Where we’ve been and where we’re going…

Humans are bipedal apes. Yet we find that rather odd because our ape kin aren’t usually bipedal on the ground. Did we get bipedal on the ground too, or did some other environment suit that peculiar locomotive style better? A sextet of pictures from a Public Library of Science article….

Gorilla female plucks a stick from a swamp floor

…which evokes so many resonances for me. Look at how she walks clutching that stick.

At the other end of our journey, as a species, is the prospect of Interstellar Migration. The Ultimate Project is a plausible plan for an Interstellar colonization mission, but of World-Ship proportions. The basic plan is for a vast million-person “Star City” to traverse 20 light years at 0.002c (600 km/s) on a ten millennial journey to a new star system for humanity. For propulsion the Star City will use immense D-He3 fusion rockets, taking a century or so to build up speed.

Such fusion drives have exhaust velocities of ~ 15,000 km/s, so I wonder why the Star City isn’t going faster? To avoid interstellar debris, which is pretty lethal at speeds over ~ 0.01c, and to spend as much time between the stars as seems reasonable, I suspect. Such a Star City would allow for incredible astronomical collaborations between it and our Solar System, for example measuring the nearby Galaxies with stunning precision – imagine parallaxes out to the Virgo Super-Cluster. Thus why I call it “Star City” as it seems more like a mobile Observatory than a colonizing mission.

Read more, check it out, and best of all any contribution you make now will, possibly, shape events 500 years from now when the Project launches.