back to article The universe speaks: 'It's time to get off your rock!'

The twin visitations from our solar system on Friday – one expected and one not – are yet another signal that mankind really needs to get out and about a bit more if we are to survive as a long-term species. Those with an interest in space had already blocked out Friday on our calendars for the flyby of the asteroid 2012 DA14 a …

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Re: Space Monkeys

Actually, our planet is NOT perfectly suited for us. Indeed, it is trying its level best to kill us. Go read Jared Diamond's "Collapse", and realise that the entire planet is just seething with megaearthquakes, supervolcanos, etc. that are just ITCHING to do their thing - and that isn't even counting the incoming missiles from space. The fact that they have been quiet during the very, very brief period of human existence means NOTHING. Yellowstone WILL blow again, with all the force of several atomic arsenals. Those shifting tectonic plates WILL create huge tsunamis and drop pieces of civilisation into the sea.

Now, it may be that we are better off figuring out how to live on a planet that is uninhabitable - underground living, giant domes, etc. That may be much easier than space travel.

But in my mind, there is simply no getting around it - we have to STOP BEING HUMAN. Human evolution has come almost as far as it can go, and it will not survive on this planet forever. Arthur C. Clarke posited intelligences that "had encoded the fabric of their beings into space and time" in '2001', and that would be the ultimate goal. But in the meantime, it probably involves getting rid of flesh and bones, firstly by using mere metal and plastic machines. But maybe ultimately, we have the option of doing even more clever tricks with biology, things beyond our comprehension. But one thing is for certain, it will not be mankind as we know it that will be here in 1000 years...

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Re: Space Monkeys

In the deep long-term we do absolutely have to get off this rock.

The Sun will continue to (ever-so-slowly) output energy at higher and higher rates, burning up its fuel faster and faster. 5.4 billion years down the line and the Sun will expand and engulf the earth. But well before that, 800 million years in fact, the increased output will mean the earth is too hot for liquid water to exist and life as we know it will have to come to an end at that point.

So.... 800 million years to come up with a decent spaceship design... best get started!

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@ Alan Brown - Re: As opposed to ... wars

That russian rock has such a shallow path that it would have left the atmosphere again had it not exploded due to the sudden increase in temperature caused by it's long flight through the sky. Had it come down vertically it wouldn't have had time to heat up enough to explode and would have made a massive dent in ground.

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Vic
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Re: Space Monkeys

> Human evolution has come almost as far as it can go

No, human evolution has come almost as far as it *will* go.

To evolve more, we need greater evolutionary pressure - and that means a higher mortality rate. I don't see that happening[1] any time soon...

Vic.

[1] Absent any cataclysmic events, naturally, which would probably be too devastating to generate much in the way of evolution...

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"800 million years to come up with a decent spaceship design."

What we need is a spaceship design committee.

Probably the first item on the agenda should be, what colour do we want the spaceship to be?

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Anonymous Coward

If you think living on planet Earth is a precarious existence

try surviving indefinitely on any other planet within travelling distance.

The grass is not just greener here - we are on the only planet we know about that is able to support any form of grass/plants/life in general.

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Re: If you think living on planet Earth is a precarious existence

Absolutely right. What's more, why does the human race deserve to live for ever? Nothing else will, including the sun and the whole galaxy. Sci-fi nuts like Heinlein loved to raise such romanticised, fake concern for the future of the race in place of doing anything to help actual people, here, now.

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Re: If you think living on planet Earth is a precarious existence

The idea that we should just colonize another planet as an insurance against something bad happening to ours is fairly simple minded.

It like think hey ... My house might burn down so i'm just gonna go live on an ice flow. .. Except the ice is dry ice, the water is radiation and the air, isn't

Yes we live on earth, and earth is a planet, ... This in no way implies that other planets are in any way suitable places for us to live.

Yes , i hope that eventually we will figure out a way for descendants of us to (semi) prementantly survive off earth its the idea that will will accomplish this by attempting to inhabit another planet that is just, well, ..silly

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Alien

Re: If you think living on planet Earth is a precarious existence

A massive underground bunker would be a better insurance policy and has the advantage that they could emerge to actually help the survivors. It'd be much easier to keep the equipment needed to rebuild (and repopulate) society in a hole under a mountain than it is to try and ship it to a remote planet that currently can't sustain life. Even in a worst case scenario we'd have a better chance of terra-forming a ruined Earth than any other planet in our solar system as it's the only one currently in the goldilock zone.

