Dr Stuart Clark argues that the very future of the universe depends on humanity leaving Earth and setting up outposts on distant worlds.
For more than fifteen years there have always been people living and working in space and the pace of space exploration is, once again, accelerating.
NASA hopes to use a new giant rocket to land humans on Mars by 2035 and private companies are developing spaceships, space stations and asteroid mining operations. European Space Agency engineers are planning a Moon base and serious academics are contemplating government and society beyond the Earth. The US military is even funding the design of a starship.
Ultimately, if humanity is to survive into the far future then we have to leave our home planet.
In the first essay in this series on our future in space, Science journalist and author Dr Stuart Clark sets out the case for leaving Earth. He argues that our urge to explore space and travel to the stars is not a modern yearning but can be traced back more than 500 years to the dawn of scientific observation of the cosmos.
Our world is fragile and the Universe ambivalent to our existence. Stuart argues that we have to leave Earth if only to back up the biosphere. He also contemplates the deeper moral and philosophical reasons for sending humanity out deep into the cosmos. One interpretation of physics suggests the very nature, and future, of reality depends on it.
Producer: Richard Hollingham
A Boffin Media production for BBC Radio 3.
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