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To conquest the Universe

  1. May 13, 2003 #1
    To conquer the Universe

    I think that when we will want to make our first interestellar voyage, we will not have the technology of achieve even velocities of a tenth part of light speed. Then, there are two options
    a)Send a small number of persons, hibernated (in the style of Clark's "2001, space oddissey")
    b)Send a huge spaceship (In the style of other's Clark novel "Rendezvous with Rama")where, say, can travel thousandths of people that reproduct, and then someone will arrive
    Which option to choose?
    It seems that the first candidate have to be the 3-system of alpha centauri, because is the nearer(4.2 a.l), but don't have any planet.
    Barnard's star has a planet, but it's a bit more far away (6 a.l). Which have to be the first star to travel to? (if you prefer another star, tell me)
    And, if in a planet, we find living things, in a early stage of development (for example things like fishes, reptils or little mammals) we should try to not interfere and let the echosystem go its way, or should we try to terraform the planet?
    May the force be with you!!!
    Last edited: May 13, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. May 13, 2003 #2
    I'll treat your post as an "inspirational intellectual tidbit" and not a "debate". Some people treated my former type posts and latter, and made me a bit "ughy".

    I would say that, knowing NASA's plans on concepts well, manned missions are rare and only used when totally necessary to achieve and object which seems VERY important.

    But let's say we're at that point. I would say that point would only be, for a mission this far from home, if we were going to look at life. Meaning if we had sent un manned mission and it saw life, and we wanted humans to go and learn details.

    Thus going to the second star you mentioned which would have planets that here we will assume life has been found on, would be the more NASA-like decision.

    It's hard to pick which option would most likely occur. The first requirees a good bit of properly tested technology, but it makes more sense as the team would be trained.

    The second probably will never happen. NASA has to train people very well before they go. These "space born" humans would not only be untrained, but they would not be psychologically prepared, and who knows maybe they'll just not perform any of the procedures. A million othe rproblems would occur. Perhaps they're retarded, and surely being conceibed and born in space wouldn't work.

    So I'd say it'd be best to assert that technology would be ready, rather than all these millions of problems with the second one.

    Sci fi often becomes reallity. although sci fi writers always think things will change MUCH faster than they have, you know?

    Your reference to 2001 helps this claim, they were so much more advanced, we haven't even put a man on MARS yet!!!

    As far as messing with the biosphere there. You use the word "should" which is a word i stay away from. It implies there's either

    1. some universal answer to it, some universal rules to what "should and shouldnt" take place.

    2. Or, just that ones opinion on this totally opinionated matter should take power over others, which in the area of NASA which should be (other isn't 100%) logic orientated, this could cause a problem.

    I think that it'd be best to cause the least amount of changes to the biosphere as possible, only because of the best logical reason for that, which is so we can learn more and more about this biosphere as it is without us interfering.

    Nice post, I like space because it's inspiring and humbling.
  4. May 13, 2003 #3


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    Re: To conquer the Universe

    That sounds right. Suppose we want to start sending probes to exosolar planets at a point when technology only is able to attain 1/100 of light speed.

    What long waiting times!

    There might be a nice planet 20 LY away that we want to send a robot probe to. Just a small robot craft to check it out and send back some data on it. Ion-drive, say.

    At 1/100 c it takes 2000 years to get there!!!

    Meteor, do you think a small spacecraft could be equiped to
    plant the seeds of single-cell photosynthesizing life on an exoplanet (by exoplanent I mean one orbiting another star)?

    I like the idea of planting the seeds of life on planets where there is liquid water and where no evidence of life has been detected already. I do not see why sending humans is essential to the job.

    I think orbiting telescopes like Hubble are going to get
    much better. Maybe using interference (optical interferometry)
    between a number of telescopes separated from each other
    by some distance----to increase resolution. Perhaps being located
    quite far from the earth too. I think it will be possible to detect earth-size exoplanets with these improved telescopes and even to tell if they have water. Right from here, without going to them.

