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(Independent)   Seven planets humans might move to once we've finished wrecking this one   (independent.co.uk ) divider line
    More: Interesting, planets, Milky Way, kepler space telescope, planetary habitability, Gliese 581g, surface waters  
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4178 clicks; posted to Geek » on 11 Dec 2012 at 11:42 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-11 08:22:12 AM  
images3.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2012-12-11 08:32:30 AM  
In before the telephone sanitizers.
 
2012-12-11 09:07:44 AM  
www.midnightreview.co.uk

Just watch out for Tim Curry.
 
2012-12-11 09:08:27 AM  
Humanity's only way for long term (>150-200 years) survival is to look upwards and outwards. We're running out of resources on Earth at an alarming rate. In addition, all it would take would be a major pandemic or war to seriously FARK our chances at survival - and given the current geopolitical situation, that doesn't seem unlikely.

It's either we branch out into space, or we start seeing resource wars in the next 100 years between the major first world superpowers of the world.

www.steelfalcon.com

/it's weird how an anime can be prophetic with the Humanity Seeding Project.
 
2012-12-11 09:16:21 AM  
It has found nearly 80 confirmed exoplanets with a similar size to Earth but only a few of those have the right distance from their star to support liquid surface water - the presence of which is considered essential to sustain life.

ok, why does it have to be a similar size to earth? I understand it can't be too small to fit everyone if we all decide to up and move to it, but if a planet is twice the size of earth, is it incapable of supporting life then? I mean, besides those 48 hour-long days, what is the problem? will the gravity be too strong or something?
 
2012-12-11 09:32:20 AM  

images2.wikia.nocookie.net

Brought to you by:

 
2012-12-11 10:10:51 AM  

SlothB77: It has found nearly 80 confirmed exoplanets with a similar size to Earth but only a few of those have the right distance from their star to support liquid surface water - the presence of which is considered essential to sustain life.

ok, why does it have to be a similar size to earth? I understand it can't be too small to fit everyone if we all decide to up and move to it, but if a planet is twice the size of earth, is it incapable of supporting life then? I mean, besides those 48 hour-long days, what is the problem? will the gravity be too strong or something?


Exoplanets are irrelevant for future human habitation anyway. If you can get humans to an exoplanet, you can sustain human life in a spacecraft for a very, very long time, essentially indefinitely.

And if you can do that, it's a whole lot easier to trade some of your fuel weight for a few acres of solar panels and park yourself in solar orbit somewhere between Earth and Venus. With essentially unlimited energy, you could make yourself a rather comfortable life close to home, rather than spending a few millennia floating through the interstellar dark.
 
2012-12-11 10:11:48 AM  
www.badideatshirts.com
 
2012-12-11 10:23:39 AM  
I want to live on Melancholia. Any planet that obliterates Kirsten Dunst can't be all that bad.
 
2012-12-11 10:34:37 AM  

BronyMedic:

[www.steelfalcon.com image 480x265]

/it's weird how an anime can be prophetic with the Humanity Seeding Project.



Hey, the SDF-2 was destroyed when Khyron attacked!...


/Runs from impending Macross > Robotech beatdown.
 
2012-12-11 11:47:37 AM  
I'm a bit confused here...

FTA: "a few of those have the right distance from their star to support liquid surface water "
"Seven potentially habitable exoplanets are now listed"


But then...

"scientists have not yet found a true Earth analogue"

What does that last sentence mean, in context with the first two?
 
2012-12-11 11:50:13 AM  

BronyMedic: Humanity's only way for long term (>150-200 years) survival is to look upwards and outwards.


The logistics and resources needed to move humanity across solar systems is so mind-boggling the best hope for humanity is fixing/not-ruining the planet we got. The worst case scenerio for Earth (ie nuclear fallout), is still probably most suitable for humans than the surface of whatever planet you're looking for.
 
2012-12-11 11:51:36 AM  
Frankly, I'm surprised Quantum Apostrophe hasn't shat all over this thread yet.
 
2012-12-11 11:54:43 AM  
We can always move to Nibiru. It's becoming increasingly more convenient to do as we speak.
 
2012-12-11 12:02:07 PM  
I dream of a world known as Couch Planet. None of you are invited.
 
2012-12-11 12:05:31 PM  

SlothB77: ok, why does it have to be a similar size to earth? I understand it can't be too small to fit everyone if we all decide to up and move to it, but if a planet is twice the size of earth, is it incapable of supporting life then? I mean, besides those 48 hour-long days, what is the problem? will the gravity be too strong or something?


