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

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Old January 28 2014, 12:12 AM   #31
Creepy Critter
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

There's also other supporting technology too, such as radar, computers, and electronics generally, plus aeronautics. The transistor missed WWII by only two years.
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Old January 28 2014, 12:46 AM   #32
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

I'm not sure if that supports my point or contradicts it. Surely the development of the transistor went faster due to wartime pressure for better/more efficient/more compact controls.
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Old January 28 2014, 01:18 AM   #33
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

I agree that if the war had been with Communist Russia a little later on, instead of Nazi Germany, the same sort of technological advances would've resulted. I think the winds of change were blowing around that timeframe.
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Old January 28 2014, 08:15 AM   #34
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
I'm not sure if that supports my point or contradicts it. Surely the development of the transistor went faster due to wartime pressure for better/more efficient/more compact controls.
The transistor was a direct outgrowth of the need for a better, more reliable solid-state diode for radar sets, to replace troublesome point-contact devices (galena crystals and the like).

So getting back to what technology would've made a difference, AT&T barely beat some German researchers to the transistor, and even during the war some Germans were thinking of building computers using relays. So it would be pretty simple to posit that they got transistors early in the war, or even prior. Have Goering get killed in a car accident early enough, and his replacement probably wouldn't have had a profound disdain for airborne electronics like radar. In that area, Goering was an impediment who once said "It's boxes with coils, and I don't like boxes with coils". That might've helped equalize the Allies large advantage in radar.

It's also easy to imagine that the Polish encryption experts never made it to England, greatly slowing or eliminating Bletchley Park's successful attack on the Enigma cypher machine. Not being able to crack German codes would have a fairly large effect on most of the battles.

But something that would've dealt an almost insurmountable blow to the Allied strategic bombing effort was actually within their reach, if they'd have thought of it, and that is the IR homing Sidewinder missile, which only used period technology and can fly on only eight vacuum tubes. They wouldn't have been horribly useful against fighters at first, but would've devastated large bomber streams.

If those had been available fairly early, the Allies couldn't have achieved air superiority, the bombers would've suffered too many losses to maintain a strategic bombing campaign, and when they were finally married up with the Me-163 and Me-262, the Third Reich would get its roof back.

Still, the ultimate in air superiority is having your tanks parked on your enemy's runway, so to win, Germany would've had to delay the invasion of the Soviet Union until they had better logistics and better tanks. If they had delayed, England would've been left dangling far longer, while the Soviets wouldn't have been getting anything from Lend Lease because they'd still be in a pact with Hitler. That would buy time and breathing space for further technical developments.
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Old January 28 2014, 08:41 AM   #35
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

2takesfrakes wrote:
I agree that if the war had been with Communist Russia a little later on, instead of Nazi Germany, the same sort of technological advances would've resulted. I think the winds of change were blowing around that timeframe.
I guess I'd agree, with one qualifier: Assuming any U.S. – U.S.S.R. war wouldn't have occurred before the 1950s due to no immediate tensions, and Stalin still died about the same time — do we still assume a buildup leading to war? Certainly neither nation would be starting off on a war footing. (Heck, neither nation would really be considered a superpower yet.) No Yalta Conference, no Potsdam Conference, and no resulting fallout. There might still be an Eastern Bloc of some kind, but not necessarily an Iron Curtain.

If we assume that Western objections to the human rights abuses, etc. of Stalin (along with whoever succeeded Stalin) would still lead to war before the end of the 1950s, then I agree that the appropriate technological/industrial advances would still be made not much later.

Okay, I'm thinking about this harder as I go. If, somehow, there was no incentive for tensions to build up that fast, then we'd probably see no more than a series of skirmishes or minor wars for a long time. No real incentive to develop those technological/industrial advances, thus slow advancement on the space program. Both the big war and the space program would happen eventually, of course, but decades behind our timeframe.

But that would never have happened. Another power would arise and result in a similar-scale war and similar advances in the 1940s-50s time frame. The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, probably.

My original query assumed that WWII was somehow nipped in the bud or warded off — but I admit it's a big leap to assume that both German and Japanese aggressions would simply be shut down at the same time. The best you could postulate is that the Nazi government was overthrown early and the U.S. didn't get drawn into the Pacific War because there was no attack on Pearl Harbor. But that doesn't shut down WWII, it just delays it and moves most of the action to Asia later when too many nations get drawn in.

So in any case the technology advances on schedule and the space program winds up about the same. Like you say: the winds of change.
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Old January 28 2014, 08:50 AM   #36
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
I'm not sure if that supports my point or contradicts it. Surely the development of the transistor went faster due to wartime pressure for better/more efficient/more compact controls.
Exactly. Since it was so soon after the war, I think it supports it.
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Old January 28 2014, 09:00 AM   #37
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Silvercrest wrote: View Post
I'm not sure if that supports my point or contradicts it. Surely the development of the transistor went faster due to wartime pressure for better/more efficient/more compact controls.
Exactly. Since it was so soon after the war, I think it supports it.
Thanks! But having said that:

gturner wrote: View Post
The transistor was a direct outgrowth of the need for a better, more reliable solid-state diode for radar sets, to replace troublesome point-contact devices (galena crystals and the like).

So getting back to what technology would've made a difference, AT&T barely beat some German researchers to the transistor, and even during the war some Germans were thinking of building computers using relays. So it would be pretty simple to posit that they got transistors early in the war, or even prior.
I'm not sure we're on the same topic unless I missed something in an earlier post. I don't think there's any argument that the Germans would have put the transistor to good use if they got it first. But all we were discussing was whether the war accelerated the development of transistors and the technology necessary for a space program. Regardless of who had it.

I suppose the very fact that you're bringing up "who got it first" means you agree. Can't have a technology race without something getting accelerated.