I fully support getting colonies on the moon and Mars, but not for the reasons given in this article.

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Re: If you think living on planet Earth is a precarious existence

its more like saying "my house might burn down so i will keep a caravan out of fire range"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If you think living on planet Earth is a precarious existence

"A massive underground bunker". The Dr Strangelove solution. Now where do I sign.

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Angel

Re: If you think living on planet Earth @Dick Pountain

"why does the human race deserve to live for ever?"

Who said we deserved to? But that's no reason not to aspire to stick around as long as possible, ideally evolving into something new. But thank you for giving me an opportunity to paraphrase that fabulous, fabulous Gandalf quote:

“Don't deserve it! I daresay they don't. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out extinction in judgement. For even the Commentards cannot see all ends.”

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Pint

Lucky

We escaped lightly. The meteor could have exploded over a pub.

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@Dennis Wilson (was: Re: Lucky)

Do you really think there were no pubs under the shockwave?

Your parents must be so proud of you.

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Mushroom

Re: @Dennis Wilson (was: Lucky)

Sounds a bit like the intro from Sam and Max hit the road:

Sam (holding a bomb): Max, where should I put this so it doesn't hurt anyone we know or care about?

Max: Out the window, Sam. There's nothing but strangers out there.

Sam: (looks at the bomb in his hand and throws it out the window behind him)

(Bomb explodes outside the windows)

Sam: I sure hope there was no one on that bus.

Max: No one we know, at least...

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Unhappy

Re: Lucky

Just fortunate that the rock went skipping across, instead of straight down.

Sad - Finger up the arse, while the nukes sit in the silos for bankster / corporate stand over merchant bullshit games....

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Happy

Re: @Dennis Wilson (was: Lucky)

It is Russia- think of all the broken glass, and bottle.

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Re: @Dennis Wilson (was: Lucky)

They don't have Pubs in that part of the East......

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pubs in that part of the East

Richard Taylor 2, have you considered the Fox & Goose* at 177 Kirov Street (улица Кирова 177), right in Chelyabinsk?

* — To see the image from this link, JavaScript is required for https://secure.flickr.com/; for just the image itself, no JavaScript is required.

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Trollface

Re: Lucky

KHHAAANNN!!!!!

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Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

... random. I'm not going to lose sleep over it.

It did, however, remind me to check & rotate the emergency supplies (including water) that I keep around for when the Rogers Creek Fault, probable home of The Bay Area's "next big one", reminds us all that we're really not all that important in the Cosmic scheme of things.

Serious question, kids ... How many days worth of food & water do you have on hand for all the critters that depend on you for same (including spouse, kids, pets & livestock), in the event of disaster?

I can go about three months, with no losses to the livestock, which should be enough time to fall back & regroup and start living off the land. I think. Not looking forward to testing it, mind ;-)

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Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

None my friend. I just need the means to take the supplies I need off other people. It's the UK, and hardly anyone has a gun :)

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Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

I can go about three months...

in this context, why would you want to?

i cant really see the great benefit in slowly dying of thirst/starvation 3 months after everyone else.

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Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

On the other hand, it gives him three months to come up with an effective solution.

What the hell is wrong with commentards these days? The lot of you are such negative ninnies! Oh your solution isn't perfect, might as well kill yourself now and be done with it!

God in heaven...

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Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

"How many days worth of food & water do you have on hand?"

At the moment, about 10 miles worth of reservoir. Should see me through for a bit I reckon.

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Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

If there's a nuke war I don't give a rat's arse about the water, I'd rather be dead, and quickly.

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Go

Re: Whatever. Random... (@IHateWearingATie)

No guns.

Do have a bow, couple of swords, axes (felling, hand and throwing) spears and javelins.

Oh and body armour.

All of which are in working condition.

There again, they should be given re-enactment season starts again in April.

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Pint

@Graham Dawson (was: Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...)

Roughly four times a year, we go completely "self contained", nothing but wood & steam and Clydesdales (and my personal hot-rod Percheron & buckboard), for a week or ten days. It's part of our "at risk kids" camp. It's amazing how fast attitudes change when you teach a kid something as basic as milking a cow, and then turning the milk into cheese. Milling wheat and running down to the coop to get eggs to make pasta is another big one :-)

Beer. We make that, too. But for the adults. Proper Rootbeer for the kids, though ;-)

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@SRS (was: Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...)