Not my field of study and just guessing but I would have to vote gravity issues. As a total layman I believe the rule is more mass = more gravity. I would assume there is an upper/lower limit of feasibility as if it is too low we seem to lose bone density, but I'm not sure how little is acceptable.
 
2012-12-11 12:15:26 PM  
Heard about Pluto? that's messed up.
 
2012-12-11 12:17:29 PM  

SlothB77: ok, why does it have to be a similar size to earth? I understand it can't be too small to fit everyone if we all decide to up and move to it, but if a planet is twice the size of earth, is it incapable of supporting life then? I mean, besides those 48 hour-long days, what is the problem? will the gravity be too strong or something?


Simple answer really... We only have one example that we know of a life sustaining planet and you're living on it.

Therefore, logically by looking for similar sizes, features, distance from star, we assume it'll be very similar to what we know currently works.
 
2012-12-11 12:18:22 PM  

SlothB77: ok, why does it have to be a similar size to earth? I understand it can't be too small to fit everyone if we all decide to up and move to it, but if a planet is twice the size of earth, is it incapable of supporting life then? I mean, besides those 48 hour-long days, what is the problem? will the gravity be too strong or something?


It might. It isn't just the size (all of the exoplanets that we think are in the Goldilocks zone of their star so far are much much larger than Earth) but also the density. Anyway most of the known exoplanets, while maybe capable of harbouring life of their own, are far too big and dense for us. Predicted to have much higher gravity.

And of course we don't know anything about their atmospheric composition...

InmanRoshi: The logistics and resources needed to move humanity across solar systems is so mind-boggling the best hope for humanity is fixing/not-ruining the planet we got. The worst case scenerio for Earth (ie nuclear fallout), is still probably most suitable for humans than the surface of whatever planet you're looking for.


Barring revolutionary breakthroughs of course. We are far more likely to see habitats in our own solar system first. And even that isn't going to happen anytime soon.
 
2012-12-11 12:31:43 PM  
I don't doubt that humans colonizing other planets will eventually adapt to be able to survive in the new environments, it is very short sighted to label planets as being habitable with the tiny amount of data we have on them. This Habitable Planet Catalog, if it were able to be taken seriously, should have only one entry: Earth.
 
2012-12-11 12:40:10 PM  

midigod: I'm a bit confused here...

FTA: "a few of those have the right distance from their star to support liquid surface water "
"Seven potentially habitable exoplanets are now listed"

But then...

"scientists have not yet found a true Earth analogue"

What does that last sentence mean, in context with the first two?


A true Earth analogue would probably have to have liquid water, an atmosphere with oxygen, and something close to Earth gravity.
 
2012-12-11 12:41:45 PM  

Gunny Highway: I dream of a world known as Couch Planet. None of you are invited.


I'm afraid I have some bad news, friend: Couch Planet is inhabited by hippies and they won't move. And all your cheetos are gone.
 
2012-12-11 12:42:33 PM  

BronyMedic: Humanity's only way for long term (>150-200 years) survival is to look upwards and outwards. We're running out of resources on Earth at an alarming rate. In addition, all it would take would be a major pandemic or war to seriously FARK our chances at survival - and given the current geopolitical situation, that doesn't seem unlikely.

It's either we branch out into space, or we start seeing resource wars in the next 100 years between the major first world superpowers of the world.

[www.steelfalcon.com image 480x265]

/it's weird how an anime can be prophetic with the Humanity Seeding Project.


The only resources we're running low on are fossil fuels and we've made some pretty amazing headway replacing them. Other than that? We throw away the majority of food that we produce, we have plenty of technology for turning salt water into fresh, and there's plenty of metal everywhere. Maybe rare earth elements? I just don't see anyone going to war over them.
 
2012-12-11 12:42:41 PM  

Ishkur: Gunny Highway: I dream of a world known as Couch Planet. None of you are invited.

I'm afraid I have some bad news, friend: Couch Planet is inhabited by hippies and they won't move. And all your cheetos are gone.


Taken care of.

/It was genocide
 
2012-12-11 01:07:53 PM  

UberDave: Hey, the SDF-2 was destroyed when Khyron attacked!...


It's ok, there's a little hallway you can run through that brings you right to Admiral Gloval.
 
2012-12-11 01:10:45 PM  

Gunny Highway: Taken care of.
/It was genocide


I would have preferred eviction, but your way works too. It's also quicker.
 
2012-12-11 01:12:14 PM  

Ishkur: Gunny Highway: Taken care of.
/It was genocide

I would have preferred eviction, but your way works too. It's also quicker.


