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Missile Punch

Inter-planetary Travel and Occupation

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Posted (edited)

I'm curious. I would like to know whether or not you (my dear friends) believe that we will ever gain the ability to travel to other habitable planets, and live there as we do here on Earth. I would like to read why or why not as well. This is an open discussion and all ideas are more than welcome. Please post, and have fun with this :blush:

Edited by The Man In the Dark

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if your talking about planets around other stars.

we need to

1 build a generation ship or ships. the closest star to us other than the sun is 10,000 years away at our current tech lvl.

2 we need to come up with a way to protect us from the interstellar radiation which it seems is higher than inside the solar system.

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if your talking about planets around other stars.

we need to

1 build a generation ship or ships. the closest star to us other than the sun is 10,000 years away at our current tech lvl.

2 we need to come up with a way to protect us from the interstellar radiation which it seems is higher than inside the solar system.

Would the human body be able to travel at the speed required to get that far?

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Posted (edited)

Would the human body be able to travel at the speed required to get that far?

we already travel at that speed. like i said a generation ship for what 500 generations. the question is by the time they got there would they still be human and would they want to colonize said planet. i should say we already travel close to that speed. when your inside the ship and at speed you wouldnt even notice it, like being in a car on the interstate. except for a few curves and bumps you dont even know how fast you are going unless you look at the speedameter.

while that is most people dont. i can usually guess with in 10 mpm if i am the one driving.

Edited by danielost

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I think that we could get CLOSE to light speed. The problem arises when we need to decelerate. Also, before we go traveling into outer space to colonize, we obviously need a target to hit, a place in which we can live. Which, so far has proven to be a challenge.

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I think that we could get CLOSE to light speed. The problem arises when we need to decelerate. Also, before we go traveling into outer space to colonize, we obviously need a target to hit, a place in which we can live. Which, so far has proven to be a challenge.

even at light speed that close system is 4.5 years away.

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even at light speed that close system is 4.5 years away.

Yeah it's extremely frustrating. I wonder if there is any other way?

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Interstellar travel is HARD. Really hard. Mindbogglingly hard. I would not be terribly surprised if we managed to boost a couple-hundred-ton object to a percent or two of lightspeed and shove it at another star for a really REALLY fast flyby sometime in the next century... but I'm more and more convinced as time goes on that industrial civilization is a short-term phenomenon, doomed to come apart at the seams over the next few centuries. I am fairly certain that living humans will only stably exist on this planet.

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Interstellar travel is HARD. Really hard. Mindbogglingly hard. I would not be terribly surprised if we managed to boost a couple-hundred-ton object to a percent or two of lightspeed and shove it at another star for a really REALLY fast flyby sometime in the next century... but I'm more and more convinced as time goes on that industrial civilization is a short-term phenomenon, doomed to come apart at the seams over the next few centuries. I am fairly certain that living humans will only stably exist on this planet.

I am willing to be optimistic about it... But think about it - we need a ship that is capable of taking a pretty decent sized population with all the tools and environmental stuff needed to settle on another planet. That would mean some pretty major bits of tech - but it also means a pretty major investment of raw materials from Earth. And Earth has a finite amount of materials available to it (At least at the moment... Maybe someday we can start mining asteroids or something but let's discount that for right now). So it seems we would have one shot at sending people to live on another planet... The ship itself would probably cripple Earth as far as resources go. So it probably could happen but not until we really have to leave (If intelligent life lasts that long).

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I am willing to be optimistic about it... But think about it - we need a ship that is capable of taking a pretty decent sized population with all the tools and environmental stuff needed to settle on another planet. That would mean some pretty major bits of tech - but it also means a pretty major investment of raw materials from Earth. And Earth has a finite amount of materials available to it (At least at the moment... Maybe someday we can start mining asteroids or something but let's discount that for right now). So it seems we would have one shot at sending people to live on another planet... The ship itself would probably cripple Earth as far as resources go. So it probably could happen but not until we really have to leave (If intelligent life lasts that long).

nah if it was me, i would hollow out an astroid or two. also remember the starting crew cant be too big, due to the fact that at current tech lvl, there will be about 200 generations before they get there. you need a large pop when you get there, you dont need one when you leave. i guess the other problem would be power generation. in system use solar out of system what do you use. the ship will coast at speed until you get to the new system and you can probable use that star as a brake.

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nah if it was me, i would hollow out an astroid or two. also remember the starting crew cant be too big, due to the fact that at current tech lvl, there will be about 200 generations before they get there. you need a large pop when you get there, you dont need one when you leave. i guess the other problem would be power generation. in system use solar out of system what do you use. the ship will coast at speed until you get to the new system and you can probable use that star as a brake.

