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Will we ever go to another planet?

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#51 Pess

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:44 PM



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And how these multi-generational ships will be made self sustaining? These spaceships, how their parts, that go bad or break, will be replaced? From where would we get the replacements? I do not think Kragen's or O'reilly Auto Store will be on the way, somewhere.


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It would definitely have to be big enough and have enough redundancy to be capable of repairs, fabrication etc enroute.

Recycling must approach almost 99.9% or the expendable depletion would be catastrophic. Even that 0.1% loss might be too much in a multigenerational ship.

Redundant, refined dependable fusion plants are required for sure as Hydrogen can be scooped in route.

Absolutely everything must be recycled...and I mean everything

Pesse (Please pass the Solyant Green and gravy) Mist



Better take along a healthy supply of banjos, too. By the time that multi-generational ship reaches its destination, everyone on board is going to be so in-bred they'll look like the guy on the porch in Deliverance.

But no problem. Someone is bound to chime in and say that, by then, we'll know how to alter human genetics to achieve whatever result we desire, including the creation of humans who are no longer quite human. So, is that the purpose of this fantasy, to ensure the survival of a select few people -- descendants of the so-called cream-of-the-crop -- who aren't quite human?


If we can have a ship big enough to carry 150 people, then we are good for 20 generations or so.

Many more if people are allowed to take multiple breeding partners....

Pesse (Hugh Hefner has created the template) Mist

#52 dickbill

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:44 PM

In that case frozen embryos would do better. Also, we must assume that by the time such project is launched, progress in artificial wombs allow for gestation of these embryos, or a chimp colony is set for this purpose. When approaching the nearby star, and after 'delivery' from the artificial womb, then I guess it's up to robots to take care of the human children and educate them.

A step further would be to take human dna code and synthetise the dna only when approaching destination. The 'synthetic' dna would be injected and 'fertilized' with another synthetic dna inside an ovocyte...but that's lot of trouble. The only advantage of that is that the dna has not be cryopreserved for too long and should not be dammaged.

Transporting the Dna frozen from each partners during all the journey is definitively easyer but the DNA code must be available on a durable support (like several redundant platinum dvd or hard drives) in order to compare the frozen dna and repair the genetic damages caused by thousands of years of cryoconservation.
Look at the frozen Mammoth dna found in Siberia: it's good enough for being sequenced but too damaged to be usefull for a direct fertilization.

But delivery of frozen dna is definitively doable if a hard copy of the dna code is available to repair the damages in the frozen dna, by homologous recombination for example.
Using the Mammoth dna as an example, and providing the Dna can be repaired if necessary once arrived at destination, i'd say we could easily send frozen human dna suitable for fertilization, for duration up to 30-40,000 years, and probably close to a million years, whatever the distance covered during that time.

#53 Rudra

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 11:33 PM

I think given the potential of technology, science and mathematics, one would not need even spaceships. Just a technology that can beam you to a distant planet in distant galaxy where you have your office and then be back on earth by dinner. Spaceships aren't needed at all.

#54 Brent Campbell

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:02 AM

The people who would go on such a trip would theoretically be the cream of the crop; People who can think and improvise their way out of any problem, handle any emergency with a cool head. Super people. And, when they colonize and start reproducing and populating this extra-solar planet, they will be the superior race we eventually contact.


Historically though that is not what colonized continents. If you are the cream of the crop you are going to have plenty of opportunities right here at home. We want the damaged people. "Our ancestors got kicked out of every decent country in the world" (Bill Murray Stripes).

The "damaged people" have little to loose by rolling the dice. And traveling to another planet is rolling the dice in a huge manner. If your life sucks at home with few prospects of improving it, then you may have nothing to loose by trying something different.

#55 UND_astrophysics

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 02:17 AM

Frozen embryos are out of the question.
There is a big problem with anything that involves long term cryogenics..
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The child, or donor must be raised from birth in a specific isolated environment that is free from all natural radioactive elements that we as humans take in during our lifetimes. Any long term cryo preservation of tissue, body, or DNA after several thousands of years will be damaged by decay of atomic particles that are in it's cells, resulting in mutation and death. The only way to avoid it is to specifically raise a generation that is somehow completely isolated and free of all naturally occurring radioactive elements, and that is an ethical dilemma, and technical problem.
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As far as generational ships. this will require a religious type cult to sustain the purpose of the generational mission. Short of anything else, there are no guarantees there will not be a mutiny, we see it constantly in Earth's history and politics.
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Another problem we create a generation starship that can reach another system in 40,000 years, but 500 years later we create technology that allows us to reach the same star in 1000 years. Big problem there, because we have already made the original mission worthless.
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There are a lot of sci-fi movies and stuff out there that is just plain wrong, and I got to the point that I cannot even enjoy science fiction and "discovery channel" type shows anymore because the science is so incorrect.
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Though I might add I sincerely wish these long term missions were as easy as some think they are.

