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Archosaur

To the Stars...

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A lot of material here is about others coming here. I still dream about us going out there.

Where? We have been to the Moon. Do we go back? Travel to other planets or stars?

How? Propulsion technology, life support systems, and funding the whole thing.

Why? Science, adventure, national pride or economic development? De we just explore space, or do we also colonize it? Is militarization of space wrong, or is it even eventually unavoidable?

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Alleged 'science' in space exploration is to see what we can bring to earth. You don't think if we found a ring on saturn that was 100% gold, we wouldn't do anything to bring it back?! And let's be rational, earth is running out of room. NASA released photos from a moon of jupiter, and you could clearly see vegetation! *goes and looks for that photo*....

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Alleged 'science' in space exploration is to see what we can bring to earth. You don't think if we found a ring on saturn that was 100% gold, we wouldn't do anything to bring it back?! And let's be rational, earth is running out of room. NASA released photos from a moon of jupiter, and you could clearly see vegetation! *goes and looks for that photo*....

I agree with colonization. We obviously need more living space, but we also need more natural resorces, too. If they found a bunch of oil on another planet, you can bet your boots that they would be heading off to mine it.

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Are you perhaps thinking of Io? Because the green is frozen sulfur;

And we are most certainly not running out of space. At least 25% of Earth's land mass is still uncolonized. Plus, we could (in the future) live either on the surface of or under the oceans.

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NASA released photos from a moon of jupiter, and you could clearly see vegetation! *goes and looks for that photo*....

This is a bit off the original topic, but I feel I must answer Deinychus_rulz point.

No vegetation has been photographed on any world except Earth (clearly or otherwise). In fact there is no hard evidence of any form of life anywhere except Earth.

Whilst it is possible that life could exist under the ice of the Jovian moon Europa, vegetation on the surface of any of Jupiter's moons is highly unlikely. On the surface of all the moons except Io the temperatures are so cold that ice is as hard as rock. Secondly there is no atmosphere. Io may have a higher surface temperature than the other moons but life is even less likely there. It is so volcanic that its surface is completely recovered in sulphur in just a few years. It is also close enough to Jupiter that it is bathed in deadly radiation. Not a place to find vegetation.

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Posted (edited)

I agree with colonization. We obviously need more living space, but we also need more natural resorces, too. If they found a bunch of oil on another planet, you can bet your boots that they would be heading off to mine it.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. As of yet we know of no worlds suitable for colonisation. One day it may be possible to terraform planets like Mars, changing them into Earth like planets, but we don't yet posses the technology. It would also be a process that would be likely to take centuries or even millennia to achieve.

As oil is a fossil fuel it requires plant life to have existed. We are highly unlikely to find oil in our solar system. To travel outside our solar system is something that it is exceedingly unlikely to happen for generations. The fastest space probes we have so far launched would take more than 30,000 years to reach even the nearest star.

A lot of material here is about others coming here. I still dream about us going out there.

Me too.

Where? We have been to the Moon. Do we go back? Travel to other planets or stars?

The US is already commited to returning to the Moon. Americans should land there around 2020. Once there NASA plans to build a moon base. China, Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and India all have plans to place humans on the moon too.

The Constellation programme has the objective of taking humans to Mars once the return to the Moon has been established. Onwards to the stars? that me be mankind ultimate destiny but it's not going to happen any time soon.

How? Propulsion technology, life support systems, and funding the whole thing.

Well for the American return to the Moon the funding will come by grounding the space shuttle. The shuttle will be retireed in 2010 and the money diverted to the Constellation programme.

Why? Science, adventure, national pride or economic development? De we just explore space, or do we also colonize it?

I would suspect that the correct answer is: all of the above.

Is militarization of space wrong, or is it even eventually unavoidable?

International agreements limit the amount of militarisation of space that can happen (no nuclear weapons in orbit for example) but all the time mankind continues to squabble the militarisation of space is inevitable (as the Chinese test of an antis-satellite missile earlier this year demonstrated).

All of the above.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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I've always dreamed of going 'out there' as well. I think conditions here on earth are going to get worse in say the next fifty years. Global warming and its related problems for us, overpopulation, wars, political unrest, nuclear weapons in the wrong hands, etc. When things get really bad what will we do? We may be too busy on this planet trying to sort things out to give much attention to exploring somewhere else. In the future, space exploration and terraforming may be seen as an extravagant waste of resorces by then.

I'm generally pessimistic about the near future of mankind. It takes a peaceful, wealthy society to go off exploring the solar system and establishing colonies on Mars, for example. If these wealthy societies can continue to insolate themselves from global problems I think we can have the will and the opportunity to do so.

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Let's not get ahead of ourselves. As of yet we know of no worlds suitable for colonisation. One day it may be possible to terraform planets like Mars, changing them into Earth like planets, but we don't yet posses the technology. It would also be a process that would be likely to take centuries or even millennia to achieve.

As oil is a fossil fuel it requires plant life to have existed. We are highly unlikely to find oil in our solar system. To travel outside our solar system is something that it is exceedingly unlikely to happen for generations. The fastest space probes we have so far launched would take more than 30,000 years to reach even the nearest star.