The big problem isn't even the travelling vessel though... It's what does a crew take with them? Remember - there is probably a 99% chance that whatever might be on the other world isn't going to be edible, so the crew not only has to take food with them, they have to take the ability to create food where they are going. That means animals and plants, but in order to set them up in any sort of way that will be able to be maintained they have to take the ecosystem that supports those plants and animals - which pretty much means that any interplanetary travel that doesn't involve hyperspace magic requires a full planet worth of stuff to go with them... We are talking about a full on Noahs ark in space here.

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Posted (edited)

The big problem isn't even the travelling vessel though... It's what does a crew take with them? Remember - there is probably a 99% chance that whatever might be on the other world isn't going to be edible, so the crew not only has to take food with them, they have to take the ability to create food where they are going. That means animals and plants, but in order to set them up in any sort of way that will be able to be maintained they have to take the ecosystem that supports those plants and animals - which pretty much means that any interplanetary travel that doesn't involve hyperspace magic requires a full planet worth of stuff to go with them... We are talking about a full on Noahs ark in space here.

no, just an inclosed farm. depending on what you want to take, would depend on the size of the farm, but at least half of the ship. of course the waste product could help with the power problem.

Edited by danielost

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no, just an inclosed farm. depending on what you want to take, would depend on the size of the farm, but at least half of the ship. of course the waste product could help with the power problem.

Except, in order to have a farm that will keep producing crops one needs things to fertilize the plants... which means insects... and that means one has to take the stuff the insects feed on... which means more plants... which means that one has to find a way to provide nutrients and water to those plants.

And then, of course, since one doesn't want the insect population to get out of control one needs to stock the ship with things that will prey on the insects. And of course things to prey on those animals and so on...

And while we are at it we also need to make sure that there are animals that humans can make clothes from (Since there is every chance that kind of thing won't be at their destination - unless we know more about the planet when we leave than we currently could find out). And enough fuel not only to start the vessel going but to stop it as well... and it would probably help to reinforce the vessel against not only radiation but impacts (Since the impact of even tiny bits of space debris will be pretty major at any sizable percentage of the speed of light), so that shielding is going to cause the vessel to need more fuel (Physics and inertia are tough things to overcome).

Then we need to figure out how many people we are going to send. We can send only a few dozen, but that's not going to give this other world a very good chance. After all, we want a good cross section of the gene pool as well as redundancy for natural attrition through accidents, sickness and old age. And now that I mention sickness, we need to not only send medicine with them, we will need to send ways to manufacture more medicine as they need it and since most medicine still basically comes from nature, those plants and their support system needs to be included in the vessel...

Do you see where I am going? Essentially we need to send a reproduction of the Earths ecosystem in order to actually go to another planet (Unless we introduce some sort of hyperspace magic that zips people instantly between planets)... Which is probably a pretty good argument as to why aliens are not visiting Earth.

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no, just an inclosed farm. depending on what you want to take, would depend on the size of the farm, but at least half of the ship. of course the waste product could help with the power problem.

It's far more complicated than that. Such a system needs to be closed ecologically. Remember you can not top up the oxygen or the water or any of the other essentials for life. You also have to prevent the build up of CO2 or anything else harmful. This is far from easy.What you launch with is all that you have. The only time this was tried, with Biosphere 2 it did not manage to do this for even 2 years. A generation ship will need to do this for thousands of years.

You have also suggested that the population should increase over the length of the flight. I am not sure why you think this is necessary, as the population can be allowed to rise once the destination is reached. Allowing the population to increase is going to exacerbate the problems. As the population increases the need for feed increases, the waste produced increases. You have to increase all this whilst maintaining a survivable environment.

It actually makes more sense to have a stable population.

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It's far more complicated than that. Such a system needs to be closed ecologically. Remember you can not top up the oxygen or the water or any of the other essentials for life. You also have to prevent the build up of CO2 or anything else harmful. This is far from easy.What you launch with is all that you have. The only time this was tried, with Biosphere 2 it did not manage to do this for even 2 years. A generation ship will need to do this for thousands of years.

You have also suggested that the population should increase over the length of the flight. I am not sure why you think this is necessary, as the population can be allowed to rise once the destination is reached. Allowing the population to increase is going to exacerbate the problems. As the population increases the need for feed increases, the waste produced increases. You have to increase all this whilst maintaining a survivable environment.

It actually makes more sense to have a stable population.

not entirely true. nuke subs have the same problem with co2 build up. but they use scrubbers to clean it. they convert it back to 02. and i didnt really mean it to sound easy. simple not easy.

as for insects, the only insects you would need are pollinators. and they can be controlled. honeybees would be best but arent the only ones.

if you plan for the pop. to grow then you wont have as big a problem at the end. i assume that the animal life will increase over the time period as well.

