In the fourth century B.C., Aristotle used evidence and reason to argue that the world was a sphere. More than a millennium later, explorers like Christopher Columbus set sail on the assumption that Aristotle and other Greeks from his time were right, and that the distance involved would not prohibit travel from Europe to India. The New World was discovered and the slow decline of the European epoch began. Yet humanity, despite all its technological and scientific innovation, still has not been able to interact with the Earth as if it were a simple sphere. The North and South poles are covered in ice, and for most of human history, traversing these harsh geographies was an impossibility.
Today we know that some basic facts of the Earth are changing, and that its limitations on human travel are being eliminated. It won’t be the seamless process some have made it out to be, but over the course of the next century, as ice in the Arctic melts, humans will be less constr