To survive mankind needs two Earths further
The question of how many people planet Earth can sustain comes back on a regular basis. Last year, when we were 7.3 billion people, we already talked about explaining how the limit could be between 9 and 10 billions, a figure that could be reached between 2050 and 2100. We are now more than 7.4 billion, and we continue to increase (if you you want to know how much, follow this [link]) but beside the overpopulation we must take into account other problems like climate change and ever-growing pollution.
NASA: a planet is not enough
This is why NASA scientists have concluded that just a planet is not enough for human race and we need to accelerate efforts to succeed in colonizing new worlds and “terraforming” at least two further. Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist at Nasa’s Langley Research Center, is peremptory: “Essentially, there’s too many of us. We’ve been far too successful as the human animal” and if now we need a 40-50 percent of a planet more, in the next decades the birth of billions of Asians and Africans could multiply this demand.
Three planets or another World War
If we want to maintain our life style “we need three planets” in order to sustain the entire human race, or another World War that brutally halve it, a solution this latter that certainly nobody can hope. The only alternative is therefore to find at least a couple of planets similar to the Earth: the first candidate seems to be Mars, but we still have to find at least another planet to colonize in the next 50 to 100 years.
Waiting to find it, starting to terraform Mars and to develop technologies that allow us to extract resources from comets and asteroids could be a more realistic hypothesis than most people realize. The same Bushnell nevertheless suggests don’t immediately go straight to other planets, rather to learn to better manage the Earth so that it conforms to our demands, modifying at the same time behaviors and habits to make them more compatible with the planet.
We need to better manage planet Earth
A solution could be to install salt water farming of Halophytes plants able to live in salty environments, that could then be turned into biofuel to be used as a replacement of the fossil energy sources. This, according to Bushnell, would allow to resolve the problems tied to the availability of grounds, of water, of energy and of climate changes and would give the human race the time to get ready to a colonization of the space of which Mars could by the way represents the first footstep.