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Astronaut: 'Single-Planet Species Don't Last'

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the rated-w-for-wiped-out dept.

Space 921

An anonymous reader writes "Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle astronaut John Young, due to retire in two weeks, says that the human species is in danger of becoming extinct: 'The statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years due to a super volcano or asteroid or comet impact is 1 in 455. How does that relate? You're 10 times more likely to get wiped out by a civilization-ending event in the next 100 years than you are getting killed in a commercial airline crash.' He says that the technologies needed to colonize the solar system will help people survive through disasters on Earth. Young has written about this topic before in an essay called 'The Big Picture'." In related news, the Shuttle overhaul program is on track for a May 2005 launch.

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Prove it (5, Insightful)

stecoop (759508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116134)

What other higher order specie that has multi planet colonization did he do his evaluation against? What was the success rate of the multi planet effort - would it have been better to spend those resources maintaining quality on one planet?

So he writes about volcanic activity, planetoid impacts and solar disasters. What if we spent all our resources on keeping the planet safe? We could drill out pressure of volcanoes and build super bombs for planetoids. If our sun goes all bets are off though we need to find another solar system but I bet we could figure out something in 4.5 billion years.

But all in all he is correct I am just point out a con; however, I don't think that ~5 billion people could be wiped out by any single event that left the planet habitable afterwards.

Re:Prove it (2, Interesting)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116179)

It seems to me that the real threat to the species is the species itself. At some point, we will probably make ourselves extinct, as well as make the planet uninhabitable. What a shame.

Re:Prove it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116192)


If we become extinct it's only because almighty GOD willed it. He dictates all. All praise GOD, yeah!

Re:Prove it (1)

dastardly_villain (777858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116272)

Yeah, what evidence does this guy have? I can watch "Armeggeddon" and come to the same conclusion! Bottomline is, science needs to always be prepared for the worst. In this case the 'worst' could be a bio terrorism outbreak, volcanic activity, nuclear war, global warming, asteroids, a sudden collapse of our atmosphere, the sun going nova....the same things scientists work at everday to provide solutions for. What's his point?

Re:Prove it (3, Insightful)

calibanDNS (32250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116390)

What's his point?

His point is that we aren't funding this type of research enough. Also, he seems very concerned (and rightly so) that most of our species are blissfully ignorant of the dangers that we impose on ourselves, for example by relying so heavily on fossil fuels.

Re:Prove it (4, Funny)

I don't want to spen (638810) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116294)

... I don't think that ~5 billion people could be wiped out by any single event that left the planet habitable afterwards...
You don't work in the PR department for the dinosaur government do you?

No need to prove - assume the worst (0, Redundant)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116300)

Yep. Let's just keep all our eggs in one basket and bet on the chances that ~5 billion people won't be wiped out by any single event.

Re:Prove it (1, Interesting)

Kardamon (54123) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116320)

If our sun goes all bets are off though we need to find another solar system but I bet we could figure out something in 4.5 billion years.

We already have a spare solar system, it's called Jupiter. The only thing we need to do is to transform it into a star an off we fly...

Re:Prove it (1)

kyouteki (835576) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116369)

You read too much Arthur C. Clark. :p Or probably others, but I don't read enough...

Re:Prove it (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116328)

I believe his hypothosis comes from the same logical thinking as:

Dont put all your eggs into one basket.

Great Old Ones (3, Funny)

MooseByte (751829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116353)


"What other higher order species that has multi planet colonization did he do his evaluation against?"

The Great Old Ones [cthulhu.org] and their minions? Those Mi-Go are pretty hardy buggers.

On the specifics of this report's premise, it seems to me to be a hell of a lot cheaper (and more realistic at the present) to ensure humanity's survival by being able to "Go Deep". If the we could harness geothermal power down deep, we could power lights that could grow plants in our subterranean cities, etc. and keep ourselves going.

