Analysis in the previous chapter has demonstrated that as long as the development of science and technology does not cease, humanity will eventually self-destruct. Scientific and technological development is bound to produce means for total extinction, and once produced, such means will be used.
Since the overall survival of mankind is crucial, the evidence of self-destruction should be as ample as possible. We will further analyze human self-destruction from some other perspectives in this chapter.
Strictly speaking, any living organism must experience life and death. If mankind’s extinction was far in the future, worry might be unnecessary, but if it were imminent, there would be reason for concern. All other issues in the world today are secondary to the matter of human survival; therefore, we will be delving into some related issues regarding the self-destruction of humanity.
SECTION ONE: EXTREME MEANS CANNOT BE OFFSET
Our previous discussion has led to one clear conclusion: the extreme means we currently possess are destructive means, but total extinction means will emerge and be applied in the future. One day in the future, we will be exterminated by such extreme means.
Human nature tends to hope for the best and avoid thinking about crises. Faced with such pessimistic prospects, people may wonder if there is a countermeasure to offset and balance the damage caused by extreme means. There are indeed many opposites that achieve balance in nature. In Newtonian mechanics, when force is applied to an object, a reaction force is also produced; nuclei have positive charge, while their outer layer electrons have negative charge; according to the Big Bang theory, antimatter must exist alongside matter; compound reaction and decomposition exist together in chemistry; differentials and integrals concur in mathematics . . . and the list goes on.
Due to the existence of so many positive-negative balances in nature, many philosophers and politicians like to theorize that a similar balance will exist to offset the worst damages caused by humans. The idea is that some sort of counterbalance or restraint can always be created to offset the damage perpetrated by scientific and technological development—just like how shields can stop spears, or how penicillin, erythromycin, and spiramycin can treat inflammations.
Realistically, it is impossible to offset means of destruction and total extinction for the following reasons:
First, it takes time to develop a counter-method. Take cures for genotoxins as an example. A period of repeated experimentation and research is required to produce a solution to any genotoxin attack. During this process, many people will die and the damage will already have been done.
Second, some means cannot be counterbalanced. Of the destructive means that we currently possess, nuclear bombs cannot be offset in any way. Based on current scientific theory, there is no power that can eliminate the energy produced by a nuclear bomb after it explodes. The only way to stop a nuclear bomb from creating mass devastation is to stop it from exploding in the first place. Nuclear bombs can only be classified as a destructive means; there are bound to be total extinction means that cannot be counterbalanced in the future.
Thirdly, even in the most ideal situation where all extreme means can be offset, the time gap between the counterbalance and the extreme means will still be problematic. The time lag between the production of an extreme means and the creation of its countermeasure will accumulate as more extreme means are developed. This will cause humanity to be unprotected for long periods of times. Even in the most ideal situation, the damage brought about by extreme means cannot be eradicated—only reduced. Once means of total extinction emerge, they could destroy humanity with one strike—before a countermeasure can be produced.
SECTION TWO: UNINTENTIONAL DISASTERS
One: Accidents from Experiments
Means of total extinction may not necessarily emerge from people with homicidal motives. Accidents from experiments can also cause human extinction. We know that many great scientific discoveries were unintentionally derived during experiments. Due to the uncertain nature of science, many accidental discoveries have proven to be even more important than the initial research goals that led to their discovery.
The discovery of X-rays—known as one of the three major physics discoveries in the nineteenth century—was discovered by accident. At the time, many physicists were engaged in the research of cathode rays, including German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen. When Röntgen accidently placed a bag of photographic film beside laboratory equipment, the film reacted. This incident started Röntgen thinking and he conduct repeated experiments, finally confirming that it was indeed the previously unknown X-ray that had penetrated the film wrapper.
The discovery of X-ray had great scientific value. X-ray not only propelled the development of physics but also played a significant role in the development of medicine. Roentgen himself was awarded the first Nobel Prize for his discovery.
The discovery of penicillin was also accidental. British pharmacologist and microbiologist Alexander Fleming had been committed to the prevention and treatment of wound infections, but he had not gained useful results in years of painstaking research. One day, he discovered a blank space around the bacteria he had cultivated; the Staphylococcus aureus that caused infection had disappeared. Further research showed that the Staphylococcus aureus had been killed by a type of mold that was only toxic to bacteria and not to white blood cells. This made the mold useful in treating human diseases, and Fleming named it penicillin.
