The discovery of Kepler 452b has a very profound and long term impact on our species. It is a trap when you think about it at first: you might be a little excited that we discovered it and then you might ask yourself what good does it actually bring you. But if you take a moment and think about time and the human species, you might come to understand how this discovery might help us all in a few centuries from now.
It’s a little too philosophical right? Let’s put it into perspective: humans need resources to survive, resources that even nowadays we question whether they would be sufficient or not to keep our species alive for several generations. We don’t know if we are going to have enough water due to pollution or global warming; we do not know how many more species will go extinct because of our lifestyle and so on.
The truth is that humans, in order to survive, need to extract and use resources. But these resources are not infinite. We are neither going to run out of resources tomorrow, nor in the following centuries, but when we do, what is our backup plan? Humans have a very powerful survival instinct and, in time, when we are going to ask ourselves what we want or need to do next we have an answer: Kepler 452b.
Reaching the planet is obviously harder than it sounds. With our current technology specialists estimate that Kepler would be reached in approximately 11 million years. That would be a little too much for a human being, or several thousand human beings for that matter. And let’s bear in mind that we did not take into consideration any “special ship” or the amount of fuel required to make such a journey.
This is the part when we start thinking long term: we cannot reach Kepler now or anytime soon, but now that we know about it we can actively search for solutions to reach it. It is quite probable that in a century or two we might discover the technology that we require to reach Kepler and thus affect the lives of billions of people.
The discovery and the hope it brings are fantastic because of how much further they allow us to think. Indeed, neither you, nor me will be majorly affected Kepler’s discovery. But thinking only about ourselves would mean that we are too selfish. But our great great grandchildren and humanity will benefit from it. And that’s what matters most.
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