#56 Mister T

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 05:40 AM

The hardest part about sending humans to another planet is that we have to send humans.

#57 Pess

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:15 AM

Frozen embryos are out of the question.
There is a big problem with anything that involves long term cryogenics..


The population would have to breed throughout the journey. A few tens of thousands of frozen embryos could be taken and 'utilized' to maintain a broader gene pool. So your frozen embryos would only have to stay viable for a few hundred years or less. Freeze-thaw-grow-harvest=refreeze.


As far as generational ships. this will require a religious type cult to sustain the purpose of the generational mission. Short of anything else, there are no guarantees there will not be a mutiny, we see it constantly in Earth's history and politics.
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or just a really, really good constitution.

Another problem we create a generation starship that can reach another system in 40,000 years, but 500 years later we create technology that allows us to reach the same star in 1000 years. Big problem there, because we have already made the original mission worthless.
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Let's hope our Earth bound brethren are not real snots and maintain contact with the generational ship...and forward any new technologies that are developed.

There are a lot of sci-fi movies and stuff out there that is just plain wrong, and I got to the point that I cannot even enjoy science fiction and "discovery channel" type shows anymore because the science is so incorrect.
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Yeah, I cringe when Star trek ship crew 'beam' right to a planet without consideration of pressure differences. Don't they ever get the bends??!!

Though I might add I sincerely wish these long term missions were as easy as some think they are.


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#58 dickbill

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:35 AM

I think given the potential of technology, science and mathematics, one would not need even spaceships. Just a technology that can beam you to a distant planet in distant galaxy where you have your office and then be back on earth by dinner. Spaceships aren't needed at all.


Good point, providing we find an extraterrestrial civilization somewhere, with the technology to synthezise dna, we could just beam our dna code to them.
A technicaly advanced civilization would probably ask for this information anyway, as part of the exchange of other informations we would have with them. What would they do with our dna code?

Also, human embryos (that is a fertilized egg at the minimum ) would suffer from long period of cryoconservation even if there were no radiations (i assume they would be shielded from it anyways) that's why it's better to send frozen dna, which would still be degraded but could be repaired, IF the purpose was to set a human colony on another planet. Needless to say, extremely efficient robots are absolutely necessary for this project.
Alternatively, we could go the 'Prometheus' way (the movies): send primitive dna, from early species of chordates, plants and bacterias etc, a let them recapitulate evolution with no garanties it will produce a human being.

#59 CounterWeight

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:27 AM

I think starting with small steps is the answer. Calculated effort and perceived difficulty and benefits vs. actual - you just don't know for certain until you do it. Start with a base or three on Luna, see what really happens. Then off to mars and it's moons, then to the asteroid belt, then past the belt. Taking small steps we are forced to do what we can with what we have. The technology 'leap frog' should not be huge, though learning from the process itself is possible too. But to not do it at all and relegate the effort to star-trek and Hollywood and sci-fi fantasy we are stuck in the perception stage of it all. I've often thought the difficulty in this 'Luna first' thinking is that it is politically 'too close' and we could just take our 'issues' out there and be hamstrung or worse. But then too, maybe not - or at least the issues might somehow evolve along with the effort.

At the end of the day, maybe we would be more thoughtful about the ideal space ship for the species we already inhabit.

There could be so much done WRT 'proof of concept' and discovery just making a moon base I don't see any good reason not to do it. I'd rather go through the discovery part of it with the relatively short distance first rather than need to somehow come up with miracles later.

#60 Ptarmigan

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 10:41 AM

I think we will go to another planet in the future. Most likely Mars.

#61 groz

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 11:02 AM

There could be so much done WRT 'proof of concept' and discovery just making a moon base I don't see any good reason not to do it.


Here is a good reason. The cost of keeping 3 to 6 humans in a low orbit situation, is already beyond the capability of a single national economy, requires co-operation of multiple nations.

Expand the travel to include a second gravity well on an airless chunk of rock, and the cost to maintain that base just went beyond the capability of the entire planet. And that's just for a handful of folks, nowhere near a count that has potential to become self sustaining.

Then again, if some form of threat showed up, which could be mitigated with a lunar base, then it would possibly happen. If the majority of defense spending by all countries was diverted to a lunar presence, that would possibly result in enough resource allocation to get the job done.

Not going to happen in my lifetime. The public today is more interested in building walls around various countries than it is in expanding our footprint to the solar system. It happened in the eastern bloc decades ago, and it's ongoing in the west today.

