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Ok_Damage7184 t1_ixb0nj9 wrote

Exploration never makes sense to those that won’t take chances on an ultimate human adventure and criticize those that do.


songsofadistantsun t1_ixba8cy wrote

Who decides what counts as the ultimate human adventure?


Ok_Damage7184 t1_ixbajt0 wrote

Apparently you’re the one that in 6 paragraphs is casting judgement against it….self appointed?


Independent-Cod3150 t1_ixbny86 wrote

Humans, duh. The ones who become dominant through experimentation and advancement. If you plant your feet and demand that everyone respect your immovability, you're gonna get left behind.


HumanChainsaw t1_ixb5nro wrote

Why do we need to justify it? We are human. We are explorers. It is what we do. If we needed a valid reason to do everything, we wouldn't have done anything. We would still be sitting around in caves, beating animals to death, and foraging for berries, Age of Empires style. It works for every other animal, and it worked for us for 700,000 years. Why change? Because we are human. Why moon? Because moon.


simcoder t1_ixb6117 wrote

The other thing to consider is that blind expansion in the animal world leads to massive die offs on a regular basis. Humans have brains that can predict these things.

We could choose to use them.


songsofadistantsun t1_ixb72h5 wrote

Are we tho? We spread out to every habitable landmass on Earth, but we stopped after that. There wasn't any reason to go further. And the key word is "habitable". No one ever went for Antarctica, because there was nothing there for us in terms of living space. The Gobi and Sahara deserts are still very sparsely populated, without anything resembling what we call civilization. And that continent is far more habitable than either the Moon or Mars. To actually live on either (or anywhere else beyond Earth for that matter), we'd have to either reshape entire worlds to the biology of a body that evolved for a specific set of Terran environments, or reshape those bodies to the point that we redefine (or discard) the word "human". As much as I love sci-fi, I don't think sending people to live in hermetically sealed environments on other worlds can be remotely compared to either the wanderings of indigenous ancestors or the colonialism of more recent centuries (though space mining lends itself a lot to the latter). There's no "there" there, in terms of living space.


Enterovirus71 t1_ixba7va wrote

Yes, we are, though. Inquisition is innate to the human species. The desire to understand and explore the unknown is rooting in evolutionary biology. A curious mind isn't the only reason to explore beyond the earth (although I would say it is justification enough). Resources, population sustenance, energy, and, although it may sound like sci-fi now, there is a possibility of finding life that has evolved drastically differently from ours. I am not talking about aliens, as even alien microbes could lend us with a wealth of knowledge. We have arctic explorers from multiple government agencies and laboratories exploring the poles as we speak, hoping to discover microorganisms and ancient rivers and lakes under the ice. The Gobi and Sahara desert are sparsely populated because there is very little there in terms of resources, and the climate isn't kind to humans. We have already identified dozens of exoplanets in the goldilocks zone that are very similar to Earth. The hard part is getting there, but humans have always figured out a way. That is why we spend billions on space agencies. It isn't all for naught.


simcoder t1_ixbbash wrote

What if one of the prerequisites to long term survival is the opposite of the conquer and explore everything at all costs mentality?

I think evolutionary pressures do tend to push you in that direction (edit: the conquer and explore everything mode). But I think space may be the point where the environment starts really pushing back hard on that mindset and maybe that's why the universe doesn't seem to be overcrowded with colonizers.


Independent-Cod3150 t1_ixbo65z wrote

That is a lot of speculation to base on a sample of 1.

The area of our search for extraterrestrial life extends only a few lightyears, while just our galaxy is 100k to 200k ly across and 1,000 ly deep. If the universe were a city it would be somewhere truly expansive like Beijing, and our search for advanced civilizations would be the equivalent of shining a flashlight into one dark corner of one small closet in one old apartment tower on the outskirts, and then declaring that nobody else lives in the whole city.


simcoder t1_ixboj1u wrote

I've already pretty much talked it all out down below. Feel free to counter anything I've said there.

Edit(just saw your edit)

I agree that we shouldn't make any judgements about the number of civilizations based on our observational capabilities. But you can look to past history of life here on Earth and reach the same basic conclusions. Which I explored in more detail down below.


