If you listen to the captain of the starship Enterprise, space is the “final frontier”. OK, it can’t actually be a frontier because, as far as we are concerned at the moment, there’s nothing beyond our universe that we could ever reach. Space does, however, contain all of the frontiers that we know of and all of those we don’t yet recognize. The latter outnumber the former to a mind-boggling degree. The Earth is a tiny planet in a nondescript corner of a big galaxy, which is nonetheless only one of about two trillion galaxies in our universe.
Meanwhile, all of human history and just about everything that has ever been of any direct interest to humans has happened on this one tiny planet. Yet we have spent much of our time on Earth gazing at the stars – first wondering exactly what they are, and then wondering if and how we’ll ever reach them. Space is fascinating and terrifying at the same time and, depending on our emerging path, the future of humanity might lay in the stars.
Why Do Transhumanists Care?
While you might think that transhumanists only care about technologies that affect their individual bodies or lifespans, the fate of human beings as a species is also a key topic. There are many reasons to care about outer space when it comes to the meaning of being human or what it means to be more than human.
A New Home
The first and most obvious reason to care about space is that we may find new places to call home among the stars. The Earth won’t be around forever, and just one major catastrophe could wipe us all out because all our eggs are effectively in one basket. Our first stop will most likely be Mars. In this section, the colonization of Mars has a prominent place since we’re very close to getting humans (and perhaps even a base) on the red planet’s surface.
Many technologies still need to be invented or matured before our dreams of space exploration and settlement can be realized. A good proportion of those technologies will also be important to transhuman interests here on Earth too. Remember, a lot of the technology and wonder materials that we have today exist only thanks to space-related research.
If we humans are not the only intelligent life forms in the universe, space is where we will find the others. Why does that matter? One of the ways we can unlock the mysteries of the universe, and understand our own nature and place in the universe better, is through learning from intelligent species that live in our galaxy. So far, programs such as SETI have not been able to find alien intelligence, but there are plenty of reasons why this might be the case – some of which I’ll discuss in this section.
One of the most important things about space is that the Earth is effectively a spaceship. So far, it seems to be a unique one but, nonetheless, learning about what lies beyond the Earth teaches us new things about our planet itself. Climate science, geology, and weather prediction are just a few of the areas that benefit from what we can learn from space and everything in it. When it comes to the future of humanity, there can be no doubt that what lies beyond Earth will play a key role.
To Infinity and Beyond
In this section of the website you’ll find interesting space-age technologies discussed. I also look at topics that relate to extraterrestrial life, interstellar travel, and the colonization of other worlds.
If we are the generation that ends up having our lives extended radically, we may also be the generation that will first step foot on worlds beyond our solar system. There are still centuries ahead of us when it comes to achieving some of the technological breakthroughs our interstellar ambitions need, but as we advance and the Earth itself takes the strain of our existence, the push upwards will become stronger and stronger.