Space, The Final Frontier?

1/27/10

 

            Many assume we humans can transfer a significant portion of our bloated population to another planet.

 

Facts:

            a. We have not received recognizable, intelligent signals from any other planet.

            b. We have not found one planet with a temperature, liquid water, and an atmosphere suitable for humans except Earth.

            c. We are currently unable to transform an uninhabitable planet into an Earth-like planet.

            d. Even if we could create an Earth-like planet, we would need to transport about 78,600,000 people there each year just to stabilize Earth’s current population (World Population Growth.htm).

 

            e. For more information, see: NASA.htm.  Mars and Venus might be capable of holding an oxygen atmosphere.

 

            f. The National Geographic, 12/09 pp 78-93 is optimistic about finding other Earth-like planets. However, the nearest candidates are 15 to 20 light-years away. Light travels 186,000 miles per second. The fastest manned spacecraft travels 6.8 miles per second. The Earth is 8.33 light minutes (93,000,000 miles) from the Sun. A light-year is about 5.88 trillion miles. So, the nearest candidates are 15*(5.88 trillion miles) = 88 trillion (88,000,000,000,000) miles away! We should not plan on going there in the near future! These planets are not going to solve our current problems.  Also, see National Geographic, 2/10 pp 30-33 for NASA’s expensive plans for Mars which extend for at least 1000 years. Monitoring and studying the Earth’s climate using unmanned satellites and capture of solar energy on the Earth’s surface would be much better uses of the expertise and of the money.

 

            g. The moon is 239,000 miles from Earth, but is too small to hold an atmosphere.  Mars varies from 34,000,000 to 249,000,000 miles from Earth. NASA is planning a two-year trip to and from Mars.  However, Mars and Venus have almost no free oxygen or water vapor in their atmospheres.

 

            h. A relatively inexpensive and practical mission to Mars: The surface of Mars most resembles a very high, dry, cold desert on Earth. Some photosynthetic bacteria and green plants grow in somewhat similar environments on Earth. There is no convincing evidence of current significant populations of life on Mars. We could send unmanned rockets with small populations of photosynthetic bacteria and plants to Mars. If significant populations of any Earth species survived on Mars, we could detect them by looking for increasing oxygen and chlorophyll levels from Earth. If oxygen, and ozone, became high enough, then humans might someday be able to live on Mars. Venus would be more difficult to terra form. Venus and Mars are the only planets near enough to provide possible backups for Earth if suitable atmospheres could be developed. In any case, Earth will be our only practical home for many years. Surviving for years on a space station or space ship without frequent resupply from Earth is very unlikely any time soon.