Elon Musk recently gave his much anticipated talk "Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species" about eventually sending people to Mars and beyond.
Just a few scribbles for now:
- His talk slides as well as the aesthetics of his presentation are beautiful in their simplicity.
- Musk may sell himself as the real life Tony Stark, but he rather strikes me as someone on the tip of devolving into Howard Hughes. Certainly his charisma falls far short of the image he wishes to project of himself. He'd probably be better off having a right hand man or woman give his presentations and talks, or at least hiring someone to improve his public speaking skills if he doesn't wish to give up the reins, but I guess every Silicon Valley CEO thinks they can be Steve Jobs.
- However, the substance of his talk seemed quite a bit less than the expectations would've predicted. Perhaps that was inevitable. Maybe the expectations were ramped up way too high. I may get more into what I thought about his specifics and technicalities in the future (e.g. I think he minimizes risks to humans like radiation). Suffice it to say for now I think it's much tougher to land a person on Mars than Musk seems to make it out to be let alone establish a human colony there. A book like Mankind Beyond Earth is a good place to start.
- Attempting to establish a human colony on Mars (or the Moon) is in a sense a science experiment writ large. It's an attempt to create a viable biosphere. Another Earth in miniature. For instance, what ingredients would be needed in order to create an off-planet habitat which can sustain human life indefinitely? For starters, we'd need to consider such vitals as temperature (not too hot, not too cold), atmosphere (enough oxygen to breathe, enough carbon dioxide to help drive breathing, enough to shield cosmic radiation from harming humans), adequate energy intake (food and water sources), gravity (again, not too much, nor too little, otherwise it'd adversely effect our bodies including the sense of balance, bones, muscles, the immune system, heart pumping blood around the body), etc. Anyway, point being, creating a habitat for humanity on Mars may prove a real world echo of arguments for fine-tuning and other design arguments. I may expand on this in a future post as well.
- Atheists like Musk often wax poetic about space exploration. The search for knowledge, to go where no one has gone before, the possibility of making first contact with another intelligent species, for the sheer adventure of it all, and so on.
Of course, the reality is more mundane. Atheists think we must go off planet because it's inevitable an extinction event will occur on Earth, hence humanity's only hope is the stars. We explore so we can survive as a species.
That's true, but they forget (or ignore) the universe itself is headed for an extinction event too. So, given atheism, we're really just buying more time for ourselves until the axe falls, which it certainly will. Sure, there may be many exciting events in the interim, but our fate is sealed.
As such, this casts a long shadow over all our strivings and endeavors. How could it not? It dampens the spirit of space exploration, to say the least, if and when we bring it to mind; and if we don't bring it to mind, then we're just pushing it back into the recesses of our consciousness so we don't have to consider our end. That's playing ostrich in a way.
By contrast, Christians not only have a good impetus to explore, but we have good grounds to wax poetic about space exploration. We can explore space because we know all creation is God's creation, the other planets and stars reflect our God, whom we wish to know and understand, to study and adore, for "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Ps 19:1).