It’s not a sermonette, but perhaps grist for discussion. There are two ways to look at this.

First- Jesus is coming back according to plan some time in the future and there is no burning need to explore space because it’s all in God’s hands. Unfortunately, the same argument was given against manned flight (if mankind was meant to fly, God would have given them wings).

Second- The universe is a dangerous place and we’re one comet away from near or total extinction. Jupiter, Saturn, and the other two gas giants do an admirable job of sweeping up incoming space objects but it only takes one and if mankind is to survive long term, we need to shoot our DNA off-planet in some meaningful way.

 

Earth has a liquid core that generates very strong radiation belts that defend us against solar and extrasolar radiation most effectively to date. Mars does not. If humans were to settle on Mars, they could only do it underground in much the way plans for a Lunar base are developing.  But, Mars is close to Earth,  too close for comfort if you want to defend the DNA. Space stations would have problems with shielding and long-term effects of being disconnected from resources would be problematic.

And we spend trillions of dollars each year in preparation of killing each other on Earth even if it destroys all life – so there’s a worthiness factor.

The question offered here for discussion is what should humanity do?

 

Against All Odds

The James Webb Space Telescope is completed, launched on Christmas and is located at L2 between the Earth and Moon, and fully deployed. the agency’s successor to the famous Hubble telescope, launched on Dec. 25, 2021 on a mission to study the earliest stars and peer back farther into the universe’s past than ever before. It is the largest and most powerful space telescope ever launched.

JWST’s primary mirror consists of 18 hexagonal mirror segments made of gold-plated beryllium which combine to create a 6.5 meter (21 ft 4 inch) diameter mirror. This gives Webb’s telescope a light-collecting area about 5.6 times as large as Hubble’s 2.4 m (7.9 ft) mirror (25.37 m2 collecting area to Hubble’s 4.525 m2). Unlike Hubble, which observes in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared (0.1–1.0 μm) spectra, JWST will observe in a lower frequency range, from long-wavelength visible light (red) through mid-infrared (0.6–28.3 μm). This will enable it to observe high-redshift objects that are too old and too distant for Hubble. There is a hope that it will be able to see objects in spacetime very near to the Big Bang.

The telescope must be kept below 50 K (−223 °C; −370 °F) to observe faint signals in the infrared without interference from any other sources of warmth, so it will be deployed in space near the Sun–Earth 930,000 mi from Earth, where its 5 layer kite-shaped sunshield can protect it from warming by the Sun, Earth, and Moon at the same time.

What will it see? That remains to be seen. Space is a massive clock. When you look into space, by definition, you look back in time.

44 COMMENTS

  1. I suspect that settlements elsewhere will also have the problem of humans trying to eliminate each other. Maybe it will give us the time needed to learn how to do the following:
    “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

  2. There are a lot of problems to be overcome in getting the human race off this planet for more than a quick visit, Musk (right now) seems to be the guy who’s gotten started.
    I’m not sure why the current admin is putting up road blocks, it’s not the money…

    A quick search on our host’s Private Search Engine gives me an Apollo dollar amount that is far less than what is freely tossed around by the current admin as give away money to friends and masters.

    >>How much did the Apollo program cost?
    The United States spent $28 billion to land men on the Moon between 1960 and 1973, or approximately $280 billion when adjusted for inflation. Spending peaked in 1966, three years before the first Moon landing. The total amount spent on NASA during this period was $49.4 billion ($482 billion adjusted).

    https://www.planetary.org/space-policy/cost-of-apollo<&lt;

    • The current administration doesn’t like the idea of themselves not being in control. “The Powers That Be” know what happened in the last great expansion to the New World in past few hundred years, they lost control. TPTB are therefore trying to maintain control and don’t want uncotrolled human expansion into the Solar System.

  3. The Bible tells of the second coming of Christ. Some of those who think it is happening right now say that they don’t need bank accounts, to pay off bills and such because they will be pulled out of the fire before the bill collector shows up.

    Another way to look at the space exploration business is not just expansion for man or mining asteroids, as in the older science fiction books, but that it is a deliberate attempt to disprove God’s existence and to place man on the throne.

    Decades ago, NASA was firing rockets from Wallops with the intention of playing holographic videos on material dispersed in the ionosphere. Remember, the Bible tells us that Jesus will be seen descending from the heavens and a holographic show would have the ability to fake lots of folks out. Think TV propaganda on an exponential scale.

    Why is the push on to find life elsewhere? Because those in power would say, the Bible isn’t true because here is life elsewhere. That line is similar to making babies from nothing in attempts to replace God.

    Two cents worth on Sunday morning. Happy Lord’s Day to all.

