Do you guys consider this a possibility? or maybe even probability that we will eventually send out self-replicating probes out into space?
While I agree with most of your response, you are making a few assumptions that don't necessarily apply. To start with, a probe doesn't have any particular size or mass limits. Something on the scale of the International Space Station could contain the appropriate facilities. Once the first is built in orbit and sent on its way, the only requirement is that it can gather the proper raw materials without having to enter and leave a significant gravitational field. The asteroid belt would be ideal for that, as well as possibly Pluto/Charon. In other star systems far in the probe's future, some of the same type of bodies can reasonably be expected.ohwilleke said:The notion of a ten kilo probe that self-replicates is pretty implausible. You'd be looking at more like an asteroid size robotic complex with highly diversified parts that could continually repair and refurbish itself with locally obtained resources. Quite frankly, it would probably be cheaper and more fool proof to send out a self-sustaining ecosystem with enough humans to maintain a technological society (ca. 100,000) than to try to make an entirely robotic system.
Read The Code of the Lifemaker by James P. Hogan. It's a novel based on just that premise.Gold Barz said:How about mutations?...mutations could easily "mess" a self-replacting probe up and that would be disastrous.
Chronos, do you think launching self-replicating probes is a good idea? a plausible one?
They're probably inevitable, but multiple redundancy of supervisory systems would minimize them.Gold Barz said:...mutations could easily "mess" a self-replacting probe up and that would be disastrous.
And extremely well written. I grab anything by Hogan that I can get my hands on. There's a sequel called 'The Immortality Option' that carries the idea along.Janus said:Read The Code of the Lifemaker by James P. Hogan. It's a novel based on just that premise.
Very slow. Just gathering and refining the proper materials would take years, although that would take place in parallel with construction once things are under way. Naturally, construction would increase geometrically with subsequent generations. Unfortunately, the failsafes to minimize mutations would also probably prohibit improvements in the process.Gold Barz said:Would these self-replicating probes multiply extremely rapidly? or would it be a slow process?
That might be a handy way to send out a lot of smaller less sophisticated probes. If we can develop propulsion and on-board power systems based on hydrogen fusion, it would be advantageous to base the mother ship in a nearby interstellar hydrogen cloud, so it can gather fuel as efficiently as possible. Since the funding for NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion program was slashed, we may be relying on chemical boosters for a very long time.ohwilleke said:A variant might be a hybrid system in which you would send out a "mother probe" which would have a sophisticated core that was not self-replicating, and would have the ability to formulate bulk components in the field. By analogy, rather than sending 100 rockets into space, you'd send 100 mission capsules and assemble the fuel and the metal skin for the rocket on the fly. This would dramatically reduce weight, while requiring the sophistication level of manufacturing to a much lower level -- rather than having to replicate tools and advanced computers, you would just have to use equipment you already have to build relatively crude components. It would also prevent the system from getting out of control or "mutating".
Well, if the self-replicating probes could return to earth (or wherever humans are living), they could be used for mining a huge amount of material with an initial investment of only one probe (assuming they were in a region where they could find all the necessary materials to self-replicate, including fuel and whatever they use for a power source). If they could build other goods and return them to earth or space colonies, that would be even better.Chronos said:What would motivate you to do that [launching self replicating probes] if you don't intend to follow with colonists? It's like throwing money into the ocean hoping it will rain quarters.
I don't agree. Suspended animation, or multi-generational trip of a colony that is basically self-sufficient for hundreds of years, would both be viable alternatives. I agree that I don't see any viable way to make a round trip in the life of a single person who isn't in suspended animation.setAI said:it is vital that when we discuss humans and deep space that we understand the only realistic way to send colonists and crews is as intelligent software that will be transmitted to or stored in the self-replicating hardware systems/networks that we actually launch- either completely synthetic human-level AI or 'uploaded' conversions/copies of living human astronauts will use the hardware as their space-adapted bodies and their equipment- no habitats will be needed
we will NEVER send fleshy apes to the beyond- unless as some far future sport/game/lark when it might be feasible for a socitey with total control over matter synthesis and limetless energy- but I don't think even that will ever happen becasue by the time we have reached the technological level to do it the concept of mind/body dualism will be seen as primitive as analyzing chicken entrails- no one will associate their selves with whatever biological/mechanical hardware they are running on-
'Manned Space Explortion" only means man-controlled- not literal fragile apes-in-a-can- which is not just science fiction- but science fantasy
But the payload mass (and hence the cost in energy) would have to be much larger--an intelligent being that fits on a computer chip (or whatever the future computing medium is) will weigh a lot less than a biological human + life support system.ohwilleke said:I don't agree. Suspended animation, or multi-generational trip of a colony that is basically self-sufficient for hundreds of years, would both be viable alternatives.
To start with, a quasar doesn't 'suck up' anything. It's a source of energy, not a sink for it. While quasars were once considered to be the possible outlet end of black holes, the general theory now seems to be that they are in fact the victims thereof; ie. the radiation output of supermassive black holes ingesting galaxies. A quasar is not a small object. It's something like 5-10% the size of a galaxy that would produce the same energy output by stellar processes alone. (Sorry, but I don't have any specific numbers readily available.)Nutty Tut said:Also isn't true that a Quazar is as powerful as ten billion black holes.
What in the world does that have to do with anything else in this thread?Nutty Tut said:Could a Quazar suck up a Black Hole? Also I think a Black Hole is shaped like a funell conected to another funell. This would mean a Quazar is shaped like that too,but this also means that if you went thourgh a Black Hole you would come out the other side. But you would be crushed in the middle. Also isn't true that a Quazar is as powerful as ten billion black holes.
They wouldn't have to return to earth, but I was responding to Chronos' question "What would motivate you to do that [launching self replicating probes] if you don't intend to follow with colonists?" I was just saying that even if you aren't interested in sending huge numbers of colonists out there, self-replicating probes would be a very worthwhile investment.Gold Barz said:The probes would have to return to Earth? why not just send the colonists right after the probes?
I have to part ways with Chronos on this subject. The fact is that the curiosity inherent in human nature will send probes to wherever we can, so that some far down the line generation might receive interesting telemetry. Naturally, colonization is necessary for us to continue, but that will begin with lunar and Martian habitats. None of our great-grandchildren will be alive when interstellar colonization is practical. And as long as we're going to send probes anyhow, it makes more sense to send one or two that can reproduce rather than have to launch a few dozen from here. With current technology it probably wouldn't be cost-effective, but within a decade or two it should be.JesseM said:I was just saying that even if you aren't interested in sending huge numbers of colonists out there, self-replicating probes would be a very worthwhile investment.
But like I said, it's not just a matter of scientific curiosity. If the probes can mine useful materials (they'd have to in order to self-replicate), and return them to areas where humans are, you could make a gigantic profit with an initial investment of just one probe, not to mention solving resource-depletion problems for those materials. If the probes are capable of dipping in and out of the atmospheres of gas giants you'd also have an abundant source of hydrogen energy. And if self-replicating factories on earth or in space can manufacture goods such as cars or computers, those goods could suddenly become extremely cheap and plentiful.Danger said:I have to part ways with Chronos on this subject. The fact is that the curiosity inherent in human nature will send probes to wherever we can, so that some far down the line generation might receive interesting telemetry. Naturally, colonization is necessary for us to continue, but that will begin with lunar and Martian habitats. None of our great-grandchildren will be alive when interstellar colonization is practical. And as long as we're going to send probes anyhow, it makes more sense to send one or two that can reproduce rather than have to launch a few dozen from here. With current technology it probably wouldn't be cost-effective, but within a decade or two it should be.