But something that would've dealt an almost insurmountable blow to the Allied strategic bombing effort was actually within their reach, if they'd have thought of it, and that is the IR homing Sidewinder missile, which only used period technology and can fly on only eight vacuum tubes. They wouldn't have been horribly useful against fighters at first, but would've devastated large bomber streams.

If those had been available fairly early, the Allies couldn't have achieved air superiority, the bombers would've suffered too many losses to maintain a strategic bombing campaign, and when they were finally married up with the Me-163 and Me-262, the Third Reich would get its roof back.
Ouch! Never heard that one before. That's spooky.

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Old January 28 2014, 12:06 PM   #38
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

2takesfrakes wrote: View Post
Hitler was completely uninterested in the pursuit of the Atom Bomb and the Nazi Party never pursued it.
Really?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegi...water_sabotage
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Old January 29 2014, 08:36 AM   #39
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
Ouch! Never heard that one before. That's spooky.

If wars were run by people who actually use their brains, we'd all be in trouble!
It's interesting that the Sidewinder used an AM (amplitude modulation) reticle, which is a spinning optical disk that chops the incoming IR radiation into a modulated signal so that position information can be extracted using a single photo-detector.

More on reticles

We used the technique (upgrading to an FM reticle) up until the AIM-9R Sidewinder in the late 1980's. The technique was developed by the Germans in the latter stages of WW-II.

So if you're trying to come up with an alternate history that's sort of plausible, and considering that the Germans were already doing a lot of work on anti-aircraft rockets and guided missiles, it's a pretty easy leap to make.
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Old January 29 2014, 09:47 AM   #40
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

Well, not me. I was taking the opposite tack to explore how the space program would have wound up if the Nazis were defeated early. I managed to argue myself into a conclusion that not much of the development would have changed at all.

It's lucky I'm easy to convince, or we'd be here all day.
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Old January 29 2014, 10:11 AM   #41
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

Hrm... That is a very different question. At minimum I would push the timeline back a decade because it was the V-2 that sparked the US and Soviet interest, and the worries that the other side was pursuing V-2 research spurred more research. Without that, it would've been a very back-burner pursuit, more the domain of hobbyists for quite some time.
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Old January 29 2014, 06:13 PM   #42
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

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Why is it always the Nazis? What about someone who actually did more than destroy half the world at the time? I mean the Romans. Why is nobody asking if the Romans couldn't have gotten us to Mars by year 1000? They had such potetnial and momentum that if they had chosen to focus much on research and discovery, who knows what might have happened. Advances to material sciences and technology, an industrual age a millennium earlier...

Yeah, pretty unlikely, but at least it wasn't someone who was spending all their resources on destruction and going backwards.
Check out Roma Eterna, by Robert Silverberg, for a nice shot at that alternate history. Essentially just extrapolates what would happen if one small event had happened differently, Rome didn't end up falling, and goes all the way to present day. Interesting read.

As for the timeline presented in this thread? seems kinda silly, and hard to judge most of it without WAY more background.

Some parts are easier to pick on than others, though. In this timeline, we go from first man on the moon to a dozen people on a martian base in like 8 years. No effing way. Double whatever resources the US had, even give us the drive to do it, and not sure we'd be there today, much less 1972. Couple baby steps between first rocket in low earth orbit to sustainable (even short term) base on another planet...
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Old January 29 2014, 06:16 PM   #43
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

gturner wrote:

Hrm... That is a very different question. At minimum I would push the timeline back a decade because it was the V-2 that sparked the US and Soviet interest, and the worries that the other side was pursuing V-2 research spurred more research. Without that, it would've been a very back-burner pursuit, more the domain of hobbyists for quite some time.
Right, I had the same thought with "the domain of hobbyists" and a space program quite a few decades behind ours. I still think that would be true if no major conflict replaced WWII for a long time.

But where I did my turnabout was when I realized why that scenario was no more realistic than the OP. It's far more likely WWII would play out regardless before the mid-1950s with either the Russians, the Japanese, or both. (Check out my tortuous thought train in between your "Goering car crash" and "reticle" posts.)

There might not have been any V-2 research, but the simple distances involved would probably have spurred interest in long-range weapons. And then onto the space program, which means it wouldn't be off what we have now by more than a decade.

Still feel free to disagree, though.
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Old January 30 2014, 02:02 PM   #44
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post
Why is it always the Nazis? What about someone who actually did more than destroy half the world at the time? I mean the Romans. Why is nobody asking if the Romans couldn't have gotten us to Mars by year 1000? They had such potetnial and momentum[...]
That's an intriguing thought! I think the reasons they didn't were that they got lazy and decadent. With the means of long-distance communication they had (heralds on horseback), ruling such a huge empire must have been almost impossible so that from a certain size on it perhaps was destined to split up.
And when they had reached the critical size they stopped fighting others and started fighting within the empire, killing scapegoats first (slaves, POWs, christians and other fringe groups) but almost simultaneousely turning at each other as well.
It seems to me that they put large efforts into destroying instead of creating. Else they'd possibly have had steam engines and railroads by the year 400. (After all, the Greek and Egypts had already experimented with steam engines centuries earlier and the latter are known to have had batteries and the means to electrically galvanize metals)
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Old January 30 2014, 02:37 PM   #45
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Re: If Nazi's had not been defeated space timeline reasonable?

In Cosmos, Carl Sagan suggested that ancient Greek civilization had the potential of getting us interstellar travel sooner than we're going to get it, by thousands of years, if only scientific progress hadn't been suppressed by elitists such as Pythagoras and Plato.

Rick Sternbach did a painting of a Bussard ramjet with a dodecahedron and Greek lettering that was used in the show and included in the book. A thumbnail of it is on this page.
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