Earth, Start-point or End-point

Do you enjoy watching science fiction cinema? There, people dramatically meet other life-forms or overcome daunting obstacles. From it, we have the sense that our species is special and capable of anything. Given the plethora of such films over the last few decades, perhaps we over-confidently believe that such events will be our future. It’s just a matter of time.

The science fiction genre really developed just prior to the turn of the previous century. Its progenitor, Jules Verne, wrote ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ in 1865. In that year, about 1.3 billion humans used an estimated 2.9×1019J (8,005 Twh) of energy in their annual strivings. Today, on Earth, over 8 billion people use an estimated 6.4×1020J (178,899 Twh) annually, mostly from fossil fuels. But, instead of reading about space travel, we routinely watch films having people comfortably zip at faster than light speed to remote stellar galaxies.

In reality, space travel is anything but routine. A lucky few have visited Earth’s Moon. Will our future include space travel? Unlikely. As demonstrated with the USA’s Apollo space program, tax dollars only get expended on undertakings that benefit all or most. Further, individuals can’t afford to encamp our species on another world. So, Artemis and ILRS will go the way of the Europa settlement. That is, nowhere. Instead, people will continue watching science fiction and imagining. What does this say for our future?

Swallow flight