I want you to imagine that you live on an island that is lush with every kind of flora and fauna known to human kind, it is paradise.
You know for a fact, from years of study, that in the next hundred or so years your island will sink into the sea and your civilization will be lost forever, your descendants will drown.
So far your technology allows you to sail around the coast but no more than that. You believe that beyond the horizons there are other lands. Legends and observations of the natural world all lead you to believe that you are not alone on this world.
Your choice is quite simple. You could spur your people into action to rip your paradise apart to create the right technology to transport your people across the ocean to a new home. No matter the cost to your existing paradise you must survive.
Or this is fate; your people were not meant to live beyond the life of your island. It would be a crime to totally denude your home of habitability and strike out for a new existence.
Before you decide ask your self: Do you have any duty toward your descendants? What you do now directly affects their lives. Or is your primary duty to the world you live in?
For me the answer requires no debate. Since Humanity began its quest it has used and bent its world to make life easier for itself. Had it not done so then our history would have been reduced to a half-hour episode entitled “The Ape that might have, but did not” Therefore I would not hesitate to strip the island of everything it had to offer and strike out for the New World.
What is the point of this debate? We know that our sun will one day burn itself out and collapse thus destroying our world our island in space. Does the same principal of the sinking island apply here? Should humanity strive to launch itself into space to begin an inexorable spread throughout the galaxy? You might think that we have already begun our expansion as Voyager’s 1 and 2 slip, quietly, into regions no one has gone before. The Hubble telescope is, as we speak, peeping into untold depths of space and already we have landed on the Moon and Mars. This is true but how much further would we be if we devoted all our energies to this adventure instead of war, stupidity and. . .conservation? Our world is a beautiful place full of marvels we do not entirely comprehend. But, it is an island and an island with an end. That end may be millions of years away, a time frame that need not yet panic us, yet procrastination is the bane of success. Our endless wars may destroy us before the sun does or our efforts to get into space may be too little too late.
Is it too early for us to be concerned with what happens to our descendants? Do we require a longer incubation period before we re-discover another and another paradise?
Have I been born too soon and allowing my dreams and wishes of space exploration to colour my judgment? Or has Humanities stupidity gone on long enough; is it time we started behaving like responsible Apes and fill ourselves with all the wonders that are out there waiting for us? Space may not be the final frontier but, by all the gods we ever dreamed of or are yet to scoff at, it is the most fabulous adventure imaginable. Isn’t it ?