Ancient Aliens

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by BillJ, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually it's totally feasible, just not the way we see in Star Trek, that might be possible in SOME way, but it's also probably the least likely way. What's more likely is the aforementioned Von Neuman machines; machines that bring copies of us to their destination at a fraction of light speed; or copies of us that are beamed within lasers as information that are created from the blueprint of DNA or are recreated from a foglet-like cloud.
     
  2. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Von Neuman machines are even less likely considering they would still have to remain fully functional over a truly geologic timescale in order to be in any way functional. If you had technology that robust, it wouldn't need to be self-replicating because it would basically last forever. It's a Crazy Eddie concept that otherwise serves no practical purpose.

    It's mundanely obvious that interstellar travel is perfectly feasible for an unmanned probe that can expect to be discovered intact after a billion years or so by an alien race that didn't exist when it was launched. Travel or transport LIVING BEINGS just isn't going to happen, though, without a space fold or something similar. Or -- as Gary mentioned -- if a civilization evolved near the galactic core or in a dense cluster of stars, in which case interstellar travel only takes slightly longer than interplanetary travel.
     
  3. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What about creating an artificial wormhole like they depicted in the film Lost in Space?
     
  4. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Given that we've never actually observed a natural wormhole, it's still speculation at this point to think they even exist, or are possible.
     
  5. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Still. greater numbers means two things: You still have more machines out there after falling prey to attrition through disaster, wear and tear, etc. Also more machines means covering the distance at sub-light more quickly, spreading like a virus.

    Yes you can expect organic beings to make it across interstellar distances, but more realistically by the methods i named. Its perfectly feasible to recreate humans once we meet up with our robotic explorers.
     
  6. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    But what good does this do us? Okay, so our legacy is an ever-growing set of self-replicating machines, spreading throughout the universe. Cool. What is the practical value, if it's going to take millions of years to amount to anything useful to living humans?
     
  7. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One of the more likely scenerios for non-linear space travel, but still, the energy to form a wormhole is problematic. I am betting against this simply because of the Fermi Paradox...I think there ARE aliens out there slogging through space one sector at a time using sublight means and equipment that is small and difficult to track with our technological level.
     
  8. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There comes a time when you have to bow to physics...we cant get there fast from here, so it means doing it at sublight, methodically and efficiently. The universe works on cosmic timescales, geological ones, we don't.

    Practical value? Well several-fold if you think going into space has ANY practical value. Firstly, it means spreading the human race, if we have any value, then our survival is important to US. Secondly: knowledge, we can gain knowledge through relays, and the network of machines. Thirdly, resources...the machines that are closer to us can provide us with resources as we advance at home and other waves of exploration move outward.

    I can look at it in other terms too, if we assume exponential AI...and if that AI has human elements to it, then of course I submit that AI is human and our representative. Its as close to us as any potential alien might get! I--like man scientists and sf writers these days--feel that electronic/digital/machine life is probably going to be our successor, whether you believe in a singularity or not.

    If these AI are sufficiently advanced, and if Singulatarians are correct, then we can infuse all matter with intelligence, and this computronium will be our legacy, through the galaxy and beyond. With sublight it just takes longer.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computronium
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programmable_matter
     
  9. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First of all, they wouldn't spread more quickly at all. They would spread more EVENLY, but still take millions of years to do it.

    Second of all, even a virus requires a viable host to reproduce itself, as to Von Neuman machines require a source of plentiful and accessible resources to use for self-replication. Interstellar space has no such resources, and even if it did, they are hardly in a form that self-replicating machines would find easily accessible.

    Lastly, the concept of the Von Nueman machine is one that is only theoretically viable on a relatively small scale -- say, mining a moon or an asteroid or something. Using them to spread your influence across an entire galaxy is a bit like trying to build a suspension bridge out of legos and superglue: an amusing hobby, but hardly practical.

    You can say that if and when we have discovered a way to keep frozen embryos viable over a span of half a million years.
     
  10. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Way before that point, we have to bow to pragmatism. There is a certain (relatively high) cost associated with carrying out such a project. There is, at the same time, zero tangible benefit if the project succeeds.

    Ergo, there is no reason to "bow to physics" at all. Just concede to ourselves that interstellar travel by living beings simply isn't feasible without a major universe-opening propulsion breakthrough.

    Basically: instead of examining the feasibility of building a giant stairway tall enough to reach the moon, you're probably better off waiting for someone to invent rockets.:techman:

    Accomplished by colonizing the moon and/or Mars, which is easier than interstellar travel.

    Accomplished through probes, which are cheaper.

    There are none in interstellar space. There are plenty in our own solar system that are cheaper to access.

