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(Slate)   Say hello to my faint, cool, little friends: Astronomers discover third closest star system just six light years away   (slate.com) divider line 21
    More: Cool, light-years, Alpha Centauri, Atomic Nucleus, NASA's Wide, failed star, Binary Star, metallicity, dwarf star  
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9341 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Mar 2013 at 1:43 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-03-11 11:12:39 PM
1 votes:
Link
Project Longshot would have been cool.
2013-03-11 07:43:26 PM
1 votes:
Look, even a trip to Mars is arguably a one way ticket, based on todays tech.  Great, so we send some brave souls out, they plant a flag and we get a picture. They might even make it back. Good, uplifting and all that rot, but really....will Mars rocks be any more valuable than moon rocks?  IF there was life on Mars, it died a long time ago.

Our best hope, if there is any, is machines with a constant accelerated drive and massive fuel tank/supply, sent towards Alpha Centauri etc and we get lucky. (yes, I do think there are others out there.) Still not sure why they would give a damn about us or if they are in any better evolution phase to help us.

Voyager has almost left this solar system (another argument goes here)...how long has that taken? 35+ years? Half a generation just to reach the door that says 'this way out'.  Sorry. The scale is beyond our capacity to attack it technically.
2013-03-11 06:46:03 PM
1 votes:

StrangeQ: SnarfVader: Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.

While it does indeed look bleak right now, who knows what will happen in the next 100 to 1000 years? I'm not giving up yet especially because private companies are now capable of space flight.

Our technology today is several orders of magnitude more advanced than it was 1000, 100 or even 10 years ago.  Give humanity another 1000 years without some sort of global catastrophe and it's really impossible to even imagine what our technology will be like.


Yeah that aint gonna happen, well before 1,000 years from now we are gonna have peak fresh water where farking water costs more than gasoline because there is too many of us parasites on the planet, then things go full retard after you have war, famine, pestilence, and death everywhere and it ends up going full Nuclear retard.

Our future will be more like Planet of the Apes than Star Trek.
2013-03-11 06:45:56 PM
1 votes:

J. Frank Parnell: And beyond those hazards, we've evolved specifically for the conditions on Earth. Aside from gravity, the sun at this particular distance regulates our hormones to keep us healthy and allow us to reproduce. We can't just up and leave.


Radiation in space is not friendly to meatbags in even short term exposures.  So even if the sustained thrust thingy is done, and you figure out how to protect the body it will still take a VERY long time to go 3+ light years to Alpha Centauri or 6 to the star in this farticle. We're not going to be bending space or going faster than light. How many generations do you think it would take on some platform if it headed to Alpha Centauri? 10?  20? 200? 20000? Someone do the math, I'm getting drunk.  Hint:  don't bother, get drunk and pork your bosses wife instead.
2013-03-11 06:23:21 PM
1 votes:

qorkfiend: stonicus: Stone Meadow: zarberg: StrangeQ: Our technology today is several orders of magnitude more advanced than it was 1000, 100 or even 10 years ago.  Give humanity another 1000 years without some sort of global catastrophe and it's really impossible to even imagine what our technology will be like.

That's the kicker. We can't even prevent ourselves from starting pointless wars or starving our own populations over greed, not sure how we're gonna not blow up the planet because of it.

Amazing at how much control people have over another is based on religion and religion claims to be so anti-greed.

That reminds me that I meant to reply to StrangeQ: I was surfing the web this morning when I glanced at this article about quantum entanglement occurring at speeds at least "10,000 times the speed of light". If that could be developed into a interstellar drive system, we could travel to the nearest stars in as little as less time than it currently takes to get to the moon (3 days in an Apollo). THAT's the kind of technological change we could conceivably see in the next 1000 years...or less.