Sure we'd end up living on glowing fungus in the end, and evolve big giant eyes and go all pasty-white pale, but then when we travel back in time to visit Earth in the 1960s-80s we'll look like we're supposed to.

Must be Friday. I need a drink.

---

Cthulhu holiday songs [cthulhulives.org] , for the gift that keeps on loathing.

Re:Prove it (2, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116357)

What other higher order specie that has multi planet colonization did he do his evaluation against? What was the success rate of the multi planet effort - would it have been better to spend those resources maintaining quality on one planet?
I don't think he needs to. There have been several events in our worlds past that would have wiped us out were we around -- and ended up wiping out most everything alive at the time.

I question the "1:455" chance for us to get wiped out in the next 100 years, but what is being suggested *IS* sound -- "don't keep all your eggs in one basket".

Great! (5, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116149)

I'm glad to see that the unmanned-space-exploration-mafia has not been able to completely silence the drive for manned space exploration - yet. I have no doubt that if nothing changes drastically, that will happen eventually. There're just too many "good political reasons" to kill the expensive and risky (PR-wise) manned space program. After all, taking the fall for dead astronauts could kill anybody's career...

Yes. Manned missions are risky and expensive. Unmanned and remotely controlled probes are just fine and dandy and they yield plenty of useful information about the conditions in space and on other planets, but what's that information good for if we're never going to leave our planet and/or when we're going to get hit by an extinction level event?

As a species we have definitely become too concerned about safety in exploration. Can't shoot people up to space because they might get killed? Well, duh? What if the explorers like Magellan or Vasco da Game had thought about it like that?

The saddest comment I once got was: "we'll never be able to colonize other planets because the conditions are so fundamentally hostile, so let's not waste any funds/effort on manned space flights." What the hell happened to the human will to explore and survive? What's the point in sending out probes if the information gained will certainly be lost in the (near) future when the big one hits the earth?

Re:Great! (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116214)

This is a good reason that privately funded space travel needs to "explode". When space flight becomes less expensive, and companies can drive exploration as much as anyone else, then steps will truly be made in this realm. Waiting on NASA just isn't cutting it these days.

Re:Great! (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116246)

When space flight becomes less expensive, and companies can drive exploration as much as anyone else

I don't think incorporation would change anything. Exploding spacecrafts and dead explorers would be just as bad for the boardmember of a corp as it would be for a politician.

Re:Great! (1)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116335)

Ha ha ha - great sig. I've gotta find that animation now...haven't watched it in years.

Re:Great! (1)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116371)

This is a good reason that privately funded space travel needs to "explode"

Explode? In that case I'll stay behind here on earth just in case anyone stops by while everybody else is gone.

Re:Great! (3, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116303)

Obviously we need to greatly expand our NASA budget and start preparing to colonize other planets... wait, you don't think that is the point of scaremongering us, is it?

Re:Great! (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116358)

Well, scaremongering seems to be working rather well as far as terrorism goes, so why not try it here as well?

Seriously, I'm not from the US and I do not advocate increasing NASA funding per se - unless it's a part of a truly international manned space exploration effort.

1 in 455? (4, Insightful)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116150)


Just cause some retired guy in an interview says it, doesn't make it true.

Re:1 in 455? (1)

Nosf3ratu (702029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116188)

What credentials does he have?

"Oh, I've been to another planet. You Earthlings are so fucked." And where the hell did he get the 1 in 455 figure from? It doesn't explain any of it in the article.

Intergalactic FUD?

You betcha.

Re:1 in 455? (4, Insightful)

ViolentGreen (704134) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116244)

Seriously... Why the human race be more likely to be destroyed by a geological or cosmological event in the next 100 years than in the past 3000 or so of recorded history?

Re:1 in 455? (1)

Mal1 (840177) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116250)

He's not retired yet, thus making it true.

Odds are off (3, Funny)

hkb (777908) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116155)

You're 10 times more likely to get wiped out by a civilization-ending event in the next 100 years than you are getting killed in a commercial airline crash.