Penicillin saved countless lives in World War II and became known as one of the three major inventions of that conflict, along with radar and the atomic bomb. It is still a cure for various inflammations today, and Fleming was awarded the 1945 Nobel Prize for his discovery.
Accidental scientific discoveries are numerous—after all, Newton discovered gravity when inadvertently observing apples falling from trees. However, not every accidental discovery benefits humanity. There are just as many examples of catastrophe brought on by accidents.
American politician and scientist Ben Franklin was very interested in electricity. When he observed the sound and light emitted from the Leyden jar, he thought of lightning and set out to discover whether the two kinds of electricity were the same. Franklin fashioned a kite out of silk and tied a thin piece of iron wire to it; he succeeded in “capturing” lightning and proved that it was the same as geo-electricity.
It is in fact extremely dangerous to capture lightning through a kite. Franklin only avoided catastrophe out of sheer luck. Others were not so fortunate. One year after Franklin’s experiment, Russian physicist Georg Wilhelm Richmann was killed by lightning while conducting the same experiment with his students. Franklin himself was almost killed in a later electricity experiment. When he was trying to electrocute a turkey with a Leyden jar, he shocked himself. After he woke up, he joked, “I have lately made an Experiment in Electricity that I desire never to repeat . . . I then felt what I know not how well to describe: as universal Blow thro’out my whole body from head to foot . . .”
Scientific experiments have often ended in catastrophe. Nitroglycerin is a potent explosive. After its invention, it was used widely in mining, road construction, and other fields. This type of explosive was unstable and complicated to produce. Nobel was dedicated to improving the safety and simplifying the production of this explosive; his younger brother assisted him.
On September 3, 1864, when Nobel’s younger brother and several technicians were studying simplified production methods, an explosion occurred and his younger brother and four others were killed on the spot. Nobel himself escaped the disaster because he was not present at the time.
After the incident, Nobel did not give up his research on nitroglycerin. He finally discovered that diatomaceous earth could absorb nitroglycerin and enable its safe transport, prompting him to start improving the explosive and its detonators. However, another accidental explosion caused him grave injuries, and Nobel barely escaped with his life.
Accidents usually happen because the science is still unknown. This inherent uncertainty of science means that no scientists can completely determine the outcome of scientific experiments, so accidental discoveries and catastrophic disasters will both occur during scientific experiments.
In March 2008, US nuclear safety officer Walter Wagner and Spanish journalist Luis Sancho filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court of Hawaii, demanding that the atomic crash tests conducted by CERN in the outskirts of Geneva be stopped.
Physicists had spent fourteen years and eight billion dollars building the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in the outskirts of Geneva. They were planning to study the debris left from proton collision to find clues regarding the essence of mass and nature. Wagner and Sancho believed that the physicists had underestimated the LHC’s danger, and that it could create globe-gob-bling black holes, strangelets, or other exotic and catastrophic phenomena.
This was not Wagner’s first lawsuit. He had filed suits against the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1999 and 2000 in an attempt to stop its trial of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider; however, his lawsuits were dismissed and no accidents occurred during the RHIC experiments.
Wagner and Sancho’s lawsuits were dismissed as well. According to famous physicist Stephen Hawking, even if a micro-black hole were formed through such experiments, it would evaporate immediately. Hawking’s theory is still unproven, and it is this uncertainty that worried Wagner and Sancho. Many scientists have expressed concerns over high-level scientific experiments. When the first atomic bomb was being tested, scientists were worried that it would ignite the atmosphere. Subsequent tests prove this worry to be superfluous, and the LHC did not bring any disaster either. However, concern over scientific experimentation will never be unfounded. With the deepening exploration of science, more advanced levels of science and technology are bound to increase in power and ultimately possess the ability to exterminate humanity.
There is no doubt that no sane scientist will set human extinction as their research target, yet scientific research may not always progress as intended. It is entirely possible that some accidental occurrence will divert the path of research and result in some catastrophic outcome.
Scientific development still has a long road ahead, and future breakthrough will no doubt be more advanced and formidable. As such, the demons released through scientific accidents will be more terrifying as well. Our fears of scientific accidents only need to be fulfilled once for the doomsday of humanity to arrive.
