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Old September 14 2012, 07:11 PM   #116
Mars
Captain
 
Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

gturner wrote: View Post
It will cost a trillion dollars because someone in this thread's already thrown that out as a budgeting figure, and it's a government program, so no matter how much it should cost, a trillion will be the target. But based on studies of government contract projects, we should anticipate a 150% cost overrun, at minimum, so we're up to $1.5 trillion.
How do you know it would be a government program? People buy insurance for their children all the time, and I believe that by 2100 there will be many privately owned spacecraft. A private organization could probably fund this expedition. Computer AIs will be established technology by this time and ion drives common place.

It would be cheaper not to have the nuclear powered starship equiped with solid-fueled impulse engines on the saucer section, but the Senator from Utah made sure those were part of the basic design. The onboard AI spends 10% of its CPU time thinking about the stupidity of it.
Starships are usually hideously expensive because they try to get there within a human lifetime, to do that they must reach a significant fraction of the speed of light, this requires exotic propulsion technology such as antimatter drives or giant laser driven light sails, my ship would only require an AI, an ion drive powered by a nuclear reactor, a way of freezing cells for later revitalization, and of course artificial womb technology, which I believe is much easier to accomplish than indefinite suspended animation for the whole body.

In any event, the ship just needs a pocket calculator to fly. It's the crew that needs to be AI's. Then they don't need space suits to go out on the hull and replace broken tiles for thousands of years, and don't have to procreate to make sure the ship doesn't run low on "tile-replacers."
A conventional probe that takes 5000 years to get there would serve no purpose as there would be no one left alive that would likely appreciate its results.

But, as was said during Apollo, why use computers when you can build more humans using untrained manual labor?
But they would not get to the Moon, the Earth is a finite sphere and we need to expand outwards for more resources, and the trends in AI technology is a bit troubling as they may make humans obsolete. getting some isolation for a distant colony 5000 years in the future could be a good insurance policy in case things go bad.
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