I've heard of numerous commercial airline fatalities in the news. Can't say I've heard of any civilization-ending events in my lifetime.

Sounds like FUD to me.

Re:Odds are off (4, Funny)

doi (584455) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116185)

Can't say I've heard of any civilization-ending events in my lifetime.

Well, duh.

Re:Odds are off (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116290)

Despite the news, airplanes are safer per passenger than I think any other means of travel. Maybe rail is safer, I don't know. To my understanding, automobiles are quite a bit less safe than airplanes.

Re:Odds are off (1)

Twisted Grind (815318) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116325)

Actually, the odds are dead on...for you. This data is for when you think of an inspecific individual. The way to get this figure is to multipy the probabily by the number of people the event would effect...when you're dealing with 6x10^9 people, well, the data suddenly appears a lot more convincing, eh?

Airline Crash (4, Insightful)

zerosignal (222614) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116156)

So there's a 1 in 4550 chance of me dying in an airline crash? That figure sounds suspiciously high.

Re:Airline Crash (1)

JemalCole (222845) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116263)

I could buy that if you add "over the next 100 years" and imply "of near-continual airline travel." Maybe.

How'd they get 1 in 455? (4, Insightful)

mopslik (688435) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116159)

The statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years due to a super volcano or asteroid or comet impact is 1 in 455

Dare I ask how that number was dervied? It seems awfully arbitrary, and full of doom-and-gloom.

Re:How'd they get 1 in 455? (1)

marika (572224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116284)

I wonder how we made it up to now then.

It's a feature! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116162)

Don't procreate! [churchofeuthanasia.org]

Flying cars and robots too... (1)

parvenu74 (310712) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116167)

And fifty years ago it was predicted we would all have flying cars and domestic servant robots by now too... As Yogi Berra put it: "Its tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

Sounds good but... (1)

mark99 (459508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116171)

If the odds were that large, how come we have been around for like 30k-100k years already?

Still I agree with him, getting humans off the planet (especially their agriculture) would relieve pressure on all the other spieces.

Re:Sounds good but... (2, Interesting)

takev (214836) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116292)

1 in 455 for every hundred years means 45k years, so I guess we are already a little overdue to die, that could just be a statistical anomaly.

Re:Sounds good but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116385)

Interestingly, taking his odds as being accurate and ergodic (not changing with time), the probability of a 30k-year extinction free run is about 0.516, while a 100k-year run is about 0.111. Maybe we've just been moderately lucky with our saving throws. 11.1% is pretty high odds by cosmological standards.

There is also observer bias in saying "it hasn't happened yet": i.e., if it HAD happened, no one would be around to make the calculation and no one would be complaining about how unlucky they were... ;-)

Not that I believe him, but it's not as ridiculous a number as you might think at first.

Look positive (2, Funny)

roalt (534265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116176)

The statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years due to a super volcano or asteroid or comet impact is 1 in 455

Why always look at the negative side of things? It would reduce the problem of slashdotting websites...

Obligatory beowulf reference... (2, Funny)

jarich (733129) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116184)

So he wants a beowulf cluster of planets?

Kewl!

Ooh, factoids! (1)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116186)

You're 10 times more likely to get wiped out by a civilization-ending event in the next 100 years than you are getting killed in a commercial airline crash.

I betcha you didn't know that if you lined up 100 years of civilization-ending events side by side, they'd span 2,000,000 football fields from the Earth to the Moon!

Re:Ooh, factoids! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116373)

You forgot the volkswagen beetles equivalent.

and... (5, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116187)

"On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero."
- Jack, Fight Club

Sometime you hear people talk like they're going to live forever. Well I got news for you.

NOT!

Statistics (1)

justanumber239 (838255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116191)

He writes, "The statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years due to a super volcano or asteroid or comet impact is 1 in 455." This reminds me of the old joke: 37% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

1 in 455? (0, Redundant)

mlong (160620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116193)

I wonder if he included historial observations in his odds. You know...like the fact we've been here for hundreds of thousands of years without getting wipd out. Or how about that our population is the biggest it has ever been which increases the odds that at least 1 human would survive a meteor impact, etc.

