Will we colonize other planets ( even outside our solar system ) ?
It's only a general lack of understanding (or willingness to understand ) how important space will be in the future. There will come a time when we will wonder how we got along without it.
About other solar systems, the thing that makes most people sceptical about extra solar exploration is the distance between the stars ( most people out there don't even grasp this ). The distance between even the near by stars is vast compared to anything experienced in human exploration. Also there is the limiting factor of the speed of light. However our understanding of this limiting factor is changing every day.
Most people that don't believe we will find a way around the speed of light still fall back on Einstein's equations that were written early in the last century. It isn't that he was wrong : any mass that accelerates to the speed of light will aquire infinite mass therefore requring infinite energy to maintain that speed or to go any faster. A mathimatical impossibility.
However our ideas about the nature of space-time have changed radically since Einstein's time. He just didn't have all the pieces to the puzzel. We still don't. Earlier this year a pair of sceintists observed a a beam of light going from point A to point B without going the physical distance between. Not only that but it reached point B before it left point A. This goes against our common sense ideas about the nature of things. Yet it happened.
I have NO doubt that we will find a way around the speed of light. It may not happen in our lifetime ( travel between the stars will depend on a lot more advances besides just getting around the limiting factor of C ) but it will happen. Who knows what we might discover in a few hundred years. The bottom line : When I was a youth most scientists said finding a way around the speed of light was impossible. Today some scientists are exploring the possiblity.
Also many great advances in science happen by accident. We stumble on something. That's what makes knowing how soon we might make these advances difficult. Someone might discover something next Wednesday that radically changes our understanding of this problem by researching something else entirely.
To put it in perspective in the early part of the last century men thought if you were able to travel more than 30 miles an hour the blood would be pushed out of your brain and you would die. A little bit later that century men thought that the speed of sound was a physical barrier that couldn't be broken. Well, ideas change. It only takes the willingness to explore.
PS. I don't think we are rushing toward destruction. If you look at history people have ALWAYS thought that. All my life I've heard this and well........IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN FOLKS! We'll be here for a lot longer so get used to it. Say that human exsistance on the earth is going to end someday all the more reason to explore these avenues so humanity can survive. The only danger is being limited to one place.
[ 07-10-2002: Message edited by: jimmac ]</p>