In a parallel thread to this one, Andre asks the following question https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=811811#post811811 After having filled in the variables to the Drake equation. What's going to happen first: - Into the wild black yonder to the next solar system? - Serious setback of human civilisation due to built-in deficiencies (wars, depletion of resources, etc)? Andre originally complicated the question with a third event: "Serious setback due to natural factors, meteorites, volcanic, tectonic disasters?" Logically this can be subsumed in the case that NEITHER of the first two events ever occurs, because something else happens that eliminates them as possibilities. Probably many people have posed this question and written essays about it, but Andre did not cite any reference and I can't think of one offhand. So it is a local PF question that Andre happened to ask. How do you reply? Can you act so as to affect the outcome or is the answer predetermined by material, social and historical realities that we cannot change? Do you have an opinion? To make it more precise, I will specify that "into the wild black yonder of the next planetary system" includes both the case of establishing DNA LIFE extrasolar and also the case of establishing SELF-REPLICATING ROBOT SURROGATE LIFE. Which event do you expect to happen first? A. establishing some type of life in "the wild black yonder" B. self-inflicted setback (war, depletion of resources) rules out A as a possibility. C. neither event occurs because both are somehow preempted.