Already, our ability to put satellites in space is helping us to monitor and combat pressing problems on Earth, from forest fires and oil spills to the depletion of aquifers that people depend upon for drinking water [source: Fowler].
But our burgeoning population, rampant greed and thoughtlessness about environmental consequences have already done pretty severe damage to our planet. According to a 2012 survey of research, most scientists estimate that Earth has a carrying capacity of between 8 and 16 billion – and we already have a population of over 7 billion [source: UNEP]. That's led some futurists to argue that we should be preparing to colonize another planet, and soon. Your life -- or those of your descendants -- might depend upon it.