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How long will humanity be on Earth?

How long will humanity be on Earth?

  • Less than 100 years

    Votes: 2 11.1%
  • 100 to 1,000 years

    Votes: 4 22.2%
  • 1,000 to 10,000 years

    Votes: 5 27.8%
  • 10,000 years to 100,000 years

    Votes: 1 5.6%
  • 100,000 to 1,000,000 years

    Votes: 1 5.6%
  • 1,000,000 years +

    Votes: 5 27.8%

  • Total voters
    18

Mojo

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
#1
I was reading about seafloor spreading the other day when I came across this gem:

The Pacific Ocean is slowly shrinking as the Atlantic Ocean slides west. Two hundred million years ago, the Atlantic Ocean didn't exist. South America and Africa were joined, as were North America and Europe. The Atlantic is still spreading and growing. So is the Red Sea. In 150 million years, that currently skinny sea will be as wide as the Atlantic is now.
150 million years is just a blink in geological terms, to say nothing of the ancient history of the universe. I was originally thinking geopolitically -- wow, how would the Middle East be different if there was an ocean separating Saudi Arabia from Egypt -- but then I thought about human history. Civilization goes back, what, about 30,000 years, give or take? That's a blip compared to 150 million years. So what will humanity be like one million years ago? 10 million? 100 million? Will we make it that far? Will the Earth still be around? Will we be luminous beings, not this crude matter?

Dunno. More questions than answers. What do you think?
 

Tim

Creative Writer
Joined
Jan 16, 2005
Location
England
#2
Spending is being cut back. Orbital commercial flights are going to be a gimmick for a section of the community.

No one has the money to create orbital stations, factories and slingshot on the moon, drag mining equipment to the asteroid belt to throw more ore back to orbit for factory use.

There aren't many reasons to go out there considering the lonely corner of the galaxy we are in. It would take major political and social upheaval to make the effort worthwhile. Someone will always argue the money is better spent on local projects.

Of course, I am starting to believe now that it will be a commercial company that makes the first steps into the solar system rather than governments. We need a breakdown of everything that requires micro-G manufacture and then we will be better able to peruse that list and give probability on what will cause said commercial company to finance the leap.

And then there is China and its proposed missions to the Moon and possibly Mars. Are they doing this for political reasons or have they got a plan for manufacturing and commercial success up their sleeves?
 

painkiller64

Avoid A Void
Joined
Sep 15, 2006
Location
kansas
#3
mine is simple, it doesn't matter if we spread to the stars or try to extinguish ourselves in a blaze of glory, or worse..................

the thing is. no matter what, we will always be here. no matter if we go to the stars, someone will always be here.

you cant ask a whole world to up an move to another planet nor can you ask us to destroy ourselves. we will always survive and someone will always stay behind.

in regards to the first post...................i always wanted to learn how to swim, lol
in regards to the second post..............private contractors are the key to space for simple people like you and i.
 

Mojo

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
#4
All right, take something like the future described by Wall-E -- a time when the Earth is simply so polluted, so toxic, that it cannot support life. Sure, in geological terms, if the Earth were uninhabitable for 1,000 years, that'd be a speck of time... but in human terms, a thousand years is 500 generations, an unimaginable length of time. Could we really wait around, huddled in bunkers, for a thousand years while the Earth heals?

So we could be driven off this planet whether we like it or not. Then, too, there is always a chance of a supervirus or global warming or the CERN project destroying all life as we know it. So maybe we'll be off the Earth in another sense entirely...

 

Mojo

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
#6
Well, in that case, does it change the answer any? Can humanity go, say, 10,000 years without eradicating themselves? How about 1,000? Or even 100?

(I know, a lot of you are waiting to answer that question until after November 4, 2008...)
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
#7
I think we're good for 100 and maybe even 1,000 but I wouldn't put money down on 10,000. I see either a charred floating rock an/or a civilization in tatters with Man being a dying breed.
 

Mojo

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
#8
Does something else take our place, then? An advanced civilization of cockroaches? Or Amway salesmen?
 

Webster

The Red Tarheel
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Location
Morganton, NC
#9
Well, in that case, does it change the answer any? Can humanity go, say, 10,000 years without eradicating themselves? How about 1,000? Or even 100?

