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“I was born with my head towards the stars.”

“I was born with my head towards the stars.”

Erik Allender was lying in the wrong direction on his mother’s womb with his head up. Now he must independently search for a planet in another solar system.

– The best is to be a multi-planetary civilization.

Spring birds are singing, cherry blossoms are blooming and bumblebees are buzzing at Stockholm’s Observatory Garden. A sunny morning in May is hardly the best conditions for watching the starry sky. Eric Allender is 17 years old and a member of the Astronomical youth who has his office here. In his spare time, Eric works as an astrophotographer, and when it gets dark, he takes out his telescope to photograph galaxies and nebulae. For now, he plans to image and measure an exoplanet, that is, a planet orbiting a star other than our sun:

– It sounds difficult, but it’s totally possible with the equipment I have at home, says Eric Allender.

“destined for the stars”

The interest in space has been around since BB. Eric was born by caesarean section because he was lying on the wrong side of his stomach:

– I was upside down and came out feet first. So I was born with my head towards the stars. You could say I was “destined for the stars.”

But when his mother persuaded him to join the Young Astronomer Organization, and he traveled with her to the Canary Islands to look at some of the largest telescopes in the world, he became really caught up in the interest in space:

– I had to go out there in the dark night of La Palma and then I was blinded by the stars because they were so bright. Then I thought “what a great thing,” and then invested in my own telescope and started an association at school, says Eric.

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Why do we care about space?

– Yeah, why spend so much money on NASA and things like that when there are so many problems here? Space exploration is important to our evolution on Earth. For example, but with the help of weather satellites we can maintain our climate correct. But we can also study other planets, and in that we learn how we work.

Space colonization as a solution to the climate crisis

The impact of climate change on Earth’s ecosystem in the near future could have far-reaching consequences for society, according to the United Nations Climate Panel (IPCC). Among other things, forcing people to flee. The dramatic solution to the climate problem is to abandon the Earth for other places in the universe. Famous American astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “Somewhere, something amazing is waiting to be discovered.” Perhaps he was referring to a new Earth-like planet.

Markus Jansson is a professor of astrophysics at Stockholm University, and he researches, among other things, exoplanets. He does not believe it is possible to find and colonize an Earth-like planet within the next 100 years:

– very far into the future in this case. But there are planets far enough from their star that there could be water on their surface.

So it is realistic to aim for the closest celestial bodies:

– Colonizing the Moon or Mars during that time period was theoretically possible because we had the technology to get there. But the big problem is that there is no atmosphere with oxygen. From a practical point of view, I think it will be very difficult in such a short time, says Markus Jansson.

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multi-planetary civilization

Eric Allender thought it was cool to be involved in the exploration and colonization of a new planet. But not because we haven’t solved the climate crisis:

It’s sad that we have to do this because we don’t fix the climate. I don’t think we should stop colonizing other planets. But we must be careful not to focus too much on it.

Eric thinks instead that it would be better if we could be a multi-planetary civilization:

To explore others while remaining true to the planet we come from. This is a very amazing planet. There are no trees or flowers anywhere else as far as we know.