Lets' Get Going
December 13, 2013
My story is pretty unimaginative, I think, it's my original thinking but I'm not the only one to draw such conclusions. I'm a 1941 model,I was in my forties when I discovered the L5 Society and the Planetary Society magazines on the same newsstand on the same day. I joined both as close to life membership as I could. (When the Planetary Society started accepting memberships beyond annual renewal I paid for enough years so that my membership will need renewing again on my 100th birthday.) I gave up my L5 Society membership due to a rather silly, in my mind, debate over the organizational structure of its successor and the loss of focus on the best purpose, public education, of any of these advocacy groups. Later, I joined the Mars Society because I believe Robert Zubrin has it very right just as I believe the Planetary Society, with its focus on our Solar System (we can't even come and go at will to our nearest neighbor - yet), also has it right. And I'm a supporter of Declan O'Donnell's work because I believe Declan has it super right that we will also need organizational structures - the technology to get into space is necessary but insufficient to predict success. I'm developing an essay to gather together my thoughts on why we need to focus on getting humans beyond our beautiful Earth and that we may not have as much time as some think. Here's why. Last September I finally got to visit Yellowstone National Park and learn about the geology. I learned that the park is centered on a hot spot much like Hawaii is, that the basin where the geysers spout is in a rather large (compared to our human body)volcanic caldera, that the last eruption occured circa 0.64 million years ago blowing off 2400 times the volume of ash as did Mt. St Helens in 1980, that there is evidence on/in the praire to the west of Yellowstone, the direction of travel of the North American crustal plate over the hot spot, for a chain of eruptions with a period of about 730,000 years (3 data points only) and that the next eruption will likely wipe all life off the face of the Earth. That would appear to pose some kind of limit on when we need to be gone from Earth - or face extinction. That suggests that we have "only" about 900 centuries (Homo Sapiens Sapiens has existed on Earth for about 1000 centuries) to get our Earthly human culture fully functioning off this planet. Given the way Homo SS works together on the planet now I'm not convinced there's enough time and I wish that all those humans on Earth who have enough to eat to be able to think beyond the next meal would display a greater sense of urgency. My abiding wish for us is that we will always find the Laws of Physics working the same way everywhere we go. All we can do right now is surmize from the EM energy, the "light", we receive in our telescopes, we can't know for sure until we actually go there.
In 2016, The Planetary Society’s LightSail program will take the technology a step further.