Forget about living on another planet someday, says Michel Mayor. The co-winner of the Nobel Prize is Physics this year told reporters that the idea of moving people into deep outer space to colonize an exoplanet is both ludicrous and impractical.
She knows whereof she speaks. Mayor received the Nobel Prize for her work in astrophysics that led to the discovery of the first exoplanet — that is, a planet that is outside of our solar system. It took over ten years of research and painstaking study of star charts as well as a constant search for a particular kind of ‘wobble’ that it was theorized that stars would exhibit if there was a planet circling them.
Mayor is also none too keen on the idea of humans colonizing the moon or nearby Mars. She says that the tremendous amount of support such colonies would require could never be made up from the colonies themselves becoming profitable, or even self-supporting.
She dismissed the idea of ‘tourist dollars’ for outer space trips to the moon or to Mars as so fantastic it should be relegated to science fiction magazines and the movies. She says that she knows of no financial experts who can see any clear profit in the human conquest of space. Unmanned satellites, she stated, are still the best bet for exploring the universe.