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Will humans ever establish a colony in another starsystem?
Yes, in less than 100 years too. 9%  9%  [ 5 ]
Yes, probably in 500 years though. 38%  38%  [ 20 ]
Yes, but it'll take more than 1000 years. 17%  17%  [ 9 ]
No, stupid, it's too expensive, people will never do it. 4%  4%  [ 2 ]
No, people will wipe themselves out before they ever gain the tech. 13%  13%  [ 7 ]
Who cares? I'll be long dead by then! 19%  19%  [ 10 ]
Total votes : 53
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 Post subject: Real interstellar travel. PostPosted: 2002-09-10 11:39pm
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Decided to try my hand at making a poll, and this forum seems to be the one to do it in.

The question speaks for itself. If we look at how human civilization is evolving right now, with you and I and everyone else on this planet, one could wonder when humans will develop interstellar travel, and use it to found a settlement at . . . say, Epsilon Eridani, 10 light-years away. (We know it has at least a gas giant . . . it may support terrestrial planets too.)

Of course, will interstellar travel ever be necessary? We have a lot of resources sitting right here in the solar system. Vote and discuss! :D




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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-11 01:17am
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Humanity goes up in a big blinding ball of nuclear light, chemical and biological agents along with all of our neat stuff within 200 years.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-11 02:16am
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Provided we don't wipe outselves out first or fall into some kind of non-recoverable social structure (e.g. like that of Orwell's 1984), it'll probably take around a thousand years to develop the technology for interstellar travel. I tend to think one or both of the first two options will happen first, however.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-11 09:09am
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We need to get off this planet and onto the moon and Mars as soon as possible, Frankly I never liked the all your eggs in one basket idea and now we have the tecnology if not the will-power to do, we SHOULD




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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-11 10:47am
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The thing that gets me is that back in the 50's, it'd been thought that we'd have had colonies on the Moon and Mars by know, which although being possible hasn't been done yet. To say that we could have interstellar travel in 100 years tells me that in actual fact it would be at least twice that time from coming.
Plus Alpha Centauri is several dozen light years away, innit?

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-11 02:40pm
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Ted wrote:
The thing that gets me is that back in the 50's, it'd been thought that we'd have had colonies on the Moon and Mars by know, which although being possible hasn't been done yet. To say that we could have interstellar travel in 100 years tells me that in actual fact it would be at least twice that time from coming.
Plus Alpha Centauri is several dozen light years away, innit?


Nonono! Alpha Centauri is only 4.3 light-years away. It's why it's so bright (in the southern sky anyway.) Alpha Centauri A is a yellow dwarf like the sun. It'd be unremarkable if it were several dozen lightyears away.

Also, our first target is unlikely to be Alpha Centauri. It's a close binary with a yellow dwarf, and an orange dwarf, orbiting each other every 88 years. They approach about as close as Uranus is in our own solar system. It's not certain that one would find any planets orbiting them.

We're more likely to aim at the following starsystems first:

Tau Ceti: About 11 light-years away, it is a yellow dwarf that is slightly cooler than our own sun. It is also a single star with no stellar companions. This means it could contain a stable retinue of planets.

Epsilon Eridani: About 10.8 light-years away, it is a very young star. And we already know it has at least one gas giant. It may also contain terrestrial planets. However, they would probably require extensive terraforming in order to be habitable (think primordial Earth.)

Epsilon Indi: About 11 light-years away. It has half the luminosity of Epsilon Eridani. (Which has about 1/3rd the luminosity of the Sun.) This means that any habitable planets would have to sit at the distance of Mercury or Venus.

Then, once one gets about 16 - 20 lightyears out from the Sun, we encounter more sun-like stars.

If one goes about 60 - 70 light-years out, one encounters some interesting systems. For instance, there are several that have gas giants orbiting at Earth-like distances from their parent stars. If they have large enough moons, those could be habitable too. But 60 - 70 lightyears would be going a little far for a civilization restricted to slower-than-light travel.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-11 03:52pm
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Well it would still take over 5 years to get to Alpha Centauri, and over 15 for the others, so I doubt they'd want to do much interstellar exploration.

