Seeing as bits of satellite smashing into things at 17 miles/second isn’t exactly safe, we should probably stop leaving our trash all over space.
hey guys good job getting in the tumblr radar. let me buy you a soda.
When Are We Going to Finally Colonize Space?
The Earth is doomed, and the only question is how long humanity has left. Fortunately, we have options: in the past few years there’s been a flurry of potentially habitable planets discovered. In June, German astronomers found three planets relatively near to us that orbit around a star at a distance that suggests they could have liquid water—and therefore life. To learn more about our future on other planets, we talked to Daniel Berleant, a scientist who earlier this year published The Human Race to the Future, a book about the final fate of humanity.
When I was young, we hadn’t detected any planets outside the solar system that could be habitable, and the thinking was there probably weren’t very many. That’s part of this kind of human-centric viewpoint that we’ve had for a long time. We used to think that the sun revolved around the Earth and then we discovered that we revolved around the sun—then they thought that the Earth was probably the only habitable planet around, and we’re discovering that’s not the case.
It’s good for us to think about settling humanity on other planets because if something goes wrong—terribly wrong—on Earth, we’ve hedged our bets. If the sun exploded or something, if there were human colonies on distant planets, we would survive. The more extraterrestrial bodies we’re inhabiting, the better.
Having said that, of course it’s going to be a lot easier to colonize, like, the moon or Mars. Traveling outside the solar system gets to be a little trickier. The planets they’ve just discovered are 22 light years away, which doesn’t sound like a big number, but really, it’s very far away [about 129 trillion miles]. We don’t know how to build ships yet that would go fast enough to get people there in a reasonable time. One of the positive things about really fast travel—as in travel near the speed of light—is that time on the spaceships would go slower. So although it might take 22 or many more years of Earth-time to get there, subjectively on the spaceship, it could take less.
Jody Pendarvis is a kooky southern gentleman who has built a ramshackle UFO welcome center in his backyard in rural Bowman, South Carolina. If aliens happen to land around Bowman, they’ll be greeted by Jody, who claims he’ll be able to talk to them, and his homemade alien spacecraft full of clutter. We recently flew down to Bowman to meet Jody and see the welcome center for ourselves.
'Omni' Magazine Will Rise Again
"Have you ever looked up at the sky on a clear, star-filled night and wondered at the awesome magnitude of the universe… and asked yourself: who and what am I; where do I come from and where am I going? And have you ever considered the possibility that life—life in any form—may exist out there among the stars? If that thought stimulates your mind as well as your imagination—you may be interested in seeing a very unusual publication called OMNI, the newest and most original magazine in America today.”
–Bob Guccione, 1983
The warehouse that contains the biggest OMNI magazine collection in the world is in New Jersey. It’s the most nondescript building you could imagine. Actually, it’s somehow more than nondescript; its appearance and contents are so diametrically opposed that the building veers into a negative space of visual mundacity. When I visited, it was raining. The beige buildings peeling along the I-95 were streaked with mold and dust. I pulled my rental car into a nearly empty parking lot and ran through the rain toward the building, which supposedly held the sacred relics of the greatest science magazine that ever was.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about OMNI. The magazine’s been out of print for 15 years, and you’re lucky if you can even find a solitary old copy in a thrift store. But if you hit upon a trove of issues, like I did as a teenager rifling through an estate sale, and if you’re the right kind of person, OMNI will blow your mind. You’ll find that its voice is as radically relevant now as it was in its heyday of the 1980s. A gonzo blend of science and science fiction, it was sexy, irreverent, scarily prescient—I never imagined when I was investigating its history that I’d find myself elbow-deep in the biggest OMNI collection in the world. But that’s the internet for you.