Conditions Necessary to Support Modern Human Life

“The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation to extend human presence to the Moon and beyond.”—NASA, August 19, 2022

Even though we’ve searched the cosmos for decades, Earth remains the only planet that we know can sustain us. Possibly because we modern humans have very specific needs that are difficult to source in our universe. Here are some things that scientists look for when determining if a planet can support modern-day human life.

Have we discovered bottled water on its surface?

Water is essential for life, but some of us absolutely will not drink filtered tap water from an ancient frozen lake.

Does the atmosphere have stable cell-phone reception?

A must. Real-world tests have shown that contemporary Homo sapiens without at least a 3G signal can survive for a few minutes at most. If a planet has reception, it may also contain traces of Wi-Fi.

Is the terrain even enough to drive on?

The adage “I can’t live without my car” is biologically sound and attributed to Charles Darwin. Luckily, most planets can support at least a few hatchbacks and drive-through restaurants. Parking can be a pain, though.

Can the planet support indoor plants?

This is mostly for the good vibes. But, you have to admit, plants do liven up the place. The question then becomes whether the humans on the planet are capable of supporting the plants. Preliminary studies aren’t encouraging.

Does the planet rotate around a star in such a way that we can complain about daylight-saving time?

Light from a nearby star is critical, but apparently so is changing the clocks twice a year on our home appliances and whining about it.

Can we bring dogs?

It’s not sustainable for humans if it’s not sustainable for dogs. Not sustainable for normal humans, anyway. Also, how cute would dogs be in little space helmets? Answer: very, and that’s a scientific fact, like thermodynamics.

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