Independent-Cod3150 t1_ixdk3xz wrote

We have a very limited understanding of the first 3.5bn years of life on Earth. Nearly everything that can be studied is from the most recent 500 million years. There is insufficient data to extrapolate from.

It’s fun to speculate about the wider universe, but its all meaningless outside of fantasy. At the moment the question of life and civilizations beyond Earth is a black box that we’ve hung a mirror on.


simcoder t1_ixdt7qp wrote

Well if there is a great filter out there, it's probably worth thinking about for our own sake if nothing else.


Enterovirus71 t1_ixbck7a wrote

You may be right. The problem is we have nobody to compare ourselves to. What is considered a great/powerful civilization? If we consider the kardashev scale, we are just above 0.5. What would this hypothetical limit be? The solar system? The galaxy? The local group? I can see us occupying a very small slice of the galaxy with a handful of planets jn the goldilocks zone with multiple stars that can be harvested using dyson spheres. In the far future, we will be confined to out local galactic group anyway, granting us a "limit". As we continue to redshift, perhaps the universe is creating our boundaries for us. Of course all of this is theoretical, but it something people have been thinking about for decades now.


simcoder t1_ixbd89a wrote

Yeah but if the Kardeshev scale had any basis in reality wouldn't the universe be mostly colonized by now?

Smarter people than you and I have wondered about that. Many have put forth theories and what not. But one of them might be that what you need to dominate your biosphere is also the thing that limits you to that biosphere?

Sort of a universal self limiter on colonization...


Enterovirus71 t1_ixbf112 wrote

Our existence in this universe as a species is a drop in the ocean. The scale might be our way to try to conceptualize how much a civilization could theoretically advance. That doesn't necessitate the existence of a civilization that exceeds two on the scale for example. The other thing to consider is the possibility that we may be the only intelligent life in the universe that has ever existed. As cynical as it may sound, the conditions for life to form are extremely rare. The right things had to happen at the right time in the right way and survive long enough to replicate. It then took billions of years for homo sapiens to arise.


simcoder t1_ixbfcow wrote

Surely. It's all existential at that level.

But another way to think about it is that maybe the universal colonial self limiter is the reason that life here got a chance to evolve essentially on its own and without colonial interference.

If life randomly sprung up here and seems to be everywhere we look here no matter how harsh the environment, seems like that should also apply to the universe and all its large numbers.


Enterovirus71 t1_ixbhnhu wrote

There is a really good video by Kurzegast that describes the general principles of the idea you are talking about. I tend not to put too much stock in the idea, though. If this self-limiter existed, shouldn't we see traces of this civilization? Surely they didn't advance too far, or we would have detected something by now. We have analyzed the atmospheres of thousands of candidate planets and yet nothing.

We are simply too naiive, and we definitely need to further our understanding of physics before we can narrow down the various hypotheses that have emerged. Ockhams razor and lack of tangible evidence suggests that we are and always were alone, but it seems so unlikely that 13 billion years went by without another civilization emerging and potentially collapsing.


simcoder t1_ixbji0o wrote

The self limiter is not a civilization. It's more or less just an extension of the same forces that balance out the biosphere that gave rise to us. I'm not sure how Kurtzgesagt described it but that's how I think of it.

And you do sort of see this self limitation all over the biosphere. Anytime a population exceeds the carrying capacity of its biosphere, hunger and disease, etc tend to self limit that population back down to the carrying capacity.

It's not really an active agent rather more an artifact of a limited biosphere. Technology kind of lets you ignore that for a time but essentially you're just building a bigger bust into the situation if you rely solely on technology to save the day. Temporarily.


Enterovirus71 t1_ixblh5l wrote

Oh, for sure. I just don't m know what this self-limiting natural force would be. If you keep exploring new planets and stars, thus garnering unimaginable resources and energy, it's hard to imagine that the ecosystem would work against you in some mysterious way. The limiting factor, in my opinion, will be cosmic forces, i.e., the redshift. We will eventually be confined to a small sliver of the universe as the universe expands and the distances between galaxies become too far to for intergalactic travel. My point is, the limitation does not have to be catastrophic. It can merely be an endpoint in exploration when we realize that expansion would no longer be possible due to distance constraints.


simcoder t1_ixbmmz6 wrote

Take LEO for example. It's a limited resource.

