Physicist Brian Cox on space colonies and the future of the human race

The professor believes that in the next 10 – 20 years we will become a space civilization and thereby guarantee our future, if we do not do anything stupid, for example, we do not start a “war in the Pacific”

Professor Brian Cox has high hopes for the future of humanity. According to the British scientist, the solution to many of our earthly problems lies in space, where there are untapped resources that can satisfy the ever-increasing needs of the human race. This is, of course, as long as we can keep our tendency towards stupidity.

“If we can avoid any nonsense over the next 10 to 20 years, for example, do not disrupt the world order, do not start a war in the Pacific Ocean or something like that, then we guarantee our future forever,” says the popular physicist and TV presenter.

There is no need to rush outside the solar system when we have everything we need right here, ”says Cox, explaining that our nearby planets and asteroid belts have“ virtually endless ”useful resources, including valuable heavy metals such as nickel, cobalt and gold.

And Cox, at 49, expects the human race to begin colonizing other planets during his lifetime.

“We are now at a stage where the next 10 to 20 years will be the time when we will become a space civilization,” he says. “From this moment on, our future as a civilization is guaranteed. The moment we get to the Moon and Mars and start using the resources of the solar system is the moment when we become practically immortal as a civilization. Because we will not be limited to one planet that we can destroy. And now we are doing this. “

We found the scientist and telestar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong when he was staying in the city for a few days after touring Australia with his Brian Cox Live show show.

Although he began his career as a musician with rock band Dare and dance stars D: Ream in the 80s and 90s, Cox’s passion for science survived his involvement with both bands. After completing his PhD in particle physics, he worked at CERN, a Swiss laboratory best known for its accelerator and the discovery of the Higgs boson.

His documentaries Miracles of the Universe, Miracles of the Solar System and regular television appearances made the smiling scientist a well-known person in the UK, where he became famous for his ability to simply explain complex concepts and made physics attractive (One of his books is called Why E = mc2? “)

Cox was last in Hong Kong in 2013, he spoke to bankers at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference, and his first visit was in 1987 as the keyboardist for the group Dare, where they were offered a few weeks’ residency in one of the city’s music centers. This time, Cox was sent by the Royal Geographical Society to speak at the annual Space Odyssey dinner, where he raised some important research topics such as cosmology, gravitational waves and unanswered questions about the origin of the universe.

Today, Cox’s mind is preoccupied with space travel and the emergence of humanity as an interplanetary species – concepts that, until recently, would have been ridiculed as science fiction and at least very expensive. This shift in thinking is the subject of a recent BBC documentary, The 21st Century Space Race, premiered in September.

In the hour-long program, Cox discusses billionaire businessmen who have shifted their attention from Silicon Valley to the skies with the aim of commercial space travel and the possible colonization of other planets in the solar system.

Asia is extremely positive now: you see progress and optimism everywhere

He looks at the approaches and innovations of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic’s Blue Origin Richard Branson, and visits aerospace factories to learn how reusable rockets will make space travel – both industrial and recreational – relatively cheap.

“A lot of people my age, who grew up in the 70s and 80s, were disappointed that we didn’t have lunar bases. Now they are the richest people in the world, so they are going to go and build lunar bases, ”says Cox. “The reason this is happening now comes down to advances in materials science, aerospace and software that have enabled us to make reusable rockets. Once you get them, space will be cheap. “

While companies in the United States are making great strides in aerospace engineering, the country’s leader appears to be firmly opposed to scientific acceptance, especially when it comes to tackling climate change.

“I believe we need a collective shock,” Cox writes in his latest book, Forces of Nature, about what needs to be done to unite humanity and distract people from conflict. “We may have to come together to fix the climate we have ruined, or reject a dangerous asteroid.”

Now, according to him, US President Donald Trump is a “short flash”, but harmful, which will have a great impact on public opinion and politics. But the physicist compares Trump to King Canute trying to contain the waves if he thinks he can stop the growth of renewable energy, which is now cheaper and more affordable than before.

“The train left for people who want to support the fossil fuel industry,” Cox says of America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and Trump’s pledge to increase the number of workers in the country’s coal industry.

“Technological progress has led us to the fact that this is no longer a political decision; it is an economic solution. And I used to think that this could happen because there will be disasters, and insurance will grow, and we will be forced to go down this path, ”he says, worried. “But actually, in the last few years, it just got cheaper. You no longer need to believe in global temperature models – you should, but you no longer need to … it just becomes meaningless. Nobody is going to build new coal-fired power plants now. ”

“It seems obvious until you take a look at America, but I’m even optimistic about it because they seem to have done a pretty good job with Trump,” he continues, adding with a slight grin: “They may be the last words.”

Although Cox’s stay in Hong Kong was limited to three days, he saw how popular Tesla electric cars were in the city and was impressed by the Chinese government’s decision to halt more than 100 coal-fired projects in an effort to reduce fossil fuel use.

“Asia is extremely positive right now: you see progress and optimism everywhere,” he says. “Sometimes we forget in Britain, in America [задумывается]that besides us there are also civilizations. Many people exclaim, “Oh no! The end of civilization has come; look at our crumbling political systems. ” But if you look at the world, at economic growth … eventually, innovation starts to come from elsewhere. I think it should be so. When one system falls apart, the other grows. “

China is investing heavily in science and technology, but the country is playing catch-up in terms of the reputation of its universities, Cox said.

I believe we need a collective shock, ”Cox writes in his latest book, Forces of Nature, about what needs to be done to unite humanity and distract people from conflict. “We may have to come together to fix the climate we have ruined, or reject a dangerous asteroid

“China and Asia as a whole still have a long way to go … the world’s leading universities are not currently located here; they are mainly in the UK and USA. But China knows this, and universities in the region are skyrocketing in the rankings, and they are doing this by not just funding universities. They must invest in science. To have the world’s leading university, you must both teach well and do research. This is well understood here.

Returning to the UK, Cox will return to teaching freshmen the theory of relativity at the University of Manchester, where he is professor of particle physics.

There seems to be no Asian equivalent of Cox in the region; a unifying, inspirational popular figure who would inspire the study of science by extracting clear, engaging facts from it. “Or I can just come here,” the professor says with a smile, always ready for a new challenge. “I’m ready!”

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