I joined about the time the planetary society was formed. I was attracted to the original premise that education would make a difference to get us into space. In my own education I have been more impressed with the structure of the universe from the sub atomic to the growing size of the universe itself. The search for the purpose of Man, the thinking animal, in the process that the universe appears to be. Very recently I have learned about the expectation of our having only about 50 million years to get our job done. A truly huge function, helpful to the existence of life on our planet. 50 million years sounds like a big chunk of time, but consider how long the dinosaurs had before a big rock ended their reign. If they had been intelligent enough, they might have had a chance to change their fate. 50 million years is about the time the sun is expected to sterilize the surface f the earth. The boiling of the oceans, which takes the lubricant out of the plate tectonics, which causes the crust to lock and the heat builds up like a pressure cooker and starts cycles of complete resurfacing of the planet... in effect no place for life to hide. The purpose of Humanity is to get enough of the life forms of Earth into space as possible to extend the process of the evolution of life to exist beyond a 'natural' end that would otherwise happen to a biosphere that can not develop the intelligence to pass that test of survival. A big part of our biosphere 'saving' itself, is Man developing the skills to get beyond our cradle of life. If there is other intelligent life out there, it could be our test for being universal citizens is to establish our bridgehead to our survival. Or maybe if all other life has not reached the universal bridgehead stage, then maybe our test beyond that stage is to assist other biospheres to reach the bridgehead. Saving life in the universe might be our function, one step at a time. The Planetary Society is a part of our basic function in our biosphere.
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