When compared to other living species on Earth, Humans are undoubtedly a very intelligent race with an extraordinary ability to learn. From what we know to date, it's safe to conclude that we are very special. If you include the Neanderthals, our history only expands a hundred thousand years or so, which is a mere pin prick in the cosmic timeline. In the grand scheme of things (on a Universal scale) we are just a very young, up-and-coming intelligent species with promise, but also with MUCH to learn. In the past 200 years the human race has grown from a population of 100M to nearly 7 billion people, and natural resources are depleting at an exponential rate. It's becoming ever so clear that we are sprinting down a path of self destruction. Even if we do stabilize population growth and achieve world peace, the threat of asteroids, solar flares or many other apocalyptic events (however rare they may be) put the human race at risk of extinction. Are we smart enough to overcome? I believe there are other intelligent species that exist in the Universe, with evolutions that span millions of years, and that they have developed the technology capable of travelling and colonizing through space. I believe these species once reached a crossroads where their home planet was saturated and they had to either develop the intergalactic technology or become extinct. I also believe there have been countless species with similar intelligence to humans who were not so lucky, and who have become extinct because of their inability to adapt and learn quickly enough to avoid an Armageddon disaster. These two examples are all speculation of course, but when looking at the sheer size of the Universe, the thought of aliens of many different forms seems perfectly rational. And for the sake of this discussion, we will assume that both of these cases are true many times over in the cosmos.
So which of these two fates lies ahead for the human race? We are clearly intelligent, but are we smart enough to overcome our flaws as a race, achieve world peace and focus on the development of knowledge and technology to reach a point where travelling through space becomes possible? If you asked the question 50 years ago, the answer would have been "we are going to blow ourselves up." However, in the past 20 years science, math and technology have come together in a confluence that has allowed us to observe the Universe and draw real conclusions about what exists beyond Earth. The Kepler space telescope as the latest example, with it's discovery on the large number of planets that exist in the Milky Way, has brought forth the reality that another habitable planet like Earth may not be as far fetched as once thought. We've already been to the moon, and have mastered the ability to launch satellites into orbit, but just how close are we to taking the next giant leap forward in space technology? Surely nothing will happen this century (or the next) and only time will tell, but it is my belief that the human race needs to come together, establish world peace, and focus on expanding our race beyond the borders of the Earth in order to ensure long-time survival. I believe there is so much more out there to explore, and the sooner we come to the realization that our time on Earth may only be a small fraction in the history of our species, the sooner we will be able to focus on the development of interstellar technologies. I believe colonizing into space is the only true way to ensure the survival of the human race. 100,000 years from now, we may be extinct. Or we may look back on the history of the human race and laugh at how childish we were in the 2000's millennium, and wonder what it would have been like to live in a time where only 7 billion humans existed together on the same planet.
So forum, I ask you;
Do you believe there are intelligent alien species who have colonized across space? Do you believe other intelligent species have failed to develop quickly enough to ensure their own survival and have become extinct?
Do you believe colonizing into space in the only way to ensure the long-term survival of the human race?
We will ever develop the culture and technology needed for interstellar travel, thus making colonizing into space possible?
Where do you see the human race as it pertains to interstellar travel in 1000 years? 10,000 years? 100,000 years?