Everything around us has a finite lifespan – every living thing, every non-living thing, from a tiny insect to a planet. Earth is rapidly reaching its use-by date, hastened perhaps, by its inhabitants.
Man has long known that if our species is to survive we must leave our home planet and has been preparing for this eventuality. This preparation is not restricted to space travel, although obviously that is an integral part of this and not one that can be easily hidden from the public.
It has long been said that NASA has been responsible for many of the greatest advances in technology, to the betterment of our daily lives. It has frequently been touted as one of the reasons that funding should not be cut from the NASA programs. NASA is also the primary organisation that is responsible for the future of mankind when we have to leave earth.
So far, they have not found a way to travel to any of the planets or distant stars that may sustain life. Having examined those closest to us they have ascertained it would take many human lifetimes to reach one that is suitable. Man would not survive the journey, so how could it be accomplished?
Cryogenics — or freezing people for the journey — is one possibility, although reviving them has so far been unsuccessful. However, freezing eggs or embryos is now commonplace, as is in vitro fertilisation. We are just one step away from nurturing an embryo in an artificial womb. We could, therefore, just send embryonic human life together with robotic devises that would implement the fertilisation techniques.
Whilst this is feasible, human babies are not born self-sufficient, they require being fed, cared for and taught. Enter the humanoid robot. Have you ever wondered why there is such a push for robots to be lifelike? We have many robotic devices that assist us in daily life, none look like us, so why do we need them to specifically mimic our movements and speech. The answer is imprinting. Whilst the babies and children will learn much from screen-based programs (as they do today), their carers and nurturers must look and act like them, be able to comfort and support them. We have a long way to go.
In the meantime, we must evolve. Our bodies must be gradually weaned from Earth-based food to more genetically modified vegetables and grains. In vitro meat made from animal cells rather than slaughtered beasts, is now available — it is all coming together.
So often we feel that advances in science have no purpose. Why do we need to duplicate what nature does quite effectively?
Are we all merely guinea pigs in a much bigger plan? Or is this the synopsis of a new science fiction movie? You decide!