But will we listen?

Artist depiction of Nakṣatra, an O’Neill cylinder built with 21st century technology. Image Credit: Katie Lane (Full distribution rights reserved by Erasmo Acosta)

Imagine being inside a spaceship, similar to an airliner’s first-class cabin. With Earth’s gravity over twenty-four hours behind, the velcro spots on the wide comfortable seats, and along the carpet, prevent passengers from drifting out of control. A few adults are having difficulty keeping floating toys within their excited children’s reach.

The final destination can now be seen through the windows. Nakṣatra, a cylindrical megastructure nearly eight miles in diameter by thirty-one miles long. Ultra-high efficiency latest generation solar panels, capable of powering New York City many times over, blanket the outer wall.

Upon arrival, visitors are dazzled by metropolitan…

Image Credit: Erasmo Acosta ©2009 All rights reserved

I dozed my way through twelfth-grade biology dreaming about my next-door neighbor. What little I crammed about DNA, RNA, and ATP for my finals was promptly discarded in the junkyard of my adolescent mind.

Decades later, a burning obsession with the Fermi paradox — a hint that we might be the only civilization in the galaxy — forced me to dust off my otherwise forgotten biology lessons. Where are the aliens? …

The economics of space colonization

Image Credit: ERA7 (Deviant Art)

The inner solar system is home to virtually unlimited resources, but they cannot benefit us here on Earth. An influx of precious and rare-Earth metals into the world markets will collapse prices down to a fraction. With the astronomical cost of extracting them, the enterprise is not worthy.

Earth’s dwindling resources cannot sustain our lifestyle much longer because the creation of wealth is linked to the destruction of our habitat. The world’s economy is so intimately entwined that even so-called clean industries contribute to climate change by enabling polluters — which could not exist without high-tech and finance.

Moving all…

Is it holding us back?

Image Credit: DeviantArt (Marijeberting)

How would a plane or an automobile look to a Neanderthal, whose kind had not even invented the wheel? In 1962, British writer Arthur Clarke wrote in Profiles of the Future, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

This quote inspired the term Clarketech, a qualifier for technology so powerful and miraculous that it would allow a civilization to achieve prodigies beyond imagination.

Whenever we discuss alien civilizations capable of reaching Earth, or future spacefaring utopian societies, we assume that some degree of Clarketech is necessary.

And it is a really great thing!

Image Credit: rapixel

According to British writer Arthur Clarke, “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

Back in the fifties, physicist Enrico Fermi estimated that it would take a technologically advanced civilization a pinch of cosmic time to colonize the entire Milky Way, even without faster-than-light travel capability. Then, during lunch at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fermi brought this idea to some of his colleagues. According to them, the conversation ended with the famous question that would haunt scientists for years to come: “But where is everybody?

Unfortunately, Fermi died of cancer…

And these technologies will enable us to do so

Image Credit: Erasmo Acosta ©2007 All rights reserved

As our population continues to rise, life on Earth grows increasingly complicated. If human civilization isn’t brought to its knees by a global pandemic or a war, climate change lurks on the horizon — challenging our long-term ability to survive on this little blue marble.

Even discounting gravity, Earth’s environmental conditions appear to be exceptionally rare. If we could replenish Mars’ atmosphere, trying to colonize it will require severe adaptations to the human body — possibly causing the settlers to branch into a different species within generations.

In the early 70s, American physicist Gerard O’Neill asked his students at Princeton…

Image Credit: Katie Lane (Full distribution rights reserved by Erasmo Acosta)

Agriculture was the most transformative invention in human history. It allowed our ancestors to trade hunting and gathering for a more stable lifestyle. It ensured a better quality of life for larger numbers of the population.

Although the agricultural age also brought undesirable foes like disease and war, it left us free to invent and create — paving the way for our current technologically advanced civilization.

A huge portion of the world’s total wealth derives from Earth’s limited resources, but humanity’s extraction of those resources greatly contributes to the destruction of our habitat. With a global population already close to…

Can we find a new home among the stars?

Image reproduced with permission from Era-7 Studios

Every newly discovered exoplanet makes our imagination run wild, and hopes of finding a second home for the human species get higher. However, the conditions that fostered our evolution on Earth appear particularly rare, and might not be replicated anywhere else in our entire galaxy. Here’s why.

Plant and animal life on our planet evolved adjusted to 1g gravity for 600 million years. That’s what makes microgravity environments, such as the International Space Station, a most enduring challenge. It’s also one of the reasons that chances of being accepted by the NASA astronaut program are in the order of 0.065…

A look into the technologies that will make space colonization possible

Image Credit: Lorenz Hideyoshi

Stephen Hawking once warned, “We must become an interplanetary species within 100 years or we’ll all die.”

Indeed, life on Earth poses its share of challenges. If human civilization isn’t wiped out by a global pandemic or war, climate change lurks on the horizon, posing a threat to our ability to survive long-term on this planet.

“I’m beginning to find life on Earth…burdensome. Pandemics, air pollution, groundwater contamination…Did you know that caffeine, antibiotics, and even birth-control hormones are finding their way into our drinking water? And now there’s circumstantial evidence that CO2 could be making our food less nutritious! As…

This is what it could look like for us to leave Earth behind

Image Credit: Lorenz Hideyoshi

Most people imagine the distant future of humanity like an episode of Star Trek. Queue the cheesy music and hip-hugging space suits. The starship Enterprise is blasting bad guys with its photon torpedoes and settling space colonies that further expand the borders of a thriving United Federation of Planets, teeming with alien civilizations.

But the reality is that our future may not be tied to planets.

Because all of us were born on a planet, we suffer from a deeply ingrained “planetary bias.” Earth has been humanity’s womb, so we naturally expect to settle another spherical body. We think that…

Erasmo Acosta

Casualty of Corporate America | Sci-fi writer | Science Junkie | Learn about my dystopian novel K3+ (now on sale) at https://erasmixbooks.blogspot.com

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