(I know, a lot of you are waiting to answer that question until after November 4, 2008...)
If this country(and the world, for that matter) can survive "Dubya" and his merry band of morons, then it might be safe to say that humanity can survive anything[how Americans could vote for "Dubya" in two successive elections IMO should be considered one of the great mysteries of all time......] :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :confused:
 

Mojo

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
#10
If this country(and the world, for that matter) can survive "Dubya" and his merry band of morons, then it might be safe to say that humanity can survive anything[how Americans could vote for "Dubya" in two successive elections IMO should be considered one of the great mysteries of all time......] :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :confused:
One of the greatest dangers of a democracy is that you oftentimes end up with the government you deserve.
 

Mojo

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
#12
Well, first off, I don't know that we could blow ourselves up completely, even if we tried. There are enough people spread out around the world... would the scientists at the North Pole be affected? Would Amazonian tribes suffer from the fallout? I don't know, but I suspect there are enough bunkers and enough secret government bases that at least some remnant of humanity would survive.

As for space travel... I wonder what the return on investment would look like for us to start mining in the asteroid belt. On the one hand, the startup costs would be astronomical (no pun intended), but on the other hand... there's probably more resources floating around up there than on 10 Earths. That's gotta be a draw to a group of high risk/high reward investors. What do you think -- a trillion dollars? Ten trillion? That sounds like a lot, but there are 691 billionaires in the world... if even half of them split the cost with, say, a really progressive, deep-pocketed government...
 

Kevin

Code Monkey
Staff member
Joined
Mar 20, 2004
Location
Pennsylvania
#13
Well, first off, I don't know that we could blow ourselves up completely, even if we tried. There are enough people spread out around the world... would the scientists at the North Pole be affected? Would Amazonian tribes suffer from the fallout? I don't know, but I suspect there are enough bunkers and enough secret government bases that at least some remnant of humanity would survive.
The problem you'll have with those remote places is not the actual "Boom!" but, if those explosions are radioactive, then the wind currents. So, yes, that Amazonian tribe buried deep in the forest may not be dead on Day 1 but if the US, Russia, China, the UK, and the Koreas decide to all play nuclear tag then they will be affected at some point.

As for space travel... I wonder what the return on investment would look like for us to start mining in the asteroid belt. On the one hand, the startup costs would be astronomical (no pun intended), but on the other hand... there's probably more resources floating around up there than on 10 Earths. That's gotta be a draw to a group of high risk/high reward investors. What do you think -- a trillion dollars? Ten trillion? That sounds like a lot, but there are 691 billionaires in the world... if even half of them split the cost with, say, a really progressive, deep-pocketed government...
Think pharmecuticals instead of mining as the first space based industry. ;) They will be orbiting space station based so their startup costs will be much cheaper then a mining company needing to land on a non-terrestial object (whether it be a planet or comet) and have the financial backing to get such endeavors going. Once the first step of orbiting industries proves to be stable then it'll just be a matter of time before the moon & mars is looked at not only by private companies but also by governments. Like the old saying guys... they aren't building any new land. Once regions like China reach their breaking point then their choices for expansion are going to be either forcibly taking land from their neighbors (which will lead to some "Boom!" actions) or space ward.

So it's really a giant gamble... is the world going to go "Boom!" or will we end up out in the stars or will the world go "Boom!" because of travel to the stars.

(On the other hand... if we get another Bush in the presidency then the world might be going "Boom!" in the next 4-8 years instead. :().
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#15
The problem you'll have with those remote places is not the actual "Boom!" but, if those explosions are radioactive, then the wind currents.
Not just radiation, the darkening of the sky across the globe would cause a nuclear winter
 

Mojo

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
#16
Not just radiation, the darkening of the sky across the globe would cause a nuclear winter
Yeah, but would that kill us off? The Eskimos seem to do a good job of surviving at subzero temperatures... I suppose the larger concern would be the food chain, but there would probably be enough cold-weather fish and animals (not to mention cans of Chef Boyarde) that we could survive...
 

Tom

An Old Friend
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Location
Gulf Coast
#17
The food chain is the issue. The chemical composition of the atmosphere, the sustainability of our food reserves for decades, the ocean conveyor, the melting or freezing of glacial structures and the mood of the people.

Aside from nuclear winter there is also the threat of a volcanic winter.
 

Mojo

Rocket Ranger
Joined
Jul 29, 2008
#20
Meh, I don't know. It seems like people that are on the knife's edge of survival don't have time for melancholy. Although lack of sunlight is a direct factor in advanced cases of depression, from what I've heard, so you may be on to something.

Still... I think humans are adaptable enough to find some way to grow food and sustain themselves, even if it's only in very small numbers. The world governments all undoubtedly have some kind of Noah's Arks set up in case of extreme disasters...