Here is an article I found a while back and talks about some interesting points, albeit mostly science fiction, but there is a large amount of science to back it up.
Most of these are very farfetched indeed, but nonetheless fun to think about and imagine where the future could take us, if we make it there. I had never heard about trying to turn Jupiter into a sun and moving to one of its moons. That would certainly be a cheaper alternative to leaving the solar system when the sun goes kaput. As with doing anything on a cosmic scale it is no simple task, with an infinite amount of things that could go wrong. It is easy to see why we are much safer right where we are.
Among the many problems with this, scientists would try to create a black hole on Jupiter that would somehow turn it into a sun or a star? I did not follow the science of how this could be done, but unless it was just right plenty of bad things could happen. While this could be an alternative to leaving the solar system if we had this kind of technology I think we would be better suited to find another star and terraform a nearby planet. Although I do not know what kind of resources and time it would take to do that.
This article talks about whether it would be better to terraform another planet, in this case Mars, rather than try to save our own. The interesting thing is that by the end of the article, and given all the theories about how it could be possible to terraform Mars, some of these same ideas are being proposed to save our own planet. I was a little shocked by how easy some of the theories made it seem this seemingly monumental task would be. If you think about it, it only took us about 100 years to put enough CO2 into our atmosphere to start to mess things up or change the overall climate on Earth. If we were to do that on Mars, that could potentially build an atmosphere and warm the planet, this is the main obstacle standing in the way of moving to Mars. If we could build an atmosphere that would put us well on our way to colonizing the Red Planet. Now this is easier said than done no doubt. Other theories include bombarding Mars with asteroids filled with different types of gases mainly ammonia, the idea being that once they crashed into the surface all the gas would eventually start to build an atmosphere.
I guess it could be done and relatively easily, the question is would we want to take the time and resources to do that when, in theory, it could be just as easy to fix our own planet. The article states one way we could cool Earth would be to inject silicon dioxide into the atmosphere to help deflect some of the sun light, in effect cooling the planet back down. I think this could potentially be a short term solution but there are a lot of unknowns with this as well.
The way this works is that these particles would reflect a specific amount of sunlight back into space. Why does this matter? Well we basically get the same amount of sunlight, the problem is all the CO2 in the atmosphere traps more and more of the sunlight so it cannot escape on its own back into space. It gets trapped and effectively heats up the planet, so in theory if less is reaching the surface, more light bounces back into space, there is less to get trapped and would cool the planet. The issue here is that this does not solve the issue of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere, basically its putting a band aid on a mortal wound. This could buy us some time to potentially figure out a real solution. On the flip side I do not think we are in a dire situation as everything stands, so doing something of this magnitude is less than ideal because of all the unknowns.
Also, I do not know what percentage or how efficient the silicon would be at reflecting the light back into space. I also do not know what percentage would make a difference. Such as, would a 10% reduction in sunlight change anything, or would that be too drastic and would plant life be effected. Could we adjust how much light made it to the surface of the planet, or would we put it in the atmosphere and not know what it would do? To me that could make a bad situation worse, again there are just way too many questions with this theory.
Ideally we would be able to control this technology, adjusting the amount of sunlight that reached the surface of the planet day to day. However, I do not think we would have that ability. Also, I do not know what silicon dioxide would do to animals along with the oceans. I read that ingesting this compound is not fatal, but inhaling it can lead to a multitude of health concerns and problems. So I do not think this would be a viable solution to our problem as it would cause more harm than good.
Let’s switch gears a little and talk about fast than light (FTL) travel. Recently I thought that the solution to this problem was simple, as scientist have suggested in the first article posted above, we could constrict space in front of a space ship and expand space behind it, creating a “wave” or “warping” space time of sorts that the space ship could ride, thus achieving FTL. I thought this could and would be a solution. Eventually once we are able to figure out how to do this, nothing would stop us from colonizing the galaxy.
Not so fast! Pun intended. Apparently there are some problems with this theory that I was unaware of. I don’t totally understand them, but from what I have gathered in riding the aforementioned wave any particles that the ship would hit along the way would build up energy in the wave and upon the ship stopping the particles would be jettisoned and annihilate whatever was in front of the ship. So based on this, I do not think this would be a viable way to achieve FTL travel. Although, I would think that a simple solution would be to fly toward the destination but upon decelerating alter the trajectory a tad so the particles miss the final destination? Somehow that seems to simple a solution and I doubt it would be that easy.
As I have always said I honestly have to wonder if space is the ultimate barrier where no living, flesh and blood, thing can survive and was never meant to explore. I wonder if our universe is one where flesh and blood life was meant to create machines and AI that would outlive their creators and explore the universe. There is a theory that every civilization must get through any number of great barriers, and I have to wonder if space is the final one. No matter how you slice it the universe does not appear to be very habitable nor easily traveled.