    Oh for three. Without some form of FTL travel, interstellar exploration is simply a dead-end. It's not worth the investment unless/until someone invents such a system and proves it to be functional.
     
  11. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfEF3ED9hGg

    As a visualization aid.

    So if there are ancient aliens somewhere, maybe this is how they're doing it.

    RAMA

    It would take as little as 500,000 years with Von Neumann probes. A long time for us but minute in cosmic history...no time at all really.

    http://www.rfreitas.com/Astro/ComparisonReproNov1980.htm

    http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2008/03/seven-ways-to-control-galaxy-with-self.html

    http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/V/vonNeumannprobe.html

    http://io9.com/von-neuman-probes/

    DNA: In fact, DNA is a hardy information storing medium, lasting millions of years as well as being hardy when stored. It is now being experimented with as a storage medium for archival use. Sending DNA we can spread humanity through the galaxy, letting us start new civilizations. If we can combine it with "brain uploading/downloading" if such technology is available, then we can even reproduce the same human being.

    http://radar.oreilly.com/2012/08/dna-storage.html
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2...medium=RelatedLinks&utm_campaign=MoreRecently

    Interstellar space is not "empty":

    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Interstellar_medium
    http://www.vega.org.uk/video/programme/64

     
  12. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But still a long time for us, and since WE are the ones taking this undertaking, it is OUR timeframe that needs to be considered here.

    And if we were talking about exporting our DNA to parts unknown, that would be one thing. But we are discussing practical exploration and/or colonization. Exporting stored human DNA and cloning a fresh population at the destination is neither.

    OTOH, the moon, Mars and the asteroids could be settled for relatively little expense, in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the expense as an interstellar voyage. If you're going to use Von Neuman machines for anything, THAT is the way to go.
     
  13. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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  14. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hence the Hawking quote I posted...

    RAMA
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ... is absurd, because Hawking is assuming that there's no location anywhere in the solar system suitable for human habitation and therefore extrasolar planets are the best logical alternative.

    Hawking is simply wrong. The moon has sufficient resources for long term (if not permanent) colonization. Mars does also, especially if you project human expansion on a timescale long enough to allow for teraforming. Either location could be made permanently viable by harnessing the resources readily accessible in the bodies of our own solar system, many of which would be cheaper and easier to exploit than the miniscule cache of resources that exist in the Earth's crust. Simply put, with or without Von Neuman devices, if we spent half as much time developing the solar system as we spent on Earth, humanity could expand a fully developed and viable civilization across all eight planets and all 200 moons and dwarf planets.
     
  16. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    You're assuming that humans will remain healthy in low gravity. We already know they deteriorate rapidly in zero gravity.
     
  17. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe you should change detergents?
     
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    NASA's consensus has been for decades that ANY gravity is better than none. The body atrophies up to a point, but only insofar as it eventually adapts to the minimum fitness needed to survive in its particular environment (your bone and muscle density is reduced to that which is actually needed in that gravity).

    The flip side, of course, is that people who are adapted to lower gravity worlds -- the moon or Mars, for example -- wouldn't be able to tolerate full Earth gravity without months or years of physical therapy. People who are BORN in that environment couldn't even do that much. They'd be perfectly healthy right where they are, but they wouldn't survive half an hour on Earth.

    Not that's really a problem, since the flow of emigration is unlikely to be two-way.
     
  19. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    The flow of 'emigration' would only be two-way initially. Saying that humans can survive in low gravity is not the same as having a good quality of life. We have no idea how it would affect the heart, the skeleton, muscles, psychology, fertility. I could go on but you get the picture. The psychological strain alone could make settling somewhere like the moon a non-starter. Why live in a tin can there when you're looking at a beautiful blue marble every day?
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Exploring and emigration are two different things. A temporary outpost on the moon is not a permanent colony; the latter has permanent residents who, by virtue of the moon's lower gravity, wouldn't be able to return to Earth if they wanted to.

    Considering we spent the last 30 years studying the effects of microgravity and reduced gravity on the human body, we actually have a VERY GOOD idea how it affects those things. We would have a better idea with long-term study in a reduced (as opposed to zero) gravity environment, but the key point here is that reduced bone and muscle density keeps pace with reduced gravity. The effects cancel each other out and quality of life is largely unchanged.

    Which is why you don't send people to the colonies who don't WANT to be there.:rolleyes:

    You've been beating that tired old drum for years, Decky. "Space colonization is stupid because I don't want to live in a space colony." The fact is even if only a tenth of a percent of all humans alive today were both willing and capable of doing so we would have 7 million volunteers, from which we could chose ONLY the most talented and psychologically stable 2%.

    Nobody's asking YOU to go. In fact, I think the colonists would all be be alot more comfortable if you didn't.