And if you just blunder into it willy nilly and go full colonial mode on it, you could lock yourself out by having just a little war or a lot of capitalism treating it as an externality. Either of which could lead to Kessler.

That would be one form of space based self limiting. You basically create the very trap that keeps you locked on your own planet.

And I get that the limitation doesn't have to be catastrophic. In fact, as a self aware species with a great deal of intelligence and the foreknowledge that actions have consequences, we or other civilizations could possibly make the adjustments necessary to prevent a catastrophic limitation.

But that requires going against the things that got you to that point in the first place (giving up conquering and colonialism to get you out of your biosphere deficit and embracing a lower energy, symbiotic lifestyle...though I'm not sure if that's even an option at this point...i like my lifestyle just as much as the next person).

So it's probably a really tricky spot for most civilizations that get to this point.


PhyneasPhysicsPhrog t1_ixb8r83 wrote

I’d argue no one lives in Antarctica due to international treaties outlawing it. Not that it has stopped people from trying to do so illegally.


songsofadistantsun t1_ixb9a6t wrote

The question is whether or not they can do it and provision the majority of their food and resources from that landscape (or, to parallel what Elon wants to do with Mars, if they could build a city doing the same). That's the real test of any settlement project. I feel like an Inuit-style culture may have been able to set up shop there, had they been in the region, but they obviously wouldn't have been able to build any sort of large town or city.


PhyneasPhysicsPhrog t1_ixb9zi1 wrote

Indigenous populations have been highly successful building civilization and large populations in Arctic conditions. Growing food is actually one of the easier problems for space exploration. The technology of getting there efficiently is the main hurdle


still-at-work t1_ixb7jvb wrote

There is not a really good reason to do a lot of the things we do beyond we enjoy it.

There are reasons to explore mars and the moon but I am tired of arguing about it. Doing it because it's interesting and exciting is good enough if we are being honest.

If you oppose the government spending money on it, great, you can join the masses in not liking what their government spends money on. Not to say your belief are not valid, they are also not original. Lots of people don't like every program the government spends money on. The space program is neither the worse offender or the least popular. So you can have that opinion but in democratic nations you need a majority to push your agenda. And space is popular with the majority.

So tough, space exploration is here to stay, cry about it why humanity expands into the stars.


simcoder t1_ixb8t8i wrote

You can still explore it remotely. And for a fraction of the cost. And with none of the geopolitics associated with human settlement.

You get humans directly involved and then you have to get the military involved and then you get your first space war. And the you get trapped on the surface of the Earth by all the debris created by the first space war.

So honestly, I think some of this stuff is still worth debating.


songsofadistantsun t1_ixba5wj wrote

I agree, it's exciting. When did I say I'm against exploration? I'm just not sure space is a place to explore directly, or where significant portions of us will ever live. Imagine how many probes and landers we could send to the outer planets for the amount of money they want to spend on building Moon bases.

Also, please read Aurora. Can't recommend that enough.


still-at-work t1_ixbe6f9 wrote

Remote exploration is great, in fact let's close down Disney world and just sell videos of drone flight through it, it's basically the same thing.


casc1701 t1_ixbhoj1 wrote

Our cave is so cozy and warm, why would I want to know what's there in the next valley?

I'm so glad our ancestors were not people like you...


poliprism t1_ixboqiz wrote

I disagree.

Addressing the list of points:

  1. Infrastructure - The moon is a great place to locate infrastructure for both further space exploration, earth monitoring, staging for satellites above LEO. From a scientific perspective it’s also an opportunity to learn about ourselves, plants, and space.

  2. Mining - He3 is used for a lot more than fusion, and might be the basis of future technologies that improve lives (think in the directions of MRIs, Maglev, Quantum computing, etc.). Also if He3-He3 fusion turns out to be the most viable path to fusion then it having access to it on the moon might make it break the most important project we have for both CO2 emission reduction and increase of welfare.

  3. Colonisation - The moon probably will never be more self-sufficient than Antarctica, it might produce a lot of value in having heavy materials that are already in orbit, but it won’t be independent. Still it’s a learning opportunity for humanity, and I personally like the thought of us as a species not being erased if earth is hit by an asteroid.

