If the World Was Ending, What Would Your Last Message Be?

By the New York Times

This is an article from Turning Points, a magazine that explores what critical moments from this year might mean for the year ahead.

If the world was coming to an end and we were to send one last message out into the cosmos that summed up the beauty of life on Earth, what would it be? Jane Goodall, Mohsin Hamid, Oscar Murillo, James Dyson, Richard Dawkins, Kyung-sook Shin and Daniel Humm tell us.

Tell us how you would sum up the beauty of life on Earth on the Times Opinion Facebook page. We may highlight your response in a follow-up to this piece.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – If the world was coming to an end and we were to send one last message out into the cosmos that summed up the beauty of life on Earth, . . . . .. . . . . . . . .

    Blow sending messages into the cosmos!!

    I would hope MY last message would be: –

    “You just have time for one more launch from Earth – and we can accommodate one last ship-load of humans on the Titan Base.

    Please bring the following skills, information, species, and items with you . . . . . . . . ”

  2. Elsewhere, this was my response as a final message.

    “Our adventure ended early. The Selfish Few won. The Exploiters using lies bamboozled too many and thwarted our future for their own gain.”

    (This, apart from overwhelming natural disasters in excess of our current capabilities, is the only reason for failure I can see.)

  3. And also, The Humans managed to screw up the planet in less than two thousand years.
    They may also still be infected with the “God Delusion”………..
    Soooo,,,,,no.

  4. Alan4discussion #1
    Dec 5, 2017 at 10:41 am

    “You just have time for one more launch from Earth – and we can accommodate one last ship-load of humans on the Titan Base.

    For human bases to operate in the outer Solar-System where sunlight is weak, some fission or fusion power source is required.

    Such power sources are currently under development!

    https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/feature/Powering_Up_NASA_Human_Reach_for_the_Red_Planet

    The agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has provided multi-year funding to the Kilopower project.
    Testing is due to start in November and go through early next year, with NASA partnering with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Nevada National Security Site to appraise fission power technologies.

    Confidence builder
    “The Kilopower test program will give us confidence that this technology is ready for space flight development. We’ll be checking analytical models along the way for verification of how well the hardware is working,” explains Lee Mason, STMD’s principal technologist for Power and Energy Storage at NASA Headquarters.

    The DOE/National Nuclear Security Administration infrastructure and expertise have been instrumental, Mason points out, as have the talents of Los Alamos National Laboratory engineers in New Mexico. NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland has managed all phases of the Kilopower Project, from designing and building the hardware, with contributions from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, through developing the test plan and operating the tests. The Y12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee is providing the reactor core.

    “A space nuclear reactor could provide a high energy density power source with the ability to operate independent of solar energy or orientation, and the ability to operate in extremely harsh environments, such as the Martian surface,” notes Patrick McClure, project lead on the Kilopower work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20160012354.pdf

    Space Technology Mission Directorate
    Game Changing Development Program
    Nuclear Systems Kilopower Overview

    Full-­‐scale nuclear test of
    reactor core, sodium heat
    pipes, and Stirling
    convertors at prototypic
    operating conditions

  5. Alan, its not that I don’t see the need for research and space exploration, I am starting to have a morality issue with the spread of Humans.
    And, if massive planet outpost are developed, what motivation is there to save Earth? Only the rich and famous will survive. And they will look upon Earth as a garbage dump. Economic cleansing. Then the Tribe mentality would set in. So we would in effect, be splitting the Human race into the Martians and the Earthlings.
    I think my viewpoint is suspect however. Yours would be skewed if your current administration was run by idiots. (I don’t want those idiots escaping when the fires get too hot.)

  6. Message: Hello, from planet Earth. A very fine chap named Dan made this soon-to-be dead world a little brighter.

  7. alf1200 #6
    Dec 9, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Alan, its not that I don’t see the need for research and space exploration, I am starting to have a morality issue with the spread of Humans.

    I’m not sure about that! We certainly sent god-deluded astronauts into space, but ONLY by a huge back-up force of highly educated and dedicated scientists and engineers facilitating this!
    The authority obeying faith-thinkers, would not have lasted a couple of days, without these rationalists providing the technical support services and instructions.
    There is a very big difference in OUTCOMES between those trusting evidence based expert instructions from a team of reputable scientists, and those blindly following faith in “authoritative” priestly interpretations of mythology or political or corporate ideology!
    (The loss of two space-shuttles illustrated this very clearly in the subsequent accident reports.)

    And, if massive planet outpost are developed, what motivation is there to save Earth?

    There will never be facilities to transport more than a tiny percentage of humans to exo-colonies, so while there may be political manipulations by the rich to acquire such postings for themselves, the harsh selective environment of space will quickly remove any anti-science wish-thinkers individually or en-block.

    Only the rich and famous will survive. And they will look upon Earth as a garbage dump. Economic cleansing.

    I think the colonists (especially remote ones), will not see themselves as having a commitment to Earth, but it will be up to the remaining Earth population to solve their own problems, while the colonists will have enough of their own challenges to meet in settlements which need artificial power generators, just to provide life support to survive!

    Then the Tribe mentality would set in.

    Your are probably right, that the separate settlements will go their own ways, although some trading of specialist materials and ideas will happen.

    The exceptions to this, would be trading infrastructure colonies in Earth or Lunar orbit, selling services to Earth-based enterprises.

    These would however be vulnerable to Earth related disasters such as asteroid showers or Solar flares.

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