Theme: Out of This World
Book No. 91
Title: The Future of Humanity
Author: Michio Kaku
A November to remember, taking us out of this world.
Introducing the shortlist...
The Planets by Professor Brian Cox & Andrew Cohen
Published by William Collins
Why we chose it?
A groundbreaking exploration of our Solar System as it has never been seen before. Mercury, a lifeless victim of the Sun's expanding power. Venus, once thought to be lush and fertile, now known to be trapped within a toxic and boiling atmosphere. Mars, the red planet, doomed by the loss of its atmosphere. Jupiter, twice the size of all the other planets combined, but insubstantial. Saturn, a stunning celestial beauty, the jewel of our Solar System. Uranus, the sideways planet and the first ice giant. Neptune, dark, cold and whipped by supersonic winds. Pluto, the dwarf planet, a frozen rock.
"So staggering you go whoa!’ every few seconds… Cox is the Attenborough of the Solar System" - Guardian
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in Space by Mary Roach
Published by Oneworld Publications
Why we chose it?
Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh veg, privacy, beer. To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations, and as Mary Roach discovers, it's possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. Packing for Mars takes us on a surreally entertaining voyage into the science of life in space and space on Earth.
"This is the kind of smart, smirky stuff that Roach does so well." - Geoff Nicholson
The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond by Michio Kaku
Published by Penguin Books Ltd
Human civilization is on the verge of living beyond Earth. But how will it happen? World-renowned physicist Michio Kaku takes us on a journey to the future, introducing the mind-boggling developments in robotics, nanotechnology and biotechnology that will one day enable us to make our homes among the stars.
"With admirable clarity and ease, Kaku explains how we might colonize not only Mars but some of the rocky moons of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn . . . The book has an infectious, can-do enthusiasm" - Steven Poole, The Wall Street Journal
Introducing OUR WINNING AUTHOR, Michio Kaku
Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, bestselling author, acclaimed public speaker, renowned futurist, and popularizer of science. As co-founder of String Field Theory, Dr. Kaku carries on Einstein’s quest to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into a single grand unified theory of everything.
Here's Kaku speaking at Google
Where did the month take us?
In a month where space dominated the news, with NASA's Artemis mission and the character of space entrepreneur Elon Musk being scrutinised, we were having our own deep exploration of the possibility of life outside of our own planet.
Reading this book comes at a time where our approach to our own planet and rapidly accelerating climate change has never been more obvious. Which, when beginning to think about pouring huge resource into exploring life on say Mars, poses obvious ethical questions...
- Should we not be focussing on the planet we already have?
- Why are billionaires not using their huge pools of cash to invest in climate saving projects here on earth?
To find out more, we were incredibly lucky to be connected to 6 incredible people working in world-leading space projects, by Rebel Book Club members and friends of the club. We spoke to them across our Global Digital and London events to get their take on these big ethical questions and more...
Monday 28th November, 1900 hours UTC 🌒:
Global digital hangout with the iconic minds of experts working on world leading projects such as NASA’s Artemis mission, propulsion in iSpace rockets, Quantum physics and trans-humanism…
Stephanie L. Schierholz
NASA Press Secretary and Adjunct Instructor
An award-winning communicator, Stephanie worked in the space industry for more than 20 years, 13 at NASA Headquarters, including several as the communications lead for human spaceflight.
Lead Propulsion Engineer, US Lunar Lander at ispace, inc.
Gerry spent two years at Blue Origin developing rocket engine valves as well as over a decade at Space; he is currently working on the iSpace US Lunar Lander.
Research Scientist at Neuralink
Equal parts materials scientist, organic chemist, and solid-state physicist, Amir focuses on developing and understanding materials systems for applications in flexible electronics, energy conversion, and bioelectronics.
Quantam gravity research at Caltech
Tuesday 29th November, 1900 hours UTC 🛰:
Hosted by Huckletree in London's Shoreditch, we sipped Kromanti Rum cocktails and Caleno Drinks tonics whilst we heard from RBC member, Irina, who works in Space Innovation Sustainability at Accenture, as well as Space Security, Risk and Resilience expert, David Balson, who told us about Heo Robotics in-orbit flyby inspection technology to visually monitor space objects!
Space Innovation Sustainability lead within Technology Innovation at Accenture
Passionate about innovation technologies and their applicability to client's business problems.
Director of Space Security, Risk and Resilience at HEO Robotics
We help defence, governments, and commercial operators visually monitor space objects with our in-orbit flyby inspection technology
Check out a snapshot our London event on TikTok...
Mission notes :
Many of us came into this book weighing up whether we should be pouring so much resource into space endeavours, but we left with our minds opened to the possibilities and opportunities these unbelievable projects open up - often here on earth.
For example, Stephanie from NASA told us about 'NASA Spinoffs', which document space-tech innovations from healthcare and farming, to climate solutions and sports:
Spinoff highlights NASA technologies that benefit life on Earth in the form of commercial products. We’ve profiled more than 2,000 spinoffs since 1976 — there’s more space in your life than you think!
Amir from Neurolink explained that whilst their tech could of course be used in all sorts of sci-fi-like interventions listed by Michio Kaku in the future, its pressing usages here on earth are in accessibility and healthcare. For example:
"The initial goal of our technology is to help people with paralysis regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices. Our devices are therefore currently being designed to one day give people the ability to communicate more easily via text or speech synthesis, to follow their curiosity on the web, or to express their creativity through photography, art, or writing apps." - Neurolink
So whilst many of us did start out sceptical about how our precious resources are being used here on earth, it became clear that pushing the limits of human capabilities in science, technology and travel leads to innovation which could also bring about the solutions we so desperately seek to improve life here on this planet.
One thing's for sure, this month at Rebel Book Club was mind-bendingly out of this world!
Thank you to everyone who joined us this month + to all of our wonderful speakers and event partners 🍹
Throughout December, we exploring the the theme ‘Rebel Librarians’, where the simple act of reading can never been taken for granted…