Space Travel
Humans Living On Other Worlds

The Third Prohibition


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The Second Prohibition
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The Problem at Babel

As stated in the "Tower" page, God wanted the people of Babel to spread out and populate the whole earth. They wanted to stay in one place, and took action to ensure it. That was the real purpose of the City and the Tower. This provoked God to confuse their languages and cause them to scatter. In recent years, humans have in fact spread their habitation to the entire earth, even Antarctica, and there have been experiments done with a view to populating the bottoms of the oceans. All this, God allows and at least once wanted, but there is reason to believe that that is as far as He will let us go. We find the most obvious basis for this in Acts 17:26;

"And He (God) has made from one blood every nation
to dwell on the face of the whole earth,
and has determined their preappointed times
and the boundaries of their dwellings".

God has a plan for the human race - a Plan of Salvation, to be specific - that involves parameters of time and space. The story of the Tower of Babel, plus other relevant historical events, have shown that He will intervene in history whenever mankind's corrupt creativity (or anything else man does) threatens His Plan of Salvation.

The Problem Now

Yet as you read this, the launching of the Freedom International Space Station has begun. It will soon be manned continuously. It is interesting that the Station now consists of two modules, one built by Russia and one built by the United States. The Russian module is called "Zarya" which means "sunrise", symbolizing a new beginning, and the American module is called "Unity"! (Is someone telling us something?) The amazing thing is that the station is being built, at the start, by two nations that were deadly enemies less than a generation ago. Now, in spite of all the economic problems between the two nations, they are working together to achieve space travel.

We have already had the Russian Mir Space Station manned continuously for over ten years and in recent years it has been serviced by American space shuttles. There was a small American space station called SkyLab, now nearly forgotten, that was in operation for over a year before that. Yet these things are barely even the beginning of space travel.

The Global Positioning System

There is, by the way, another increasingly well known manifestation of international unity in science and technology. It is known as the Global Positioning System (GPS). This satellite - based, computer - operated system is now used worldwide for all forms of serious navigation, as well as for locating people in need of rescue. It was created by a joint venture of the United States and the Soviet Union -yes, the Soviet Union, not Russia - when the Cold War was still going on. Both sides saw more advantage than danger in the system, so they set aside their political differences and pooled their scientific and technological resources to create it. Now, if you are on a sinking boat or lost in the woods, you can, with a device smaller than a TV remote, send a message to a satellite that will not only tell the relevant rescue agencies that you are in trouble, but also tell them within a radius of three meters exactly where you are!

The Freedom Space Station will be complete and fully operational, if all goes according to schedule, circa 2004. It will be used first of all for research. It will also be used for outer space manufacturing. There are hi-tech products and materials that can only be made in total vacuum and/or zero-gravity. The former is expensive to achieve on earth. The latter is impossible. In orbit, both are available free. Manufacturing may be the next major way of making space exploration really pay for itself. (Research and communication satellites are doing it now.) Then, the Station will be used as a stepping stone for further manned space exploration.

The Next Steps

It appears that by popular demand there will be a manned mission to Mars sometime shortly thereafter. For example, there is a growing organization, consisting mainly of scientists, called the "Mars Society". It is lobbying for the funding for the colonization of Mars. Already, a new generation of space probes is studying the Red Planet, to find out as much as can be learned about it prior to a manned mission. The "Pathfinder" mission, with the "Sojourner" Mars Rover, which got considerable publicity a short time ago was part of that effort, and the Mars Global Surveyor, which is now orbiting and taking detailed photos of Mars, is another part of it. There are other probes planned. By the time you read this, there may be three new probes headed for Mars. Two of them will be looking for water on Mars, which will be needed for colonization. The first manned mission will be basically a one-shot event. But there are long term plans for step by step growth in the development of practical space travel.

The next serious step after the manned Mars probe will be a permanent return to the Moon. New vehicles will be built and assembled in orbit that will serve as completely reusable trans-lunar shuttles. These will be mainly for passengers. There will also be single-use cargo vehicles that will drop huge payloads of equipment and supplies on the Moon. Permanent colonies will be established. These colonies will at first be for exploration and research. Then will come mining and manufacturing, and farming,  for the purpose of making the colonies self-sustaining and then some. Before long, there will be tourism. By the way, there is a company that is already planning to begin offering outer-space tours within ten years.

The recent discovery that there are almost certainly exploitable sources of water on the Moon will give significant aid in that. Scientists believe that there may be anywhere from 3 to 10 billion (thousand million to the British) metric tons of water in the form of ice in craters at the lunar North and South Poles. This would be enough to keep a colony going indefinitely, and seriously decrease the cost of establishing it.

