Just something I've been thinking of. In the very distant future, what will Earth by like, and how will it be regarded as humanity? My thoughts:
- In a hundred years, we will have begun to expand across the Solar System, but obviously the Earth will be the main center of human activity, far more than other locations combined.
- In a thousand years, humans will have spread out among the stars, hundreds of light years in every direction. There will have been enough time for entire human cultures and civilizations to rise and fall without ever seeing Earth. Enough time for colonies to send out colonization waves of their own, and for those colonies to colonize further. As countless billions leave for other planets and stars, fewer people remain in the cradle of humanity, and those who do tend to minimize their footprint. Thus the Earth becomes a bizarre juxtaposition of centuries-old ruins and hyper-advanced ultratechnology cities. Yet barring some disaster, Old Earth will still be a shining jewel in the crown of humanity, and one of its most important centers of economic, cultural, and political power. But it will not be alone. There will be other well-established civilizations, on other planets and in nearby star systems, with enough power to give Old Earth cultures a run for their money. A gradual, but at times uncomfortable, power shift is occurring as the distribution of power becomes less and less centered on Earth.
- In ten thousand years, humans will have spread out across a large part of the galaxy. Old Earth will no longer be a shining jewel, but a fading star, with its grandest days behind it. Newer power centers, places that have also been inhabited for a "mere" several thousand years, have taken its place, and cultural mixing with various alien societies has taken the place further out of the limelight. Old Earth is now an average middle power, remarkable for its historical significance, but little else. Plenty of people still remain there, but Old Earth is a strange combination of nature preserve and holy land, attracting pilgrims from hundreds of different religions, as well as human and human-derived Luddites, and historians and archaeologists seeking the rarest and most ancient discoveries of all. And possibly the occasional curious alien from an allied species.
- In the even more remote future, perhaps Old Earth will lose almost all significance and simply be a historical footnote, little more important to human civilizations at large than some cave in East Africa with a few old hominid bones.
What do you think?