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Alpha Centauri Or Bust

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/science/space/18starship.html?_r=1

I have my own (controversial) views on this.

I think that humans will never travel to the stars. Machine intelligences could. But they won't want to.

Even machines are going to be increasingly thinking too fast to want to be out of the 'social loop' for long enough to undertake serious trips away from where 'the action' is. I think thought speeds and miniaturisation will be increasing exponentially, tending towards the infinite (and the infinitesimal), until even a trip of a few inches at light speed will be out of the question. Finally we all disappear into a tiny mote of dust of subjective boundless eternity.

Your speed of thought may be increasing as time passes but mine certainly isn't!

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Even machines are going to be increasingly thinking too fast to want to be out of the 'social loop' for long enough to undertake serious trips away from where 'the action' is.

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:D

If the US had organised it through DARPA our first communication to them would be: "Take us to your lender". *

* shamelessly stolen from The Spaniard, comedy genius.

Fair enough, my quote was stolen from Terry Pratchett.

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They could certainly send egoless machines. But anything that wanted to be part of some sort of 'culmination of all hopes', wouldn't want to be sent out. And no one would be interested in what it discovered, or its return, or its colonisations, because everything that ever happened would have unfurled in a seemingly eternal "instant" long ago.

What about mindless production robots that are programmed to build the clever robots upon arrival?

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I think that humans will never travel to the stars.

"The Stars are not for Man"

Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clark

What about mindless production robots that are programmed to build the clever robots upon arrival?

Let's hope the clever robots wouldn't get annoyed at being stuck in the back end of nowhere, develop an advanced civilization and hit back at us, ala. Battlestar Galactica.

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They could certainly send egoless machines. But anything that wanted to be part of some sort of 'culmination of all hopes', wouldn't want to be sent out. And no one would be interested in what it discovered, or its return, or its colonisations, because everything that ever happened would have unfurled in a seemingly eternal "instant" long ago.

Technological singularities do seem to be in fashion, don't they? ;)

But would everyone want to be part of it? Could the desire to escape from one be in itself the justification for interstellar travel?

Certainly most migrations in history are away from something (famine, repression, etc...) and what lies at the end of the voyage is less important than what is left at the start.

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I have my own (controversial) views on this.

I think that humans will never travel to the stars. Machine intelligences could. But they won't want to.

No point really! You can see stars from here, and now we have the internet! :blink:

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I think thought speeds and miniaturisation will be increasing exponentially, tending towards the infinite (and the infinitesimal),

The miniaturisation, at least, is become exponentially harder to achieve at each step. We will need something radically different fairly soon. Even now there are parts of your computer's chip that are pushing single digit numbers of atoms in size (the gate oxide thickness for instance). That's quite aside from issues of the photolithography wall, and unready next generation lithographies.

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Ray Kurzweil has a lot on this.

I'm not talking about current difficulties, but almost unimaginable future technologies -

DVDs and cellphones? ;)

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The laws of physics (as we know them) mitigate against interstellar travel - the amount of energy required is so huge and the durations so long that such a journey is verging on impossible. This is one of the rational explanations of the lack of aliens, the universe may be teeming with life, but we can't get to it, and it can't get to us.

I don't think the idea of using some faster than light drive will ever work unless our understanding of the universe materially changes. It is theoretically possible to create wormholes, but it would take more energy than exists in the universe to do it, and the eventual destination would be somewhat random. So Star Trek style jaunts to Alpha Centauri are out.

What may well be possible is long duration (multi generational) travel at sub light speed. If you launched from earth, you'be talking about a one way journey in a craft the size of a bathtub - anyone signing up for that would be insane to start with, so it would all be a bit pointless. However, if you're up in space already, and have industrial capacity up there, there's nothing to stop you hollowing out an asteroid, putting a bit of a spin on it and having a half reasonable space. The sort of space that could accommodate a few million people. Stick a big motor (simple nuclear powered rocket) on one end and in a few years you'll be running at a fair clip. About 100 years later all the original occupants would be dead, but their children would arrive at Alpha Centauri. Of course, Alpha Centauri may not have anywhere habitable, so they'd move on for another 1000 years. Not much fun, but better than living in Slough.

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The laws of physics (as we know them) mitigate against interstellar travel - the amount of energy required is so huge and the durations so long that such a journey is verging on impossible. This is one of the rational explanations of the lack of aliens, the universe may be teeming with life, but we can't get to it, and it can't get to us.

I've been saying that for years, after I drove from Aberdeen to Pembroke in 13 hours!

There are still people who think aliens are travelling unimaginable distances to stick something up their bum! :blink:

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There are still people who think aliens are travelling unimaginable distances to stick something up their bum! :blink:

I'm surprised they can be arsed.

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I'm surprised they can be arsed.

:lol:

Forgot to mention we have all been seeking "intelligent" life in space! :huh:

If they can see us they will give it a wide berth!

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The laws of physics (as we know them) mitigate against interstellar travel - the amount of energy required is so huge and the durations so long that such a journey is verging on impossible. This is one of the rational explanations of the lack of aliens, the universe may be teeming with life, but we can't get to it, and it can't get to us.

I don't think the idea of using some faster than light drive will ever work unless our understanding of the universe materially changes. It is theoretically possible to create wormholes, but it would take more energy than exists in the universe to do it, and the eventual destination would be somewhat random. So Star Trek style jaunts to Alpha Centauri are out.

Everyone knows that Area 52 is the Stargate.

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they will give it a wide berth!

Exactly. I wouldn't waste time with a species like ours.

The missing scene in Star Trek: First Contact should have gone like this:

VULCAN #1: We have detected a warp energy signature from the system ahead.

VULCAN #2: Scanning.

VULCAN #1: Altering course to intercept.

VULCAN #2: I am detecting large quantities of Jedward, Kerry Katona and Dappy from N-Dubz.

VULCAN #1: Arm photon torpedoes, prepare to fire.

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I'd like to think we'll travel to the stars. Assuming we don't wipe each other out first it would be the obvious solution for overpopulation, lack of resources and the fact we're all so irreconcilably different.

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I'd like to think we'll travel to the stars.

I hope we don't.

SPENDER: We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things. The only reason we didn't set up hot-dog stands in the midst of the Egyptian temple of Karnak is because it was out of the way and served no large commercial purpose. And Egypt is a small part of Earth. But here, this whole thing is ancient and different, and we have to set down somewhere and start fouling it up."

The Martian Chronicles

Narrator: When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.

Fight Club

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About 100 years later all the original occupants would be dead, but their children would arrive at Alpha Centauri.

No they wouldn't. Immortality will be viable well before sending a sizeable habitat to another star at 1% of the speed of light.

Of course, Alpha Centauri may not have anywhere habitable, so they'd move on for another 1000 years. Not much fun, but better than living in Slough.

Why would they care? If you're used to living in a self-contained habitat then you'd just drop off some of the excess population that had grown over the last few centuries, perform maintenance, refuel from the first convenient gas giant and move on.

If you lived here would you really want to leave it for a rock trapped in orbit around a single star?

(Of course that's clearly just the property developer's CG rendition, but there's no reason why a starship couldn't be a much nicer place to live than the average Earth city)

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  • 332 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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