Author Topic: Traveling to other solar systems - how?  (Read 3688 times)

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Offline Quasirodent

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Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« on: February 16, 2012, 09:44:58 pm »
On reading the 'super-earth' thread, I was reminded of this idea I had when I was a teenager and interested in writing science fiction:  How would I allow spacecraft to travel huge distances within manageable lengths of time? 

Basically, I supposed that the sub-atomic particles that made up the universe spun at different frequencies and rates depending on where you were, and if you altered the spin of one group of particles so that it exactly matched the signature of another place, they would essentially exist in two locations at once (referencing some quantum experiments) and create a wormhole between the origin point and the signature point.

My grasp of the physics involved isn't that great, so I'm sure it's not really a feasible idea (But still more realistic than what I've seen in a lot of books.)

So what ideas do you folks have?
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Offline Lithp

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 09:51:03 pm »
Garganta.

Offline Quasirodent

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2012, 10:00:11 pm »
*googles this*  ... 200 foot tall giant woman in a furry bikini?
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Offline Lithp

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 10:01:16 pm »
What the fuck were you looking at?

Offline Star Cluster

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2012, 11:39:51 pm »
What the fuck were you looking at?

Apparently this.  While you are probably referring to this.

Anyway, interstellar space travel in a reasonable time is going to be a tough nut to crack.  I'm sure I'll never see it happen and reasonably sure no one active on this board will, either. 

Hell, I'd be happy just to see us land a human on Mars.
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Offline Askold

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 04:07:32 am »
I vote for generation ships. Although I'm not sure if even those would work.
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Offline Dan

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 01:39:33 pm »
It has to be either Arthur C Clarke's Songs of Distant Earth or Poul Anderson's Tau Zero.

Offline Yla

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 02:57:49 pm »
I'm still holding out a hope that we will eventually discover a way to reduce the insane energy requirements of an Alcubierre drive and make the concept feasible. Even a subluminal warp drive would be the best thing ever.
That said, I've stopped trying to anticipate what people around here want a while ago, I've found it makes things smoother.
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Offline StallChaser

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2012, 03:29:40 am »
If you could get close to the speed of light, the time dilation would allow you to travel a lot farther than your normal lifespan in light years (but would take an absurd amount of energy).  Alternatively, there could be a large self contained space civilization that would make the journey over multiple generations.  Or, medical technology would advance to the point that all body parts could be replaced with young clone tissue, and lifespans would be limitless.

Wormholes are a nice plot device, but unless there was a reasonable way to produce/stabilize one, it'll never be any more than that.

Offline Lithp

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2012, 03:41:04 pm »
I have a way!

Garganta.

You just have to die & eat some people. No biggie.

Offline The Illusive Man

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2012, 01:13:09 am »
It has to be either Arthur C Clarke's Songs of Distant Earth or Poul Anderson's Tau Zero.

I never understood the concept of generation ships. Give finite resources the following scenarios hypothetically play out in chronological order:

  • Capable of building a generation ship that lasts 1000 years
  • Capable of building a generation ship that lasts 750 years
  • Capable of building a generation ship that lasts 500 years
  • Capable of building a generation ship that lasts 250 years
  • Last one out shut the lights off!

Of course this assumes complete mutual cooperation among all political powers.
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Offline Askold

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2012, 03:45:24 am »
It has to be either Arthur C Clarke's Songs of Distant Earth or Poul Anderson's Tau Zero.

I never understood the concept of generation ships. Give finite resources the following scenarios hypothetically play out in chronological order:

  • Capable of building a generation ship that lasts 1000 years
  • Capable of building a generation ship that lasts 750 years
  • Capable of building a generation ship that lasts 500 years
  • Capable of building a generation ship that lasts 250 years
  • Last one out shut the lights off!

Of course this assumes complete mutual cooperation among all political powers.


Well the point is that you try to recycle/reuse as much as possible and hope that the resources on the ship won't end untill you reach your destination. Also you would have to have population control to keep the numbers low enough to be sustainable and some sort of eugenic program to make sure you won't end up destroying the crew by inbreeding.

Having a ship where most of the passengers are in hibernation/cryo-sleep would be easier. But if we go down that line then why not simply hope for a FTL-drive.

Generation ship not only reguires huge resources you also need thousands of people who say:

"Ok. I and my descendants will spend rest of our lives trapped in this ship suffering claustrohpobia (and all psychological problems that arise from being stuck here) as well as the risks of: starvation if the farms or supplies are damaged, death if any vital systems become unrepairable and of course harsh totalitarian regime so that at some point this ship will reach another star system, which may or may not be inhabitable."
No matter what happens, no matter what my last words may end up being, I want everyone to claim that they were:
"If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
Aww, you guys rock. :)  I feel the love... and the pitchforks and torches.  Tingly!

Offline Dan

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2012, 04:02:48 am »
It has to be either Arthur C Clarke's Songs of Distant Earth or Poul Anderson's Tau Zero.

I never understood the concept of generation ships.
Neither of those books involves a generation ship as such. In Songs of Distant Earth the last ship to leave Earth uses cryogenics for the passengers, and the story plays out on a stop-off on the way to their new home. The stop-off (like all the other human-inhabited worlds not featured in the story) was previously populated by a ship that transported not much other than genetic material for the people and their food (etc) needs.

The ship in Tau Zero was not intended as a generation ship, but depended on time dilation to reduce the journey time.

Quote
Give finite resources ....
Material resources are not finite: given enough energy, all matter is infinitely recyclable. That's how life on Earth has kept going for all these years. All you need is to not jettison too much Stuff and to maintain a good energy supply - the second of these is the chief difference between the ships on those two books.

Offline davedan

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2012, 04:15:14 am »
I would have thought that you only need a generational crew with most of the colonisers being carried in the form of frozen genetic material. That same genetic material could be used to prevent crew inbreeding.

However I have no idea what you would do to keep the crew from going completely insane

Offline Yla

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Re: Traveling to other solar systems - how?
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2012, 11:19:58 am »
Generation ship not only reguires huge resources you also need thousands of people who say:

"Ok. I and my descendants will spend rest of our lives trapped in this ship suffering claustrohpobia (and all psychological problems that arise from being stuck here) as well as the risks of: starvation if the farms or supplies are damaged, death if any vital systems become unrepairable and of course harsh totalitarian regime so that at some point this ship will reach another star system, which may or may not be inhabitable."
That actually won't be that much of an issue. As soon as the idea for a one-way Mars mission in the next two decades got juggled around, NASA already had more volunteers than they would ever need.

The descendants don't get asked, though I imagine rebellious teenagers are going to be funny[not] on a generational ship.
That said, I've stopped trying to anticipate what people around here want a while ago, I've found it makes things smoother.
For I was an hungred, and ye told me to pull myself up by my bootstraps: I was thirsty, and ye demanded payment for the privilege of thine urine: I was a stranger, and ye deported me: naked, and ye arrested me for indecency.