When the New Horizons space probe launched in 2007 I couldn’t wait for it to reach Pluto in 2015 and finally reveal many secrets of that mysterious dwarf planet. Once that time came I was fascinated to read about the physical details of Pluto that had never been seen before, such as Pluto giving off x-rays. I experience the exact same curiosity whenever a new extrasolar planet is discovered, as well as distant quasars (almost as old as the universe itself).
Yet there are many times when I question the reason as to why I’m so curious about such things. The primary answer that I’ve come up with is that I am human, and humans tend to be such curious beings who desire to know everything, even things that we don’t need to know.
Us humans have five senses through which we understand the world around us (and intuition is occasionally added as a sixth). However there is a reason why our eyes aren’t strong enough to see distant objects like Pluto, and that is because in truth Pluto has nothing to do with our lives. Earth is the planet of which we have been made to live on.
It is true that answers to the Earth’s (and its inhabitants) origin can be found beyond our planet. Yet as interesting as me and many other people find that all to be, it isn’t really that necessary for us to know about the Earth’s early formation. Learning answers of how to conserve and look after our planet and beings living on it is far more important.
When the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) became operational I was excited to find out details of the Big Bang and the universe’s formation. However, the truth is that our lives wouldn’t change whether we knew about those things or not. Blackholes, dark matter and time-dilation fascinate me immensely. Yet again human beings are not naturally meant to know about those things, as they in no way relate to our life on Earth.
Astrophysicists now know for certain that time travel is indeed possible, despite us not yet having advanced enough technology to do so. Yet time travel is extremely dangerous for several reasons. However, I must say that I’m rather confident that we’ll always understand those dangers. This is purely because humans from the future have not harmed our present day, and if we’re unknowingly seeing time travellers in our daily lives they’re disguising themselves very well.
There has to be a reason for why people from the future are not revealing the answers of time travel to us. Personally, I feel that they understand that extensive knowledge (and therefore safety procedures) that need to be understood. The other more grim alternative is that perhaps humans won’t remain on earth long enough to develop time travel.
Experts in the scientific and technological community including Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates have publicly expressed concerns about how dangerous meddling with technology is. We’re now at a stage where advances in technology are more than doubling with every decade. We’re striving to develop devices that can not only do exactly what a human can, but can also do things of which we can’t do. This makes it highly likely that if technological devices can think for themselves, they could very well turn against us.
Yet by saying that, we’re not seeing future robotic devices walking amongst us either. The only possible answers to this are that either humans end their phase on Earth naturally, move elsewhere in the future, become wise enough to not meddle (and/or be cautious) with time travel, or at the worst end up destroying ourselves and the planet around us.
Being human makes me extremely curious about such out of this world things. Yet more importance needs to be placed on our own life experience and what is already at hand. These include crucially important things like healthcare and protecting our beautiful planet that most of us are taking for granted.