PS where is Proxima Centauri?

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-12 09:43pm
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I thought that I posted here, but looks like I didn't go here http://www.jrmooneyham.com/spint.html
for a general ouline for the future mixed with perspective.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-12 10:05pm
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Ted wrote:
Well it would still take over 5 years to get to Alpha Centauri, and over 15 for the others, so I doubt they'd want to do much interstellar exploration.

Only if we ever manage to build a bassard ramjet...

Quote:
PS where is Proxima Centauri?


I believe that its an alternate name for Alpha Centauri... I never really understood that either...

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-13 12:49am
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Singuler Quartet wrote:
Ted wrote:
Well it would still take over 5 years to get to Alpha Centauri, and over 15 for the others, so I doubt they'd want to do much interstellar exploration.

Only if we ever manage to build a bassard ramjet...

Quote:
PS where is Proxima Centauri?


I believe that its an alternate name for Alpha Centauri... I never really understood that either...


Actually, with a Bussard ramjet it looks like we'd get maybe 0.33 c out of it, max. And Proxima Centauri is the name for the third star in the Alpha Centauri system. Alpha Centauri is actually three stars. A, B, and C. A is a star almost identical to the Sun. B is an orange star, and C is a dim red dwarf. The reason it's called Proxima Centauri is because it is the closest star to the Sun, at 4.23 lightyears away.




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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-13 09:09am
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http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/gr-qc/0009013

As you can see, I'm hoping for FTL within my liftime.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-19 11:42pm
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For the person who used the example of "80's-mars colonies; never happened), as an example of the possible time scale of interstellar travel, they are mistaken.

The real reason we did not have colonies on the Moon and Mars is not because of lack of technology; we had the technology easily within our grasp. It was because of the lack of POLITICAL WILL to do so.

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 Post subject: Colonisation the slow-but-steady way PostPosted: 2002-09-21 05:24am
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Assuminng that a Bussard ramjet could even manage .33c, it would be 15 years to Alpha Centauri and three decades to Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani.

Epsilon Eridani is unlikely as a target for colonisation because the star itself is only a billion and a half years old. There won't be any habitable worlds, assuming any are forming, for another billion and a half years. But a note should be kept for the future cosmic real estate market, I suppose...

Colonising other star systems is going to be a crapshoot and very slow going, given how long it will take simply to find other habitable worlds.

However, if you aren't particularly looking for habitable worlds...

This is where a more viable option might be the Worldship, where your only object is to get its population to another star system with worlds that can be mined for resources. Worldship colonies can be established anywhere that sunlike or reasonably stable stars with sufficent energy output are likely to be found. Materials for building more colonies and future Worldships can be mined from the various worlds, moons, and asteroids to be found in the destination system, which would become the new home system for that branch of humanity.

Eventually, human civilisation can be established anywhere within the 70 lightyear radius around Earth and further beyond, given a few million years of effort. Where habitable worlds exist, they can be settled as well.

The issue will be ultimately forced when Sol starts to die, assuming that humanity is still around. But if Man has a future beyond this planet, it can be extended for uncounted millions of years and touch upon every habitable star system within the Cygnus Loop.

It will require adapting to a very different timescale, naturally.

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 Post subject: Earliest date for extrasolar colonisation; 5000AD PostPosted: 2002-09-23 01:39am
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I'd say that within 5000 years, we will have established a few colonies within nearby star systems; probably using Worldships with small initial populations which grow into them with time and turn to mining resources within the neighbourhood of their new star as soon as practicable.

Before then, however, I think humanity will concentrate upon building an extensive solar civilisation before seriously considering any extrasolar venture.

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 Post subject: Re: Colonisation the slow-but-steady way PostPosted: 2002-09-23 01:51am
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Patrick Degan wrote:
Assuminng that a Bussard ramjet could even manage .33c, it would be 15 years to Alpha Centauri and three decades to Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani.

