(Submitted March 28, 1997)
Is it possible that in the future we will live on another planet?
It's hard to say whether in the future we will live on
another planet. The Earth provides for us the right
balance of necessary conditions so that we can live in
reasonable comfort without artificial aid. Through
advances in technology, we might certainly be able to
create an environment in which we could live on almost
any other planet (e.g. a space suit is a miniature of
such an environment). But whether another planet out
in space harbors conditions similar enough to earth
that we would need little or no "artificial environment"
is unknown. We might think that such another planet
ought to exist, but it doesn't mean that it necessarily does.
The role of science is to take us from what we think **might**
be true to what really is true and possible. In order for
us to live on another planet, we must first find other planets
(this is an active field of research that astronomers are now
making great progress in), determine whether they are suitable
for us, and then travel to them. All of these require significant
advances in our knowledge and technology. This is not to say
that it is beyond our capabilities, but rather to consider
what would need to be done to do it.
It is a question worth pondering, and by thinking about it we
can certainly learn many exciting things along the way.
I hope this helps,
for Imagine the Universe!
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