It is time to visit space again. This might be old news to some, but in 2004 – 2005 the Cassini–Huygens spacecraft reached Saturn after traveling roughly 3.2 billion kilometers over a period of seven years. Apart from performing 76 fly-bys of Saturn and 45 fly-bys of the moon Titan the Huygens probe was also deployed on the surface of Titan.
L Studio has put together a video from Carolyn Porco’s speech at the Pop!Tech innovation conference. Carolyn Porco is an American planetary scientist with a Ph.D. degree from California Institute of Technology. The video is a beautifully composed presentation, please have a look.
And here is Carolyn Porce’s speech (from the much faster loading RichardDawkins.net site).
Contemplate this for a moment. In the field of space exploration, the human species is now able to reach places previous generations could only dream of. Add to this our progress in other fields, and it seems obvious to me the more we progress the closer we get to the power of gods. Of course we would not be gods, but if we were to seek out a civilization on a distant planet they might just call us that, gods.
So the next question becomes, what will it take for us to become a fully star traveling civilization? Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and popularizer of science, describes different types of civilizations. At type 1 all resources of a planet are used and controlled. At type 2 the solar system can be fully utilized and the sun is harnesed directly for energy. A type 3 civilization is galactic, spanning a large portion of space.
While Michio states we are currently at type zero (I would guess more like 0.7), what stops us from reaching type 1? Michio gives the example of terrorists, but I think he politely treads light upon the truth so as not to step on the toes of the elephant…
…because the elephant in the china shop is dogma — especialy in the form of religion. Just as Michio points out, the transition to type 1 is a critical event. Whatever people who oppose progress in science, liberty, equality and human self-realization belive, it is always absurd. Once someone belives something without or opposed to evidence, or without rational reasoning everything is up for grabs.
Again, this is a perfect opportunity to call on Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. It is not the first time, and wouldn’t be the last because I think this message is so important. If we think gods are immortal we will have to learn a very expensive lesson.