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Old September 14 2012, 04:53 PM   #107
Mars
Captain
 
Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Ironically, you're correct this time, if only because the trillion dollar AI is the least impractical thing in that paragraph.
An atomic fission powered ion drive is feasible, an antimatter engine less so, warp drive is fantasy, so the only starships we will build will be slow one that take thousands of years to arrive at their destination, I think one could be built this century, we need to develop artificial wombs and AI technology to make this happen. I think it would be easier than developing reliable suspended animation, it is easier to preserve single fertilized egg cells invitro than a whole human body. egg cells are stored that way now
But none of these are PRACTICAL, not on the timescales you're talking about, or for the applications you're describing. In essence the sentient AI is the least impractical thing on the ship mainly because it actually serves a (somewhat) well-defined purpose at the destination. That same AI would be entirely unnecessary for a voyage that lasts five thousand years, however.
The ships systems would need to be preserved and maintained over that 5000 year journey, the AI could be woken up periodically with a timer to run a systems check, maintenance could be performed by remote AI Computer controlled robots. the ship will have to last 5000 years or more. Fortunately at that slow rate micrometers aren't that much of a problem, the ship would be barely traveling faster than the stars moving through the galaxy. Animals could be maintained in the ship's Ark, humans unfortunately are less predictable than animals, so they's be kept as frozen egg cells until needed, the Ark would serve as their childhood home as they prepared to land on the planet's surface to colonize the place. What's so impractical? these look like technologies that will be available by the late 21st century, I'm not even assuming we make a breakthrough with fusion.

A specific impulse of 50,000 ISP could reach Alpha Centauri in 860 years with an overall fueled to empty ratio of 21.3:1 According to the Starflight Handbook by Eugene Mallove and Gregory Matloff, in principle a mission designed to last 5000 years could be done with a lower mass ratio than that.
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