The orange stains on everything push me over the edge. My dream world is full of regret.
 
2012-12-11 01:19:17 PM  

BronyMedic: We're running out of resources on Earth at an alarming rate.


No we aren't. We haven't destroyed any resources.* We've changed the state of a lot of our resources, of course, and that makes them a lot more difficult to use, but they're still there. All the aluminum is still out there, all the tin, all the copper, all the iron, etc. We've burned (literally and figuratively) through our planetary savings account of hydrocarbons, but they aren't gone, either. Our ecosystem will continue to make hydrocarbons from the water, carbon, and sunlight to the extent that we allow it to. There are several ways we can help that. Our fresh water may be spoiled, but it's a simple distillation away from pure again. Our soil may be polluted, but it's a not-so-simple unobtanium-powered cleansing away from being clean, too.

We really only have an alarming scarcity of two things: energy and space. Space isn't a huge concern. We haven't filled the space we have currently efficiently, technology could easily make ocean habitats to make more space, and agricultural technology could (if wrested away from the hands of Monsanto, ConAgra, and the like) significantly reduce the amount of space required to feed us. I don't personally believe we'll ever fill the planet, as we're somewhat self-regulating as a species. We'll swing too far for a few centuries, and come to rest at a sustainable level--as long as we can keep from destroying civilization with war.

So, that leaves us with one huge problem: energy. Free or nearly-free energy would solve all our problems. With enough energy, we can desalinate all the water we like. We can filter landfills through huge factories to recover waste raw materials. We can produce fertilizers from hydrocarbons if we choose. Hell, if we really get cramped, we can launch orbital farm satellites. Whatever the hell we want, we can do with enough energy. That's what we can do as a species to ensure our survival. Personally, I like the genetically engineered algae that crap jet fuel as a solution, but there are all kinds of possibilities. Let's get the hell to work.

*I suppose you could consider that we've destroyed radioactive resources, but they are self-destroying, anyway. Nothing a particle accelerator wouldn't fix.

**Don't get me wrong. I am a firm believer that we should be colonizing the galaxy, just not for that reason. It is impossible for us to leave the earth. New births would outnumber any amount of colonists we could launch effectively forever.
 
2012-12-11 01:19:33 PM  
Yeah, how about we worry about taking care of our own planet first, hm? Shiat like this just gives fuel to the QAs of the world who like nothing more than to shiat on any technologies that don't give them an immediate tangible benefit.
 
2012-12-11 01:31:38 PM  

Jubeebee:
Exoplanets are irrelevant for future human habitation anyway. If you can get humans to an exoplanet, you can sustain human life in a spacecraft for a very, very long time, essentially indefinitely.

...With essentially unlimited energy, you could make yourself a rather comfortable life close to home, rather than spending a few millennia floating through the interstellar dark.


I thought I would try to put some actual numbers to it...

The distance to the closest star is 39,900,000,000,000 km away. (link)

The fastest man-made object moves at 252,800km/hr (link)

At that distance/speed, it would take 157.8 million hours (or about 18,000 years) to get there. The ancient pyramids were build roughly 4,500 years ago.
 
2012-12-11 01:50:53 PM  

TopoGigo: BronyMedic: We're running out of resources on Earth at an alarming rate.

No we aren't. We haven't destroyed any resources.* We've changed the state of a lot of our resources, of course, and that makes them a lot more difficult to use, but they're still there. All the aluminum is still out there, all the tin, all the copper, all the iron, etc. We've burned (literally and figuratively) through our planetary savings account of hydrocarbons, but they aren't gone, either. Our ecosystem will continue to make hydrocarbons from the water, carbon, and sunlight to the extent that we allow it to. There are several ways we can help that. Our fresh water may be spoiled, but it's a simple distillation away from pure again. Our soil may be polluted, but it's a not-so-simple unobtanium-powered cleansing away from being clean, too.

We really only have an alarming scarcity of two things: energy and space. Space isn't a huge concern. We haven't filled the space we have currently efficiently, technology could easily make ocean habitats to make more space, and agricultural technology could (if wrested away from the hands of Monsanto, ConAgra, and the like) significantly reduce the amount of space required to feed us. I don't personally believe we'll ever fill the planet, as we're somewhat self-regulating as a species. We'll swing too far for a few centuries, and come to rest at a sustainable level--as long as we can keep from destroying civilization with war.

