For all of its accomplishments, and they are many, the astronomy community has yet to realize that its efforts to find another planet for people to live on is a waste of time.
Yes, it’s true that our planet is no longer young. It is no longer the robust nursery of life that allowed us and all of earth’s other creatures to burgeon into being over mere millions of years.
You have to hand it to geniuses like Elon Musk, who want to colonize Mars.
But once a person gets up to Mars, at unimaginable expense, what is there to do there?
Freeze your behind off?
Die of poisoning from some as-yet-undetected substance?
A person might as well vacation in Siberia, or closer to home, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Oh, there are dreams of somehow turning Mars into another Earth, as a “hedge against earthbound extinction,” as The Economist describes it. but doesn’t it seem to be the ultimate in hubris to believe that we can somehow fashion a livable planet out of a none-livable one when the one we live on is actually a pretty good place to live?
Personally, I think the astronomers should stop staring at Mars and start looking for things such as asteroids that might hit us.
Yes, I know, they do plenty of looking now, but that work is relatively boring. Their attention wanders. As an example of that, every once in a while you read about an object in space that comes whizzing by us that was completely overlooked by the astronomers.
The other thing the astronomers could do is figure out how to keep a space object from hitting us once they have one spotted.
You read about all kinds of theories for doing this, and mostly they involve putting spacecraft aloft to push the intruding space object out of the way.
You even see movies about such missions — space jockeys go into space and risk everything to save the earth.
But that is fiction. What we really need is to have the astronomers get serious about protecting the earth from disaster.
On nice days like we’ve been having this week, I think Earth is about the best place there is to live.
You’d have to sell pretty hard to get me to go to Mars when Madera, California, is such a great place.