Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The Hawking Window refers to the period of time from now until it's too late, at some future time, to save Humanity from itself or some natural disaster. About 100 to 200 years, according to Stephen Hawking.
Alan Boyle of Cosmic Log speaks of Stephen's latest speech on this subject here, which is a re-hashing of previous Hawking meditations on the same subject, but updated to 2010.
I'm on board, I think most people are. HOW we are to accomplish this in the face of global politics is beyond me, however. The sheer greed I'm witnessed here in the USA during my lifetime (I was born in 1956) seems to imply that if unchecked, we're going to suicide ourselves. And if so, wouldn't that be for the betterment of the Universe? Natural selection and all, and in this case a Cosmic one?
The altruist in me wishes however that we not give up before the fight begins, much like Clinton and Obama half-compromising before they sit down to talk with Republicans.
Most of the posters and repliers at Cosmic Log seem to favor Mars as the next logical step.
No, the Moon and Mercury should be next. They're closer, and unless you're willing to wait 800 years for Mars to be terraformed, they're not much less inhospitable. In space, closer = cheaper, and yes doing all this will be expensive. So what? That hasn't stopped people before.
The recent discovery of ice on the moon isn't all that great (we'll have to bring our own water for the first century or so, or extract it from our pee, and our animals' pee), but the discovery of caves on Luna is VERY important. Natural caves is how we started on Earth, and the costs saved by not digging a big hole ourselves will be significant.
And underground we shall have to go, at first. The reason is solar and cosmic radiation. Our atmosphere and strong magnetic field here on Earth protects us, spoils us really. In space there is no such protection, save for a whole bunch of rock above our heads.
We can do this, but first we must commit ourselves, and for that we'll need: real Leaders.
And other than Hawking, where are those, exactly?
Ralph Kramden was right. To the moon, Alice!