Two: Misuse of Scientific Products
Uncertainty is one of the basic characteristics of science and technology. Many scientific products have already been manufactured and widely used, but their performance and safety are still hard to accurately predict. There have already been cases where misuse of products has caused catastrophe. As science continues to advance, these catastrophes will only escalate.
Catastrophic consequences caused by misuse of scientific products are numerous, so we will only name a few here. The devastation of the ozone layer was caused by Freon. Today, the world is limiting and will ultimately terminate the use of Freon. When Freon was first invented by the DuPont Company, it was highly regarded by scientists and even deified in some circles. Due to Freon’s non-toxic, non-flammable, stable and non-corrosive (to metals) characteristics, it was widely used in the refrigerating industry and many other fields. It was not known until later that Freon’s stability would cause irreparable damage to the ozone layer. We have discussed this in previous chapters.
The use of DDT stemmed from similar carelessness. Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Müller had dedicated himself to the research of pesticides since 1935. He discovered that DDT had a strong and long-lasting effect on insects but was non-toxic to humans and livestock. As a result, DDT became the first widely used organic synthetic insecticide, and Müller won the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Ten years later, the negative effects of DDT were revealed. Insects developed DDT resistance after a period of time, but their natural enemies had already been killed by then. As a result, pests became more rampant. DDT also caused eggshells to become thin and brittle, causing many bird species to be harmed. DDT also proved to be harmful to humans, as it could affect fertility in men.
Due to these hazards, all countries have stopped the use of DDT; however, since DDT is insoluble in water and its toxicity decays very slowly, its harm has lasted even thirty years after general termination. Thirty years later, DDT is still found in human and bird bodies, and even in penguin bodies in the Antarctic.
Catastrophe from scientific product misuse also results from premature application of products that have not been thoroughly studied. Such examples are too numerous to count. On December 3, 1984, a cyanide leak at a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, resulted in twenty-five thousand direct deaths and 550,000 indirect deaths. Two hundred thousand more were left permanently disabled. The casualties of this incident rival that of a large-scale war.
The nuclear accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Kiev, Ukraine, and the nuclear power plant leak in Japan are still causing lasting damage, years later.
After the initial development of a scientific product, scientists usually have trouble determining its absolute safety. The more advanced the product is, the more uncertain its safety will be. Correspondingly, the more advanced a product is, the more destruction it will bring in the event of misuse. One day the destructive power from scientific product misuse will be enough to wipe out humanity.
Once scientific development advances to achieve total extinction capabilities, we not only have to guard against targeted attacks by psychopathic individuals but also inadvertent accidents in the laboratory and misuse of products. One conclusion becomes clear: due to its inherent uncertainness, once science and technology advances to a certain degree, total extinction will become inevitable. The only way to avoid human extinction is to stop scientific and technological development before it has the power to exterminate mankind.
SECTION THREE: THE TIMEFRAME FOR HUMAN EXTINCTION
Fundamentally, as a biological species, humanity must follow the natural procession of creation to destruction. The force of nature can destroy any living thing in the end, and humanity is no exception. From the analysis in chapter three, we know that our natural extinction date should be about five billion years in the future. That is a very long time away, and it gives us little cause for concern.
If the self-destruction timeline for humanity were similarly remote, we would have nothing to worry about. However, if that timeline were mere centuries away, we would be compelled to take immediate precautions. With such a limited timeframe, any adjustments would have to happen as soon as possible; therefore, we should carry out a serious analysis of the timeframe for human extinction.
At the level of science development today, technological advancements can no longer rely solely on intuitive experience, as the guidance of scientific theory has become indispensable. Science and technology first combined during the Industrial Revolution, and people soon discovered that scientific theory was crucial in the further development of technology. Only through theoretical guidance could productivity achieve real increase and more high-end products be developed; therefore, whenever scientific theories achieved breakthroughs, people tried to apply them to new technological products.
Numerous scientific and technological practices reflect one objective fact: Whenever a medium-level theoretical breakthrough occurs, the series of technological products derived from it greatly changes people’s lifestyles. Whenever a high-level theoretical breakthrough occurs, the series of products derived change the world. This change can be beneficial or harmful to humanity. For these reasons, we can roughly infer the timeframe for human extinction by using breakthroughs in scientific theory as a main line.
