2017 April 29 Saturday
Space, The Boring Frontier

Suppose you randomly go 1 million miles somewhere away from our Sun. What will you find when you get there? With extremely high probability: Nothing!

Suppose you go 100 light years in a randomly chosen direction. It is exceedingly likely that once you get there you will find nothing. Space. Vacuum. Rarely any atoms. Nothing, really boring nothing. Space is a dull and boring destination. If we don't take something with us to make our visit to a space destination interesting then it will be boring.

Suppose we arrive at some place that is not just space. If some location has lots of mass it begins to have a chance of not being boring. But most pieces of mass out there are still either boring or deadly or both. Stars are deadly. Even as far away as Mars is from our Sun, unless you've got a lot of shielding your expected life expectancy goes down due to radiation. Living underground could give you a lot of shielding. But that's pretty boring and already done much more cheaply and conveniently on Earth. A small number of people do it out of necessity. Not many people want to move to Coober Pedy Australia to escape the heat with underground homes near mining operations. But it is an option that is far easier to do on Earth than on Mars.

Solar radiation isn't the only problem with big masses. Really big planets are deadly just from gravitational force. We are left with smaller ones as visiting or living options. But they can't be too small or else they'll be as barren as our Moon.

A spaceship is only interesting if it can go somewhere else where other spaceships show up. But if the other spaceships are full of humans they don't have much to offer in experiences with other humans that isn't already available in much greater quantities on Earth. So we need to have our spaceships run into alien spaceships to make it interesting. But there's a problem with that: hostile aliens that wipe out other species might have a large survival advantage over more peaceful aliens. So the odds of running into friendly interesting aliens (assuming we could even run into any aliens at all) are not good.

Today we are a long way away from interstellar travel. So any options for more interesting living through space travel are limited to this solar system. Well, in this solar system the only realistic options we have are boring and dangerous and expensive destinations such as the Moon and Mars. Once we get to them we will suffer large drops in living standards and a survival struggle much harder and dull and tedious than the lives we have on planet Earth.

The allure of space was sold by science fiction books, movies, and TV shows. The reality is boring, expensive, and very dangerous.

By Randall Parker 2017 April 29 10:53 AM 
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