Every time I read a report about the discovery of a planet or planetary system somewhere out there in space, I feel hope for our future. My hope is that one day not only will we know for sure that there are planets out there which are capable of supporting human life but that we will have the technology to travel to them. I believe that once we have accomplished this, we can solve the most pressing problems that our planet faces: We can tell people who don’t want to share space with those who are not like them to go find some other place to live.
Yes, it is my fond wish that someday we can tell Islamists and Christian Reconstructionists and all other manner of religious extremists to pick a planet and set up shop on it. Someday I hope that anyone who believes that a certain class of people are, by accident of their birth or heritage, unfit to breathe the same air as they will be able to boldly go someplace where they can be sure that all of the cohabitants of their world meet their criteria for being allowed to live. Don’t like blacks/whites/men/women/gays/Jews/capitalists/Freemasons/left-handed people/supermodels? Go start your own planet where such people aren’t allowed, and take along everyone who agrees with you. I assure you, those of us who are left behind will not miss you.
Every day when I read about what this group is doing to that group and why these people hate those people, I look for a story that tells me that we’re making progress on this dream. I hope I live to see it.