    I think it is an obligation to plant life in other parts of our galaxy.
    It is not even a "conquest" but a debt we owe to nature.
  5. May 13, 2003 #4
    Well, after reading your posts, I think that there are two possibilities:
    A)Before whe reach the technology to go to another star, we receive a signal (with project SETI, or other) that is interpreted inequivocally as made by some type of intelligence. In this case, I think that we will send a few humans to that planet(hibernating)
    B)If we don't receive any signal, surely we will send robots. In this case is not necessarily to send only a stellar ship, we can, for example, send ten ships to ten different stars at the same time(it is not recomendable to send robots with humans in the same ship, perhaps there's some HAL infiltrated)
    Well, in case A, who would like to enroll in the travel? I sure!!!
  6. May 13, 2003 #5


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    Greetings !

    I think that before we actually send
    manned or unmanned expeditions to any
    other star system we will already have
    the tachnology to observe the planets in
    that system directly to the level that
    we will be able to find (if they are out
    there) planets that are habitable (only
    minor adjustments possibly required for
    life-support) for us. I think that we
    will go to those planets first (if we're
    still around at that stage at all) and
    the major terraforming part will come at
    a much later stage in our development
    (though we might practice it in our
    own star-system relativly soon).

    It is also quite possible that we will
    use genetic engeneering to adept to many
    "nearly" habitable worlds by considrably
    changing ourselves (if we don't turn into
    a hive cybernetic mind or something by then :wink:).

    I would not really like to speculate on how
    we will treat intellegent or non-intellegent
    life if we meet it a century or more from now.
    I wouldn't even like to speculate on who or what
    we'll be in a century or more. I do know that
    if something like that happened today we'd
    have those local life-forms nearly incstinct
    in a heartbeat and sold in, probably even legal,
    animal stores.

    Live long and prosper.
  7. May 13, 2003 #6
    I remember reading an article in Astronomy Magazine about colonizing robots, where we send a spaceship to some designated planet and the robots mine the planet for metals. They then build a robot factory and make more robots, then send them to other planets where they colonize in the same way, thereby spreading the human legacy and many robots throughout the universe. I know it was an article within the past two years, but that's all I remember.
  8. May 13, 2003 #7
    Hahahaha - if this happened then guess what the entire universe of life would eventually refer to humans as??

    Planetary Spammers!Hahaha!

    Sounds like those "pass this on to ten friends" emails. heh
  9. May 13, 2003 #8


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    I can only see us doing this if the 'bots also do some terraforming or at least habitat-building. I don't think we'd send them out just so they could send out more. After all, look at what happened to the Cylons!

    I think Neil Armstrong had the right of it, "man must explore". Whatever else we may do, we will eventually send people. We (the human race) cannot not go.
  10. May 13, 2003 #9
    In the sake of truth, the planet around Barnard's star is suspected but not confirmed. Then, the nearer exoplanet pass to be the one around Epsilon eridani, that is a star that is 10.5 l.y. from the earth. It's a planet the size of Jupiter, so poor hope to find life
    Here's a list of all the planetary systems found
  11. May 13, 2003 #10


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    Dont rule out the possibility that a planet the size of jupiter could
    have moons with a comfortable gravity.

    The thing to look for is that the orbit not be highly elliptical---better a nearly circular orbit----the right distance from the star.
    The temperature should be fairly stable and in the right range.

    BTW someone seemed to me to have the right idea, drag,
    before too long telescopes will probably be good enough to
    study exoplanets---and not just jupiter-size ones---in some
    degree of detail

    Improved telescopes outside the earth's atmosphere are one of the premium uses of space---one of the really major opportunities it offers in the near term.
  12. May 17, 2003 #11
    Yeah, but it's not only about telescopic power. A lot of methods can be used to find planets, like (I forgot what it's called) where astronomers block out the parent star and use one or more telescopes to try to spot the planets. It apparently works extremely well, but it's supposed to be a little tough to do.
  13. May 17, 2003 #12


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    Greetings !

    Those are indirect observation methods Eaglesyfon.
    Most of them can not or are very difficult
    to use to find the smaller possibly habitable
    planets we really wnat to look for.

    What we need is direct observation - both to
    find them and determine their characteritics.
    I believe that within the next half a century
    we should be able to discover a great deal
    of Earth sized extrasolar planets using direct
    observation. NASA plans the first mission to
    attempt this within about a decade or less from
    now and as far as I remember they'll be using an
    orbital array of relativly small but very powerful
    telescopes working together (aimed at the same
    star-systems) to look directly for such small planets.

    Live long and prosper.
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