Re:1 in 455? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116257)

Yeah um, hate to break it to you, but is one human surviving any better than none surviving....?

Re:1 in 455? (1)

russianspy (523929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116307)

Hate to break this to you - but if only one human survives - the civilization still dies.

Even two people, Adam and Eve if you will, does not provide sufficient genetic diversity to last for many generations.

Umm.... (1)

AsnFkr (545033) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116195)

100 years ago you were 100 times more likely to get wiped out by a civilization-ending event getting killed in a commercial airline crash, but it dosen't mean it happened.

Re:Umm.... (1)

Yolegoman (762615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116322)

Hell, 100 years ago you were INFINITELY more likely to be killed by a civilization-ending event then by a commercial airline crash.

There WERE no commercial airlines back then.

Huh? (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116200)

1 in 455 chance of humanity being wiped out in the next 100 years?

So every 45500 years, a mass extinction event takes place on Earth? That sure doesn't sound right.

Re:Huh? (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116334)

On _average_, humanity will be wiped out once during every 45500 years. And, yes, it does seem a mind-blowingly high probability, which casts a bit of doubt on Mr. Young's opinions.

Frankly, it kind of reminds me of the whole SETI thing - depending on which set of numbers you plug in, ET life is either a near certainty or totally impossible.

-Erwos

Hyperspace (4, Interesting)

Schezar (249629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116204)

For anyone interested in this sort of thing, I recommend Hyperspace [campusi.com] by Michio Kaku [mkaku.org]

One of the discussions in the book touches on objective "levels" of civilization and species.

IIRC, it can be broken down something like this:

Level 0: What humans are now.
Level 1: Mastery of the entire energy capacity of a single planet
Level 2: Mastery of the entire energy capacity of a single solar system
Level 3: etc...

He supposed that Level 2 and beyond was the point at which a civilization was effectively permanent, able to survive anything less than the total heat death of the universe.

Neat stuff.

Re:Hyperspace (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116394)

How do you get certification though? Who do we contact for more information?

How come... (1)

term8or (576787) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116205)

Far more people have died in air crashes in the last 10 years than have died in worldwide extinction events in the last 1000?

In A World Where... (4, Funny)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116210)

The statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years due to a super volcano or asteroid or comet impact is 1 in 455

...oh, come now. Sure, he says "wiped out", but we all know that's just a teaser.

What he really meant to say is this:

The statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years due to a super volcano or asteroid or comet impact would be 1 in 455--were it not for the heroic actions of one man, his wise-cracking, non-WASP sidekick, and a plucky band of researcher/rock star/mercenaries...

Re:In A World Where... (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116327)

The 'super volcano' risk sounds completely bogus... over time the earth is cooling (radiologically) so statistically the odds of something happening becomes less and less.

Eggs in a basket (1)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116211)

I've always figured that eventually the human race is going to have to branch out to somewhere other than Earth in order to survive. That's ignoring any "ice age/global warming" threats, or even the cataclysmic doomsday event. Eventually, we're going to run out of space and resources to live. Human kind certainly isn't going to stop there, and say "I think we've got a pretty good thing going here."

Spreading is inevitable.

where did the statistic come from? (1)

supersuckers (841107) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116212)

from the article :
Q: Why should humans go back to the moon? A: The moon has a lot of resources that we'll learn how to use in this century and that will be great. ... The technologies we need to live and work on the moon will save us right here on this planet. Bad things are inevitably going to happen to us, like comet or asteroid impacts or super volcanoes. Flying in space is risky business, but just staying on this planet is risky business too. The statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years due to a super volcano or asteroid or comet impact is 1 in 455. How does that relate? You're 10 times more likely to get wiped out by a civilization-ending event in the next 100 years than you are getting killed in a commercial airline crash. The most dangerous thing we do in Houston, of course, is drive our automobiles to work every day, so you know how dangerous that is and how many people get killed doing that. But wiping out civilization. ... It's not the point that we should move (to another planet). It's the point that the technologies that we need to live and work in other places in the solar system will help us survive on Earth when these bad things happen.
Ok, he's a 74 year old former astronaut. That doesn't make him more credible in my book when he makes such an ominous claim. Does anyone have a reference about this statistic?

civilization-ending event? (1)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116216)


If the "civilization-ending event" is a war, I bet this war would spread to other plantes as well...

