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How do we equip our pioneers on new worlds?

  1. Aug 26, 2016 #1
    We routinely see pioneers with all kinds of cool tech gear, robotic tractors and flying cars.

    But would this be the best option on a new world? Without the infrastructure to support the cool gadgets would they be practical? Heinlein posited that pioneers, especially the leading edge of the outward expansion from Prime Base should be equipped with animals for draft and transport that could produce more animals. Genetically enhanced animals would be the prime candidates, and hybrids that could breed true would be part of the mix.

    So, are these the extremes and there's a middle ground? Would doctors necessarily double at veterinarians? And would one such make a good protagonist?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 26, 2016 #2

    fresh_42

    Staff: Mentor

    I have the feeling that beside different atmospheres there will be an issue with weight, animal or human. Many worlds are simply bigger than earth and pioneers would weigh significantly more than on earth. Plus the fewer weight in space during the long journey, it will soon get an unsolvable problem. Hooray, we made it! Too bad we can't move anymore.
     
  4. Aug 26, 2016 #3
    Van Buskirk and his Valerians didn't have any problems. :biggrin:

    I don't think we'll try to colonize planets we can't live on.
     
  5. Aug 26, 2016 #4

    berkeman

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    I'm not sure this reply fits your question, but brainstorming new writings is a good thing.

    One of the thoughts I've had if I were teleported somewhere naked and alone, and I could only take one thing with me, I would choose a Samurai sword. It's big enough for self defense against most predators, and can be used for cutting small branches for making shelters and sleeping beds. I haven't been able to think of another modern implement that would be a better choice. :smile:
     
  6. Aug 26, 2016 #5

    berkeman

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    BTW, it's also good for hunting, since you can just walk up to a pride of predators and offer yourself as dinner. Then have your own dinner after the fight. :smile:
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  7. Aug 26, 2016 #6
    My threads aren't patrolled. And I like that idea. I bought a set of swords in Japan, after a year of negotiation. The shop owner didn't even let gaijin in his shop, sailors were pretty much idiots around sharp implements. So I just stood outside the shop and looked in, every day. After three months of this he let me in and I showed him I wasn't a baka. He got me into a kendo class and they beat me up for a few months. Then he let me hold a sword. (I scored big by not trying to unsheath it.) Finally he sold me a set, and I still have them, 33 years later.
     
  8. Aug 26, 2016 #7

    berkeman

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    Nice. I've wanted to take Kendo lessons to support my thought. Having the sword and having to guess at how best to use it would not work all that well when faced with a pride of Velocitorapors....
     
  9. Aug 26, 2016 #8

    fresh_42

    Staff: Mentor

    I can't get this picture out of my head, you practicing in a near forest, merely equipped with a sword, naked, looking for prey.
    Or the other way round: some alien arriving with only a sword in his hand, trying to make his way through LA or NYC.
     
  10. Aug 26, 2016 #9

    berkeman

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    I got arrested for something like that once... :smile:

    My claims about the time machine didn't carry much weight with the officers, unfortunately...
     
  11. Aug 26, 2016 #10

    fresh_42

    Staff: Mentor

    Back to the topic and as I just watch a documentary in which James C. Maxwell occurred. All explorers, researchers and pioneers (Roald E.G. Amundsen, Charles R. Darwin, F.W.H. Alexander v. Humboldt and so on) always have been dressed and equipped by the fashion of their time and guided by what they then have thought of to be appropriate. I think that will not change and will always look strange in retrospect.
    Therefore we are restricted by what we can imagine and not necessarily by actual needs.

    When writing a science fiction novel it might be interesting to invent something entirely new.

    Edit: A kind of Swiss army knife for extraterrestrial use.
     
  12. Aug 26, 2016 #11

    BillTre

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    Riffing on the idea of taking (potentially genetically enhanced) animals (and plants) for particular purposes:
    Presumably being in the future, you will have more technical options.
    Freeze several different kinds of plants (seeds) and animals (as frozen embryos).
    Depending on the biology, the genetics involved, and the skills of the outer space adventurers, these frozen starting materials could then be modified by genetic engineering (Bones might also be the vet/botanist) to yield organisms useful in the particular environment encountered.
    The required DNA sequences could be made on site.

    Plants are probably a better bet that animals (as in The Martian) in many cases (prey not required).

    I would expect a well equipped ship or if not a ship, a bunch of stuff would be going with the traveler (and more than one person).

    The idea of not colonizing places you can't live in implies some knowledge of the environments and challenges that would be encountered, thus appropriate plans would be possible.
     
  13. Aug 27, 2016 #12
    Heinlein's idea, as I remember it, was that we would set off on a new planet in the same way settlers headed west from the US Atlantic coast. The adventurous ones leap-frogged the advancing "frontier" into areas with little or no infrastructure. To bend a new planet to our will would take the same daring souls, I think. And it might progress at the same rate, depending on how quickly the industrial base on that planet developed. It would probably be impractical, barring surprises in interstellar transportation, to haul "sod buster" plows from planet to planet.

    And, as with any speculation without hard information, I could be wildly wrong. And that's where a good scifi story would be born.
     
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