/would love to live long enough to see that happen

It's a trap though... at maximum speed, sure a drive system like that could get you to mars and back in 3 days.  Though, it may take you 6 months to a year to safely accelerate a human body to that speed without turning it into spaghetti sauce, and the same goes for slowing down once you get to your destination.  Mars may be too close actually for that sort of technology.  It's like the corner store 2 blocks away.  Car beats bike in speed and acceleration, but it's always going to be just as quick (if not quicker) and easier and cheaper to just ride your bike 2 blocks away than to fire up the car.

What is likely to happen is not that we will invent holy grail drive that travels unbelievably fast, but we will invent a drive that can provide steady thrust over very long periods of time without needing massive quantities of reaction mass (as our current space drives do). Our spacecraft are currently designed to do a quick boost in one direction, then cruise; if we could accelerate halfway, then turn around and decelerate, we'd shave off significant fractions of travel time.

Sustained thrust like that would also be the key to sublight interstellar travel; accelerating at 1 G for a year gets you to a significant fraction of c.


Unfortunately, all of our drive technology really does amount to throwing mass in the other direction (solar sails being the exception, but not helpful between systems). Unless you think Blinsight's quantum ion teleporter is doable, we're stuck with massive amounts of fuel.
2013-03-11 06:22:16 PM
1 votes:

SnarfVader: Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.

While it does indeed look bleak right now, who knows what will happen in the next 20 to 100 years? I'm not giving up yet especially because private companies are now capable of space flight.


Low Earth orbit is not space, at all. They're still being protected by the various fields around the planet. Actual space is extremely hazardous to us.

And beyond those hazards, we've evolved specifically for the conditions on Earth. Aside from gravity, the sun at this particular distance regulates our hormones to keep us healthy and allow us to reproduce. We can't just up and leave.
2013-03-11 05:49:53 PM
1 votes:

stonicus: Stone Meadow: zarberg: StrangeQ: Our technology today is several orders of magnitude more advanced than it was 1000, 100 or even 10 years ago.  Give humanity another 1000 years without some sort of global catastrophe and it's really impossible to even imagine what our technology will be like.

That's the kicker. We can't even prevent ourselves from starting pointless wars or starving our own populations over greed, not sure how we're gonna not blow up the planet because of it.

Amazing at how much control people have over another is based on religion and religion claims to be so anti-greed.

That reminds me that I meant to reply to StrangeQ: I was surfing the web this morning when I glanced at this article about quantum entanglement occurring at speeds at least "10,000 times the speed of light". If that could be developed into a interstellar drive system, we could travel to the nearest stars in as little as less time than it currently takes to get to the moon (3 days in an Apollo). THAT's the kind of technological change we could conceivably see in the next 1000 years...or less.

/would love to live long enough to see that happen

It's a trap though... at maximum speed, sure a drive system like that could get you to mars and back in 3 days.  Though, it may take you 6 months to a year to safely accelerate a human body to that speed without turning it into spaghetti sauce, and the same goes for slowing down once you get to your destination.  Mars may be too close actually for that sort of technology.  It's like the corner store 2 blocks away.  Car beats bike in speed and acceleration, but it's always going to be just as quick (if not quicker) and easier and cheaper to just ride your bike 2 blocks away than to fire up the car.


What is likely to happen is not that we will invent holy grail drive that travels unbelievably fast, but we will invent a drive that can provide steady thrust over very long periods of time without needing massive quantities of reaction mass (as our current space drives do). Our spacecraft are currently designed to do a quick boost in one direction, then cruise; if we could accelerate halfway, then turn around and decelerate, we'd shave off significant fractions of travel time.

Sustained thrust like that would also be the key to sublight interstellar travel; accelerating at 1 G for a year gets you to a significant fraction of c.
2013-03-11 05:12:24 PM
1 votes:
I really want us to discover extraterrestrial life in my lifetime, but I'll settle for a man-made probe reaching another star system and sending back data. It'll let me know that mankind has a bit of hope for its future before I go.
2013-03-11 04:07:38 PM
1 votes:

Kimpak: Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.

Oh c'mon mankind its only 6 light years away.  If you can't pay attention to local affairs then I have no sympathy for you.

