Friday, June 16, 2006

On to the Next Planet?

I was struck earlier this week by reported remarks of physicist Stephen Hawking that we should "spread out into space". Said Hawking:

It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species. Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of.

Some bloggers in the science community have interesting responses; Clifford at Cosmic Variance has this to say, and GrrlScientist at Living the Scientific Life is more pointed, and says his comments "are simply ridiculous". Take a look.

All the dangers Hawking is quoted as citing, by the way, are dangers that we, homo sapiens, have created or that are in our power to create. Or not.

By way of disclaimer, I must admit I'm partial to this particular planet, and believe we should do all we can to keep it alive, and our grandchildren, and their grandchildren, alive with it. And on it.

There are, of course, members of our species I'd be happy to see depart for Mars, or further, at the earliest opportunity. Paging Mr. Cheney ... Paging Mr. Rumsfeld ...


Image: NASA (Apollo 17). Click the image itself for a medium sized version, or click "Image" link and you can get a larger version of the picture. Stolen shamelessly from GrrlScientist.


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