Doomsday just a century away!

| Updated: October 23, 2017 10:20:58

Doomsday just a century away!

Even a layman can realise that climate is changing for the worse. But this does not prompt one such person to reach the conclusion that the end of human civilisation is near. Stephen Hawking, the greatest theoretical physicist of our time, however has made a conclusively dire prediction. His prediction concerns a deadline for humanity to save itself from annihilation. The iconic scientist has given barely a century for the mankind to find an alternative abode before their existence on the planet Earth is no more. 
The scientist has championed colonising Mars or other planets for long. But this time, he advocates space flight to those other worlds supporting life in order to avoid a doomsday. Thus he pleads for bringing down the cost of space flight radically. He also urges for developing new technologies capable of sending people far into the outer space and as fast as possible. Hawking also favours discovery of newer planets more hospitable for human living than the known so far. He suggests further search for developing ways and means for people to live in the inhospitable environment of known planets like Mars and life-supporting planets like Proxima B. 
However, the wheel chair-bound scientist warns not only climate change, but also of 'diseases, and versions of doom we're bound to inflict on ourselves'. By diseases, Hawking means epidemic of cataclysmic proportion. The last portion of his claim 'doom we are bound to inflict on ourselves' is highly significant. Does he refer to common people's routine ravages of Nature or something far greatly ominous? Yes, to him US President Donald Trump's pulling America out of the Paris climate agreement as recently as June 1 has evidently upset the scientist very much. There is a potent threat from Trump because he may take the most serious and wrong decision on climate this world has witnessed. 
So the perceived threat, as usual, comes from none other than man. Climate will deteriorate even further because of human action. And Trump may not be alone to lead the assault on climate -others of his ilk may follow him. It is this fear from the highest species in the pecking order that has done the greatest damage to climate and still fails to realise that the damage to ecology, air, water, soil and space has nearly rendered this Earth unsustainable for human survival. An egotist like Donald Trump proves a deciding factor because the country he runs is the biggest user of energy, fossil fuel included, on the planet's surface.             
So Stephen Hawking's warning of a doomsday-like condition at the end of another 100 years cannot be taken lightly. However, the ways and means he suggests for survival of this species still look like matters of science fiction. This is despite the fact that Elon Musk and Richard Branson's practical push for improved spaceflight technology. The two billionaires have amply invested in order to make spaceflight a commercial venture. Other attempts at such ventures are yet to progress much. But people are investing in such projects and scientists are trying hard to take spaceflight to the next level. Even Hawking himself is involved with one such experiment. Along with Facebook-famed Mark Juckerberg and a Russian billionaire, he has been planning to send a spacecraft the size of a postage stamp to Alpha Centauri, the second closest star to Earth. But its distance is apparently forbidding -some 4.37 light years away. 
Projects of such extra-terrestrial nature will have to be conceived and manipulated for translation in to reality to match the vision of the great scientist. How the task will finally be accomplished or not will depend to some extent on the investment made. Maybe, there will be a simple solution -one that a genius will be able to come up with. Many of the scientific wonders were once just human dreams unrealisable primarily but now they have become damn cheap and for almost everyone's use. The cell phones or smart phones with all their many features and advantages have taken the world by storm. For the first time in human history, man has reaped the greatest mass benefit from the information and communication technology. Until then science and technology made the most amazing advantages in their destructive power. Nuclear arsenals, ballistic missiles and aircraft carriers are some of the most spectacular negative achievement. 
Now is the time for taking the gain further on to the positive endeavour. The ICT's super achievement can be replicated in space science. To make it happen, nations must divert their resources from production of killing machines to space research and technology. Who they are going to fight when they will have to abandon this planet for another or more suitable ones? 
Now here is a naive question posed for a rethink. This planet with all its blemishes is still more liveable than an inhospitable Moon or Mars. Unless one is found in the space particularly congenial for human living, why not treat it with care. Even a Donald Trump can be prevailed upon if convincingly argued about the futility of expediting economic and other agendas on account of the Earth falling unliveable. Painstakingly this planet's health can be regained through reversing the process of global warming.        
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