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not entirely true. nuke subs have the same problem with co2 build up. but they use scrubbers to clean it. they convert it back to 02. and i didnt really mean it to sound easy. simple not easy.

as for insects, the only insects you would need are pollinators. and they can be controlled. honeybees would be best but arent the only ones.

if you plan for the pop. to grow then you wont have as big a problem at the end. i assume that the animal life will increase over the time period as well.

Nuke subs also have the benefit of being able to surface every now and then to control air and water quality. You don't think they are underwater 24/7 365 days per year for decades do you?

Scrubbers only work for so long and certainly not for thousands of years.

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Nuke subs also have the benefit of being able to surface every now and then to control air and water quality. You don't think they are underwater 24/7 365 days per year for decades do you?

Scrubbers only work for so long and certainly not for thousands of years.

the only reason a nuke has to surface is for food. at least that is what i have heard claimed by the navy.

Nuclear-powered submarines can stay submerged for long periods of time. They are designed and manned to stay underwater long enough to support a wide variety of missions, which can last for several months. Submarines have equipment to make oxygen and keep the air safe. Food and supplies are the only limitations on submergence time for a nuclear submarine. Normally, submarines carry a 90-day supply of food. Historically, diesel-powered submarines operated internal-combustion, air-breathing engines on the surface or just below the surface by using a snorkel mast (snorkeling). When completely submerged, a diesel-powered submarine uses its battery power and electric motors for propulsion. Depending on speed and other battery use, the submarine could stay underwater for up to several days before recharging batteries and exchanging stale air for fresh air. more

http://www.experts123.com/q/how-long-can-submarines-stay-underwater.html

How long can submarines stay underwater?

Nuclear-powered submarines can stay submerged for long periods of time. They are designed and manned to stay underwater long enough to support a wide variety of missions, which can last for several months. Submarines have equipment to make oxygen and keep the air safe. Food and supplies are the only limitations on submergence time for a nuclear submarine. Normally, submarines carry a 90-day supply of food.

Historically, diesel-powered submarines operated internal-combustion, air-breathing engines on the surface or just below the surface by using a snorkel mast (snorkeling). When completely submerged, a diesel-powered submarine uses its battery power and electric motors for propulsion. Depending on speed and other battery use, the submarine could stay underwater for up to several days before recharging batteries and exchanging stale air for fresh air.

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/cno/n87/faq.html

question 17 on the link.

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the only reason a nuke has to surface is for food. at least that is what i have heard claimed by the navy.

Nuclear-powered submarines can stay submerged for long periods of time. They are designed and manned to stay underwater long enough to support a wide variety of missions, which can last for several months. Submarines have equipment to make oxygen and keep the air safe. Food and supplies are the only limitations on submergence time for a nuclear submarine. Normally, submarines carry a 90-day supply of food. Historically, diesel-powered submarines operated internal-combustion, air-breathing engines on the surface or just below the surface by using a snorkel mast (snorkeling). When completely submerged, a diesel-powered submarine uses its battery power and electric motors for propulsion. Depending on speed and other battery use, the submarine could stay underwater for up to several days before recharging batteries and exchanging stale air for fresh air. more

http://www.experts123.com/q/how-long-can-submarines-stay-underwater.html

How long can submarines stay underwater?

Nuclear-powered submarines can stay submerged for long periods of time. They are designed and manned to stay underwater long enough to support a wide variety of missions, which can last for several months. Submarines have equipment to make oxygen and keep the air safe. Food and supplies are the only limitations on submergence time for a nuclear submarine. Normally, submarines carry a 90-day supply of food.

Historically, diesel-powered submarines operated internal-combustion, air-breathing engines on the surface or just below the surface by using a snorkel mast (snorkeling). When completely submerged, a diesel-powered submarine uses its battery power and electric motors for propulsion. Depending on speed and other battery use, the submarine could stay underwater for up to several days before recharging batteries and exchanging stale air for fresh air.

http://www.navy.mil/navydata/cno/n87/faq.html

question 17 on the link.

Yeah - I was in the Navy. Perhaps you shouldn't believe everything they tell you about their god-like powers.

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Yeah - I was in the Navy. Perhaps you shouldn't believe everything they tell you about their god-like powers.

when i dont believe everything i am told then you jump me for not believing, make up my mind.

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when i dont believe everything i am told then you jump me for not believing, make up my mind.

I am telling you, bluntly, that even a nuclear sub must surface from time to time. Their air is not going to last for a few thousand years no matter how good their filters are. Their fuel may very well last that long (I have no idea how long it would last but I have to assume it's pretty long) but they do sort of need other things to allow their crew to continue living - air, food, and water to name three.

If you want to travel a distance that will take thousands of years and you want to travel that distance in a route that will not allow for any restocking at all on the way (And probably no restocking when you get there either - remember that... It's not just the journey after all, it's also what happens when you get there) then you need to plan a lot further ahead than anyone yet has.