Based on current scientific theory, we can already infer that the means for total extinction will emerge. The aforementioned self-awareness of artificial intelligence, unethical use of nanobots, asteroid collision, and other factors are all extinction possibilities derived from existing scientific theory. Current scientific theories are still at a limited level, and corresponding means for extinction may take some time and effort to produce—but they will be achieved eventually. For example, the further development of artificial intelligence could be enough to exterminate mankind in another few decades.
The more frightening prospect would be major breakthroughs in scientific theory that could easily produce means for total extinction. Let us make some inferences for this possibility. Since physics has always been at the core of natural science, we will use the development of physics as a reference and follow the fission-acceleration law of scientific breakthrough cycles to conduct our analysis.
The achievements of Galileo marked the beginning of modern physics. It was the first-level breakthrough in the development of modern physics. Logically, Galileo’s achievements should have led to major scientific and technological developments and greatly impacted human society—that was not the case. This was because Galileo’s discoveries took place 150 years before the Industrial Revolution, and people had not yet realized the significance of applying scientific theories to technological practices. However, this does not downplay the power of this first-level revolutionary theory.
Newtonian mechanics was the second-level revolutionary theory of modern physics. Its impact was manifold, but the most prominent impact was its impetus to the Industrial Revolution. What we generally refer to as the Second Industrial Revolution was the stage of the Industrial Revolution in which scientific theory and technical practice successfully combined. This stage held the true explosive power of the Industrial Revolution, and Newtonian mechanics played the most important role.
The guiding effect of Newtonian mechanics and its deep impact on human society did not emerge immediately. It took one hundred years. One reason for this is the inherent time lapse between the establishment of a scientific theory and its practical application. In addition, the idea of combining scientific theory and technical practice did not take root until half a century later, when the Industrial Revolution took place.
Today, we can clearly see the profound changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution and the unprecedented wealth it created. That is more than enough to illustrate the power of revolutionary breakthroughs in physics—Newtonian mechanics in particular.
The theory of relativity and quantum mechanics was the third-level revolutionary theory of modern physics. This theory was born in the early twentieth century. It had tremendous power but was also technically difficult to mobilize. Marked by the explosion of the atomic bomb, this third-level revolutionary theory only took forty years to move from theory to practice because people had fully realized the importance of guiding technical practices with scientific theories and devoted great energy to the matter. This clear and universal recognition also meant the people were willing to invest heavily.
Two examples best sum up the enormous energy generated by these three levels of theoretical breakthroughs in modern physics. First, man has landed on the moon. We are preparing to land on Mars, and unmanned aircraft have flown out of the solar system. Second, hydrogen bombs today have energy equivalent to over fifty-six million tons of TNT. In the above achievements, the main guiding theory was the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.
Based on the above analysis, the fourth-level revolutionary breakthrough in modern physics should be enough to guide the production of total extinction methods. The technological achievements gained through the first three levels of revolutionary breakthroughs has brought humanity one step away from means of total extinction. Technical difficulty is the only issue that remains.
As the core subject of natural sciences, the fourth major breakthrough of physics would hold much more power than the first three. Since we have already approached methods for total extinction at our current stage, it logically follows that a further fourth stage would achieve such means quite easily. The question becomes: How long will it take to achieve the fourth major breakthrough in modern physics?
It took less than one hundred years for Galileo’s physics theories to progress to Newtonian mechanic, and the leap to the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics took about two hundred years. We can infer the fourth step in the cycle based on this timeline. Theoretical breakthroughs in science do not happen overnight; they are the accumulated results of numerous scientists over generations. Since the fourth major theoretical breakthrough will be more advanced and require more accumulation than the third breakthrough, it will probably require more time as well.
We cannot consider this issue in isolation. We all know that science advances in a fission type acceleration, and that it is constantly branching out to form new categories and subdivides. Every one of these subdivides is being studied by scientists, meaning that the results are accumulating at an increasingly fast pace. This supplements the fourth major breakthrough’s need for scientific result accumulation and shortens the time gap considerably.
Even so, we should still set the timeframe for the fourth major breakthrough in modern physics to be longer than its predecessor. The theory of relativity has been established for over a century now. According to the breakthrough cycle, we can reasonably assume that the fourth breakthrough will occur in the next century and a half. If we also consider the time needed for theory to move into application, then we can conclude that means for total extinction will definitely appear in the next two centuries.
