Sunday, December 14, 2014

24- Going through Keyhole of a Glass Door

" Great Civilisations have come and then vanished. Only their traces remain. 
Humans have to become a multi-planet civilisation if we need to survive 
the next Apocalypse and the technology window is now open for us to do it "
- Elon Musk 

Interstellar movie- The importance of
being a multi-planet civilisation
"I want to go to space". This desire comes back whenever I watch science-fiction movies. Recently I watched the movie 'Interstellar' and sure enough this desire cropped up again. The movie is set in a time when due to climate change, all crops have been destroyed and majority of people on earth has died. Whoever remains are back into agriculture and some are trying to survive a find a way to get off the planet before the entire agriculture collapses. The movie's premise is not that far fetched as it seems and it may be based on some facts which we, as a human race, are only now beginning to acknowledge.

Most scientists today agree that we humans, as a race have become a virus on earth and are killing off other species of this earth. The earth may have become a death trap in the sense that it is now populated by 7 billion people who are now being fed only by pumping crops with huge amount of fertilisers which are poisoning our land and rivers. We are leeching the resources of the earth, poisoning the same air that we breathe ( cars, power plants etc ) and also poisoning the oceans and killing off the marine life. If we do not kill ourselves first, nature will, through a virus ( Ebola? ), an asteroid, famine, Ice age etc. History has been littered with evidences that many great civilisations have been wiped off leaving only traces of their greatness. ( Eqypt, Indian etc..). Moreover, most of the population have lost the basic skill to grow their own food and are dependent on a small percentage of population for meeting their hunger needs. One year of weird climate and we may be looking at a world as depicted in the movie 'Interstellar'.

Enter the modern saviour, Elon Musk. A brilliant geeky kid who started his first company called zip2 at the age of 23. He later sold it to compaq and made a profit of 22 million dollars in 1999. Then he started Paypal, which he sold to eBay and made approx 200 million dollars from it. Having realised the danger to the human civilisation, he formulated  plan A  to save human civilisation. In plan A, he started Tesla Motors ( an electric car company ) and Solar city ( solar electricity company ) to change the automobile and power industry. It made sense as he figured that they are the biggest polluters. Both are today worth billions of Dollars.

He also has a plan B. He figured that if his plan A failed and humanity failed to take appropriate steps, he would need to get people off this planet to save the human species. So he founded the worlds first Private Space company, called Spacex. The company built its own state of the art rockets and also a dragon spacecraft to ferry people from the space station. Further in order to drive down the costs of a launch so that it is affordable to everybody, they have made the worlds first reusable rockets which will be tested for the first time on Dec 19, 2014. If he succeeds, he will change the entire space industry and make it cheap enough for ordinary citizens to go to space and ultimately colonise Mars. He has gone on record to state that he will put people on Mars in 10 Years.

Accessing space today is like going through a keyhole of a glass door. Its very Difficult, expensive and only for a chosen few. We can see whats out there..but cannot hope to be there. Hopefully, Elon Musk's reusable rockets and space craft will eventually break the Glass door and ultimately save the current civilisation by making it the first multi-planet civilisation.

P.S.. Watch out for 19th December 2014. It would truly be a historic day for  Human civilisation. If musk succeeds, he would reduce the cost of launch of a space rocket from 100 million dollars to a mere half a million dollars.

links for  further reading: -
1. Video on the coming ice-age as stated by a Nasa Engineer.
1. Video on Elon Musk by bloomberg tracing his history.
2.Amazing article on Elon Musk.
3. Elon musk believes colonising mars will save humanity