I was giving an example. In my point of view, if there was an incentive like "oil" or some other "fuel" that could be mined, I wouldn't doubt that there are governments who would try VERY hard to be the first out there to claim it.

And there was talk 30 years ago about colonizing the moon. It will happen, just a matter of when.

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And there was talk 30 years ago about colonizing the moon. It will happen, just a matter of when.

You are probably right about this, but it is not going to be a vast colonisation programme that will relieve the overcrowding on Earth. With humans having to live in highly expensive, pressurised cities on the Moon there is never going to be a huge population there. Initially there will be a handful of scientists. With time this may rise to hundreds, even thousands of people. Even if we could house a few million people on the Moon it would still be no more than the population of a single city on Earth, a tiny fraction of the human population.

If you have read any of my posts on this site you will know that I am a huge fan of space flight, however for the foreseeable future we need more Earthbound solutions to our problems. I do firmly believe that in the long term we will colonise the stars. There will come a day when the majority of mankind live on a planet other than the Earth, however that day is centuries away.

"The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but we cannot live forever in a cradle". - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 1911.

"Per ardua ad astra" (through struggles to the stars) - motto of the Royal Air Force.

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Let's not get ahead of ourselves. As of yet we know of no worlds suitable for colonisation. One day it may be possible to terraform planets like Mars, changing them into Earth like planets, but we don't yet posses the technology. It would also be a process that would be likely to take centuries or even millennia to achieve.

As oil is a fossil fuel it requires plant life to have existed. We are highly unlikely to find oil in our solar system. To travel outside our solar system is something that it is exceedingly unlikely to happen for generations. The fastest space probes we have so far launched would take more than 30,000 years to reach even the nearest star.

Me too.

The US is already commited to returning to the Moon. Americans should land there around 2020. Once there NASA plans to build a moon base. China, Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and India all have plans to place humans on the moon too.

The Constellation programme has the objective of taking humans to Mars once the return to the Moon has been established. Onwards to the stars? that me be mankind ultimate destiny but it's not going to happen any time soon.

Well for the American return to the Moon the funding will come by grounding the space shuttle. The shuttle will be retireed in 2010 and the money diverted to the Constellation programme.

I would suspect that the correct answer is: all of the above.

International agreements limit the amount of militarisation of space that can happen (no nuclear weapons in orbit for example) but all the time mankind continues to squabble the militarisation of space is inevitable (as the Chinese test of an antis-satellite missile earlier this year demonstrated).

All of the above.

Well Waspie, in order to have the technology to terraform, we must first have the technology to stabilize an existant ecosystem. The current climatology research (whatever one's belief in the collected information thus far) and advancing bio-science, may well mean that this may be within our grasp in a century.

We may well find oil, or something similar to it on Titan. All that methane, and liquid hydrocarbons just sitting there. Weather it needed life to be generated, it is quite a mother-load. But even if we could bring it back, dare we burn that much in our atmosphere? I'm not yet sure we are causing climate change, but burning a entire world's ocean of hydrocarbons just can't be good for us.

On another note, He-3 is on abundance on the Moon. It's usefulness in controlling destructive neutron emissions in fusion power may well be more valuable (and less polluting) than all the oil on Earth.

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Posted (edited)

Well Waspie, in order to have the technology to terraform, we must first have the technology to stabilize an existant ecosystem. The current climatology research (whatever one's belief in the collected information thus far) and advancing bio-science, may well mean that this may be within our grasp in a century.

And it may not. This is pure speculation, guess work even.

We may well find oil, or something similar to it on Titan. All that methane, and liquid hydrocarbons just sitting there. Weather it needed life to be generated, it is quite a mother-load. But even if we could bring it back, dare we burn that much in our atmosphere? I'm not yet sure we are causing climate change, but burning a entire world's ocean of hydrocarbons just can't be good for us.

There is a huge difference between the simple hydrocarbons produced in the atmosphere of Titan and the highly complex hydrocarbons that are found in oil.

On another note, He-3 is on abundance on the Moon. It's usefulness in controlling destructive neutron emissions in fusion power may well be more valuable (and less polluting) than all the oil on Earth.

Yes, and the Russians are talking about mining it. They, like you, are trying to run before they can walk. Most experts claim that we are 30-50 years away from commercial fusion reactors. Back when I was at school, 30 years ago do you know how far away experts claimed we were from commercial fusion reactors? Less than 30 years. So we are still further away from fusion power now than we thought we were 3 decades ago. It will be a long time before it is commercially viable to mine the moon of He3 or anything else. I have no doubt it will happen, but not for a few generations yet.

Of course there could be a major breakthrough next week that proves me wrong, and I for one, would be delighted to have to eat my words.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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How? Propulsion technology, life support systems, and funding the whole thing.

For a few more out there ideas check out this thread.

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And it may not. This is pure speculation, guess work even.