On the bright side, history has a lesson for us. Walls patrolled by armed guards and helicopters, ultimately bankrupt the countries building them, and cause changes in the politics. It's happened before, and it will happen again. Eventually, out of that will come a society tired of diverting resources in that direction, and start diverting them elsewhere. By then, maybe the technology of propulsion will allow for an economical way of moving outward, and things will truely change.

But, I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.

#62 Rick Woods

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 11:25 AM

The people who would go on such a trip would theoretically be the cream of the crop; People who can think and improvise their way out of any problem, handle any emergency with a cool head. Super people. And, when they colonize and start reproducing and populating this extra-solar planet, they will be the superior race we eventually contact.


Historically though that is not what colonized continents. If you are the cream of the crop you are going to have plenty of opportunities right here at home. We want the damaged people. "Our ancestors got kicked out of every decent country in the world" (Bill Murray Stripes).

The "damaged people" have little to loose by rolling the dice. And traveling to another planet is rolling the dice in a huge manner. If your life sucks at home with few prospects of improving it, then you may have nothing to loose by trying something different.


Brent,

Historically, you're correct, of course. But there's an order or two of magnitude difference between the skills required to be passengers on a sailing ship, and those required to maintain a massive piece of technology like an interstellar craft. In the past, the people fled their home countries on vessels that were common and easily available. A starship would be a slightly different matter.
And, I guarantee there would be a long waiting line of qualified people wanting to be included in the crew. If any dice rolling is done, it would be to see who wins a berth. The winners, not the losers, would be the ones to go.

#63 dickbill

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 11:25 AM

I think we will go to another planet in the future. Most likely Mars.


yes but Mars doesn't really count. It's in our solar system. The question is for extrasolar planets.

#64 Mxplx2

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 01:34 PM

Will we ever go to another planet? Let's turn it around and ask if we came from another planet, religious beliefs aside. Our progenitors might have trashed their home planet and passed that trait onto us.

I think it was a crash landing in the Garden of Eden with only two survivors.

#65 scopethis

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 03:24 PM

yep. that's what happens when naked people fly spaceships....

#66 llanitedave

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:34 PM

I think starting with small steps is the answer. Calculated effort and perceived difficulty and benefits vs. actual - you just don't know for certain until you do it. Start with a base or three on Luna, see what really happens. Then off to mars and it's moons, then to the asteroid belt, then past the belt. Taking small steps we are forced to do what we can with what we have. The technology 'leap frog' should not be huge, though learning from the process itself is possible too. But to not do it at all and relegate the effort to star-trek and Hollywood and sci-fi fantasy we are stuck in the perception stage of it all. I've often thought the difficulty in this 'Luna first' thinking is that it is politically 'too close' and we could just take our 'issues' out there and be hamstrung or worse. But then too, maybe not - or at least the issues might somehow evolve along with the effort.

At the end of the day, maybe we would be more thoughtful about the ideal space ship for the species we already inhabit.

There could be so much done WRT 'proof of concept' and discovery just making a moon base I don't see any good reason not to do it. I'd rather go through the discovery part of it with the relatively short distance first rather than need to somehow come up with miracles later.


I'm certain that's what will happen. There will be no epic mission from this planet to some extra-solar planet. There will be mobile habitats within the solar system, starting in the asteroid belt, then gradually extending outward to the Kuiper belt, and finally the Oort cloud. These habitats will be extracting resources off the small icy bodies there, away from strong gravitational fields and the need to travel at high speeds. When a habitat gets crowded, all the resources to build another are right there at their fingertips (or perhaps their tentacle-tips, depending on how they've evolved). Only when traveling leisurely from one frozen comet to another a few tens of A.U. away, probably using some sort of efficient ion propulsion powered by a fusion generator (or maybe an advanced E-CAT device, if we're dealing with the HMS Rossi :poke:) will it seem like a natural thing to slip beyond the sphere of the Sun's gravitational influence, almost without noticing, and set a course for another mundane icy body that happens to be (barely) within the gravitational sphere of the next star out. Do this a few billion times, over a few million years, and our descendants have colonized the entire galaxy without even realizing it, and without ever setting foot on a large rocky planet.

#67 ColoHank

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:44 PM

Sounds like a pretty sterile and confining existence to me. Think I'll go for a hike in the desert.

#68 Rick Woods

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 08:51 PM

Sounds like a pretty sterile and confining existence to me. Think I'll go for a hike in the desert.


Ditto.
Sorry, Dave, your Oort-cloud-denizen future sounds kind of awful to me. Make mine gravity - I like my bones.