The above inference is obviously quite conservative for a few reasons. First, we have not considered that total extinction means based on existing theory may come earlier; also, we have not considered that means of total extinction may emerge faster in fields other than physics. Atomic bombs were a product of physics, but the equally lethal genotoxins were a biological product.
In the very beginning, means for total extinction may be in the hands of a few heads of state or more benign persons; however, the three increases of science development tells us that total extinction means will multiply in power and variety and eventually trickle down to those willing to use them. At the same time, the continued development of scientific theory will elevate scientific and technological products to a corresponding level. At that time, accidents in labs and misuse of products will threaten human survival just as much as deliberate use of total extinction methods. Once means for total extinction are produced, the fate of mankind will be hanging by a thread.
Even so, we should still try to approximate a timeframe for the application of total extinction methods. Nuclear bombs were used in war immediately after their development. GMT toxins have not yet been used, but it has only been a decade since their development. Most extreme means before this were put into use shortly after their inception. The longest waiting periods did not exceed a few decades.
Of course, means of total extinction will be different from destructive means, since it will guarantee that the users be exterminated as well. No logical, sane individual will apply them. Due to the inherent danger of these means, most rational authorities will also exercise strict control over them. These factors can ensure that total extinction means will not be applied for at least some time after their inception; however, the passage of time will inevitably lead to other factors that promote the use of such extreme means.
First, the advancement of science and technology will lead to more types of extinction methods, and they will follow this trend:
1. Under the guidance of newer, higher-level theory, the development of extinction methods will become easier;
2. Newer extinction methods guided by higher-level theories will be increasingly powerful; and
3. Newer methods of extinction will be smaller, more portable, more user-friendly, and more suited for single-person operation.
Second, scientific theories will not only be applied to killing methods, but they will also be used to manufacture civilian products. Due to the uncertainty of science and technology, we cannot guarantee the safety of all scientific theories. A scientific theory that could support the production of extinction means would imbue great power in its civilian counterparts as well. Such civilian products would have great threats hidden within them, and any misuse could result in catastrophe.
Third, as time goes by, even the most rigid controls will malfunction from time to time. Those vindictive extremists who are hell-bent on destruction will be sure to target these moments of weakness to obtain some weapon capable of total extinction.
The above factors decidedly prove that total extinction forces will only become more prone to erupt as time goes by. After taking all factors into consideration, we can assume that humanity will achieve self-destruction within two or three centuries based on the current rate of scientific development.
By now, a clear warning has become clear: the time to act is upon us. We must resolutely and decisively limit the development of science and technology right away. The timeframe for human extinction is no longer than two or three centuries and may even be as short as one century, meaning that even immediate action may be too late.
Regrettably, the limitations of human wisdom instill in us ubiquitous “leap disagreement” attitudes and development numbness. Humanity is still in the dark regarding the dire situation and persists in underestimating the power and threat of scientific development. Substantive preventive measures are still matters of the distant future. The elites of humanity are happy to enjoy the fruits of scientific achievements and ignore any harm that is not immediately visible. As for the certainty that science will cause catastrophic damage, none of the most powerful leaders in the world have substantive consciousness. There is really very little time left for mankind!
SECTION FOUR: REVELATIONS FROM EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE PHILOSOPHICAL INFERENCE OF SELF-DESTRUCTION
Previous analysis has proven from many angles that continued scientific development will lead to human extinction in the near future. The only possible solution is to limit further advancements of science and technology.
The above discussion has been based on clear and objective inference. We can also look at the issue from a philosophical standpoint. Here we will infer the future of mankind by speculating on extraterrestrial life (aliens).
The planet Earth we live on is one ordinary planet in the solar system. The solar system is within the Milky Way, and the Milky Way is just another ordinary galaxy in the universe. Though the birth of intelligent life on Earth was extremely random, the vastness of the universe makes it reasonable to believe that other intelligent life-forms exist in the infinity of space.
The sun is neither a first-generation star nor a second-generation star. We have reason to speculate that intelligent life-forms may have formed in second-generation stellar systems; that is to say, stellar systems capable of producing intelligent life should have appeared ten billion years ago. Humans existed five billion years after the sun was formed, so we will set the incubation period for intelligent life at five billion years. Therefore, the earliest intelligent life-forms should have existed five billion years ago. If this were true, such highly intelligent beings should have mastered interstellar travel after five billion years of development. However, we have found no definitive evidence of alien visitation.
