I don't know why, but I enjoy thinking about space and time. Sure, there's a link: Photography is essentially capturing Light bouncing of Mass in Space (such as 'person in a city' or 'cow in field') and do so by the means of Time: Because only after enough Time has elapsed in which you have exposed the sensor of your camera with Light, does the camera register it and turn it into a Photograph for us to reproduce and see. That's why photography is explained as 'painting with Light and Time'
Okay, this is all very technical and philosophical (but I am like that sometimes) so I want to make it more tangible for you guys, and tell you a story about us, as humans, leaving behind evidence that we once existed here, on this earth. So let's start positive:
In either a short or long period of time from now, the whole of the human race will be wiped off the earth. It'll probably be a meteor, or some guy pushing a red button in a capitol somewhere, an outbreak of a lethal virus or just plainly the sun having finished it's meal and then bloating up and slowly roasting us all like marshmallows...So by then, we have either developed space travel and are peacefully inhabiting other places (like Mars, the Moon, or perhaps even another Solar System like the one hosting Proxima Centauri) or we should accept the faith of having had a quite an enjoyable civilization but sadly vanishing forever before ever reaching maturity as a species.
And in case that rather dim scenario would take place, we humans have already has the clever idea of leaving some traces of ourselves behind for other species to find and wonder: "What the hell is this and where's it from?" It's called: Voyager's Golden Record. As we speak, these (2) metal disc are on (2) Voyages spacecrafts traveling to the outer reaches of our solar system and beyond, going where no man-made object has ever gone and carrying information we decided to put on it back in the Seventies. On it, there's a space-map of our location determined by mapping the distance to the 14 Pulsars around the Sun (some people think it's not smart to point out our location to Aliens, but that's a story for another time), there's also music and spoken words in 51 languages on it. The life expectancy of the discs is 1 billion years. And in 40.000 years, it will have reached the star Gliese 445 in the Camelopardalisstelsel.
Unfortunately, the chance of these spacecrafts being discovered by Aliens, now or in the future, is very small because of the sheer scale of interstellar space. So it should also be seen as a message and a reminder to ourselves, to remind us to strive to reach the stars and outgrow our problems here on earth. Because here, we're doing a whole lot of stuff that's not in anyway contributing to that goal. I'll just mention rising fascism and populism, destroying our climate and environment and waging war because of political and religious dogma and leave it with that. In other words: If an alien race which has survived long enough to develop the technology of spacetravel could see us, they would laugh and probably move on because we'd be quarreling group of groundhogs in their eyes. Or not think twice and destroy us with one ~ZAP~ to harvest the remainder of our planet for resources. That's also possible.
I am very much wondering, if anyone like me would like to have their visions, dreams, loved ones and life here on earth, to be remembered and possibly be found by another race, millions of years from now? Because everyone wants to live eternally I guess, but also to leave behind something positive instead of the obvious floods, droughts, radiation and micro-plastics. You can bury a USB-stick deep in the ground but it will decay over hundreds/thousands of years and probably not outlast our species. You can carve something out of a dense metal but it'll be here and not sent out to space. So what's left other than making a new Golden Disc of ourselves, and place evidence of our struggles and images of our successes on it? That would be another spaceship with a chance of being discovered, increasing the chances of that happening by 50%.
I'd like to think that there's a chance that the best photos and videos the world has to offer will still find their way into space, eventually, and it'd be happy to curate it...Even though we're a little to busy fighting over food and shelter and exaggerating the differences between local tribes such as East/West, Muslim/Christian and America/Russia, there's Good in humans and likely that's what will prevail in the end. But maybe not. A well thought-out crowd source fundraiser can bring us closer to a lasting and uplifting legacy.....
- Menno Kamphuis
PS: I advise everyone to watch the channel Kurzgesagt on Youtube. It's fun to watch, relatively easy to understand and might make you think differently about who we are and what we should be doing...
And if you enjoy learning stuff about space, here's another Youtube channel, getting more in depth about it: Mr. David Butler. Especially his 'How Far Away Is It'-videos are beautiful and inspiring, showcasing brilliant galaxies and explaining how Damn Far Away it actually all is...