Epsilon Eridani is unlikely as a target for colonisation because the star itself is only a billion and a half years old. There won't be any habitable worlds, assuming any are forming, for another billion and a half years. But a note should be kept for the future cosmic real estate market, I suppose...


Planets form with astonishing quickness. And Earth became habitable (at least to microbial life) less than a billion years after the formation of the solar system. What one would have to worry about in colonizing Epsilon Eridani is deflecting the constant bombardment by various planetesimals, comets, asteroids, and assorted debris. (The density of debris is something like 1000x that of Sol System.)

Patrick Degan wrote:
Colonising other star systems is going to be a crapshoot and very slow going, given how long it will take simply to find other habitable worlds.


Eventually, we're going to be able to put up an interferometer big enough to see the planets orbiting a nearby solar system, and analyze whether they might support life, or whether they require terraformation.

Patrick Degan wrote:
However, if you aren't particularly looking for habitable worlds...

This is where a more viable option might be the Worldship, where your only object is to get its population to another star system with worlds that can be mined for resources. Worldship colonies can be established anywhere that sunlike or reasonably stable stars with sufficent energy output are likely to be found. Materials for building more colonies and future Worldships can be mined from the various worlds, moons, and asteroids to be found in the destination system, which would become the new home system for that branch of humanity.


Worldship? You mean something like a hollowed out asteroid of a O'Neil (sp?) station? If that's what you mean, then yeah. You wouldn't care about habitable planets. All you'd care about is if the target star had sufficient luminosity to provide you with solar energy and enough stellar wind to refuel your fuel tanks. And a handy supply of comets and asteroids might be nice too.

Patrick Degan wrote:
The issue will be ultimately forced when Sol starts to die, assuming that humanity is still around. But if Man has a future beyond this planet, it can be extended for uncounted millions of years and touch upon every habitable star system within the Cygnus Loop.


Not likely. All species that have ever existed have gone extinct. That includes all other members of the Homo genus. And Earth will be rendered uninhabitable long before Sol leaves the main sequence. (Sol's increasing luminosity will make things too hot for life in less than a billion years.)




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 Post subject: The Long Future PostPosted: 2002-09-23 02:37am
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GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:
Patrick Degan wrote:
Assuminng that a Bussard ramjet could even manage .33c, it would be 15 years to Alpha Centauri and three decades to Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani.

Epsilon Eridani is unlikely as a target for colonisation because the star itself is only a billion and a half years old. There won't be any habitable worlds, assuming any are forming, for another billion and a half years. But a note should be kept for the future cosmic real estate market, I suppose...


Planets form with astonishing quickness. And Earth became habitable (at least to microbial life) less than a billion years after the formation of the solar system. What one would have to worry about in colonizing Epsilon Eridani is deflecting the constant bombardment by various planetesimals, comets, asteroids, and assorted debris. (The density of debris is something like 1000x that of Sol System.)


Habitable biospheres, however, do not form so rapidly. And the planetesimal density is another strike against Epsilon as a target for colonisation.

Patrick Degan wrote:
Colonising other star systems is going to be a crapshoot and very slow going, given how long it will take simply to find other habitable worlds.


Eventually, we're going to be able to put up an interferometer big enough to see the planets orbiting a nearby solar system, and analyze whether they might support life, or whether they require terraformation.[/quote]

That is assuming that you can spot terrestial planets to start with. We can't detect such comparatively tiny bodies visually, and thus have nothing at which to aim an interferometer at.

Patrick Degan wrote:
However, if you aren't particularly looking for habitable worlds...

This is where a more viable option might be the Worldship, where your only object is to get its population to another star system with worlds that can be mined for resources. Worldship colonies can be established anywhere that sunlike or reasonably stable stars with sufficent energy output are likely to be found. Materials for building more colonies and future Worldships can be mined from the various worlds, moons, and asteroids to be found in the destination system, which would become the new home system for that branch of humanity.


