Science & Technology
Could mankind destroy the entire solar system?
By T.K. Randall
August 18, 2020 · 24 comments
There is the potential for things to go catastrophically wrong. Image Credit: CC BY 4.0 ESO/M. Kornmesser
We've been doing a good job of messing up our own planet, but what about the rest of the solar system ?
The impact of modern civilization on the world in which we live is well documented, with plastic pollution, global warming and mass deforestation being just a few recent examples.
But what if it were possible for mankind to do damage on an even greater scale ?Gizmodo
recently ran an article which looked into the various ways in which our careless future selves could destroy, not only the Earth, but the entire solar system.
Some of these you may have heard of before, such as attracting hostile aliens, creating a malicious artificial intelligence or creating a destructive, exotic form of matter with a particle accelerator.
Another thing that could have dire consequences is a large-scale stellar engineering project - the equivalent of trying to reduce the effects of global warming by spraying chemicals into the Earth's atmosphere but on a scale that involves trying to manipulate the entire Sun.
Such an endeavour, if done wrong, could destroy everything - as could efforts to turn Jupiter into a second Sun; another scenario that could wipe out everything in the solar system.
Even technological solutions to reach other stars could be potentially devastating - certain concepts for faster-than-light travel could have severe destructive potential if something was to go wrong.
There's also the possibility of inadvertently creating self-replicating nanobots that multiply wildly out of control and end up scouring the sky for any planet or object with resources to consume.
In other words - the further technology advances, the greater the potential for us to cock things up.
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