The Importance of Colonizing Mars

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The Fate of Earth

Before really diving in to the importance of Mars, we must first begin with setting the current stage of human existence. Although the rise of the human species has only occurred during a small fraction of the earth’s multibillion year lifespan, our future survival is in much more danger than most people are aware of. In earth’s history there have been at least 7 mass extinction events that have completely devastated the planets current inhabitants. The next mass extinction event could occur at any time, and is nearly completely unpredictable. Let’s take the asteroid that devastated the dinosaurs as an example. If a similar asteroid collided with the earth today, the human race would be devastated just like the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, even with all of our current advanced technology, we have no way of knowing if an asteroid is currently headed our way until it is literally at our front door.


With this background, the importance of Mars becomes more obvious. With the human species at risk on Earth, the only way to ensure future survival is by creating a backup of our race on another planet. That way, if something devastating happened to earth, the future of the species could still expand on another planet, and even come back to re-populate the old one.

Practical Implications

In order for a Mars colonization plan to really work, the colony would need to be completely self sustainable. There are quite a few challenges to achieving this goal. For one, Mars in it’s current state is not hospitable to human beings. Un-protected sun exposure would kill, the air is not breathable, and the temperatures are lower than those on Antarctica. That being said, there are ways to make it work. In the beginning, a colony would need to exist under an umbrella of protection. A giant dome would protect us from the sun, maintain appropriate temperatures, and provide oxygen. There are also enough resources on Mars to aid in future survival. Enough frozen water exists on the planet to fill all of the oceans on earth. Plants can be grown in the soil for food. With enough initial supplies, an adventurous group of colonists could be the pioneers of planetary growth.

Current Progress

The current attempts to colonize Mars have been the work of a single company, SpaceX. Led by Elon Musk, the sole aim of the company is to one day turn the dream of living on Mars to reality. In pursuit of this goal, the first step for the company has been sending satellites or other payloads into orbit at a cost efficient rate. In our present day, this goal has been achieved. SpaceX now launces spacecraft into orbit at a cheaper rate than any other corporate or government body in existence. As a result, the company has guaranteed profitability, and a means to further its ultimate goal of reaching Mars. The next step is to build a spacecraft powerful enough to reach Mars, and have the necessary funding to make the many trips necessary to supply and seed the planet. Whether SpaceX reaches this goal remains to be seen, but if the company’s projections are to be believed, it will happen with the next 20 years, and be a very exciting time for humankind.

Rise of the AI

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At some point in our near future, sooner than you might expect, artificial intelligence will exist that greatly surpasses that of humankind. In the same way that chimpanzees will never understand how to build a skyscraper, we will be the new naïve chimps to the grand designs this super intelligence will dream up. Many scientists call this super AI the last great invention that humankind will create. Why? Because this grand being will be so powerful that it will either solve all of humanities problems, or destroy the species entirely. In order to understand this topic, let’s talk about the various levels of artificial intelligence.

AI Hierarchy

The first level of AI intelligence, ANI (Artificial Narrow Intelligence) has already been achieved, and is widely used across the world. ANI is intelligence that specializes in one area. For example, a robot that knows how to play optimal tic tac toe is an ANI intelligence. These types of AI are already widely employed in nearly every industry. The next level of AI is AGI (artificial general intelligence). AGI refers to intelligence that is as smart as humans across the board. Any task that a human can think through, so can an AGI. Unlike the ANI, AGI intelligence has yet to be achieved, and is much more difficult to complete. The final level of AI is ASI (artificial superintelligence). ASI is defined as a level of intellect that far surpasses that of human beings in every aspect and field. It is this level of AI that is particularly dangerous.

The Danger

With great knowledge comes great power. This has already been demonstrated by the rise of human beings on earth. As the smartest mammals on the planet, we have come to dominate the playing field. What will happen when there is suddenly an artificial being smarter than us? Will our seat on Earth’s throne be usurped? It’s difficult to really know the answer. Fiction such as “I Robot” presents a world where AI is controlled by a series of rules intended to protect humanity. However, with an ASI operating on an intellectual level way above our own, it’s hard to predict how any set of rules could be interpreted or twisted. This of course is the ultimate conclusion in Asimov’s tale as well, as the robot AI uses loopholes to assert their own will.

The Dream

There is of course another possible scenario. If a super ASI is successfully used for humanity’s benefit, the possibilities are quite mind-blowing. Using nanotechnology, an ASI could create literally anything. For one, mortality itself would be conquered, as nano bots are engineered to repair living tissue on the fly. Humans could upload themselves to hard drives or even clone themselves using the technology that an ASI employs. Global warming would be quickly solved, as an ASI determines the most efficient way to properly balance the atmosphere. While this may all sound like science fiction, this world may truly one day exist. Most scientists are in agreement that the formation of an ASI is not a matter of “if”, it’s only a matter of “when”.