Still, the chance somebody survives would be better, of course...

Hmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116218)

'Single-Planet Species Don't Last'


Seems to me the cockroach species isn't found on any other planets, yet they've survived more than one so-called "planet-ending" events.

Credibility Lost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116221)

This from a guy that smuggled a corned beef sandwich on a Gemini module! Countless lives could have been lost due to this thoughtless break of protocol. President Bush, please start a program to eliminate corned beef in our lifetime! :)

I agree (5, Funny)

Bryan Bytehead (9631) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116223)

I've always said, "The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us are getting the hell off this rock!"

Re:I agree (2, Insightful)

syrinx (106469) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116293)

It would be nice if the meek inherited the Earth; seeing as the stupid have it at the moment.

Re:I agree (1)

ConsoleDeamon (611610) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116305)

2 that

One Planet ... (4, Insightful)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116231)

From the article: It's not the point that we should move (to another planet). It's the point that the technologies that we need to live and work in other places in the solar system will help us survive on Earth when these bad things happen.

Hello - the title of this /. article is misleading...

Re:One Planet ... (4, Funny)

stewby18 (594952) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116291)

Hello - the title of this /. article is misleading...

You must be new here.

multi planet species (1)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116233)

You know if you just colonize a planet and don't have comingling in a reproductive sense with other colonies, the population of that planet will begin to diverge, evolutionarily speaking, and will eventually end up as a species different from the "home planet" And where does he come up with his, 1 chance in 455 over the next 100 years, statistic anyway?

Oh, Please. (1)

saudadelinux (574392) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116241)

If we survived Toba, we should be able, as a species, to get through an asteroid or some such thing. Civilization would collapse, there'd be a huge die-off, but as a species, we'd bounce back.

ROFL! (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116242)

The title says it all: 'Single-Planet Species Don't Last'

And how, pray tell, could anyone possible conclude such a "fact" when NO known existence of life outside of our piddly little Earth has been found?

I moderate this article F.U.D.!!!

Pointless talking about this (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116243)

currently, because we do not have the resources currently to shift a sizeable portion of our population to another planet, or even to orbit. Having 100 people on Mars as a backup plan incase Earth gets hit by an asteroid accomplishes nothing, as the offworld population size isnt big enough to sustain itself in the environment available, you need a sizeable number in an environment that can sustain them. To talk about this publically is really just incitement to public panic, or plain fantasy, ie 'Heres a possible disaster scenario that will kill billions and theres little to nothing we can do, discuss'. Talking about it wont speed up the required technology acquisition in order to make a sensible and fulfillable solution possible.

Re:Pointless talking about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116359)

Perhaps, but talking is all normal people can do.

When the Soviets launched Sputnik, mainstream political types slammed it as a big PR stunt, after all, what good is a ball in outer space? Why talk or do it at all?

Little did they know, that ball would revolutionize Major League Baseball telecasting delivery. For good.

I agree that action and technological development is more important, but if people didn't have wet dreams about the future or realize a potential folly, I think we would of wiped ourselves out a long time ago.

random statistics (1)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116247)

Since we're pulling numbers out of our asses, I'm gonna say that I have a 1 in 5 chance of getting laid this weekend. Woohoo! That'll certainly make my Friday go that much faster...

Unsubstantiated Science? (1)

bozendoka (739643) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116251)

Where is he getting 1 in 455? Maybe this should get an honorable mention over here [slashdot.org] .