So, that leaves us with one huge problem: energy. Free or nearly-free energy would solve all our problems. With enough energy, we can desalinate all the water we like. We can filter landfills through huge factories to recover waste raw materials. We can produce fertilizers from hydrocarbons if we choose. Hell, if we really get cramped, we can launch orbital farm satellites. Whatever the hell we want, we can do with enough energy. That's what we can do as a species to ensure our survival. Personally, I like the genetically engine ...


There you go, destroying a perfectly good FARK posting war with a reasonable discussion.

;^)
 
2012-12-11 01:54:02 PM  
I'm finishing up Blue Mars so I'm getting a kick out of this thread.
 
2012-12-11 01:58:01 PM  
I call dibbs on the planets that have breathable atmospheres, warm weather, edible vegetation and hot/farkable alien women.

/The planet of volcanoes and poisonous spiders is reserved for he who shall not be mentioned...
 
2012-12-11 02:06:03 PM  

Sybarite: Just watch out for Tim Curry.


I loved that show! I wish it could have been renewed.
 
2012-12-11 02:08:40 PM  

ThaGravy: Jubeebee:
Exoplanets are irrelevant for future human habitation anyway. If you can get humans to an exoplanet, you can sustain human life in a spacecraft for a very, very long time, essentially indefinitely.

...With essentially unlimited energy, you could make yourself a rather comfortable life close to home, rather than spending a few millennia floating through the interstellar dark.

I thought I would try to put some actual numbers to it...

The distance to the closest star is 39,900,000,000,000 km away. (link)

The fastest man-made object moves at 252,800km/hr (link)

At that distance/speed, it would take 157.8 million hours (or about 18,000 years) to get there. The ancient pyramids were build roughly 4,500 years ago.


Before we found a planet in the Centauri system this year, the closest exoplanet was something like 10 light years away. The metaphor I used a couple of years ago was that if you shrank the entire solar system from Sol to Neptune down to the size of a quarter, and placed that quarter in Chicago, the nearest exoplanet would be in Manhatten. The Centauri quarter would probably be around Cleveland-ish.

Voyager I is a couple of nanometers beyond the edge of our quarter in Chicago.

Space is big, mostly empty, and generally sucks. The sun is close, valuable, and a lot easier to access. We already know how to build medium-term (10+ year) human-habitable spacecraft, albeit with regular resupply trips.

Like TopoGigo said, our primary problem is energy. If we have access to enough energy and enough information, we can do whatever we want. The sun can give us more energy than we can ever use, and the longer higher civilization lasts, the more information we can accumulate. If humanity is going to have any future in space, it's going to be around our own familiar star.
 
2012-12-11 02:21:47 PM  

Jubeebee: If humanity is going to have any future in space, it's going to be around our own familiar star.


Depends on the stability of our stellar neighborhood and the stability of our civilization.

This star wont last forever, and there are also things that other stars can do which would make this system... unpleasant.
Then there are the ideological differences that can arise in society which would be better served by distancing its factions. Not to mention the biological benefits that come from living apart.

Ultimately I doubt we'll all be happy if we all stay bunched up in one spot.
That just invites some cosmic accident to ruin our day.
 
2012-12-11 02:37:04 PM  

Jubeebee: If humanity is going to have any future in space, it's going to be around our own familiar star.


No, I don't think so. Humanity has never been content remaining in one place when it has the means and ability to explore. We were not content with staying around our own familiar cave; we were not content with staying around our own familiar village; we were not content with staying around our own familiar country; we were not content with staying around our own familiar continent. We will not be content staying around our own familiar star.
 
2012-12-11 02:37:58 PM  

ThaGravy: Jubeebee:
Exoplanets are irrelevant for future human habitation anyway. If you can get humans to an exoplanet, you can sustain human life in a spacecraft for a very, very long time, essentially indefinitely.

...With essentially unlimited energy, you could make yourself a rather comfortable life close to home, rather than spending a few millennia floating through the interstellar dark.

I thought I would try to put some actual numbers to it...

The distance to the closest star is 39,900,000,000,000 km away. (link)

The fastest man-made object moves at 252,800km/hr (link)

At that distance/speed, it would take 157.8 million hours (or about 18,000 years) to get there. The ancient pyramids were build roughly 4,500 years ago.


You're not limited to the speed of a spaceprobe launched in the 1970s using a couple of chemical rocket burns and gravity assists.

Totally ignoring the effects of relativity (which means a speed limit of 0.25c for the journey), you could get to the nearest star in 678 years, with a midpoint turnaround and a constant acceleration of just 0.007g. Obviously that's way more than a human lifetime, but it's totally within the realm of possibility for a multi-generational ship (particularly if some means of long-term hibernation for the crew is discovered).

