - eat or be eaten - kill or be killed. And always will be. Having far more complex psychology than any other species and far more complex societies we've been able to carry that conflict to insane lengths unseen until our arrival. Other species routinely engage in devouring their own young and driving outcasts into the wilderness to die alone etc, but it takes a human level of psychology to develop religious genocides and serial killings.

      And of course I totally agree - we should attempt to solve our issues as well as we can. But there's a vast difference between saying 'we should do as much as we can to improve' and saying 'humans are naughty and shall not be allowed to go into space until they've become perfect'.
      Human beings engage in conflict in order to conquer each other. This is definitely a different type of conflict than the rest of life on earth, or than other humans that do not practice totalitarian agriculture.

      We could at least move beyond nation states, whether we do through being conquered by the empire of wealth that controls the IMF and the world bank or by toppling them and uniting in a new way, which is also possible. Species naturally evolve toward greater organization. Conflict would still exist. Just like cancers and parasites can exist within the body, turmoil can still exist within a system even if it has organized on a global level.

      Marvo is incorrect to assume that simply because there are still poor people we won't go to space though. Because there are poor people, we are more likely to go into space. Because few live off the work of the many, very few have been elevated to extreme levels of wealth. So long as they can find something lucrative about space exploration, they could make it happen tomorrow. Granted they'd probably leave the rest of us behind, or at best ship us off to work in sweatshops on the moon.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    13. #13
      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      The only time humanity will be done with conflict is when it's extinct. To believe otherwise is ridiculous - how and why should we become totally different from any other animal species on the planet?
      I think it's somewhat more ridiculous to say that you can't see any differences between humans and other species. Civilisation, culture, language, the ability to reflect on oneself - these are just some of the more relevant differences.

      Contrary to conventional wisdom of being cynical about all things human, the general picture is actually pretty bright. Countries all across the world have been democratising, and populations are becoming better educated, more socially liberal, and more tolerant, and warfare has become much less common, especially between developed countries. There's no compelling reason to think that this trend has to reverse. As globalisation continues, and as technology further shrinks the distance between populations, I find it quite possible that warfare could become an anachronism within a century or two.

      There's even the possibility of humans mastering psychology and genetics and eliminating the irrational elements in us which cause war.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post

      There's even the possibility of humans mastering psychology and genetics and eliminating the irrational elements in us which cause war.
      Like Judaism.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Quote Originally Posted by Darkmatters View Post
      Why?

      The only time humanity will be done with conflict is when it's extinct. To believe otherwise is ridiculous - how and why should we become totally different from any other animal species on the planet?
      Because conflicts siphon tons of money out of our space programs.

      Please don't put words in my mouth.

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    16. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      There's even the possibility of humans mastering psychology and genetics and eliminating the irrational elements in us which cause war.
      Would that not arguably remove some of the very things that make us human? Emotions are irrational and nothing more than a shortcut to motivate us towards action for example, which obviously have downsides when they backfire. Seems rather unlikely that it would be possible to eliminate the problems inherent with them and have perfectly rational emotions.

      But who knows.

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      So long as one of the qualities we consider irrational is judaism, I'm on board with eugenics.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    18. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Hmm. Thing is, you have to create so much novel technology, and it's so much money and so much human effort, for something of rather dubious financial gain. What do you think a lunar colony would do... mine moon diamonds? There would be scientific value in going to Mars or Europa to search for life... that's the only compelling reason I can think of, really. Plus, one area I think we can expect to see rapid progress in is AI and robotics, which would be a much cheaper and safer solution for scientific exploration of those places.

      So, give or take the establishment of a small colony to search for life, and failing another Cold War, I guess I'd have to peg this at quite a few decades away, if and when we become so technologically advanced that we can do this relatively easily, for tourism.
      The space colonies can have bars, restaurants, movie theaters, schools, Wal-Mart, and the other stuff that generates money on Earth. Eventually, Earth will be uninhabitable, and humanity will only be able to survive in space. If the world doesn't get destroyed by nuts who use nukes in attempts to bang virgins, I am pretty sure the space age is coming.
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    19. #19
      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      So long as one of the qualities we consider irrational is judaism, I'm on board with eugenics.
      Yeah good point man, when I suggested we could adjust the biological basis of territorial, intolerant, aggressive behaviours, what I actually meant was that we should exterminate the Jews. 10/10 post, would read again, potential Pulitzer candidate.

      Quote Originally Posted by Photolysis View Post
      Would that not arguably remove some of the very things that make us human? Emotions are irrational and nothing more than a shortcut to motivate us towards action for example, which obviously have downsides when they backfire. Seems rather unlikely that it would be possible to eliminate the problems inherent with them and have perfectly rational emotions.

      But who knows.
      Quite possible, but the irrational cognitive processes which lead to aggressive discrimination are of course biological in nature, so my point was just a general one that we may be able to reliably understand and then target their basis in future.

      Quote Originally Posted by Universal Mind View Post
      The space colonies can have bars, restaurants, movie theaters, schools, Wal-Mart, and the other stuff that generates money on Earth. Eventually, Earth will be uninhabitable, and humanity will only be able to survive in space. If the world doesn't get destroyed by nuts who use nukes in attempts to bang virgins, I am pretty sure the space age is coming.
      Probably, but I don't really see any argument here that there will be any compelling, financially viable reasons in the near future; there's no reason we'd currently want to build a school on Mars. The Earth will be far more habitable than any other planet for many millennia to come.
      Last edited by Xei; 03-18-2013 at 08:02 PM.

