Saturday 20 September 2008

Life on Mars- Part Four

The last post in this section of the series- consider this two linked series in some ways- deals with the proposition framed by the United Planetary Organisation and presented by to the entire human species to be debated and voted on.

I'm sure I don't need to say that one of the inherent dangers with such an enterprise is that we really can't predict the future. We can only follow logical reasoning to project what think might happen. This subject of thought is known as futurology.

Nevertheless, it is what I foresee in my more hopeful moments.


Wednesday, Week 5, Quarter 3, 2238.

In view of the fact that the nature of the subject being determined upon is clear, the facts will be stated as clearly as possible.

The current state of human expansion cannot be sustained, if confined to this star system, beyond the year 2500.

Far away as that date might seem, it is the opinion of this commission that the only positive solutions to this situation only have a realistic chance of success of a start is made upon their enactment at the earliest possible oppurtunity.

The commision has determined upon the colonisation of neighbouring star systems, and ultimately the galaxy as a whole, as being the only possible route forward that cannot be construed as a negative development. It is the only solution which allows for the indefinite continuation of the life process and its continual advancement beyond the species Homo Sapiens into more advanced life forms yet.

The Commission is aware that this is potentially the most dramatic decision made in the history of this species.
Never before has the human race undertaken a plan centuries in advance.
The Commission is proposing that the human race expand the human infrastructure from this star system to as far as it can, in a process that may continue, perhaps, till the end of time.

The Commission has investigated the realistic possibility of achieving faster than light travel or extra dimensional travel to achieve fast movement from one star to another.
It is the considered opinion of the Commission that both possibilities are feasible according to current knowledge of the structure of space. However, the amount of energy needed to put such theories into practice is not currently within the range of human possession. Indeed the energy needed to undertake such an enterprise would not be possible for a species confined to one star system alone.

In other words, to achieve rapid transport from one star to the next, a species must already be in possession of a significant number of star systems.

The only possible conclusion to draw from this, is to be blunt, that colonisation of neighbouring systems has to take place the hard way, initially.

The maximum speed it is possible for the human species to move matter is at 5% of the speed of light.
This means that the process of colonisation of other stars needs to be viewed as a long term venture.

The Commission decided that the key starting point should be to determine what is the surplus we need to export, in terms of human life.
The Commission have decided on 30% of all those reaching 23 years of age per annum.
In other words, 1.2 billion people a year must leave this star system.

The human race has to devise a system whereby it now offers two ways of life, the stayers, and the goers. The Commission would not like to see a society where people were forced to depart, nor would it advise that selection processes were in place. The Commission agrees that the ideal solution would be for the goers to be a fully representative 30% of the population.
The Commission recommends that the education be redesigned to make the decision to stay or go, the most important decision of human life.

But equally, whether a human being decides to stay or go, the same skills will be needed. Both stayers and goers will need an equal share of expertise.

The Commission appreciates that the life the goers will choose, is a life unknown to our life as it is, or has ever been.

The Commission is of the opinion that there is sufficient debris in the solar system to serve our purpose for the immediate future and in the longer term, there is matter available in the Hills Cloud in the form of comets.

The Commission recommends the construction of hollowed spheres, approximately 100 miles in diameter, to be propelled at 5% of the speed of light in the direction of every star known to possess a planetary system, within a thirty light year radius. This means that each vessel sent forth can hope, under present knowledge, to reach its proposed destination within six centuries.

It is proposed that each sphere initially house 25 million persons. This allows for capacity for growth. It does however mean, that the species has the somewhat daunting task of constructing approximately 50 such spheres per annum.

There is no doubt that, for the stayers, construction of these spheres will now become the key function of day to day existence, the most vital part of human existence, in a way feeding and housing of self was to our ancestors.

The human race will now not just be reproducing its individuals, it will be systematically reproducing its entire culture, much as an amoeba divides to form more amoebas.

The Commission is aware of some of the problems that will exist in the spheres. There is no doubt that the living standards of Sol cannot be maintained there. A far more Utilitarian ethos must prevail. There can be no room for waste and inefficiency. The population density will be that of a city of Earth, but with no space to escape into. Those who choose this life will be committed to it forever. For no one entering such a sphere will ever see the surface of a planet again. Their children will never walk on one, nor their grandchildren. The first human beings to disembark from such a sphere on to the solid ground of a planet, will find it an alien concept when they do.

The Commission is aware that whilst the culture on the sphere is in transit, it will have to bind itself to rules and regulations that would seem anathema to those who stay. Every resource must be monitored, no production can fail and even the birth rate must be strictly monitored.
The Commission is awake to the possibility that human nature of itself, may lead to a certain proportion of these spheres failing to reach their destination due to cultural implosion.

Communication with the spheres will be possible via normal means. However as the spheres move further away from Sol, the gaps between sending and receiving will become so great as to mean that it will only be practical to dispatch vital information. Sol will transmit new scientific information, the spheres will update Sol on how the mobile colony is faring. Yet long before the spheres reach their destination, it will be true that over a year elapses between information being sent and information being received.

The Commission believes it inevitable that each sphere will undergo divergent cultural evolution during its transit which means that once it reaches its destination, it will be culturally divergent from its parent culture in many ways.

This will of course, create an interesting situation as each new world receives a fresh influx every year or so, as differing sphere cultures, each with their own unique cultural characteristics, join a fresh cultural melting pot.

The Commission believes this will ultimately have a healthy effect on the new worlds.

The Commission is mindful of the fact that at any time fresh technological breakthroughs could alter this plan- or at least speed up it's execution. Nevertheless, the commission recommends it proceed according to this plan.

The Commission advises that each sphere is also aware of what the ultimate obligations are to be once the new worlds have been reached. Contact with Sol must be maintained and systems of communication established to start working on how to re-unite the diverse human cultures sent off, by making it possible to cross the vast oceans of space with greater ease.

And secondly, the Commission recommends that each new world culture, once it has entrenched itself, aim within a generation of each sphere landing, to have the sphere refurbished, restocked and replenished and sent onwards with a new set of colonisers.

The Commission is aware that is asking the human race to make a big decision.
Approving this scheme will change human life forever. Those who stay, and those who go.

The Commission is of the opinion that the human species has two choices; to approve this plan and flourish, or to one day see the return of overpopulation, war, starvation and ultimately- annihilation.

The Commission urges the human population to debate this scheme amongst themselves and appoint a final deadline for votes to be counted on this, at 22 hours, three weeks from the date of issue of this statement.

(This brings us to an end of the series 'Life on Mars'). Next week we'll have a break from the concept, before returning to the second such mini-series 'Life on the Stars')

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you are not sending telephone santizers, marketing excutives and bath tub dwellers in the first spacecraft....