That's with something like magnetic plasma propulsion, which generates extremely low thrust. When you start delving into really advanced propulsion systems, like, say Project Daedalus, You can get the journey down to within a human lifespan, maybe 50 years to a nearby star.

And then there's crazy-exotic stuff like the Quantum Vacuum Plasma Thruster: some guy at NASA is claiming a perpetual 0.02g for a 10-ton spacecraft with a 2MW powerplant. Scale things by a factor of 1000 and you could have a 1000-ton vehicle at 0.2g on 2GW, which is within the range of nuclear power plants today. At 0.2g you'd hit 93% of the speed of light at the midway point of the journey, which would shorten the crew's perception of the travel time by about a third due to relativity. To an outside observer, the journey would take 10 years, but for the crew only about 6.

That's not even getting into "new physics" stuff like warp drives.
 
2012-12-11 02:42:31 PM  
I'd rather be dead than live in an artificial world. And I will be, no problem. The rest of you have fun with your "it's just as good as the one we threw away!" while listening to recorded sounds of tranquil streams and singing birds.
 
2012-12-11 02:48:20 PM  

BronyMedic: Humanity's only way for long term (>150-200 years) survival is to look upwards and outwards. We're running out of resources on Earth at an alarming rate. In addition, all it would take would be a major pandemic or war to seriously FARK our chances at survival - and given the current geopolitical situation, that doesn't seem unlikely.

It's either we branch out into space, or we start seeing resource wars in the next 100 years between the major first world superpowers of the world.

[www.steelfalcon.com image 480x265]

/it's weird how an anime can be prophetic with the Humanity Seeding Project.


Meh.

I prefer Macross Frontier.

i26.photobucket.com


Jettisoning an "Island" (small biodome):

ghostlightning.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-12-11 03:14:51 PM  

Diogenes: I want to live on Melancholia. Any planet that obliterates Kirsten Dunst can't be all that bad.


You must be talking about that movie that wore out my fast-forward button.
 
2012-12-11 03:18:19 PM  

ThaGravy: Jubeebee:
Exoplanets are irrelevant for future human habitation anyway. If you can get humans to an exoplanet, you can sustain human life in a spacecraft for a very, very long time, essentially indefinitely.

...With essentially unlimited energy, you could make yourself a rather comfortable life close to home, rather than spending a few millennia floating through the interstellar dark.

I thought I would try to put some actual numbers to it...

The distance to the closest star is 39,900,000,000,000 km away. (link)

The fastest man-made object moves at 252,800km/hr (link)

At that distance/speed, it would take 157.8 million hours (or about 18,000 years) to get there. The ancient pyramids were build roughly 4,500 years ago.


Sounds like a great concept for a reality show. One team has to get to Proxima Centauri, and the other has to build four consecutive sets of pyramids by hand.
 
2012-12-11 03:53:23 PM  

Raoul Eaton: Sounds like a great concept for a reality show. One team has to get to Proxima Centauri, and the other has to build four consecutive sets of pyramids by hand.


I'd take the pyramid guys in a landslide.

/Get it?

qorkfiend: No, I don't think so. Humanity has never been content remaining in one place when it has the means and ability to explore. We were not content with staying around our own familiar cave; we were not content with staying around our own familiar village; we were not content with staying around our own familiar country; we were not content with staying around our own familiar continent. We will not be content staying around our own familiar star.


There's a big difference between reaching solar orbit and reaching another star. Huge difference. Like, difference between a sandcastle and the Burj Khalifa sort of difference.
 
2012-12-11 03:57:36 PM  

Raoul Eaton: ThaGravy: Jubeebee:
Exoplanets are irrelevant for future human habitation anyway. If you can get humans to an exoplanet, you can sustain human life in a spacecraft for a very, very long time, essentially indefinitely.

...With essentially unlimited energy, you could make yourself a rather comfortable life close to home, rather than spending a few millennia floating through the interstellar dark.

I thought I would try to put some actual numbers to it...

The distance to the closest star is 39,900,000,000,000 km away. (link)

The fastest man-made object moves at 252,800km/hr (link)

At that distance/speed, it would take 157.8 million hours (or about 18,000 years) to get there. The ancient pyramids were build roughly 4,500 years ago.

Sounds like a great concept for a reality show. One team has to get to Proxima Centauri, and the other has to build four consecutive sets of pyramids by hand.


