How fast does a civilization expand into space from its home world? We can assume that it starts slowly, with a few probes, some radio signals. What happens next? What is the average cosmic profile of how a society reaches out into space? We can assume that we are currently at the very beginning of the trend. We know so little about our Galaxy, let alone the millions of other Galaxies out there. How can we have any kind of perspective on something as large as the sweep of Human history? We can only take what we know from our perspective and do the best we can. Here goes.
There are several models for growth. The most interesting one is exponential Growth. Computer technology and Human Population follow this curve. Everything putts along at a slow pace until a critical mass is reached, at which point it takes off.
We’ve taken a few, small steps into space. We’ve landed on the moon, sent probes to more than half of the large objects in our solar system. Assume the other end of the space faring spectrum is the ability to travel between Galaxies. There seems to be a long way to go. It may not be as far away as we think, though. Assume that space technology will eventually improve at the same rate as computer technology. We’ve gone from ENIAC to musical greeting cards in about 60 years. It isn’t unreasonable to expect us to go from Sputnik to watching Big Brother on the Moon in a similar kind of time frame. Add it up, and the space boom should be right around the corner. Sure, we’ve been saying that for 40 years, but it should actually happen pretty soon. There’s a lot more going on up there than at any other time in our history. I do think that soon, we will finally reach that critical mass necessary to make our leap into space. It’s something that Burt Rutan has talked about from time to time. Burt, Wilbur and Orville… the Manny, Moe, and Jack of flight? Perhaps that’s stretching it a bit, but Burt is one of the few folks on the planet that’s put a rocket of his own design into space… With a guy inside! And, he made it back in one piece! Perhaps, Wernher, Robert, and Burt?
I’m doing my part by drooling over a remote control Helicopter. I’ll break into aerospace eventually 😉