As for your points on addressing our problems on earth first I’d say space exploration is the smallest of worries. We as humanity are more capable of multitasking, and there is already a lot of progress happening.

I don’t know if capitalism requires infinite material growth, though I think Economics Explained on YouTube had a great video on the topic. Made me almost want to study economics.


7layerbeaverbrown t1_ixazhy8 wrote

Won't there be humans living on the moon at the close of the decade?


songsofadistantsun t1_ixb7vcp wrote

Personally I think the best case scenario for Moon bases is maybe two small outposts (one American/ESA, one Chinese) by 2035. It'll be like the ISS, but far more expensive to maintain, and like the ISS its main research will consist of monitoring how humans live in low gravity, high-radiation environments.


Independent-Cod3150 t1_ixbnkcu wrote

Mars colonization is a ridiculous fantasy, but orbital and lunar mining and industry are likely in the next century. The point of mining the moon or asteroids is not to find resources that we lack on Earth, it is that those resources don't have to be launched from the Earth. With enough mining and manufacturing capacity in orbit we could build solar arrays and science experiments that just aren't possible on Earth. Particle accelerators to dwarf the LHC, laser interferometers that are many times longer and more sensitive than LIGO.

We could produce an entire new way of life that doesn't require polluting the Earth for every little luxury.


simcoder t1_ixbo7en wrote

You still have the bootstrap problem though right?

Someone has to spend the trillions of dollars on the first refinery in space and then someone has to buy the super expensive materials that come out of that refinery. When all that stuff can just be blasted off the Earth for a fraction of the cost in quantities far exceeding the current demand for them.

It is a cool idea though. But I think you kind of need something approaching long term communism to make that possible. And we all know how that works out.


simcoder t1_ixb2av7 wrote

I guess my big thing about Artemis is that past history has shown that many of these big ticket space programs are a front for strategic military programs. I don't know why that would really change.

And Space Force has been talking a whole bunch about needing nuclear reactors in space and this sort of heavy lift vehicle would be perfect for that, as well as, any other super heavy military equipment they think they need up there.

I think at best we'll probably get a stunt landing out of the thing. I seriously doubt that we'll get any sort of long term human presence there beyond the stunt landings. Probably what we can count on getting out of all this is a more militarized space. Which counterintuitively makes it more dangerous for humans to go there.


BargleMcquargle t1_ixb2w8j wrote

The problem will be - if it's not another planet it will be "somewhere". I see a vision like in "Elysium" as being a very realistic possibility in the not-too-distant future. It's already happening with tourism and it would probably be the most long-term cost effective way to escape the decay of the earth for the uber-wealthy.

COP27 proves that ultimately no government will do anything about Earth's problems until they are forced to. At which point the solutions are more expensive and difficult, and off-planet solutions will be more attractive.


songsofadistantsun t1_ixb8jng wrote

The thing that I didn't really spell out in my original post is that any space colony (whether based on a planetary body or free-flying) we could realistically build in the next century or two will be absolutely dependent on resources from Earth, especially biological, and therefore depends on Terran nations being able to maintain robust, well-funded space programs. Ergo, space colonies need a healthy Earth-based technological civilization to exist, which renders the idea of using them as a backup for an extinction event on Earth a moot point. So a scenario like Elysium is unrealistic - the rich won't be able to run away to a Stanford Torus to escape the problems they've caused on Earth, or at least not before their closed loop ecologies inevitably fail.


BargleMcquargle t1_ixba2tz wrote

I'm not so sure. The Russians have been effectively living in space for years- all they were really missing was the real estate to grow their own food. Sure, needs some tweaking, and ramping it up to colony scale will need some impressive infrastructure. But a couple of Musks get together with a Russian Oligarch or two and start something small but expandable, using SpaceX hardware or similar. I could definitely see that happening. Much easier to setup a habitable environment from scratch than to even comtemplate terraforming, living underground forever, or being geographically constrained like on the Moon. Plus, they would own half the earth, so easy to just pop back to the shops when they need something if they're just in orbit. Take the schmaltz out of Elysium and i think you have a workable model (speaking as a current Oligarch).