Because the sun is expanding, the distance between the sun and earth is decreasing, so earth is moving away from the habitable zone. Rene Heller, a member of the Canadian Astrobiology Training Program, writes, “It seems reasonable to say our planet is at present only marginally habitable” because of its displacement closer to the sun (Heller). Although there are plenty more pressing issues like climate change that modify the habitability of earth much more rapidly, this will be an unavoidable issue when the time arises.
Another reason another habitable planet would be desired is the exponential growth rate of the human population. By 2050 the population could near 10 billion. Aroused environmentalists foresee unbearable pressures on the earth’s forests and arable land, not to mention the atmosphere. Environmentalists say forests will be destroyed before the population reaches 10 billion, posing a threat to resources and the health of the planet (Burke).
Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking is an advocate for finding another habitable planet because he believes earth is reaching its demise and humans need to leave if we don’t want our race to cease to exist . He gave an alarming 1000 years notice before humanity’s fate is too late if we still inhabit earth. Climate change, nuclear war, and evolved diseases are the some threats according to Hawking, but he is most scared of climate change. “Will we be too late to avoid dangerous levels of global warming?” he says criticizing the lack of humanity’s actions to combat pollution. While no planet has yet been found, we must keep searching he says because the adverse effects of humans on earth are now irreversible. This is why funding for NASA should be continued (Bowerman).
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is an advocate for NASA funding because he sees the benefits of space exploration besides the multitude of scientific discoveries. “Innovation drives economy,” he said because it expands creativity to invent things that were previously thought to be impossible (Writer). Although most technology improves the economy by hurting the environment, Tyson is right that NASA’s discoveries benefit humanity. However, perhaps their next discovery could benefit humanity for another reason. Rather than saving the economy it could save the human race.
There are some people who don’t believe climate change is as grave an issue as the media makes it out to be. Author, Alex Berezow, says, “It would be surprising if climate change cracked a list of the top 10 immediate concerns.” because according to him, poverty is the most urgent issue of today . Poverty is currently affecting 1.3 billion people who don’t have electricity and according to UNICEF, 22,000 children die everyday from poverty related illnesses (Poverty). The economic inequality gap is widening in 80% of the world. According to Berezow, these issues are most important because they are occurring today, while the ramifications of climate change are smaller and not as grave, for humans at least, because he said, “ We have several decades to adapt to climate change, and there are practical solutions we can implement to mitigate the negative effects” (Berezow, hyperlink to hypothesis annotations). Even if poverty is a more important issue than climate change, the negative effects of human activity are increasing, seen thanks to advances in technology. Therefore, changes need to be made soon so that the effects of climate change will not be as obvious and disturbing as those from poverty.
Scientist, Johan Rockstrom has a different and unique view of humanity’s fate on earth. Unlike Hawking, he is optimistic and believes there still is hope for the planet, but the means to which they are achieved are similar to Hawking. Brainstorming, he thought of the idea of temporary relocation. He says we can, “Take humans away from planet earth, and place every human being on another planet for a moment” in order to freely observe earth’s biological boundaries (One).