Approximately Proxima B 🚀
I’ve always wanted to be a space cowboy. Looking up at the stars stokes my imagination and ignites a drive to explore. And I’m not the only one. That pioneer spirit is core to our humanity. That spirit has served us well by diversifying our environs, pushing our limits, and propelling our species to every corner of our planet. That said, despite our great progress we humans have all of our eggs in a single basket called Earth.
The universe is a pretty chaotic place. That chaos is literally on a cosmic scale and it is impartial to the 6 billion + souls now inhabiting our planet. We are at a critical moment in our story, fellow travelers. Our entire species, everything we’ve worked for, would vanish from the universe if this single blue rock ceased to exist.
We need to think beyond our planet. Even if we don’t destroy ourselves — which is possible given that we are on a path of human-induced ecological strain, we still organize our people into self-interested nation-states, and we have weapons capable of demolishing vast portions of the world’s population — we still have to contend with variables external to our planet (asteroids, solar flares, and conquering aliens, oh my!). Despite all these things, I believe we have the capability to overcome.
Stated more strongly, since we’re the only living, intelligent species that has reached the digital age (that we know of) we have an obligation to carry on. We have a duty to our species to continue exploring, growing, learning, and preserving.
Earlier this year the European Southern Observatory discovered a new ‘Earth-like’ planet within the “habitable zone” or “Goldilocks zone”, orbiting the Red Dwarf Star, Proxima Centauri. At a mere 4.3 light years away, it’s the closest star to our Sun. They call the planet Proxima B. I say “Let’s ride!!! 🚀🌗”.
To this sentiment the scientists and mathematicians in the crowd would rightly scream, “Hold your horses, partner! We still need to figure out the problem of interstellar travel.”
You see, Proxima Centauri’s rays take 1.3 parsecs to reach Earth. And while that’s shorter than the Kessel run, there’s one glaring problem: we don’t have warp drives 😔. Even using the most advanced, experimental Nuclear thermal/electric propulsion engine technology it would take us around 1000 years to reach Proxima B.
Super-fast for travel to planets in our own solar system, but not so speedy for star-jumping. We’ll need to let the whole warp drive idea bake for a while.
So what are the options in our lifetime? Well, there are a bevy of planets and a gaggle of moons surrounding those planets for us to explore in our own solar neighborhood. So let’s get out there and explore them.
And since we’ve got to start somewhere, let’s go somewhere that’s close, the moon. While we’re at it, let’s set up camp and start a moon colony. Let’s build vertical farms and extend that model into the farthest corners of known space.
Imagine! The first off-home-planet destination for human knowledge, culture, and life. Let’s watch the stars from its pale surface. Let’s gaze back at our own blue planet from an observation deck in one of its terra-formed gardens. Let’s sip cocktails in a moon bar. Let’s go to Moon Vegas, baby!
We were never meant to watch humanity’s existence fade away on a blue rock, orbiting a single star, in one, spiraling ring of the Milky Way Galaxy.
We are explorers… all of us.
We are meant to act.
We are meant to discover the uncharted reaches of space and time.
So again I say, “Let’s ride!!! 🚀🌗”