Earth is a beautiful blue planet uniquely suited for life. Intelligent life five billion years ahead of us could not have missed this. Microbes appeared on Earth 4.28 billion years ago, signaling that Earth had sufficient conditions to facilitate life back then. With such an attractive setting, there can only be three reasons for Earth to have never enticed aliens. First, the distance between stars is too vast for even the most advanced technology to surmount; second, alien life became extinct for some reason before they advanced enough to achieve interstellar travel; third, aliens stopped their scientific development and chose to stay on their own planet. We have speculated about the first possibility in chapter three. We will analyze it from another perspective here.
Humans achieved space flight one hundred thousand years after completing evolution, and traveling outside of the solar system is entirely possible in our near future. If intelligent life five billion years more advanced than us survived, even if it were not possible to achieve large-scale interstellar travel, at least a small portion of them should have reached Earth; thus, we should focus more on the latter two possibilities.
Let us first analyze the second possibility. Could aliens have become extinct before advancing to interstellar travel capabilities? Why would aliens go extinct? Was it due to natural forces in the universe (like asteroid impact or black-hole swallowing)?
Closer consideration would prove the above possibilities to be unlikely. Any planet able to form intelligent life would be fairly stable, so it would take billions of years for natural forces to threaten the existence of intelligent life on this type of planet. Aliens should have developed enough to travel space freely and prevent their extinction in such a long period of time. Furthermore, even if one such planet met some unfortunate end, it would be statistically impossible for every planet with intelligent life to encounter similar natural disasters.
We can only suppose that these aliens became extinct due to internal threats. Judging from the nature of humans, we can deduce that evolutionary imbalance is a universal flaw present in all highly intelligent life-forms. The impulse to discover and transform nature may generate the power to self-destruct in a very short period of time. This inclination to self-destruct may be an inherent balancing force in the universe.
The history and inherent characteristics of humanity makes the abovementioned presumption highly credible. Mankind formed four million years ago, and humans completed evolution one hundred thousand years ago. However, it has only been two hundred years since the urge to conquer and transform nature was fully awoken in mankind. In such a short period of time, humans have already changed the world profoundly. We can only imagine how much more change could take place in another hundred years. The devastating power of future scientific and technological developments is just as unimaginable.
In comparison, the irrational components of human nature have barely changes in two hundred years and show no signs of changing in the future. Humanity’s inherent shortsightedness, greed, homicidal instinct, and hatred have not improved with the development of our destructive abilities. Unless some major spontaneous evolution takes place, humanity’s rational evolution will continue to lag behind our creative evolution. It is this gap that will eventually result in humanity’s self-destruction. If aliens follow this same pattern of behavior, that may explain why we have not encountered them to this day.
The third possibility theorizes that aliens decided to cease scientific and technological development, thereby avoiding extinction and forfeiting interstellar capabilities. What could motivate aliens to take such action? Presumably, alien society, like human society, experienced both the benefits and harm brought on by scientific and technological developments. As these developments advanced, their power and destruction probably increased as well. We can assume that aliens realized the possibility of future extinction and decided to establish strict restrictions to curb the development of science and technology. Hence, aliens never acquired interstellar travel capabilities but live in peace on their own planets instead. Since the universe is extremely vast, and alien life should exist in more than one instance, the above two explanations may apply to different planets respectively.
Admittedly, we have never observed aliens and we do not know of any planets with intelligent life, so the above speculations are pure conjecture. However, though we cannot be 100 percent certain of these hypotheses, a fair amount of logical credibility does exist. This subjective deduction is completely consistent with previous objective inference; therefore, the future fate of mankind cannot be more explicit.
The analysis of extraterrestrial life may also prompt this line of thought: humans have landed on the moon and will soon land on Mars. Travel outside the solar system is also achievable in the near future. From this point of view, it seems plausible to estimate that humans will master interstellar travel in the not-too-distant future; however, analysis of extraterrestrial life also concludes that highly intelligent life-forms will be exterminated by science and technology before interstellar travel abilities are obtained—if not, Earth would have been boarded by aliens already. This sounds a strong warning; the day we achieve the conditions for interstellar travel will also be the day we achieve self-destruction capabilities. This is tantamount to saying that if current scientific development trends persist, human extinction will occur in the not-too-distant future. This conclusion is consistent with our previously deduced human extinction timeframe as well.