Fragile Earth

earthFor decades, science fiction novels and intrigued scientists have considered and studied the prospect of what life would be like if the human population were to live in space. While this notion may seem entirely impossible to conceive for many people, the idea is not as farfetched as we might think. As the Earth continues to deteriorate under a barrage of stimuli that directly and negatively impact the environment, it is only a matter of time before explorations into permanent residency in space become a very real consideration.

From the gradual depletion of our ozone layer and an increase in global warming to the wasteful use of nonrenewable natural resources, Earth is slowly losing its ability to support the billions of humans who currently inhabit the planet. The population only continues to grow, making it even more difficult for science to catch up and provide a long term solution. Even now, researchers are endeavoring to seek out new possibilities on other planets, searching for another home that offers potential for sustained life in space.

Naturally, this process will be a very long one. The technology required to sustain life in space or on any other planet does not currently exist and will likely take many more decades to develop. Primary considerations revolve around the supply of water, air and food for humans, animals and plant life. It is still possible that, in the distant future, a planet capable of maintaining an independent water supply may be discovered, as well as one that provides enough oxygen for human survival.

Regardless of how long the human population will have to wait before the first interstellar mission delivers them to their new home, one thing is for sure: space exploration is a fundamental factor in the future of human survival. Well-known physicist Stephen Hawking endorses this perspective, stating that branching out into space is our “only chance of long term survival.” It is up to our growing number of dedicated and intelligent scientists to continue forging this revolutionary path toward the stars, planets and ultimately, our future.

As the planet Earth continues to break down under the stresses of human action and inaction, it becomes necessary for us to begin looking toward a future existence among the stars and planets of interstellar space.