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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old April 17 2013, 12:02 AM   #1
RAMA
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Starship Century event

http://imagination.ucsd.edu/starship/#overview

May 21 - 22, UC San Diego, Qualcomm Institute, Atkinson Hall Auditorium

Is this the century we begin to build starships?

Why go to the Stars?

Can we?

Should We?



  • Scientists address the challenges and opportunities for our long‐term future in space, with possibilities envisioned by: Freeman Dyson, Paul Davies, Peter Schwartz, John Cramer and Robert Zubrin.
  • Science fiction authors Neal Stephenson, Allen Steele, Joe Haldeman, Gregory Benford, Geoffrey Landis and David Brin discuss the implications that these trajectories of exploration might have upon our development as individuals and as a civilization.
Lots of big names. Looks like a real dream event for a lot of science and scifi fans.

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Old April 19 2013, 06:03 PM   #2
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Re: Starship Century event

Way too premature... too many other foundation issues needing to be solved before we can even begin to think about interstellar travel. No doubt that cryogenics will be essential. But then there's the matter of what space does to bodies long term. The ISS has exercise protocols to help people stave off muscle and bone erosion, but there are limits. We're not meant to live in zero gravity environments...
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Old April 21 2013, 12:57 AM   #3
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Re: Starship Century event

Agreed. Thinking about traveling to the stars is quite a bit premature when we haven't even figured out how to travel to the next nearest planets in our own solar system.

We are in no position to think about exploring other solar systems around other stars; we haven't even explored our OWN solar system yet, and doing so will take at least a century of hardcore trial-by-error experimentation and history-making.
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Old April 22 2013, 08:56 PM   #4
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Re: Starship Century event

^ The way I see it is something like this...


Several hundred years from now, if humans have evolved past the primal instincts and there is world peace, the populations will settle down to sustainable levels. Human civilization will have achieved an ecological balance. Technological advances will progress at a slower rate, but more efficient in terms of expended overhead and minimal impact to the environment. People will be living very long and comfortable lives.

But over the course of several hundreds years that follow, human beings won't be satisfied to just live "as is", unable to further expand within the confines of Earth without disturbing the balance of the ecosystem. Some people will endeavor to explore the oceans and create submariner cities. Others will be compelled to take a chance on long distance interstellar travel, once technologies make it possible. If cryogenic freezing technology ends up perfected, and space craft drive and power systems sufficiently efficient for being able to reach identified habitable worlds many light years away, "project propagation" will recruit volunteers for making the one-way voyage to the most suitable known planet. And who knows... along the way, we may eventually develop superior spaceflight capability and send a few more expeditions in the same manner. The whole idea is being able to seed humanity on other worlds in the galaxy and not wait for an apocalyptic "abandon Earth" scenario at the very end. This is how I think we'll ultimately end up spreading out to other worlds.
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Old April 24 2013, 08:29 PM   #5
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Re: Starship Century event

Gary7 wrote: View Post
^ The way I see it is something like this...


Several hundred years from now, if humans have evolved past the primal instincts and there is world peace, the populations will settle down to sustainable levels. Human civilization will have achieved an ecological balance. Technological advances will progress at a slower rate, but more efficient in terms of expended overhead and minimal impact to the environment. People will be living very long and comfortable lives.

But over the course of several hundreds years that follow, human beings won't be satisfied to just live "as is", unable to further expand within the confines of Earth without disturbing the balance of the ecosystem. Some people will endeavor to explore the oceans and create submariner cities. Others will be compelled to take a chance on long distance interstellar travel, once technologies make it possible. If cryogenic freezing technology ends up perfected, and space craft drive and power systems sufficiently efficient for being able to reach identified habitable worlds many light years away, "project propagation" will recruit volunteers for making the one-way voyage to the most suitable known planet. And who knows... along the way, we may eventually develop superior spaceflight capability and send a few more expeditions in the same manner. The whole idea is being able to seed humanity on other worlds in the galaxy and not wait for an apocalyptic "abandon Earth" scenario at the very end. This is how I think we'll ultimately end up spreading out to other worlds.
But you're again assuming that it's a choice between "stay on Earth forever and eventually perish" and "expand to other stars and other solar systems." Apart from the many options available on Earth alone, the rest of the solar system is within immediate range of colonization. "Project Propagation" is more likely to involve moving much of humanity's population off world to cities on the moon, Mars and the moons of Jupiter before they convince anyone to expand to other solar systems.

Nor is it likely to require or be preceded by world peace. It's far more likely that the first exodus from Earth will be carried out by a Chinese program as an attempt to relieve the pressure of its own exploding population, and the inevitable fears that China may use its offworld population as an excuse to annex whole solar system bodies would be the cause of political tension and/or war. By the same token, the first expedition to colonize other solar systems would probably be launched from some major off-world industrial power (say, the Confederated States of Greater Saturn).
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Old April 25 2013, 03:00 PM   #6
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Re: Starship Century event

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
(say, the Confederated States of Greater Saturn).
I imagine they will have a flag resembling the U.S. Civil War Confederacy's battle flag, replacing the stars with Saturns.
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Old April 25 2013, 03:33 PM   #7
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Re: Starship Century event

Actually our greatest failure as a species is not thinking/planning far enough ahead.

