Survey: Why Will We Go to the Stars?

By | October 3, 2010
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The discovery of the first potentially habitable earth-like planet raises questions about humanity’s future in interstellar space. Will we, in fact, “explore strange new worlds” and “seek out new life and new civilizations?” In my previous post I suggested that discovery of habitable, earth-like planets may give us the impetus to begin serious manned exploration of interstellar space.

That’s assuming we have the technology. But then, wanting to go badly enough will play a large role in how and whether we ever develop the technology. If we do ever travel to the stars, which of the reasons listed below do you think is most likely to be our primary motivation to do so? We’d like to know what you think. Please chime in via the survey and comments below.

Apparently not everyone was seeing the links to the results way down at the bottom, so I’m putting them up here, too.   View Totals          View breakdowns       


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  • stephentg

    For the survey my choice was “Need to escape imminent destruction of planet / solar system.” Imminent is a relative term. Destruction within the next 200 years is pretty imminent in comparison to the history of civilization.

    That said, my real answer is “capability.” If we gain the capability to construct massive space craft – say in the asteroid belt – that can travel at a significant fraction of the speed of light – we’ll slowly go where no man has gone before.

    That’s the old fashioned model. Von Neumann probes are more likely.

    Either way, it’ll only be done if we gain the capability to do so. And, once we can, I can’t imagine that why we wouldn’t.

  • dusty.styx

    Other: I’ll vote that we’ll get off planet when the off planet resources resources and space get cheaper than what we can find here, rather than the rest of it.

  • Phil Bowermaster

    Dusty –

    That’s a good choice. Other than imminent disaster, it’s probably the most practical reason we’ve seen.

  • dusty.styx

    It’s akin to “Imminent disaster”, but if it’s gotten that bad, I’d argue that it’s already to late.

    Oh crap! The asteroid is bearing down on us! What should we do? I know, send a party to Mars, without any back up… yeah, that’ll work!

    Nah, I think as we get better at it, (sending things off planet) the price will drop and the benefits will start to out weigh the cost. I guess it could be seen as “Desire to explore the galaxy” from the start, but mostly because some geek thought it was just plain cool to blow stuff up… in as straight line, as high as possible!