How much of our solar system should be protected wilderness?
3:46

How much of our solar system should be protected wilderness?

Science
[MUSIC] .Welcome towards the future with mankind on the verge of becoming a multi planetary species. The richest and most powerful among us are investing billions and taking us to the stars, dreaming up massive development projects and mining operations straight out of science fiction. But mankind's hunger for growth has not been kind to the Earth and its wilderness. If we wanna be more responsible with the resources in our solar system, how much of it should be protected from exploitation? Let's get into it. [MUSIC] Mining space resources will be a necessary part of human expansion into our solar system. European space agency has proposed a plan to mine moon rocks to help fuel missions to distant world. And an asteroid mining company called Planetary Resources wants to tap thousand of near earth asteroids to water to help sustain life in space. As our civilization keeps growing, it makes sense to wan a greater pool of resources in order to fuel that growth. But what happens when the resources run out? What happens when unlimited demand meets finite resources? The answer is incredibly simple, rationing. That's a bad path. Hold up. Is anyone surprised that the richest guy in the world is afraid of rationing and responsible use of resources? For now, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's not just worried about his own fortune. What do you suggest we do instead, Jeff? The good news Is that if we move out in the solar system for all practical purposes, we have unlimited resources. That's just not true, a paper recently published in scientific journal Acta astronautica written by Dr Marten Elvis and Dr Tony Milligan predicted that if current exponential growth trends continue. We could burn through the solar system's resources in a few hundred years. By that time, some space trillionaire will probably be dumping his fortune into trying to sell us a trip to the nearest star just a few light-years away. The story is starting to sound familiar. Where have I heard this one before? [UNKNOWN] They're moving from planet to planet, their whole civilization. After they've consumed every natural resource, they move on. [MUSIC] And we're next. Right, we're becoming the harvesters from Independence Day. Cool How did the harvesters dynamism and growth work out for them? Nuke ' let's nuke the bastards. Okay so maybe continuing to exploit resources irresponsibly isn't the best move. How can we be smart about this? The scientific paper by Milligan and Elvis suggests that keeping seven-eighths of the solar system protected from mining and development would be a good place to start. Humans have waited until the last possible second to address our unsustainable energy practices here on earth. Now we're caught in the unenviable position of trying to belatedly steer ourselves away from a climatological tipping point that we've seen coming for decades. I'd be willing to bet that once humans get comfortable among the stars, and new fortunes start being reaped, change up there could prove to be just as hard to come by As change down here. Instead of having the same conversation in 400 years at a much greater scale, I say let's start the conversation right now before Amazon starts planting its flag on space rocks and building Prime colonies. Thanks for watching What the Future. I'm your host Jesse Orrall. See you next time! [MUSIC]

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