Worldship? You mean something like a hollowed out asteroid of a O'Neil (sp?) station? If that's what you mean, then yeah. You wouldn't care about habitable planets. All you'd care about is if the target star had sufficient luminosity to provide you with solar energy and enough stellar wind to refuel your fuel tanks. And a handy supply of comets and asteroids might be nice too.[/quote]

It could be either. The advantages greatly simplify the problem of finding systems to occupy in the colonisation effort.

Patrick Degan wrote:
The issue will be ultimately forced when Sol starts to die, assuming that humanity is still around. But if Man has a future beyond this planet, it can be extended for uncounted millions of years and touch upon every habitable star system within the Cygnus Loop.


Not likely. All species that have ever existed have gone extinct. That includes all other members of the Homo genus.[/quote]

The difference is that we have the technology to alter that outcome. The other extinct species did not.

Quote:
And Earth will be rendered uninhabitable long before Sol leaves the main sequence. (Sol's increasing luminosity will make things too hot for life in less than a billion years.)


Earth may be rendered uninhabitable long before Sol's departure from the main sequence, but solar colonies in their own orbits and on the other worlds, with insulated environments, will not be affected. Even after Earth become unviable, there could still be a thriving civilisation within the Sol system for aeons to come. Sol's eventual death throes will ultimately force a migration when there is no longer sufficent usable energy to be gathered from the dying sun, and/or when every usable material has been mined or otherwise extracted from the moons, planets, comets, and asteroids. My programme would involve building Worldship colonies to occupy independent orbits around the planets and around Sol as well as for settling other star systems.

And there is no telling how long humanity will survive, but it has an infinitely better chance through space migration than it has staying groundbound.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-23 03:21am
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Antimatter is the only *realistic* fuel that will take us to the stars. However the real minimum requirements would be reaching 0.1c. Anything slower than that and you might as well not go.



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 Post subject: actually the fuel for star travel PostPosted: 2002-09-24 05:03am
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is the sunlight of or own sun.. I donot mean those flimsly solar sails, but a Nuclear power ship using a magnetic sail to ride a steam of particle from a solar power particle beam station..

First have a station near the sun to convert sun light to a laser.. fire the laser at the transmitting station to power a Particle accelerator and your ship uses a magnetic field to catch the particle steam.. also the particle interacting with the magnetic field give you power...

At least .40 C

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 Post subject: An interesting idea PostPosted: 2002-09-24 08:14am
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omegaLancer wrote:
is the sunlight of or own sun.. I donot mean those flimsly solar sails, but a Nuclear power ship using a magnetic sail to ride a steam of particle from a solar power particle beam station..

First have a station near the sun to convert sun light to a laser.. fire the laser at the transmitting station to power a Particle accelerator and your ship uses a magnetic field to catch the particle steam.. also the particle interacting with the magnetic field give you power...

At least .40 C


An interesting idea, and one which involves only placing large focussing lenses in solar orbit.

Where can literature on this be found?

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 Post subject: Re: actually the fuel for star travel PostPosted: 2002-09-24 10:37am
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omegaLancer wrote:
First have a station near the sun to convert sun light to a laser.. At least .40 C


How do you stop?

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-09-24 10:58am
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omegaLancer wrote:
First have a station near the sun to convert sun light to a laser.. fire the laser at the transmitting station to power a Particle accelerator and your ship uses a magnetic field to catch the particle steam.. also the particle interacting with the magnetic field give you power...

At least .40 C


If you were to build a laser around the Sun, and I assume that there would be more than one, why not use it to just create anti-matter? Focus the lasers in one area in space, and boom you bet anti-matter with the right fulx desity (not really sure on the phrase there, I will have to check up on that!). Surely that would be a more efficient use of the laser, since you will not need complex, expensive and large focusing lenses to keep propelling the ship. Also as Zoink pointed out, stopping would be easier...



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