10 miles of reservoir?[1] This keeps you and yours going for "a bit"[2] ... how, exactly? And is it open to the atmosphere, and thus subject to contamination by <thingy>?

[1] Is "one mile of reservoir" an ElReg unit of volume I'm unaware of?

[2] What's a bit? In my world, it's either a one or a zero. Or 12.5 cents.

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Re: @SRS (was: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...)

@Jake,

I have no idea how deep they are, but as they're in the mountains I expect they are fairly deep - there're more than one around here, I just mentioned the one that's a few minutes walk away and that's about 10 miles long.

It's fairly narrow though so there might be less in it than I expect.

If they all get contaminated I can always rig up a moisture trap - it's damp as hell round here, and there's always the sea.

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Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

I've got two weeks of food and water for me and my wife. I have two dogs named Ralph the Emergency Meal I & II. I'm set.

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BCS

Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

Very true. I do possess such a device.

The meek only inherit the world if the strong have left and gone elsewhere...

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Vic
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Re: Whatever. Random acts of the cosmos are just that ...

> How many days worth of food & water do you have on hand

One.

It's mostly Scotch...

Vic.

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Trollface

"The twin visitations from our solar system"

Don't these things usually happen in threes?

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Coat

Re: "The twin visitations from our solar system"

Don't these things usually happen in threes?

Apparently they're run by TfL, so yes. Uncannily similar, even: one whizzes by so fast you can't catch it, the next crashes and burns. It remains to be seen what happens to the third.

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Re: "The twin visitations from our solar system"

The third one was listed on the timetable but the usual glitch has just marked it as 'out of service' with the next one due a millennium after that.

We still know the third one is coming but not a clue when.

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Joke

Re: "The twin visitations from our solar system"

i am reliably informed that due to signalling work at mars junction, the third rock has been replaced by a bus service

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Anonymous Coward

To sum up...

... we're screwed.

It seems completely obvious that the world will be unable to get it's shit together until a threat is imminent - and if the threat is too large, game over for life on earth - at least for a very long time.

It's horrible to say this, but our best bet is to have a strike which does some severe damage - enough to galvanise the world into action, but not enough to wipe us or our civilisation out.

A useful analogy here is the dangerous stretch of road your local council knows they should address, but only bothers doing so when a coach load of people end up in a ditch.

That's *exactly* how the human race will galvanise itself into action - just like that council dallying over the dangerous road, it'll take a major impact before anything gets done.

Sad, but true.

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Re: To sum up...

Too true- the only sustained Goverment policy is Burning Rome Fiddling- or just Fiddling in general.

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Trollface

Re: To sum up...

"It seems completely obvious that the world will be unable to get it's shit together until a threat is imminent - and if the threat is too large, game over for life on earth - at least for a very long time."

are you talking about space rocks, or CC

<Grins, Ducks and Runs away>

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the space agencies might always unite and build the new shuttle with a 6mw perpetual generator on with sci xenon thruster or plasma, and goto mars in a few months when not preventing impacts

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actual design and research of their own materials would only cost £20-30 billion, another 10 billion for production

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And whoever got there would be sterile due to long term radiation exposure.

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no, aerogel insulates most things, all the hard research was done for nasa shuttles

a joint effort would keep costs down, and whos got the best material for the job and part

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they all make thehr own graphites for differents they would never release to the public along with hundreds of metals

a whole new modern shuttle would be 200 tons lighter the nasa shuttle

the real chore for them all to go hybrid ramjet or nasa oldskool launches with bigger cargo

a perpetual dynamo generator needs no fuel or crappy solar power for a mini super computer under the floor

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quote: "a perpetual dynamo generator needs no fuel or crappy solar power for a mini super computer under the floor"

Perpetual dynamo generator? I must have been paying attention to the wrong science at school, because I never heard about those. Are they fission powered, or are you talking about actual perpetual motion that somehow doesn't slow down when power is extracted from it?

I only did A-level Physics (and dabble in Quantum Electrodynamics), so I'd still be of the opinion that actual perpetual motion is, in fact, not possible if you intend to draw power from it. Please enlighten me how I am incorrect :)

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Vic
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Perpetual dynamo generator? I must have been paying attention to the wrong science at school, because I never heard about those. Are they fission powered

Nah. They'll be powered by Desert Eagle rounds...

Vic.

[Removing tongue from cheek...]

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