Scientists have recently discovered living bacteria thatmore than a hundred million years have been buried at the bottom of the ocean. Of course, it is somewhat incorrect to compare humans and bacteria, but surely each of us at least once in our life wondered what the world would be like if people lived at least a million years. Two thoughts immediately come to mind. First, a birthday cake cannot hold a million candles, so you would have to come up with something else. Second, universities would have to restrict faculty recruitment to a maximum of a century in order to renew staff and redefine old-fashioned educational and research dogmas. But if life expectancy increases so much, will this not lead to overpopulation of the planet and other, more serious consequences?
Nothing is eternal
Past generations have said that even if we don'twe can postpone natural death, we can control the way we live. They also believed that "nothing lasts forever under the sun." Both statements are inaccurate from our current point of view. With advances in bioscience and technology, a post-Covid-19 future can be envisioned, where most diseases are cured and life expectancy is greatly increased. But what will the world be like if this happens?
Given the luxury of exercising long-termplans, we could fulfill more ambitious tasks. We could decide to be more concerned with the environment and interpersonal cooperation, since environmental pollution or military action have long-term negative consequences. Longer life experiences can make us wiser and more inclined to take risks, as there is so much more at stake. It would be pointless to send young soldiers to war, or even to unleash it.
But even with clever strategiesthe survival of humanity as a species is by no means guaranteed. For example, the well-known correlation between brain size and body mass did not make dinosaurs smart enough to reject the asteroid that killed them. Accidents are inevitable and treatment centers will be constantly busy repairing non-fatal injuries caused by common setbacks.
The increase in life expectancy will lead tothe risk of overpopulation of the Earth. At the current birth rate per capita, the number of people under a million years old could rise to an unacceptable level of one hundred trillion. To prevent such a development of events, government policy will be required to limit the birth rate to the desired level. But does life in a million years have its advantages?
You will be interested: Is life on Earth a common occurrence in the Universe?
The good news is that duringa million years of life, we will be able to cover great cosmic distances. It would take just 100,000 years to reach an inhabited planet around Proxima Centauri in a spacecraft that travels at the speed of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. For passengers who live for a million years, such a journey will look exactly like a ten-year journey of robotic vehicles to Pluto. Of course, the spacecraft will have to provide a sustainable ecosystem and comfortable living conditions throughout this long journey.
As the author of the Scientific American article writes, in a million years the closest star to us will not be Proxima Centauri at all, and therefore the goals may be different. In fact, the night sky will change as new stars enter and exit the vicinity of the Sun. During this period in our galaxythere will be tens of thousands of supernova explosions and other processes. Let me remind you that a supernova outbreak near our planet can pose a serious threat to the Earth's biosphere.
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Since modern technology is continuouslydevelop, in a million years the future habitat of mankind on Earth will look different - imagine how a mature technological civilization might look like in a million years? Will living things be able to survive the destructive force that technology carries? One way to find out the answer to these questions is to look for traces left by alien civilizations, dead or alive. It is important to understand that nothing in the Universe exists forever, so that ultimately our Sun will go out, and with it life on Earth will disappear.
However, the near future need not necessarilyto be so dark. The immediate benefit of prolonging life is to keep our loved ones alive for a while. The end point is inevitable, but as the Greek philosopher Epicurus pointed out, death is not to be feared. Moreover, a number of researchers believe that death does not exist, and our Universe is just one of many. Read more in our material.
Note that the millionth scale is arbitrary.a choice comparable to the entire period since the human ancestor appeared in Africa. Basically, one could imagine a life that lasts for a billion years, during which stars turn on and off in the sky like light bulbs. Given this long-term perspective, our current concerns about the world will seem as naive as the first thought in the head of a newborn baby.