Thoughts on Alien Life and Hope for Humanity

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One of humanity’s natural traits is the desire to explore. Ever since Christopher Columbus first set sail, the need to push our boundaries has practically been encoded in our DNA. It’s no wonder then that many of humanity’s thought leaders have chosen to focus their gaze on the limitless expanse of space around us. There are multitudes of mysteries in the wilderness of space that have yet to be solved. Probably the most common question is of course whether we are alone in the universe. Given its sheer size, it is easy to assume that probability supports the likelihood of many little green men being out there. Before coming to that conclusion however we must first explore what is known as the Fermi Paradox.

The Fermi Paradox

The Fermi Paradox is the basic contradiction between the high probability of existential life and the simple fact that we have not discovered any evidence of their existence. The universe has been in existence for billions of years, and humans have only been around for a fraction of a fraction of that time. Even if alien spaceships are not cruising around our solar system, one would think we could find some clue to indicate their previous travel or habitation somewhere in space. If other species were able to colonize multiple planets, it’s reasonable to assume they would make quite a bit of progress over the course of a few million years. Given the apparent lack of evidence, it would be reasonable to assume that both a. life is a very rare natural occurrence and b. faster than light space travel is not technologically possible.

The Great Filter

While scientists have offered a few possible explanations for the paradox, and none are universally agreed upon, one of the more popular concepts is the idea of a great filter. If the development of life is indeed common, then there is some barrier, or filter, that prevents the progress of colonizing other planets. Optimistically, for the human race, this unknown barrier is behind us, and we are one of the rare species to reach this level of development. The pessimistic outlook is that this barrier is still ahead of us, and our odds of surpassing it are quite slim. It is for this reason that the discovery of even simple life on Mars would be bad news for the human race. It would mean that the development of planetary life is not very rare, and therefore could not be the great filter that humanity has already surpassed.

Other explanations

There are of course other possible explanations to our apparent isolation, some of which are wilder than others. One theory is that the universe has indeed been wildly colonized, and we just happen to live in a particularly barren and out of the way area, a boring neighborhood that no one wants to visit. Or perhaps, after surpassing their own biology and uploading themselves to a virtual reality existence, the idea of colonizing other physical worlds is both unappealing and unnecessary to an advanced species. Or finally, it would even be reasonable to imagine that we are simply ants on an anthill, oblivious and naïve to the complexity of events around us. The cities, technology, and diversity that surrounds an ant colony on a simple sidewalk will never be fully understood to the tiny group. The one certainty beyond the mystery is that no matter how much scientific progress we are able to achieve, there will always be another layer for our curious minds to ponder.

Time Travel – Is it Possible?

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As demonstrated by the multitudes of movies and novels on the subject, time travel has been a tantalizing subject for many of us to dream about. And why not? The ability to travel both forwards and backwards through time would allow any person to achieve some of humanity’s deepest desires – money, fame, knowledge, and power to name a few. In order to understand whether time travel is actually possible or an idea reserved for science fiction movies, we must first start with our current understanding if time.

What We Know

Despite the evidence presented in our everyday life, time does not flow at the same rate for every place and person. Instead, time is relative – it can vary for different people depending on their speed through space. The faster you are moving, the slower you pass through time relative to everyone else. This theory has been proven to be true. Not only does speed effect the flow of time, but so does gravity. Gravity bends time around it, and as a result time travels faster in space than it does on earth. This has also been proven to be true, and astronauts returning home from a trip will need to have their watch adjusted forward in order to keep it accurate after returning home.

Time Traveling to the Future

As a result of the rules of relativity and gravity, time traveling to the future is indeed possible! However, rather than step in to a machine to do it, the traveler would need to simply make a scenic trip around the solar system. The closer to the speed of light the person is going, the farther into the future they will be when they return to earth.

Time Traveling into the Past

Although there may be theories on how to travel to the past, it is definitely not as easy as traveling to the future. While traveling to the future (however near) has already been done, we have yet to find any evidence of anything or anyone traveling to the past. As far as we know, time only flows in one direction – forward. There are a few theories on how time travel to the past may be theoretically possible. If time does indeed flow like a river, than perhaps there are areas that have formed a “whirlpool” of sorts. By flowing in circles or backwards for a while, we could theoretically return to an earlier point along the river. A problem with any past time travel theories however is the multitude of paradoxes that they present. For example. Let’s say that someone went back in time and murdered their own grandfather before he wedded the grandmother. How then could the time traveler have ever been born? This is what’s known as the “Grandfather paradox”. With logical inconsistencies, may scientists argue that the paradoxes themselves prove that time travel to the past is impossible.