I love space. I am very glad that people are exploring space, and it even suits me that Americans want to return to the moon. Cosmos is a vast frontier of scientific discoveries that are waiting in the wings; we have a chance to explore the secrets of the universe and learn more about ourselves. But what space is not and will never be is the key to saving our species. And yet, this statement - that we need to boldly conquer the final frontier for the salvation of mankind, and perhaps even of the Earth itself - has become the main dogma of a certain cohort of technological brothers dreaming about space.
What Jeff Bezos wants to do with the Earth
In 2016, Ilon Musk presented his visioncreating a permanent human presence on Mars, describing a project to turn humanity into a “multi-planet species” as the best and only way to insure us from extinction. Just last week, Jeff Bezos picked up this line of thinking in his 50-minute speech, supposedly intended for the announcement of the new moon ship Blue Origin. In fact, this speech was a broad overview of Bezos’s vision of freeing humanity from the shackles of the limited resources of the Blue Planet.
"Throughout the history of mankind, EarthIt seemed to us big, ”Bezos told the assembled audience. “More is not so. The earth is no longer big. And humanity is great. It seems big to us, but it has an end. ”
Quickly walking through poverty, hunger, homelessness,Pollution and overfishing as on “pressing and pressing problems”, Bezos revealed to the crowd the real crisis that humanity faced.
"A very fundamental problem in the distantThe perspective is that we run out of energy on Earth, ”says Bezos. "We do not want to stop using energy, but it is not stable." According to Bezos, the only way to prevent us from covering "the entire surface of the Earth with solar cells" is to go beyond the limits of our home and the world.
"If we go further to the solar system,we will have unlimited resources for all practical purposes, ”Bezos said, explaining that we could have a trillion people, including a thousand Mozarts and a thousand Einsteins. And if a single increase in the number of people by two orders is not enough for you, Bezos suggested putting millions of people in rotating cities — also known as O’Neil cylinders — in which there will be cities, harvests and national parks. Supposedly, a good corporation will provide continuous air supply.
Earth, says Amazon creator, ultimatelywill be divided into zones of “residential and light industry”, while all the most harmful industries will go beyond the blue glow of our planet.
“Let's kill two birds with one stone,” Bezos said. Save the Earth for future generations, and humanity will not have to abandon the "future dynamism and growth."
What is Jeff Bezos wrong
It all sounds very exciting, and there is nothingthat a billionaire from Silicon Valley would love more than techno-optimism. But shouldn't we think a step further, at least a little? Shouldn't we try to figure out how to live stably on a single planet that supports human life before thinking about how to recreate a million of its pocket versions in a cold, gloomy void?
Bezos dismissed as many problems solved 21century, but now these are real crises that real people face. If we do not take control of the unrestrained climate change and figure out how to prevent the extinction of a million species, then there is a real chance that we will never come close to making the most of the “limited resources” of the Earth, because — well, how would — we are dead.
But we have not come close to exhaustionterrestrial resources. Bezos practically recognizes this when she casually remarks that we can turn all of Nevada into a solar farm and power all enterprises from it. The US Department of Energy has calculated that the energy of the winds blowing off the coast of the USA is enough to power every American home. The rare earth metals that we mine to support this energy transition are abundantly available in the earth's crust, and although we can currently access only small pockets with them, developing new sources on Earth or improving our own technologies to use them more effectively. there will be far more reasonable solutions than the extraction of the same metals on the rings of Saturn. We could direct part of the resources needed for the development of the O’Neill cylinders to a powerful thermonuclear energy program and in a hundred years to feed all the cities with seawater.
Maybe Bezos could even invest some of the resources that Amazon currently uses to automate oil production?
And let's not forget that the most important andA limited resource of all is found on Earth and nowhere else: biodiversity. We cannot exist without the intricate and delicate network of life, of which our species is a part - all these trillions of microorganisms that support and process nutrients in the soil and the sea, plants that produce oxygen and food for us, countless species that helped us create new drugs or technology. We have not yet figured out how to save all this biodiversity on Earth from extinction, and we will already try to create it from scratch in a vacuum?
Our species is currently being played by God onEasy difficulty and loses. Distracting yourself from the planet with water and oxygen, which is located in the Goldilocks zone of our solar system, will not ease the situation - on the contrary, it will make it damn harder.
One day we will go beyond Earth and it will beincredibly cool. But this planet will always be our home. And we need to figure out how to maintain its suitability for life, before we risk elsewhere. If we lose it, there will be no replay.
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