The Future of Humanity
My experience with Dr. Michio Kaku started a number of years ago when I picked up Physics of the Future. For those who aren’t aware of Dr. Kaku, he is an accomplished physicist and futurist who seems to be the host of endless scientific tv shows and is a frequent guest on various news outlets. Kaku’s trademark is the way he conveys complex scientific principles in a way the lay person can easily digest. The Future of Humanity is no different. In the book, he discusses topics such as terraforming mars, interstellar travel, immortality, and transmitting human consciousness across the stars.
Of particular interest to me was his discussion of the possibilities in terraforming mars. With visionaries like Elon Musk rushing to develop the technology to get us there, the discussion turned away from the realities of living there. Technically, a Saturn V or something similar would have had the thrust necessary to get us to mars, but the technology to remain on planet for an extended period needs work. Additionally, NASA is currently conducting studies to determine the long term effects of extended space travel. Radiation is only one of the many concerns. How will the human mind react to the isolation? How can we screen astronauts for this kind of mission?
I believe we’ll get a lot of answers from Scott Kelly’s recent yearlong mission to the ISS. The effects on his body will be compared to his twin who, also an astronaut, has not spent nearly as long in space. Differences in their genetic code could reveal catastrophic damage or relatively little change. The full report will be released this year, but future updates may be just as useful as the initial findings. If you’re impatient for the report, check out his autobiography which covers the mission in detail.
The Future of Humanity is a great starting point if you’re starting to look into terraforming or interstellar travel. It grazes the surface and provides entry points to perform a deep dive if you so wish. If you don’t have a scientific background this is a great place to get started!
If this book sounds good to you, check out Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book, The Gene. Dr. Mukherjee’s book was one of the best I’ve read in 2018. Additionally, Mukherjee and Kaku each share a delivery which draws the reader into complex topics with ease. Highly recommend!