Not to be all technical and stuff, but I think the other team would need to build 4 pyramids plus relive the past 4,500 years of human experience... it didn't take 4,500 years to build the pyramids.
 
2012-12-11 04:00:02 PM  

way south: This star wont last forever, and there are also things that other stars can do which would make this system... unpleasant.


That is such a distant future that if at that point we are still putzing around with fossil fuels and combustion based propellents we really deserve whatever fate comes to us.
 
2012-12-11 04:00:52 PM  

Jubeebee: Exoplanets are irrelevant for future human habitation anyway. If you can get humans to an exoplanet, you can sustain human life in a spacecraft for a very, very long time, essentially indefinitely.

And if you can do that, it's a whole lot easier to trade some of your fuel weight for a few acres of solar panels and park yourself in solar orbit somewhere between Earth and Venus. With essentially unlimited energy, you could make yourself a rather comfortable life close to home, rather than spending a few millennia floating through the interstellar dark.


Indeed. Why live in a gravity well if you don't have to? Getting to and from other locations is made far easier, and there are greater possibilities for variant methods of living and existing (I think it was Dan Simmons who really went into this in great detail with the Ousters).
 
2012-12-11 05:35:26 PM  

feanorn: Jubeebee: Exoplanets are irrelevant for future human habitation anyway. If you can get humans to an exoplanet, you can sustain human life in a spacecraft for a very, very long time, essentially indefinitely.

And if you can do that, it's a whole lot easier to trade some of your fuel weight for a few acres of solar panels and park yourself in solar orbit somewhere between Earth and Venus. With essentially unlimited energy, you could make yourself a rather comfortable life close to home, rather than spending a few millennia floating through the interstellar dark.

Indeed. Why live in a gravity well if you don't have to? Getting to and from other locations is made far easier, and there are greater possibilities for variant methods of living and existing (I think it was Dan Simmons who really went into this in great detail with the Ousters).


There are advantages to gravity. Humans need it to grow properly and not have heart problems, for example. Also, sometimes it's nice to just be able to put a tool down on the floor and not worry about it floating into some other, fragile tool.

The main appeal of a habitat in solar orbit is the enormous amount of free energy. You can spin a large habitat to mitigate some of the negative effects of living in 0g (although I think I remember something about people responding poorly in some ways to that as well). You could use some of that energy to travel to new places, albiet very slowly, or you could just have a stupidly high standard of living.
 
2012-12-11 06:38:26 PM  

Jubeebee: qorkfiend: No, I don't think so. Humanity has never been content remaining in one place when it has the means and ability to explore. We were not content with staying around our own familiar cave; we were not content with staying around our own familiar village; we were not content with staying around our own familiar country; we were not content with staying around our own familiar continent. We will not be content staying around our own familiar star.

There's a big difference between reaching solar orbit and reaching another star. Huge difference. Like, difference between a sandcastle and the Burj Khalifa sort of difference.


Not really. The same physics governs the trip; the only difference is time and distance, and that's never been a problem before. If we're capable of technological dominance of the solar system, we're capable of reaching other stars.
 
2012-12-11 06:39:14 PM  

BronyMedic: Humanity's only way for long term (>150-200 years) survival is to look upwards and outwards


No it isn't. That's a pseudo-religious view popularized by sci-fi and cheesy movies. A deadly vacuum with nothing in it is no place for "survival". Modifying our lifestyle and social model right here is our only long-term hope. We should choose to do these things because they are hard, not because they are easy.

BronyMedic:
We're running out of resources on Earth at an alarming rate.

Are we tossing them into a black hole?

Anyways, you loons will all still be right here in a decade, and so will everyone else. Get used to it. No amount of weeping over cheesy sci-fi artwork will change that, or hand-wringing over the "species". You people don't care about the "species", you care about your religious sci-fi stories.

No matter how entertaining they were in high-school. 

itdoesnthavetoberight.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-12-11 06:41:16 PM  
Have they considered moons? Particularly Pandora? FYI: Going to stars may no longer seem so farfetched.

Link
 
2012-12-11 07:01:46 PM  
I'll wait for the follow up story where it's reported that these planets may not actually exist.

/Zarmina, nevar forget
 
2012-12-11 07:46:23 PM  
FTFA: "Although all these exoplanets are superterrans are considered potentially habitable, scientists have not yet found a true Earth analogue"

By these standards, isn't Venus a "true Earth analogue"?
 
2012-12-11 08:55:45 PM  

StrangeQ: way south: This star wont last forever, and there are also things that other stars can do which would make this system... unpleasant.