    20. #20
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Yeah good point man, when I suggested we could adjust the biological basis of territorial, intolerant, aggressive behaviours, what I actually meant was that we should exterminate the Jews. 10/10 post, would read again, potential Pulitzer candidate.
      I have the same argument against this as I do when it is argued that only people with a certain IQ should be able to breed. It is as fallacious and frankly dim to assume you can fix people by fixing genes as it is to assume you can fix people by fixing the way they are raised. Both behaviorism and its opposite have been thoroughly refuted for over half a century. As far as I'm concerned you may as well be advocating phrenology, that's how anachronistic your thinking is. I suggest you take a course in human behavioral biology, Stanford offers a free one on youtube.

      The most you could hope for is some type of Brave New World style dystopia wherein certain people are bred to be more docile and obedient. I would find this outcome tragic, and frankly I think that manipulation and control over genes is inferior to natural selection because natural selection implies complete anticipation whereas man is limited by the scope of their perception. I would rather tolerate a little aggression than to surrender biology's greatest strength.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 03-18-2013 at 08:15 PM.
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    21. #21
      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Probably, but I don't really see any argument here that there will be any compelling, financially viable reasons in the near future; there's no reason we'd currently want to build a school on Mars. The Earth will be far more habitable than any other planet for many millennia to come.
      The end of Earth is a very long way away, but I think the space age is closer than it has to be because so many people are obsessed with the idea of living in space. I know people who say they would be willing to die tomorrow if it means they can go into space for just a few hours. People who are that extreme are probably pretty rare, but they are the extremes of a very common walk of life.
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    22. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      What do you think a lunar colony would do... mine moon diamonds?
      It could serve as a base for expanded operations in space. I imagine asteroid mining (which is something we'll be able to take more seriously in the coming years) would have a use for a lunar colony.
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    23. #23
      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by BLUELINE976 View Post
      It could serve as a base for expanded operations in space.
      lol, that's rather putting off the point.

      I imagine asteroid mining (which is something we'll be able to take more seriously in the coming years) would have a use for a lunar colony.
      No, taking asteroid materials into the moon's gravitational well would be a complete waste of resources.

      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      I have the same argument against this as I do when it is argued that only people with a certain IQ should be able to breed. It is as fallacious and frankly dim to assume you can fix people by fixing genes as it is to assume you can fix people by fixing the way they are raised. Both behaviorism and its opposite have been thoroughly refuted for over half a century. As far as I'm concerned you may as well be advocating phrenology, that's how anachronistic your thinking is. I suggest you take a course in human behavioral biology, Stanford offers a free one on youtube.
      The idea that genes and environment affect psychology is anachronistic? You have no clue what you're talking about. Maybe watch that course you mentioned.

      The most you could hope for is some type of Brave New World style dystopia wherein certain people are bred to be more docile and obedient. I would find this outcome tragic, and frankly I think that manipulation and control over genes is inferior to natural selection because natural selection implies complete anticipation whereas man is limited by the scope of their perception. I would rather tolerate a little aggression than to surrender biology's greatest strength.
      Natural selection implies complete anticipation? What on Earth does that mean? Because it sounds like you need to take a basic biology course, too. Perhaps read about vestigial structures like the recurrent laryngeal nerve of giraffes.

      I'm not talking about removing anger. I'm talking about understanding and counteracting psychological phenomena such as dehumanisation.

    24. #24
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      I only meant that we're no different from all the other species in this one regard - we're still subject to nature, which is red in tooth and claw. To explain what I mean a little more clearly - evolution cannot discard systems, it can only build onto them - this is why at the center of the human brain is the lizard brain - still active, surrounded by the mammal brain, also fully active, and around that is the neocortex housing the newer apparatus responsible for the differences between our pre-human ancestors and us. So unless we find some way to alter our own genetic material, I believe we're doomed to remain as screwed up as we've always been. Historically attempts to create utopian societies have been colossal failures due to this inner nature. It seems only small self-selecting societies like monasteries can hope to remain peaceful - and that's only because people of a peaceful nature join and they isolate themselves from human society in general. And even these small societies aren't immune to violence.

      We evolved form a pseudo-predatory species of primates, not herbivorous prey animals or apex predators but somewhere in the middle of the food chain. So we do have a sort of mid-level aggression impulse genetically that gives us the killer instinct, but not to an extreme degree. To illustrate, imagine if a species like rabbits or sheep had evolved to human-level intelligence and tool-using capabilities. Herbivores with no killing instinct who live by fleeing and seeking safety. Now imagine if a species like tigers or crocodiles had instead evolved to a human level of intelligence and tool making capabilities. That species would make humans look like creampuffs by comparison, while the rabbit-people would make us look like warlike asshats.

      I believe both big governments and big corporations have reached a point where they're rotten to the core with corruption that can't be cured - if legislation is passed to try to fix it or whatever it'll just mutate into a new more hidden form.


      I'm not trying to justify human violence - only to explain it and the fact that I believe it goes all the way to the core. I'm also not being fatalistic and saying I don't think we should try to do all we can to overcome it - I absolutely believe we should. But I also believe that only small local victories are possible - the massively complex systems like corporations and huge governments are beyond the point where they can be fixed or even held responsible for their crimes.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 03-19-2013 at 02:40 AM.

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      They want to get Helium 3 from the moon, and several asteroids are known to have rare earth metals, in some cases to a level greater than found on earth. There is a lot of real world practical uses for mining everything out in space. We need those resources and it is a given that we will be mining them in the future. Right now it costs a lot of money to get stuff into space and that is the only reason we are not already doing it. Looking for life is a side project to the mining of valuable resources though, don't underestimate the value of that is floating around in space.

      I said in a life time because I think we will be in space within my life time. I think in the next 20 years we will have some form permanent base in space, and I am extremely confident that we will within 50 years. Then again, we might not actually need humans to do this stuff. Robots might be able to do all the work for us in space. So we might have a robot base in space without people living there. I think people will want to go there though.

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