Just to elaborate - you seem to focus on the journey. That's not even half of the problem. What happens when you get to the other planet and then are presented with a world that might have the right air but on which any life that developed didn't develop in a way to make it conducive to human life? After all, the plants on an alien world are probably not going to be edible by humans since they developed in a different ecosystem to feed other types of digestive tracks... and the stuff there is certainly not going to be providing materials for medicine that humans need... and if there are insects, they aren't going to be attracted to the plants evolved on Earth and they probably won't work like the insects here...

And it's not just a matter of taking bees with you. Bees need pollen to make honey. Not every plant that produces pollen that they need is pollinated by bees - other insects also are needed. And you don't want the insects onboard to breed out of control so you need to take predators (Birds and lizards)... But you also need their predators and so on. The only way to create a sustainable ship that will be able to travel for thousands of years as well as populate a new world is to take a copy of the Earth with it.

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Nuclear submarines use monoethanolamine to dissolve CO2 out of the air, and then vent it out of the sub where it dissolves in the ocean water - it does not convert it back to oxygen. They can get more air when they surface, but they do NOT have a closed loop going on.

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I once wrote a science fiction story about a future generation ship that had all these technological problems solved. The several thousand inhabitants were so used to living in the ship and having such a nice time there, when they finally reached the planet they just kept on going.

"Who wants to live on some mucky planet?", was the general consensus.

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They can get more air when they surface, but they do NOT have a closed loop going on.

Thank you Torgo, for saving me the effort of pointing out to danielost, once again, that he is posting false information, in this case about the CO2 scrubbers not generating O2 (anyone that could make them do that would have a fortune that would make Bill Gates look like a pauper and we would never have to hear the expression "carbon footprint" again).

However nuclear submarines DO generate their own O2. They do it by electrolysis of water, a resource that literally surrounds a nuclear submarine, but is scarce in interstellar space.

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Whilst we are on the subject of posting false information danielost, once again you have made a lot of claims without bothering to check if they are correct. Let's examine the one in which your whole argument is based on, a 500 generation flight time to the nearest star using current technology-

the closest star to us other than the sun is 10,000 years away at our current tech lvl.

You say this is 500 generations, that works out about 20 years per generation which doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

Let's see how accurate that is shall we? You are talking about a trip to the nearest star as is demonstrated by this post of yours:

even at light speed that close system is 4.5 years away.

Let's use the CORRECT figures shall we? Proxima Centauri is 4.24 ly away, whilst the rest of the Alpha Centauri system (A & B) are 4.37 ly (Source: wikipedia).

The fastest ever spacecraft at launch was New Horizons, which had a launch speed of 36,373 mph (Source: wikipedia), although Voyager 1 is actually travelling faster due to gravity assists from Jupiter and Saturn. Voyager 1 is departing the solar system at a velocity relative to the sun of 38,155 mph (source NASA - Voyager Mission Operations Status Reports)

The number of hours in a Julian year is 365.25 x 24 = 8766, which means that in one year New Horizons travels 318,845,718 miles and Voyager 1 travels 334,466,730 miles

A light year is the distance travelled by light in one Julian year, which is 5,878,625,373,183.608 miles (Source: wikipedia), so the distance to Proxima is 4.24 x 5,878,625,373,183.608 = 4.4925372x1013 miles.

Now to find out how long it would take to reach Proxima, in years, "using our current technology lvl", we just need to divide distance to Proxima in miles by the distance travelled by the spacecraft per year in miles. Doing this we get the following figures:

  • New Horizons = 78,174 years
  • Voyager 1 = 74,523 years

So danielost, your figure of 10,000 years is out by a massive margin. Where did you get it from? Using current technology and your figure of 20 years per generation we find that it will take not the 500 generations you guessed, but somewhere around 3,700 to 3,900.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you Torgo, for saving me the effort of pointing out to danielost, once again, that he is posting false information, in this case about the CO2 scrubbers not generating O2 (anyone that could make them do that would have a fortune that would make Bill Gates look like a pauper and we would never have to hear the expression "carbon footprint" again).

However nuclear submarines DO generate their own O2. They do it by electrolysis of water, a resource that literally surrounds a nuclear submarine, but is scarce in interstellar space.

sorry my info, came from the navy itself or did you even bother to look at the link.

they stated they had enough food for staying down for 90 days, they also stated that is all they need to surface for.

now the difference as to how long they can stay down and normally stay down is totally different. and yes if i was the captain i would get fresh air as often as possible too.

according to the navy they make their own air and water on subs.

*snip*

Edited by Saru
How about you take note of what people say to you instead of demanding an apology when you've been corrected.

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