Oh, and here's a free 'u' if you feel it's necessary: u

The Dominion (1)

Emperor Shaddam IV (199709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116254)

The Founders stay on one planet. Except for the few agents they send out. But they never became extinct. So this theory is false. :)

we'd be lucky to get 100 years.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116258)

with bush in charge, i expect humanity to be wiped out sometime before 2008.

45,500 Years = 100% chance of human wipe-out (1)

stankulp (69949) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116260)

"The statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years due to a super volcano or asteroid or comet impact is 1 in 455."

This translates into a 1 in 45,500 chance of humans being wiped out in any given year, or a 100% chance in 45,500 years.

Homo sapiens has been around a lot longer than 45,500 years.

Why aren't we extinct yet?

Re:45,500 Years = 100% chance of human wipe-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116344)

This translates into a 1 in 45,500 chance of humans being wiped out in any given year, or a 100% chance in 45,500 years.

Er, no. Back to math class for you!

Re:45,500 Years = 100% chance of human wipe-out (2, Insightful)

hairykrishna (740240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116376)

Well, basically, stats don't work like that. 1 in 455 in one year != a certainty in 45,500 years. Same as flipping a coin- flip it once and the chance of getting a head is 1 in 2. This doesn't mean that if you flip a coin twice you always get a 1 heads, 1 tails result.

Of course in this case it's all kind of irrelevant anyway because, as many posters have already commented, the guy seems to have pulled the statistic directly from his ass.

Re:45,500 Years = 100% chance of human wipe-out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116379)

Your math is wrong. If I roll a six sided die once, I have a 1 in 6 chance of rolling a 6. If I roll it six times, I don't necessarily have a 100% chance of rolling a 6. You're assuming that for every 1 wipe out, there will be 45,499 non wipe outs in the same 45,500 year block. This is false. Theoretically I could roll six sided dice until I pass away and never roll a 6. It isn't likely, but it's not impossible.

I Agree (1)

ConsoleDeamon (611610) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116266)

We realy need to spread our resources, as long that we are concentered on this planet we hawe all eggs in one basket. Just a mather of time before we become a victim of cosmic pingpong

Humans already wiped out -- film at 11000 BC (2, Informative)

fritz (5973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116270)

If "[t]he statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years due to a super volcano or asteroid or comet impact is 1 in 455", then the statistical risk of humans having been wiped out in the last 100,000 years is 88.9%.

So it's almost certain that none of us are here. You're not reading this. Cockroachs are the dominant species on earth.

Shouldn't we all be dead already then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116274)

Naturally we have little chance of being eradicated from the planet anytime soon.

I think its likely we'll self destruct however considering how much war and conflict occur's even in this modern age. We've came so close to killing ourselves so many times now.

Funky math (1, Insightful)

ShinmaWa (449201) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116285)

The statistical risk of humans getting wiped out in the next 100 years [...] is 1 in 455. You're 10 times more likely to get wiped out by a civilization-ending event in the next 100 years than you are getting killed in a commercial airline crash

Let's see.. this would put the odds of getting wiped out in a commercial airline crash at 1 in 4550 -- meaning, if this were true, that there would be dozens of commerical airline crashes every day. Three per week out of O'Hare alone.

That alone makes me call BS on this whole article.

God Will Just Make More! (1)

b3x (586838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116289)

Never fear kids ... currently the big guy upstairs is ramping up production for human v2.0, all kinds of new features and bug fixes.

better start saving now for upgrades, if you thought doom 3 was bad, you aint seen nothing yet!

Re:God Will Just Make More! (1)

WarPresident (754535) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116382)

Never fear kids ... currently the big guy upstairs is ramping up production for human v2.0, all kinds of new features and bug fixes.


It's not the upgrade that I fear, it's the reboot...

Old quote, but good: (5, Funny)

sahonen (680948) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116297)

"Dinosaurs are extinct because they didn't have a space program."

Says everything, really.