    • Always found that “life elsewhere” argument a bit strange, as space aliens aren’t mentioned at all in scripture – no categorical statement that they DO or DON’T exist.
      Scripture contains all we need to know about life and godliness – and space aliens have no bearing, exist/don’t exist, on any of that.

      • Follow-up: the Bible doesn’t say anything about bananas, therefore bananas don’t exist.
        We’re supposed to be convinced by these types of arguments???

  4. Not a deep thinker. Others are, and I learn from them. JWST. Let’s give a shout out to the men and women involved in this endeavor. In spite of being a government program, it succeeded.

  5. Great fodder this morning, does this mean I don’t have to make the bed? Hehe

    “Space is a massive clock.” Never thought of it that way. We continually mark time. Ages ago when I did PCB layout, when the EE’s were designing circuitry they started with the clock circuit (in general). Time is how we see life, forward or backwards, from BC to AD, to the beginning of lives to the end of ours. It is the constant metric.

    If privateer’s want to try colonizing Mars, go for it. When government demands we do it, spending our taxes on the operation, ignores the fact they can’t even get “here” right, continually making a shambles of everything they touch…because those pulling the strings are self-serving and idiots. But – like Socialism – they can do it better.

    God wants us to live our lives to the full, as best as feasible (hence this Covid charade being anathema to that sentiment). For some to use Christ’s return – with the idea anyone could predict the Second Coming despite the Bible stating the opposite – is an excuse to give up on life, which in itself, is an affront to God’s prescription.

    Good stuff LL, keep on the recovery track.

  6. Agree with WSF that I am not a deep thinker but here is my take. Humanity should continue to explore the unknown, whether it be space or the oceans or whatever. As a species we seem to be much happier, more satisfied, you pick the word, when we are overcoming challenges. Besides, doesn’t it make sense to understand the surrounding environment that affects us as much as possible?

  7. IIRC, the Bible says “be fruitful and multiply”, which seems like an endorsement of expanding into space.

    Also seems a good example of God helping those who help themselves.

    No very promising new homes here in this solar system though, and I have doubts about the long-term viability of space stations as general-populace homes.

    -Kle.

  8. My question is still what happens when the food transport fails? Be it to the moon or Mars. There have been ‘issues’ with getting support to the ISS a couple of times. Cannibalism? Suicide? Andy Weir’s novel is not possible on any scale.

  9. Problem with anywhere except Earth is… Radiation. Either the exoplaces have no radiation belt or they are just thrashed with radiation so heavy it doesn’t matter.

    So the solution is… down. Inside. Drill, baby, drill. As long as the object being drilled isn’t tectonically active (due to tidal forces from whatever is around it or from an inner molten core, or overtly radioactive (like full of radioactive isotopes or from a radioactive molten core.)

    We need to become space-faring and space-living species. We’re gonna have to do it with lots of shielding of which part of that, most of that, can be water.

    The thought of walking on an alien surface is a nice thought, but one better do it with a lead-lined cup.

  10. I think the solution to colonization of other planets is far beyond current technology. Either some more powerful of propulsion will be needed for less time exposed to ionizing radiation, or an extremely lightweight material that shields as well as lead. Both would be best, but either could help with solving the problems created with overexposure to the nasty radiation outside the Earth’s protection.

    From my vantage point, any current attempt to send humans to Mars is foolish. It’s just too far away, and too inhospitable. The money spent trying could be better spent in materials research, and advanced propulsion systems.

    • All of the comments made were on point.

      We have not solved many of the BIG problems associated with taking the big bounce out of the nest. My sense is that we need to practice with the Moon because it is relatively close and we know that we can blast back home if something goes sideways (which it is bound to do at some point in some way).

      We need to understand how to construct a Space Elevator as a means of getting from the equator to orbit without using rocket propulsion. I realize many will say that it’s either not possible or that it will take 100 generations to figure it out. Ok, 100 generations. Will we still want to backstab each other in 100 generations or will we have figured it out by then? Or will Earth be a giant gulag? In any event, put space elevator on the list.

      Energy – for the planet and for space travel must move from fossil to uranium to tritium in that order everything else is a distraction. Where do we go beyond fusion reaction? Who knows, maybe antimatter. The point is that for the sake of the planet and the sake of getting off this rock, we simply don’t have enough power.

      Growing food (to Old NFO’s point) beyond Earth is a big challenge and until it is mastered (on the Moon most likely), we’re not going anywhere.

      Beyond that, we need to learn to mine asteroids. It’s a longer-term project than a Moonbase, but there are a number of skill sets that are needed to accomplish that and we’re 100 generations out. The asteroid belt (not quite a ‘belt’) but the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter may have value both as bases to be hollowed out and as training for “The Big Bounce”.

