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How Self-Sustaining Space Habitats Could Save Humanity from Extinction

How Self-Sustaining Space Habitats Could Save Humanity from Extinction | VI Tech Review (VITR) | Scoop.it

Physicist Stephen Hawking suggests that our ongoing efforts to colonize space could ultimately save humanity from extinction. As it stands, Earth is our only biosphere — all our eggs are currently in one basket. If something were to happen to either our planet or our civilization, it would be vital to know that we could sustain a colony somewhere else.

And the threats are real. The possibility of an asteroid impact, nuclear war, a nanotechnological disaster, or severe environmental degradation make the need for off-planet habitation extremely urgent. And given our ambitious future prospects, including the potential for ongoing population growth, we may very well have no choice but to leave the cradle.

We're obviously not going to get there overnight — but here's how we could do it.


Via Szabolcs Kósa
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Why Our Current Missions to Space Could Create Sentient Robots

Why Our Current Missions to Space Could Create Sentient Robots | VI Tech Review (VITR) | Scoop.it

Space is the domain of robots. NASA is about to land the semi-autonomous robot Curiosity on Mars within the next few days, where it joins its two less-sophisticated robot brethren, Spirit and Opportunity. There's a good reason why these rovers are the first Earthlings first to set foot — or rather, tire treads — on Mars. Even the simplest robot can survive in space better than a human can.

As we program more and more of our smart machines to explore space, we might discover a lot more than microbial life in the waters of Europa. Instead, says celebrated science historian Richard Rhodes (author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb), we might unwittingly create the first sentient robots.


Via Szabolcs Kósa
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