The next step after that will be the construction of the first true orbiting space city. It will be built at one of the earth's LaGrange Points, places in space relative to the earth, sun and moon where gravity is neutral. Objects placed in orbit at those points can be expected to stay there unaided virtually forever. The city will be built with materials mined and manufactured on the Moon, and launched into space with electromagnetic launchers called "mass drivers" or "rail guns". They work by the same basic principles as MagLev trains, but accelerate payloads to much higher speeds. This will be much cheaper than using materials launched from earth. The first city will probably be a permanent residence for as many as ten thousand people. It will be a small, man-made, self-contained world. It will even contain farms!

The water supply, again, would come from the Moon, or maybe even from captured comets. There are plans to capture and mine comets and asteroids to obtain materials and fuel for building space stations and spaceships, and for "terraforming" other worlds. See below.

The city will, again, be used for research and manufacturing, but it will serve a major further purpose for the advancement of space exploration. It will function as a shipyard for the construction and maintenance of a fleet of totally reusable, nuclear powered interplanetary spaceships. Again, both the materials and the fuel for these spaceships will be mined on the Moon. These spaceships will be used for a permanent return to Mars, for mining asteroids, and exploring the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. They will begin the spread of human civilization throughout the solar system, including the establishment of other space cities and colonies on other planets, including the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

There are plans on the books for doing what is called "terraforming" to Mars, and eventually to Venus, that is, engineering major changes to their environments to make those planets fit for human habitations. The people who work on these projects will probably leave earth permanently. It must be noted that administrators will want people with extended life spans for this work. That way, there will be fewer retirements and deaths to deal with. And here's a scary thought: scientists are seriously discussing genetically engineering humans to adapt them for life in space or on other worlds. The Human Genome Project will help with this.

Lowering the Cost

One thing that has been holding back progress in space travel is the sheer cost of it. Right now, it costs an unbelievable $10,000 US to put single pound of payload in orbit. But the cost is going to come down. Right now, NASA is working on a new kind of space shuttle that is called the Venture Star. The Venture Star is expected to lower the cost of putting payloads, and especially people, into space to only $1000 a pound. Ten times the space travel for the dollar. But there are several commercial ventures that are predicting that they will build launch vehicles that can put payloads into space at a cost of only $10 a pound. One hundred times the space travel for the dollar! It is a matter of question just what will be achieved, but a substantial lowering of the cost of space travel within the next ten years seems almost certain. And that will translate into a massive increase in the amount of space flight and outer space development being done. It will increase the amount of commercial investment in space travel as well. There may well  be a "snowball effect" in the advancement of space travel.

We can expect people to leave earth to live permanently in space cities or on other worlds within the next 50 years, and probably sooner. If this happens, the Third Prohibition will have been violated.

The Ultimate Goal

But, as any serious reader of science fiction knows, that is still just the beginning of space travel. The ultimate goal of science fiction is not a few orbiting space cities and a few colonies on the Moon, Mars, and maybe elsewhere in the Solar System. The ultimate goal of space travel is practical interstellar flight and exploration, the dream, as in "Star Trek", of "boldly going where no one has gone before". It is the dream of humans traveling to other stars, even other galaxies, and setting up, not just colonies, but new civilizations on worlds yet unknown. In view of what God said in Genesis 11:6, we will eventually do this if God gives us the time.

The "Wild Card" Issue

Just as with the Extended Life Spans Prohibition, there is a "Wild Card" issue with space travel. That is to say, how long will it take for us to be able to establish self-sustaining colonies on other worlds, and/or achieve practical interstellar space flight? As stated in the previous page, real scientists are always conservative in their predictions. The official scientific view on self sustaining colonies is something on the level of about a century. For practical interstellar flight, at least two centuries. But they could be wrong. Here is a real life example to show you what can happen.

When this writer was a small boy, he had a precocious, serious interest in space travel. So one Christmas, his parents gave him a book called "The Real Book About Rockets and Space Travel". It covered the subject in a broad and factual, and for its time, exceptionally well informed, but elementary way. One of the chapters discussed the subject of "ray guns", the standard weapons of science fiction. The authors summed up their views on the subject by saying that although they could not say that "ray guns" were impossible, they had no idea how a "ray gun" would work.

That was circa 1954. One day in 1959, in a laboratory at Harvard (if this writer recalls correctly) the first laser beam blazed out of a synthetic ruby crystal. Rather less than 10 years after the book was written, real "ray guns" were born. Today, it is a little-known fact that a fleet of laser cannon gunships (special 747s) is being built for the US Air Force by Boeing. Their purpose will be to shoot down incoming guided missiles. Airborne laser cannons have already been tested and proven effective for this purpose.

And by the way, this writer's father, who was college educated and should have known better, told him when he was a boy that it was impossible to go to the Moon in a rocket ship. He lived to see himself proven wrong by the Apollo missions.

