The delayed launch of the Artemis rocket by NASA should remind everyone of the nagging frustrations of spaceflight, not to mention the headaches and the expense, as well as the price of failure.

These factors visit us again after the debut of the Artemis program — which is designed to send humans back to the moon and eventually beyond — has seen two launches scrubbed because of mechanical issues. It’s now believed that the unmanned rocket may not launch until later this month or perhaps October.

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E pluribus

The fossil evidence here on Earth shows no species lasts forever. The average survival time of a species is 500,000 to 1,000,000 years before extinction hits.

How long have humans been on earth? About 200,000 years is one figuring. Sure, these numbers will foster an argument. But though the numbers might be off a bit - they don't lie.

So unless our species does something unprecedented in the history of the planet, our days are numbered.

What else can we do? Of course ceasing human activity that dangerously re-shapes the planet is a start. But simply addressing global warming won't be enough.

Science fiction has humans terraforming other worlds to make them habitable. This is not far-fetched -- no species can manipulate its environment like we can. For good and bad.

And we will definitely need to “terraform” our own planet. Certainly we are already watching the seas rise on our coasts and extreme weather punish us inland.

First, of course, we'll have to stop making things worse. And half of our population denies this is even happening. So humans will have to suffer the consequences for quite awhile before we tackle this existential threat.

Still, with luck (and a lot of global cooperation) humans could conceivably keep this planet habitable and see our species into the future for another 1.75 billion years or so before astronomical forces inevitably make the planet uninhabitable.

Unlikely I suppose, but one can always hope.

Possibly with even more luck - building on projects like Artemis - by then some of us will have left this world to continue human evolution among the stars.

But an effort this vast will require global cooperation. Which at this point is more under-developed than the science that could make this possible.

We're all in the same boat - our circumstances mean we must cooperate or perish. Sooner if not later.

I’d choose later. Godspeed, Artemis.

ET2021

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