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Old April 25 2013, 05:25 PM   #8
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Re: Starship Century event

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Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
(say, the Confederated States of Greater Saturn).
I imagine they will have a flag resembling the U.S. Civil War Confederacy's battle flag
Why? To draw allusions to a backwards little shit-kicker country that existed for four years and only came to exist in the first place because its aristocratic ownership class didn't want to give up their slaves? I think not.
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Old April 25 2013, 09:29 PM   #9
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Re: Starship Century event

I'll start believing in a/any/whatever space program again when they've build a Stanford Torus or two.. three..
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Old April 30 2013, 08:06 AM   #10
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Re: Starship Century event

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Vendikarr wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
(say, the Confederated States of Greater Saturn).
I imagine they will have a flag resembling the U.S. Civil War Confederacy's battle flag
Why? To draw allusions to a backwards little shit-kicker country that existed for four years and only came to exist in the first place because its aristocratic ownership class didn't want to give up their slaves? I think not.
But they could genetically engineer a class of servants, either adding human genes to apes and chimps or working backwards from humans to create people with abbreviated childhoods and sudden decrepitude to save on education and elderly medical costs. We could also add greater radiation tolerance, strength, simple problem-solving intelligence, and other traits that would be useful in space. The early ones would probably be corporate owned and licensed because of intellectual property rights and development costs, but reverse engineering the early models would be simple, so most people would probably opt for knockoffs distributed under the GNU freeware template.

Most normal humans wouldn't volunteer to spend a century on a starship with no hope of ever seeing the destination, and it would be immoral to force them to make such a journey, but a new servile subspecies created for such a mission doesn't raise any such issues. We could even add tree-sloth DNA so they don't mind just hanging around the engine room waiting decades for something that needs fixing, and have maintenance and emergency procedures passed along as mindless religious rituals. Once the ship arrives at the new star, they would awake their sleeping masters or raise normal human babies transported as fertilized eggs stored in liquid nitrogen, and the process of settlement could begin.

We have a bright future ahead of us.
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Old April 30 2013, 07:44 PM   #11
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Re: Starship Century event

gturner wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Vendikarr wrote: View Post

I imagine they will have a flag resembling the U.S. Civil War Confederacy's battle flag
Why? To draw allusions to a backwards little shit-kicker country that existed for four years and only came to exist in the first place because its aristocratic ownership class didn't want to give up their slaves? I think not.
But they could genetically engineer a class of servants, either adding human genes to apes and chimps or working backwards from humans to create people with abbreviated childhoods and sudden decrepitude to save on education and elderly medical costs. We could also add greater radiation tolerance, strength, simple problem-solving intelligence, and other traits that would be useful in space. The early ones would probably be corporate owned and licensed because of intellectual property rights and development costs, but reverse engineering the early models would be simple, so most people would probably opt for knockoffs distributed under the GNU freeware template.
I fail to see how any of those would be cheaper than robots.

I'm also not sure what any of that has to do with allusions to the Confederate States of America. I say without any exagerration that we're more likely to get space Nazis before anyone tries to emulate the Confederacy.

Most normal humans wouldn't volunteer to spend a century on a starship with no hope of ever seeing the destination, and it would be immoral to force them to make such a journey, but a new servile subspecies created for such a mission doesn't raise any such issues.
Again, there are easier options. If the starship has to be crewed by humans, you're better off packing it with convicted felons and/or religious dissidents as an alternative to life imprisonment or execution. Exile has in the past been a semi-popular technique for disposing of undesirables and the only reason it ceased to be so is because a fully-explored Earth no longer has places where undesirables can be safely exported without dumping them in someone else's back yard (although we still deport people in huge numbers). In the age of space exploration, exile is likely to be more common than imprisonment; prisons are expensive and irritating to maintain, but "Get out of here and never come back or we'll kill you" is relatively cheap.

We have a bright future ahead of us.
Some of is, slightly brighter than others.
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Old April 30 2013, 08:35 PM   #12
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Re: Starship Century event

But robots might start a rebellion! I was playing it safe with talking apes and replicants. ^_^

Off topic, but a 747 crashed at Baghram airport today, probably do to a weight shift (it was a cargo flight). If anyone can think of the proper forum for posting this dashcam clip, post away!

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Old May 1 2013, 02:27 AM   #13
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Re: Starship Century event

Today? The date says February...

Tragic event. Ive heard some say the load on board shifted... I don't know though. Sad.

On topic... I don't wanna wait a century for a starship, I won't make it! Can't some uber rich person make this happen sooner? (I know, I can dream) It's not like we're expecting warp drive. They'd only get richer. If I had zillions of dollars you can bet the ship would be getting constructed in orbit right now.
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Old May 21 2013, 04:03 AM   #14
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Re: Starship Century event

This event will be streamed tomorrow online!

http://imagination.ucsd.edu/
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Old May 21 2013, 07:28 PM   #15
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Re: Starship Century event

*Mr. Burns* Excellent!
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