Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Space travel

The Universe is expanding. Each year, the (accelerating) distance to our Moon is “increasing at the rate of about 3.8 centimeters (1.5 inches) per year” (source). In the absence of (imaginary) faster than light space travel technology, planets that we can still see now, will then be too far away to visit.

Notwithstanding the above, we are still planning new visits to our Moon and even to Mars. Why?

In my view, these space missions are ultimately about mining rare raw materials (eg, Nautilus). I can see no other reason why billionaires would be interested in a mission to Mars (eg, NYT-2022). Fame is indeed important to them. A higher billionaire ranking is far more important. For them, More = Better.

There’s a caveat to the above: it assumes that our imagination will not become reality. However, nearly everything in the words ‘science fiction‘ has become science first, and then becomes technology. If we can imagine FTL space travel (eg, hyperdrives, warp drives) then someday we will invent it and use it.

In the (current) absence of on-board gravity, “returned astronauts struggle to recover bone density”. The Guardian, 30 June 2022: “The new study, which was published in Scientific Reports, also showed how spaceflight alters the structure of bones themselves.” Hence, space travel is a health risk.

Phys, 31 August 2022: “Astronauts are at higher risk for developing mutations—possibly linked to spaceflight—that can increase the risk of developing cancer and heart disease during their lifetimes, according to a first-of-its kind study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.”

It’s not only on-board gravity that we are missing. In the absence of FTL technology, we need cryonics during space travel: “the low-temperature freezing (usually at −196 °C or −320.8 °F or 77.1 K) and storage of human remains, with the speculative hope that resurrection may be possible in the future.”

On the military front, things are looking more promising: a cloaking technology is becoming reality as well as extremely powerful lasers. Again, science fiction first becomes science; then technology.

I foresee two – probably co-existing – target operating models for human beings: ants versus grasshoppers. Back in 2015, I still believed in either/or: “The choice is ours: either we live like ant colonies on Earth or like the grasshoppers of our Universe.” (The Ecology part II – Ants and Grasshoppers).

The grasshopper model might make us the most dangerous species in the Universe: we trust no one; we are emotional and (can be) irrational. We prefer to shoot before asking questions. No wonder there has not been a First Contact (eg, 1997 film in IMDb and Wiki), or – in my view – a second contact.

The Space… (1989) by Marillion
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-album

The space around the stars
Is something that you know
A billion miles of darkness
Left you feeling low
The space around the stars
Is something that you know

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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