That is such a distant future that if at that point we are still putzing around with fossil fuels and combustion based propellents we really deserve whatever fate comes to us.


Problem being that spanning the gap between stars will either take a lot of technology or a lot of time, and the window for a civilization to sort out the details is limited.

I don't think we have billions of years. We'd be lucky if we had a hundred thousand or more.
...and that's maybe a dozen round trips at sub light speeds?

It's never too soon to get off the island.
 
2012-12-11 10:24:40 PM  

jimw: Have they considered moons? Particularly Pandora? FYI: Going to stars may no longer seem so farfetched.

Link


I don't think Pandora would work too well for habitation, considering it is only 80 km wide and gets a lot of impacts, and I think has no atmosphere. Assuming you mean Saturn's moon and there isn't one I am unaware of...
 
2012-12-12 12:28:10 AM  
ecx.images-amazon.com
 
2012-12-12 12:37:30 AM  

Ishkur: Gunny Highway: I dream of a world known as Couch Planet. None of you are invited.

I'm afraid I have some bad news, friend: Couch Planet is inhabited by hippies and they won't move. And all your cheetos are gone.


They bogarted the nachos too.
 
2012-12-12 12:40:27 AM  

Quantum Apostrophe: BronyMedic: Humanity's only way for long term (>150-200 years) survival is to look upwards and outwards

No it isn't. That's a pseudo-religious view popularized by sci-fi and cheesy movies. A deadly vacuum with nothing in it is no place for "survival". Modifying our lifestyle and social model right here is our only long-term hope. We should choose to do these things because they are hard, not because they are easy.

BronyMedic: We're running out of resources on Earth at an alarming rate.

Are we tossing them into a black hole?

Anyways, you loons will all still be right here in a decade, and so will everyone else. Get used to it. No amount of weeping over cheesy sci-fi artwork will change that, or hand-wringing over the "species". You people don't care about the "species", you care about your religious sci-fi stories.

No matter how entertaining they were in high-school. 

[itdoesnthavetoberight.files.wordpress.com image 850x449]


I have several of those books. Wonder if they are worth anything on eBay.
 
2012-12-12 01:22:56 AM  

TopoGigo: So, that leaves us with one huge problem: energy. Free or nearly-free energy would solve all our problems. With enough energy, we can desalinate all the water we like. We can filter landfills through huge factories to recover waste raw materials. We can produce fertilizers from hydrocarbons if we choose. Hell, if we really get cramped, we can launch orbital farm satellites. Whatever the hell we want, we can do with enough energy. That's what we can do as a species to ensure our survival. Personally, I like the genetically engineered algae that crap jet fuel as a solution, but there are all kinds of possibilities. Let's get the hell to work.


I like very much where you're going with that. I've been down the same course. If you wanna go beyond the level of internet advocacy, join NSS, go to ISDC and other space conferences & meet some awesome people.

I'm pretty well convinced that lunar ISRU solar (and likely asteroid ISRU pretty shortly thereafter) will be the thing that really blows open the space economy, allows people to start living in space or have basically unlimited options as far as access to fresh water and food on the Earth's surface. There is SOOO much space, and so much energy - the earth is a tiny pinprick of shadow on the giant beachball of the Sun's radiated energy, intercepting only two-billionths of the 370 trillion terawatts the sun emits, mostly into cold, uncaring deep space. The potential for space-based solar power capture is practically limitless in comparison to what we humans use - around 6TW of electricity, vehicle fuel, and industrial process energy if I recall correctly. Also, the matter available in the asteroid belt alone has been estimated to be plenty to support 10 trillion people at US middle class standards of living; Jupiter and its moons at least as much.

Yes, the technical problems can all be overcome with more energy. The underlying issues though are more complex - organization and capital. (and I'm all-too-conveniently leaving aside the systems of oppression, of wars, of classism... capitalist-imperialist, religiously-motivated and otherwise) Thing is, at least in the US and Europe, ppl are still plenty rich in terms of spending $$$$ on inane unnecessary stuff. These societies have plenty of water and food and will for a long time despite what doomsayers doomsay. Yes, we do have rivers, reservoirs, and aquifers drying up, but in some places the issue is that people aren't ready to pay more for water infrastructure: treatment plants, rain capture, pumps, pipelines and ultimately desalination in many but certainly not all cases; the actual amount of drinkable water is nowhere close to running out, cf. Mississipi river watershed, but in many cases it is not available where people want to continue to live, or more likely than not, it is being wasted for idiotic landscaping or corrupt/outdated agricultural subsidies (fark forgot how much this stuff pisses me off). If it was just energy people would be okay, but there'd also need to be substantial physical changes to the landscape to move water - installing aqueducts is more complicated than just adding a couple cents per cubic foot of water to customers' electric bills!

