06 April 2021

Video of the day -- Not Home

Even if we someday find another planet which is basically habitable, it will probably be different enough in subtle ways to never feel quite "right".  How much less will humans ever be able to feel at home, for lifetimes, in a giant tin can flying through space, or in a poisonous frozen desert where the gravity is only one-third what we evolved in.  The void and the wastelands beyond are for our machines.  So long as humans remain a biological species, there can be only one home.


Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

I don't see it. It'll always be 'not earth'. But I do know that humans will at the end, eff up any other place. After all, we have managed to alter the environment in ways that many think are not reversible. It would just be another place to exploit and destroy.


06 April, 2021 03:51  
Blogger Mary said...

A bit poignant, but only for us who know the difference..
Robots wouldn’t care and new biological births on a new planet wouldn’t care and in generations, they’d feel it "was" home.
But I like the video, because it is just us and I would imagine the perspective would really hit home when viewing the earth from outer space.

06 April, 2021 06:08  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sixpence: By and large the environment has been improving for several decades -- it's largely a matter of societies having the resources to make it a priority. That's an issue for another post, though.

Mary: That's a good point about later generations born there, but even then, I'm not so sure. Even if they were used to that harsh violet-tinged sunlight because they'd never seen anything else, I don't think it would feel natural. And what if, say, a new planet's day-night cycle were of substantially different length, as it almost surely would be? It's evolution, not just familiarity, that has adapted us to a 24-hour cycle. (A planet the size of Earth probably typically has a 15- or 16-hour cycle. Our large moon has slowed down the Earth's rotation. Even if another planet also had a big moon, it would be somewhat different in size and distance, and the planet's day-night cycle would still end up different from Earth's.) I suspect there would be other differences which would clash with our inborn genetic predispositions. It wouldn't be like just moving from one continent to another on Earth.

06 April, 2021 10:09  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

There was a great SF manga from years ago called 2001 NIGHTS which described the difficulties of colonizing other planets. In one case the colony was wiped out because of an unforeseen incident in that particular system.

Allen Steele's "Coyote" novels where humans do travel to another planet whose environment matches Earth's pretty well...but of course, some of the colonists aren't too happy about the different flora and fauna on that world (one even gripes about missing the taste of a grilled T-bone steak...).

That said...yes, this is our home planet and we need to take care of it. And also, it's the only place where you can get an awesome slice of pizza or a great plate of chicken alfredo. :)

However, there will be those who will want to go and colonize other worlds or build space colonies at the Lagrange points and are prepared to tough it out. They'll get no complaints from me, but of course I go back to SF writers and artists focusing on these things for decades--being ahead of their time, to be honest.

06 April, 2021 15:46  
Anonymous Ole Phat Stu said...

Having visited about 40 of the 200+ countries on THIS planet, with their various cultures, I would posit that "Home" is much smaller than suggested above. Actually, I only feel "at home" in western Europe, other cultures - or lack thereof - disturb me. YMMV.

07 April, 2021 05:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Marc: I suppose there will be those who choose to "tough it out", but we don't normally think of a place where living there is something you need to "tough out" as a true home. And in the case of colonies in space -- even more barren than an alien planet -- I suspect the colonists' descendants, if they ever visited Earth, would immediately feel more "at home" there. I've heard of cases of chimpanzees born and raised in lab cages who, when they were allowed to see a clutch of trees for the first time, immediately rushed to the trees and climbed them and wanted to stay among them, even though they had never seen trees in their lives before. They felt instinctively that that was their proper environment. It's the same principle.

Stu: I've had the same feeling. Foreign countries are not exactly alien, but I do get a sense of being "on someone else's turf" to varying degrees.

08 April, 2021 04:28  
Blogger Tommykey said...

While we have been raised on shows like Star Trek where humans just beam down to earth-like planets all over the galaxy, the big obstacle I should think would exist for any planet that was earth-like is that would the planet be filled with microbes that would be harmful to us, whether it be the air, the water, the soil, etc. I imagine humans on other habitable planets would still need to wear breathing apparatuses and protective gear unless it was possible to create vaccines to protect against the diseases that must exist on these worlds to which we would have no immunity.

09 April, 2021 21:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The feeling conveyed will mostly end after the first generation, the one that travelled to the new planet, dies. To their children, the new planet will be home as it’s all they’ll ever know. A generation or two more and earth will be just a part of history books. How much do dwell on events that happened in 1920?

10 April, 2021 06:59  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Tommykey: Good point. It's especially odd that so many modern works forget that point, when HG Wells made it the key to the defeat of his Martians more than a century ago. Of course alien microbes would not have evolved to infect humans, but they would probably find our bodies nutrient-rich, and even very alien microbes might easily kill us even if their biology was not evolved to interact with ours (see The Andromeda Strain).

And of course colonizing another planet would require being able to grow food there. The native life almost certainly wouldn't include anything we could safely eat or extract nutrition from, so we'd need to introduce Earthly crops, which require Earthly soil bacteria to grow. So we'd need to introduce Earthly soil bacteria and help it displace the native soil bacteria despite the latter's advantage of being, well, native. The whole thing would be, at best, far more difficult and dangerous than most writers seem to imagine.

Anon: See my response to Mary above.

10 April, 2021 11:24  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

if there are no trump supporters there...???? I'm in.

10 April, 2021 13:27  
Blogger RO said...

I like the idea of believing there are people in places other than here, and I wouldn't mind hanging out with them, or even talk on the phone( lol) but I'll always feel like earth is home, and wouldn't want to move to another planet. Hope you're doing well! Hugs, RO

11 April, 2021 11:14  

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