There's nothing that riles my feathers more than when people suggest that space exploration is going to be this wonderful fun adventure, full of exciting new planets, and transformational experiences. That is true, but it's really only one-half of the story. A more realistic look at space exploration suggests that it's also going to be full of tedium, destruction, mistakes, horrors, and questioning whether the whole venture is worth the trouble.
Perhaps the worst aspect of cosmo-optimism (for me at least) is this idea that we're going to somehow escape death by leaving our planet behind. Immortality awaits us in the stars, the faithful say, never peering too close at what exactly they are suggesting. It's a bright and beautiful idea, but it's also one that I don't find true. This essay was my attempt to deflate the naive assumptions I see floating around and introduce a bit more complexity into this bright and bubbly story.
Whether On This World Or Others, Our Species Will Someday Perish