Lets think about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116315)

For the sake of the universe, perhaps our nasty, parasitic species SHOULD confine itself to one planet...

Super volcano??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116316)

The guy has (as humans go) jumped the shark.

Statistics? (2, Insightful)

abertoll (460221) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116317)

Wouldn't this have been the same chance of being wiped out "in the next 100 years" for the past (how long have humans been on the planet?) Call me skeptical, but either that statistic is wrong or it's pulled out of...

Nevermind, the point is if the chances are 1 in 455, that means that roughly every 455 years a civilization-ending event must be occuring. I don't see that, do you?

So? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116318)

If every last human died in some global disaster, while it is sad to think about a priori, if it were to happen, by definition, there would be no one to care about it after the fact.

Wouldn't the universe be more ecologically sound if homo sapiens died off?

I bet a single-planet species is no worse off... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116331)

...than a single-solar-system species or even single-galaxy species. I won't stop worrying until we're in place in multiple galaxies, but I'm a Peirson's Puppeteer, so I might be biased.

What about one-star species? (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116336)

While I agree with the overall idea (we need to get stable off-planet colonies ASAP), we need more than just the moon or Mars.

Most of the possible "civilization-ending" events will actually leave quite a few humans alive, certainly enough to reestablish civilization over a few centuries. The "really big" problems involve our primary, the Sun. If that stops behaving in a very calm, consistant manner, we all die, no recovery possible.

At the very least, we need a colony beyond the asteroid belt. Sadly, no large rocky planets exist out there (though perhaps one of Jupiter's big-4 moons would suffice). Better yet, a truly extrasolar colony, but that would require information we don't quite have yet (such as a likely Earth-like planet around another star).

Now accepting bets (1)

mumwahead (606744) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116341)

I'd like to start accepting bets for when civilization will end. You can pick any day and any amount, just pay me up front and if the world ends on your day you'll be very rich indeed.

Talkshows or "raise NASA budget"-tour (1)

NoSuchGuy (308510) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116342)

In 2 weeks they retire.

They want the invitationmoney for talkshows to talk about "space things".

An other reason might be they are on a "Raise the budget for NASA"-Tour. When they seed fear maybe politicans will "move" more money to NASA.

Incomming! (1)

10000000000000000000 (809085) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116343)

well we are certainly in the trenches of a galactic battlefield.
Tracers fly over our heads nightly.
Our nearest outpost is riddled with bullet holes.
It certainly seems rational to spread the troops out so that a single mortar round doesn't take out the whole company.
I've been watching band of brothers alot lately :D

I wonder (1)

u-238 (515248) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116352)

how the whole modern P.C. multicultural thing will tie into this.

'Single-Planet Species Don't Last' (4, Insightful)

warpSpeed (67927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116355)

Tell that to the cockroaches...

Shace Shuttle "fleet" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116360)

"In related news, the Shuttle overhaul program is on track for a May 2005 launch."

And acording to TFA:
"NASA is on track to make the improvements needed to meet its goal of returning the space shuttle fleet to service as soon as May 2005"

Well... I guess if you want to call two out of four left a "fleet"... hey, more power to ya'.

Damn it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116367)

Will you stop writing about armageddon-type stories? I've been having trouble swallowing food for the past few months, and this is the very thing that has been making it worse.

good to know.. (1)

kevinx (790831) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116387)

I've just installed some extra padding my tinfoil hat. I'll be safe from asteroid impact. If everyone does the same it will insure the continuation of our species.

ps. I recommend using sterile cotton balls as opposed to standard home insulation.

...good luck.. I hope to see you all after the "big crash".

Civilization != humankind (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#11116395)

OK, so a catastrophe wipes out civilization. People (anatomically modern humans) have been around for about 200,000 years, but they've been living in cities (the anthropological definition of civilization) for only about 5,000 -- and not everybody has been living in cities for the past 5k. So I think we'll do alright.

Disaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11116400)

The only disaster currently for humans is american dominance :)=
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