Speaking to Lusa agency, Richard Garriott said that "it is common for people who are not involved in exploration to think that everything has already been explored", but he argued that "the exponential growth of technology", especially in areas such as ocean or space exploration means a "new golden age" comparable to the one that, 500 years ago, marked by trips such as the circumnavigation of Portuguese Fernão de Magalhães. At a time of pandemic, there is "a rush to get back to the field faster, because we have been waiting for so long" for some relief from the restrictions that would allow us to make up for lost time. "
When the pandemic broke out and it ended, the explorers tried to be good citizens and not become part of the problem, so much of the activity was stopped quickly," said Richard Garriott. Then, "also quickly, the explorers understood the mechanisms of the pandemic and how to safely continue" he added. "That's why a lot of field work has resumed, but with protocols so that everyone is safe before participating, ensuring that they don't carry the disease (Covid-19) and, at the same time, don't take it back to their communities. back to full rhythm," said the president of the Clube dos Exploradores.
Linked by videoconference to the summit, which brings together explorers from more than 30 countries, filmmaker James Cameron pointed out the links between the exploration of the ocean's depths and space, noting that technology developed for one purpose may be essential for the other. Cameron, who in 2012 made the deepest dive so far in a submersible, going down to 11 kilometers deep, said that the devices used to withstand the pressures of the deepest parts of the oceans could be used to explore worlds such as Europa, Jupiter's moon covered with icy oceans. The director of films such as "Aliens - The Final Gathering", "The Abyss", "Titanic" or "Avatar" considers that "it will take decades" before it is possible to set up a mission to explore Europe, where he believes that "it will be more likely to find life than on Mars".
However, he argues that work is ahead on Earth, building small exploration devices, "swarms of robotic vehicles" capable of working autonomously, applying artificial intelligence, capable of gathering massive data about the oceans, where changes "take a long time to understand ". Richard Garriott stressed that "explorers are playing an essential role in protecting and preserving life" because "understanding the world we live in" is the first step to "protecting life on Earth, feeding the seven billion people or prevent pandemics from spreading across the world."
He added that they are "accustomed to facing a wide variety of difficulties and going to extremes to prepare for them." The president of the club, founded in the United States in 1904, son of a NASA astronaut and who became a "space tourist" after making his fortune in computer games, said he believed that "humanity will have to become a multiplanet species". "We have to progress in scientific, economic and even population terms if we want to develop the technology that allows humanity to populate the Universe", he said, indicating that, if it is not "a meteorite or any human action that destroys life on Earth, within a few billion years, the Sun will expand and destroy the planet." The Exploration Global Summit runs until Friday, split between Gare Marítima de Alcântara, in Lisbon, and Teatro Micaelense, in Ponta Delgada, with virtual transmission of the sessions on the organization's website.