There is a huge difference between the simple hydrocarbons produced in the atmosphere of Titan and the highly complex hydrocarbons that are found in oil.

Yes, and the Russians are talking about mining it. They, like you, are trying to run before they can walk. Most experts claim that we are 30-50 years away from commercial fusion reactors. Back when I was at school, 30 years ago do you know how far away experts claimed we were from commercial fusion reactors? Less than 30 years. So we are still further away from fusion power now than we thought we were 3 decades ago. It will be a long time before it is commercially viable to mine the moon of He3 or anything else. I have no doubt it will happen, but not for a few generations yet.

Of course there could be a major breakthrough next week that proves me wrong, and I for one, would be delighted to have to eat my words.

Well, Waspie, I thought the whole idea was a long term approach. Anything that can be done in 30 years would have to be planned and budgeted now to have a chance. Commercial exploitation of space beyond space tourists and what we have now won't happen in 20 years, at least. But over the long tern, (centuries), things could change.

At this point, NASA is planning to return to the Moon, build a base, and use that expertise gained to travel to Mars. But, over the long term, what do you think might be feasible?

P.S.: Thanks for the info, Space Traveler.

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Well, Waspie, I thought the whole idea was a long term approach.

Well you are the original poster so I guess you should know, but you don't make it very whether you are talking about the near term or the long term in your original post. What do you define as long term anyway, decades, centuries, millennia?

Anything that can be done in 30 years would have to be planned and budgeted now to have a chance.

That is the whole point, we don't know if it can be done in 30 years, or 50 years or ever. This is putting the cart before the horse. How can you budget to mine the moon for a product you don't even know that there will be a market for. Thirty years ago many experts thought that we would have fusion technology by now. Had people, in 1977, started to pour vast amounts of money into returning to the moon to mine He3 they would all be looking fairly foolish by now. This is still more science fiction than fact.

Commercial exploitation of space beyond space tourists and what we have now won't happen in 20 years, at least. But over the long tern, (centuries), things could change.

Over centuries things will change without a doubt.

My suspicion is that we or on the verge of a new period of space exploitation and exploration driven by tourism. Virgin Galactic and it's rivals will be sending tourists on sub-orbital flights in the next year or too. Although still only for the relatively well off, this will drive forward space vehicle manufacture in the same way that the early airliners push forward aircraft development. The drive will be to take more passengers at a time more cheaply (hence generating more profits). As the demand for space tourism increases there will be a push to go further. The rich (rather than the mega-rich) will want to go into orbit to. This will push forward the development of cheaper, more reliable and safer launch systems. In providing cheaper access to space this process will also make it cheaper to launch scientific/exploration missions and commercial ventures. Once access is cheap enough business will find new ways of making money in space.

At this point, NASA is planning to return to the Moon, build a base, and use that expertise gained to travel to Mars. But, over the long term, what do you think might be feasible?

It depends on what you mean by long term. A century from now I suspect that there will be people living on the Moon, Mars and in orbit. It is possible that we will have started mine the Moon (possibly even for He3) and the Asteroid belt. People will probably have been born in space but the vast majority of mankind will still be on Earth and most people will not have ventured off planet.

A thousand years from now who knows? Assuming that we haven't moved past Einstein and invented faster than light travel it is still possible that we will have started to move outwards from the solar system. It is possible that we will have colonised the planets of some near by stars using generation ships (vast interstellar spacecraft on which people are born and die. They arrive at their destination decades or even centuries after launch with a different generation alive than the one launched). We may have terraformed Mars and Venus. There could be huge orbiting cities constructed by using asteroids. All of these ideas are plausible but they are speculation. New, as yet unmade, discoveries mean that the future will probably be very different from anything we can imagine.

Ten thousand years from now... look how far we have come in the last thousand years. Ten millennia from we will have technology that is as far beyond our comprehension as a space shuttle would be to a 10th Century peasant.

L. P. Hartley said, “The past is like another country, they do things different there”, it seems to me that the future is another continent.

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My belief is that until we invent some sort of shielding technology and artificial gravity there will be more major colanization.

Why?

1. Without shielding of any sort our bodies are vulnerable to lethal dosses of radiation

2. Without gravtiy our bone density plummets insanely, and lots of our organs go all crazy.

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I'm not a big major in physics, but is it possible that if the moon became too over colonized it would lose its gravitational pull and get closer to the earth (like in the movie adaptation of The Time Machine?). I really am not sure.

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wouldn't colonization make it have more mass and in turn increasing the gravity?

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My goodness, how much *stuff* do you think we could manage to take to the moon anyway? It's not likely colonization would change the moon's mass any more than the proverbial drop in the ocean.

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Posted (edited)

My goodness, how much *stuff* do you think we could manage to take to the moon anyway?

Why would we be taking lots of stuff there anyway? Why not make the colonies out of stuff that is already there?

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
corrected typo. Unfortunately the typo is still visible in the quote below. D'oh!

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Why would we taking lots of stuff there anyway? Why not make the colonies out of stuff that is already there?

Exactly, and consider how expensive it would be to get stuff there anyway!

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