  11. While I believe we should explore and colonize, without a revolution in physics we are limited to Mars and the Moon……and maybe the moons around the gas giants.
    Sub-surface colonies could survive, but travel to those places would be entirely outbound.
    So as Heinlein brings up in “Stranger in a Strange Land”, would those ‘humans’ born on other planets still be “Human”? How long before mutations in DNA, seperate evolutionary paths and divergent cultures make those Colonists alien to humanity?

    • That is one of the core questions of The Expanse (books, TV series) as well. Once they colonize, what “rights” will they have. Does a mutant have any rights that an Earther is bound to respect?

  12. Actually, the liquid core generates a Magnetic Field , which traps particles in the radiation belts. If the field wasn’t there, the Solar Wind would most likely blow away much of the atmosphere, leaving us a lot like Mars, as you point out.

    Here’s hoping the JWST has a long and productive career!

    • Interesting question: How many rocky planets with the age of ours have a liquid core? Of course, we don’t know, but it’s only a question. And what mass must a Moon be to keep the core molten?

      My point here is that we have a relative to planetary size large moon and without it, given time, the core would “seize up” and solidify. The tidal friction of lunar rotation has a lot of benefits. No liquid core, no magnetic field. — Unless there is another way to do it that we are unaware of.

      • Yes, the Earth-Moon system is unique in the Solar System. I remember seeing a program about “If The Earth Had No Moon”, and it explored how much different things could be.

  13. All good comments.
    But.
    Let’s look at it his way.
    Larry started out with: “Jesus is coming back according to plan some time in the future and there is no burning need to explore space because it’s all in God’s hands. ” (which is NOT analogous to flight).
    When Jesus comes back (and I gave up on science fiction after I got saved because I saw it all ignoring that fact, which would be a game changer) there are a lot of changes going to be made.
    And the Bible clearly says that His saints will have bodies similar to His.
    Radiation-proof, un-aging, immortal, well suited to space exploration.
    Think of Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen.
    We’ll have work to do.
    This fragile basket that all our eggs are in will have been a launch pad.
    But He is not going to let a lot of reprobates run around the universe.

    • I see it that way, Ed, very much so. We’ve all heard that Einstein said God does not shoot dice with the Universe, which I very much believe. He also said he did not believe “in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind” which I very much do not believe.

      • Einstein was quite troubled by Quantum Mecahnics. He didn’t feel the the Universe was basically “Indeterminate”, as per the Uncertainty principle, and felt that random chance had no part in things.

        His exact quote was: “Quantum mechanics is very worthy of respect. But an inner voice tells me this is not the genuine article after all. The theory delivers much but it hardly brings us closer to the Old One’s secret. In any event, I am convinced that He is not playing dice.”

        Niels Bohr reportedly replied to Einstein’s later expression of this sentiment by advising him to “stop telling God what to do.”

  14. This fragile basket that all our eggs are in will have been a launch pad.
    But He is not going to let a lot of reprobates run around the universe.

    That ties into some of the Latter Day Saint theology. However, the thought of Harry Reid ruling a planet gives me vapors.

      • I was at Harry Reid’s house when the Tea Party had a rally near it on BLM land. Breitbart and Palin were set up about 30 yards from where I parked my Toyota FJ (I avoided the car line and just drove cross country to park where I wanted as is my way). There were about 12,000 people there and then the Nevada Highway Patrol shut down the road in. Yes, it’s a round-about comment. I spoke to Andrew Breitbart personally about Harry Reid and he said that Harry had been excommunicated from the LDS Church for years, though some of his children or shirttail relatives were still members. Breitbart was a very smart man and without other qualified references to the facts, I go with that.

        The LDS Church represents a voting presence in Nevada and my sense is that Harry walked a tightrope. Harry was re-elected because he brought federal money to Nevada reliably.

        Now he’s pushing a coal cart to stoke the fires waiting for Nancy Pelosi to arrive and take his place so he can move on to be fire tender.

        • To me and possibly only me, the theological angle is simply this: Mankind has an inner yearning to be the best version of itself. Call it a divine spark if you will. There is a force of nature, now evident to all who have eyes, that opposes light and virtue and goodness. Good and evil. The battle continues. Learning and science are good but are often put to harmful ends. The Chinese plague is a good example wherein researching SARS was good because it could lead to a genuine cure (as with smallpox, polio, etc). Weaponizing SARS and then willfully spreading it, once released (on purpose or inadvertently) was evil.

          We all make choices in our lives, whether to cling to the murmurings of that divine spark, or light of Christ or to go in the opposite direction and become an enemy of God. Space flight and exploration is an extension of our thirst for more (our reach must exceed our grasp). I don’t see it as a bad thing.

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