Similarly, some of the breakthroughs needed to accomplish practical interplanetary and interstellar flight may have already been made. Unfortunately, there are sources of information that are such that one cannot accurately judge their credibility. But according to some reports this writer has seen, such things as anti-gravity and hyper-space travel may soon be possible. The trouble with these things is that the relevant discoveries are not at this time being accepted by the scientific community because they do not fit into orthodox scientific theory. But should they prove true and gain acceptance, they will revolutionize science and catapult our progress in space travel far beyond current orthodox expectations. There are questions here of both if and when, but the lessons of history, plus what God said in Genesis 11:6, make major unforeseen breakthroughs more likely than not.

Moreover, NASA is not just waiting for the breakthroughs. On a limited scale, they are actually looking for them. There is a little-known NASA operation called the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program. It is based at the NASA Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. They have a Web site that you can find at this link. (You will have to navigate "Back" to return to this page.) The purpose of the Project is to find new ways to propel starships, particularly ways that do not consume fuel, and to achieve speeds approaching the speed of light. It is also seeking new sources of power to provide the energy to drive interstellar spaceships. There are also a number of private, and frequently amateur, but serious research endeavors that are pursuing similar goals.

Long Life Spans and Interstellar Travel

Long life spans will also play a role in interstellar travel. With the best methods of propulsion that we really expect to have now, interstellar trips will take at least decades, just to reach the nearest stars. Going on one of these flights, for a person with a normal life span now, would be like going to prison for life with no possibility of parole. There is a parallel problem with our nuclear guided missile submarines. When one of these subs goes out to sea, it usually stays submerged for three consecutive months. Then the entire crew gets three months leave on shore. Even so, the crew members must be specially screened to be sure they can stand the psychological stress of being cooped up in the submarine for so long.

One thing that is planned to help deal with this is that interstellar spaceships will absolutely be manned by married couples. (Other measures are also being seriously considered.)  But even then, the stress of such long term confinement to the starship may cause problems. The crew might not live long enough to complete the mission. Who would want to go on such a trip? But if people have extended life spans, and can look forward, for example, to coming home to say, 50 years of back pay, plus interest, and still be young enough to enjoy it, they would likely be much more willing to risk it.

Again, some interstellar trips will be so long that it will take several generations of people with normal life spans to complete them, one way. Therefore, "generation starships" are being planned, huge spacecraft that would, like the space cities, be self-contained worlds. Some students of the subject have questioned whether the later generations would want to complete what the first generation started out to do. Again, extended life spans and biological eternal life would help deal with the problem.

Some scientists are saying that we will have to solve the problems of this world before we can do much in the way of interstellar travel and colonization. They may know science, but they need to study history. Back in the 19th Century, Europeans were coming to the U.S. by the millions because Europe was so messed up at the time. The same thing is happening now with immigrants from Latin America and Southeast Asia. In another hundred to two hundred years, people may be willing to flee from an increasingly overpopulated, polluted, and politically oppressed earth. They may give up everything they have on earth for a chance at starting better lives on other worlds. Given extended life spans, they will be able to look forward to settling on new worlds, establishing homesteads and becoming the patriarchs of new civilizations. People might go for it.

There are plans - not just dreams, plans - for spreading human civilization even to other galaxies. With the best of what is really expected in terms of technology, we will not achieve "Star Trek" style space travel in the foreseeable future. But we can, given enough time, with what we really expect to have, seed the entire universe with human civilization. But all the Prophecies of the Second Coming show the events related to it, i.e. the Great Tribulation, the Resurrection of the Saints, and the Rapture, as well as Christ's Return, happening specifically on earth. There is nothing in the Bible that gives any place for humans to be living anywhere else but on earth when the events of the Second Coming begins.

A possible exception to this is in Matthew 24:31, and other similar other passages, which speak of the angels gathering the saints "from one end of heaven to the other". But this is a figure of speech that only really refers to the farthest places on earth. See how the Good News Bible reads it. In order for the Prophecies to be fulfilled in any way that resembles general Christian expectations, the entire human race must stay on earth until the Second Coming. Even the establishment of self-sustaining colonies on the Moon or Mars would be a problem. People there would be able to escape the Tribulation, or in the case of Christians, they would miss the Rapture and Resurrection.

Yet right now, it looks like at least this much should happen within the next fifty years, and again, unforeseen breakthroughs could take us much further within that time. The achievement of at least significantly extended life spans will contribute to these things significantly. God must intervene in history before these things can happen. This is where the "BABEL RISING!" situation comes to a climax. Circumstances don't just present a the likelihood of the soon return of Christ, they mandate it. If the Second Coming does not occur within about the next 50 years, it probably never will. But by the consensus of true Christian opinion, the Second Coming will happen. So we must conclude that....

Jesus REALLY is coming soon. BE READY!!!

There is a deeper spiritual problem that underlies all the aspects of the "BABEL RISING!" situation that we have discussed so far. We will deal with that problem in the following page;

Man Most High?

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Contact Author, William D. Brehm;