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Sustainability 2010, 2(2), 591-603; doi:10.3390/su2020591

Is Humanity Doomed? Insights from Astrobiology

1
Department of Geography, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
2
Rock Ethics Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
Received: 19 January 2010 / Accepted: 8 February 2010 / Published: 12 February 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Astrobiology and Sustainability)
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Abstract

Astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, offers profound insights into human sustainability. However, astrobiology is commonly neglected in sustainability research. This paper develops three topics connecting astrobiology to sustainability: constraints on what zones in the universe are habitable, the absence of observations of extraterrestrial civilizations, and the physical fate of the universe. These topics have major implications for our thinking and action on sustainability. While we may not be doomed, we must take certain actions to sustain ourselves in this universe. The topics also suggest that our current sustainability efforts may be of literally galactic importance.
Keywords: astrobiology; sustainability; environmental determinism; Fermi Paradox; physical eschatology; existential risk; global catastrophic risk; space colonization astrobiology; sustainability; environmental determinism; Fermi Paradox; physical eschatology; existential risk; global catastrophic risk; space colonization
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Baum, S.D. Is Humanity Doomed? Insights from Astrobiology. Sustainability 2010, 2, 591-603.

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