Harvard Scientist Predicts That Humans Will Destroy Themselves Long before the Sun Does

According to the scientist we need a mobile "major upgrade to the International Space Station."
Fabienne Lang

In billions of years the Sun will burn our Earth up and all humanity will disappear. This is what astronomers have believed for decades.

However, Harvard scientist Abraham 'Avi' Loeb believes we may be able to change our fate if we relocate to other sections of the Universe. Loeb means more than 'just' settling on other planets, he means building spacecraft that can essentially maneuver through Space.

That said, Loeb is of the belief that humans will create our own demise long before the Sun does, or even before we can create a mobile spacecraft big enough to move millions of humans around Space.


The end of humanity as we know it

When a BBC reporter asked Loeb what options he believes humanity has in order to keep existing, the Harvard astronomer decided to post his response in a detailed blog post on Scientific American.

Harvard Scientist Predicts That Humans Will Destroy Themselves Long before the Sun Does
Abraham 'Avi' Loeb, Source: Harvard Astronomy

In his response, Loeb underlines the critical need for humans to relocate to other parts of the Universe. He didn't mean just moving everyone to other planets, Loeb meant we need to "manufacture a gigantic structure that will be able [to maneuver] the optimal orbital distance at any given time," and as far away from the Sun as possible.

Then, once we've relocated, Loeb suggests that "we can make genetically identical copies of ourselves and "the flora and fauna we hold dear" to seed other planets with life."

After all of his suggestions, though, Loeb takes a turn towards the more pessimistic reality that long before any of these inventions will be created, us humans will have already destroyed ourselves. It won't be the Sun that brings us down according to this scientist.

Space travel outside of our solar system

If we rewind a little, to right before Loeb predicted our imminent doom, he suggested that "we need to build "an artificial world" capable of bouncing between stars and their neighboring, potentially habitable planets. This industrial spacecraft and human habitat would "represent a very major upgrade to the International Space Station (ISS)."

Furthermore, Loeb pointed out that "The longer-term solution to our existential threats is not to keep all of our eggs in one basket." So we need to create genetically identical copies of humans, flora, and fauna, and then send these copies up to other stars.

But why does Loeb believe we may not survive long enough to make these changes happen?

Harvard Scientist Predicts That Humans Will Destroy Themselves Long before the Sun Does
The International Space Station over Earth. Loeb believes we will need to create a much larger version of the ISS, Source: NASA/Goddard

In his blog, Loeb wrote, "I am inclined to believe that our civilization will disappear as a result of self-inflicted wounds long before the sun will pose its predictable threat."

"Why do I believe that? Because the dead silence we hear so far from the numerous habitable exoplanets we've discovered may indicate that advanced civilizations have much shorter lives than their host stars," continued Loeb.

There have been advancements and big pushes by NASA, ESA, and other space exploration institutes and companies around the world looking to discover habitable planets in our Universe, as well as looking for life beyond our solar system.

But we'll just have to wait and see for now.

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