A typical counterpoint I hear to space-based solar is that there's plenty of incident light reaching our deserts and oceans, and in theory these would be much easier/cheaper places to direct solar energy to useful purposes. Three problems: 1. Solar is too expensive. The photovoltaic market is changing this but has hit snags (see #3) but anyway PV still has ways to go to be competitive with cheaper-but-more-maintenance-intensive solar thermal. Also space solar has a huge advantage in terms of grid realities: it provides a stable base load, vs ground solar which goes out at night and cloudy weather so must generally be balanced by equal capacity of gas turbine or other fast-switching power plants; 2. Biofuel uses too much water (ocean-based may obviate this? but containment is a hassle and saltwater biofuel tech (e.g. algae) is, stupidly, less developed than freshwater; and 3. Fracking is too cheap: the energy market has hit this big dumb distraction - the across-the-board technology improvements in fracking and horizontal drilling techniques not to mention a steady and increasing stream of capital investments such as more well pipe, pumping trucks and drilling rigs, much of it owner-operated stuff financed by got-rich-quick field hands. Anyone with half a shred of decency, of care for this planet or for future generations realizes that fossil fuels are not a reasonable way forward, and by doing what's marginally cheaper in the very short term rather than investing in better technology, we're pushing the huge windfalls of cheap biofuel, efficient ground solar and sprawling terawatt space solar arrays farther and farther futureward. But such is the logic of the market.

Of course nuclear energy is the obvious foil to to space-based solar but then again I suspect space-beamed microwaves will be a way easier sell than ionizing radiation will ever again after the insanity that gripped the world post-Fukushima. Ridiculously convenient for the oil-and-gas industry that this perfect nuclear market collapse fell into their laps: Oregon LNG terminal plans reverse from importing to exporting gas; Issues Facing U.S. Shale Gas Exports To Japan. I haven't found any exposés yet but surely at least a few mill of frackers' lobbying dollars went to defaming nuclear, not that it needed much help; hell, they gave Sierra Club $26M to shut down coal power.

Another issue is that energy projects take land, which can be controversial, see for example the Herakles Debacle (pdf warning). Perhaps space seems more politically accessible? Not clear that's the case given that we haven't figured out space property rights, and likely won't before people just go up and start staking claims to see what happens. But again, space is soooo much bigger than the mere surface of the Earth that of course the long-term future of a continuously expanding population will necessarily go out there. If humanity shrinks maybe we could survive on Earth, but that would be stupid.

Right now, the cheapest ways to make investments in energy with a short-term payoff are fossil fuels and what are effectively slave-operated palm oil plantations (granted, much smaller scale in terms of energy, though not necessarily human impact). Yes, there are various other biofuels programs getting attention, and like photovoltaic and wind power they do move along where government funds get kicked in, but in general the privately funded stuff that happens without much government intervention (I've learned too much about ag subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare to believe in free markets) is fossil fuel extraction and replacement of rainforests with palm oil plantations.

The difference is a matter of financing - nobody's interested in ponying up the liquidity (currency is, after all, pretty universally how we motivate skilled workers to do things in this world) - nobody's ready to risk the capital to launch gigantic space power satellites until the technology is proven. And despite the rather solid understanding of the underlying technicalities of massive photovoltaic arrays and microwave power beaming there's really very little money going toward efforts that substantially bump up the TRL of these technologies. Despite being a solar sail mission rather than a powerplant, Japan's IKAROS was a big step to demonstrate use of thin film photovoltaics in spacecraft. Once a few more missions prove out power beaming and array maneuvers and such then people with purse strings might start taking things more seriously.

There are lots of people throughout national space agencies and astronautics departments with proposed architectures and even a few launcher-ready prototypes drawn up, but again, most people with massive quantities of money aren't looking to lock it up for years at a time when the payoff is anything but certain, and it's entirely possible that despite, say, an energy company investing $10B in a 1-megawatt space solar power pilot plant, that some alternate pathway will win out and they'll wind up not making anything back on the investment. (This $10B/1MW pilot has been presented at recent conferences. Personally, I think it could be done for a whole lot less and at a direct profit, rather than as mere R&D, but then again I have a history with projects that never make it off the ground...)
 
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