#69 llanitedave

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 09:00 PM

Hiking in the desert is where I get a lot of these crazy ideas.

Thing is, a huge percentage of the members of western civilization already live, quite happily perhaps, under conditions that I would already consider sterile and confining. Every time my wife and I have to make a trip to Las Vegas, we look at each other as we hit the first set of ugly boxes and repeat to each other our mutual gratitude that we no longer live in that environment. If for some reason I had to return to urban or even suburban living, I fear my life expectancy would become very nasty, brutish, and short. (Kind of like Danny DeVito).

But people jostle for the opportunity to acquire those places -- they consider living in them a sign of having "made it".

An intercometary habitat doesn't have to be a small tin can, it can be as fancy and diverse as its residents want to make it, within the limits of their imagination and resources. And as rich as comets are in raw resources, I don't consider the desire to build a fairly luxurious space city to be much of a problem. Once the population is large enough, and people consider it home, then quality of life is something they can create and define for themselves.

In my experience, most (not all, but most) human beings desire social status over freedom and even material widgets, and as long as there are plenty of other people to live with and in opposition to, they'll carry with them all the values they need to be happy, or to make each other miserable. I don't see it as being any different than living in Las Vegas.

You and I wouldn't be able to abide it. But neither you nor I constitutes the future of humanity. We're anachronisms, for better or worse.

#70 Pess

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 06:35 AM



Here is a good reason. The cost of keeping 3 to 6 humans in a low orbit situation, is already beyond the capability of a single national economy, requires co-operation of multiple nations.

Expand the travel to include a second gravity well on an airless chunk of rock, and the cost to maintain that base just went beyond the capability of the entire planet. And that's just for a handful of folks, nowhere near a count that has potential to become self sustaining.

Then again, if some form of threat showed up, which could be mitigated with a lunar base, then it would possibly happen. If the majority of defense spending by all countries was diverted to a lunar presence, that would possibly result in enough resource allocation to get the job done.

Not going to happen in my lifetime. The public today is more interested in building walls around various countries than it is in expanding our footprint to the solar system. It happened in the eastern bloc decades ago, and it's ongoing in the west today.

On the bright side, history has a lesson for us. Walls patrolled by armed guards and helicopters, ultimately bankrupt the countries building them, and cause changes in the politics. It's happened before, and it will happen again. Eventually, out of that will come a society tired of diverting resources in that direction, and start diverting them elsewhere. By then, maybe the technology of propulsion will allow for an economical way of moving outward, and things will truely change.

But, I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.


Pesse (Very well said) Mist

#71 Pess

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 06:44 AM

Sounds like a pretty sterile and confining existence to me. Think I'll go for a hike in the desert.


Ditto.
Sorry, Dave, your Oort-cloud-denizen future sounds kind of awful to me. Make mine gravity - I like my bones.


On the contrary, echoing what Dave said, my expectation is that generational ships may become so much 'Home' that they fly right by perfectly good planets and set up resdience in the Ort clouds of Solar systems. Then, when things get too crowded in the neighborhood, additional generational ships are made from the handy resources and set out to explore in another direction....but then that brings us right back to the paradox of why aliens are not here already? Certainly enough time has passed for them to setup in most hospitable solar systems.....

...my thought is they have, they just see no reason to come deep into the systems gravity well just to say hello.

And, again as our desert addled moderator suggests :D , The aliens may have adapted themselves to spaceflight so well that gravity kills.

Pesse (The utilizable space of a ship goes up geometrically if you are not confined to a 'floor') Mist

#72 UND_astrophysics

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 08:35 AM

Von Neumann universal constructors, and no reason to.

#73 CounterWeight

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:11 AM

Well our congress (USA) is soon to release the next funding cycle and depending on the exact flavor and language that eventually get approved, it is back to the moon and then mars via the moon effort. I am glad to see something so sensible. Interesting to see how it might unfold, ISS to Luna... I wonder if the transit and supply vehicles could be assembled and fueled from materials in orbit. Also am curious if the idea of using the 'space elevator' concept on Luna would eventually find merit?

As to the point of what brought up earlier, I do remember something about a certain country that made it to the moon (and back) several times while there was a lot of civil unrest over an unpopular war (and much else), I'll let it go at that.

#74 hm insulators

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:54 PM

We could just send the politicians. The thrust from their verbosity should be enough to accelerate the ship to near light speeds, thus eliminating long travel times. And getting them out of our hair sooner.


Hear! Hear! :applause: :goodjob:

#75 hm insulators

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:58 PM



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Better take along a healthy supply of banjos, too. By the time that multi-generational ship reaches its destination, everyone on board is going to be so in-bred they'll look like the guy on the porch in Deliverance.


No problem!

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