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Why We Must Go to the Stars

Why would anyone want to go to other stars? Why would it be beneficial to humanity?

Those of you who have wondered about my absence from my normal haunts online, including the “night DJ” job at Instapundit, wonder no more.

I’ve been at TVIW, which I’ve attended for its last three sessions. TVIW is the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop, a gathering of scientists, professionals and crazy people (like me) who dream in fiction, and who think it’s important – nay, imperative – for humans to leave the cradle of the Earth and colonize different worlds around different stars.

For more on this year’s session, go here.

You’ll see there is meaty stuff there -- for example, how to do a flyby of Alpha Centauri and look at the extra-solar worlds we’re most likely to be able to reach. There’s discussion of how to find signs of life without actually going there. There’s discussion of what a habitable (by us) planet might be. There is also some rather silly social science and someone who seemed to think that Sweden (which was practically offering prizes for people to have babies, the most fundamental form of “voting on the future” there is) is a “stable” society, or that to make a society stable you must make it multicultural. It’s enough to make you wonder what they’re teaching kids these days -- except you know, and I know.

But leave aside the fact that there is all sorts of meaty, interesting stuff there, including how to organize world ships.

So, are we ready to go to the stars now?

Ah. I’m among those people who think that worldships are a fascinating concept, but that before we are ready to build one and use it to reach the stars, (or any form of slow ship to the stars, actually), there will be another solution available to us.

But that doesn’t matter. If we don’t talk about the means to get to the stars, if we don’t make it an explicit objective, if at least some number of us doesn’t engage the subject, and dream the dreams, we will surely never get there.

And that would be very bad.

Look, guys, it is quite typical of the left to be against “colonialism.” This is sort of like being against “being alive.”

Sure, there are bad ways for humans to colonize other humans. For some reason, the Spaniards seemed to use far more fire and blood than almost anyone else, but no one can beat the horrors that mad King Leopold inflicted on the Congo.

Notwithstanding which, there is nothing that justifies being against “colonialism.”

All life forms colonize.  Life forms that stop colonizing, that get comfortable and well adapted to a niche, eventually get extinct when that environment disappears.