By Julia Fuller
Scientist Michael Gillion and his team of astronomers discovered a star system 40 light-years away with potentially habitable planets orbiting around the dwarf star Trappist-1 last February.
This is a huge breakthrough for humankind. The planets may have water and greenhouse gases on the surface which are necessary conditions to support human life.
While Trappist-1 is significantly smaller than our Sun it still produces enough energy to cover its closest orbiting planets. Much like our moon the planets are tidally locked, facing the star one way fully lit and with the other half perpetually dark.
We have to study the planets and determine if they are livable. There may be other life forms on the surface, however speculations suggest any existing life form would be microscopic.
“Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years,” Stephen Hawking said, “By that time we should have spread out into space and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race.”
At what cost will this come for us? We will have to develop the space travel to massively transport our population and leave behind a destroyed planet. Would we continue our capitalist ways when we move to other planets?
In order for us to think about space travel we must change how we support our lifestyle and sustain our resources. We are developing tools to discover these other life forms and planets and we should continue to do so. In the process we may discover a more sustainable way of life for the sake of mankind’s survival.
Space travel for humans is already underway. Willing to pay $250,000 per person for the trip of a lifetime; celebrities, elites and the wealthy are purchasing round trip tickets to the moon.
Set to take off in 2018 Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Ship has been preparing for a voyage like this for many years. However after a failed attempt in 2013 many have been skeptical of the ship’s ability to continue on its scheduled journey.
This development could be phenomenal for space travel. If private companies and NASA can make space travel comfortable for regular people the rest of the world will follow suit.
Our ability to discover new things is exponentially expanding. The ideas, life forms and places we can go and augment in the universe are endless. We should learn to reform our lifestyles in order to incorporate and protect future generations. This is an exciting time for mankind.