..Power up the destructor beams


As today would have been Douglas Adams' birthday: thank you, you hoopy frood.

i.imgur.com
2013-03-11 03:40:12 PM
1 votes:

Stone Meadow: In fact...yo Phil, any thoughts on the collective mass of brown dwarfs? Can they explain the 'missing mass' question?


Looks like the answer is a qualified "no". BW's "rival the number of stars in the galaxy", but that only would add up to about a thousandth of the observable mass. Nowhere near enough to make a significant dent in the 'missing mass'.

Oh well...
2013-03-11 03:37:44 PM
1 votes:

SmackLT: Wait, it's a binary star system?

FARK PARTY MOS EISLEY CANTINA 2023


Now we just have to convince 4chan and Reddit to occupy different planets, then unveil the true power of an armed and fully operational FarkStar.
2013-03-11 02:44:54 PM
1 votes:

akula: qorkfiend: qorkfiend: mutterfark: Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle

I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.

Sorry; 0.15 solar masses.

Yeah, but what's the lower end limit to having enough mass to support some kind of nuclear fusion? Obviously the resulting star would be a tiny fellow, but I just wonder what the effect here would be if even a small star lit up at only 6.5LY. Maybe nothing... I dunno. At the very least it would be seriously cool to behold- we'd have to learn SOMETHING from it, and better to learn something than nothing (assuming the thing you learn isn't an addition to "extinction level events on the planet Earth").

So yeah, Plait... time to answer some questions for your Farker brethren here.


Ah, a good point. I think the lower limit for hydrogen fusion is only about .08 solar masses, so if they've got enough hydrogen in them they could very well begin fusing hydrogen.
2013-03-11 02:28:57 PM
1 votes:

qorkfiend: mutterfark: Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle

I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.


Sorry; 0.15 solar masses.
2013-03-11 02:28:22 PM
1 votes:

mutterfark: Is there any chance that this pair could merge? If so what might be the result? Would there be a super nova lite?
Cool stuff.

/2nd the Badass Astronomer handle


I doubt it; brown dwarfs only get up to about 75-80 Jupiter masses, so a pair of them combined would only be about .075 solar masses.
2013-03-11 02:25:50 PM
1 votes:

unchellmatt: SnarfVader: Also, Bad Astronomer should change his Fark login to Badass Astronomer.

Get out. Plait is a Farker?!


Not only that, but he routinely posts in threads linked to his blog.

In fact...yo Phil, any thoughts on the collective mass of brown dwarfs? Can they explain the 'missing mass' question?
2013-03-11 02:21:06 PM
1 votes:

SnarfVader: [i212.photobucket.com image 638x479]

Brown dwarfs are one of the most fascinating things out there, at least to me. Too small to be a star, too big to be a planet, I wonder where they really fall on a percentage of mass of the galaxy. I would think that they are more numerous than the stars themselves. I bet we have a brown dwarf closer to us than Alpha Centauri.

/Also, Bad Astronomer should change his Fark login to Badass Astronomer.


Get out. Plait is a Farker?!

/I was excited about Teide 1 and giggled like a little girl at its discovery
//give anything to live long enough to see an actual image of one...
2013-03-11 02:18:45 PM
1 votes:

SnarfVader: Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.

While it does indeed look bleak right now, who knows what will happen in the next 100 to 1000 years? I'm not giving up yet especially because private companies are now capable of space flight.


Our technology today is several orders of magnitude more advanced than it was 1000, 100 or even 10 years ago.  Give humanity another 1000 years without some sort of global catastrophe and it's really impossible to even imagine what our technology will be like.
2013-03-11 02:17:00 PM
1 votes:

Lt. Cheese Weasel: 6 light years?  Might as well be 6 billion light years.  We're never getting off this rock to make that kind of voyage.  EVER.


Oh c'mon mankind its only 6 light years away.  If you can't pay attention to local affairs then I have no sympathy for you.

..Power up the destructor beams
2013-03-11 01:10:00 PM
1 votes:
NASA's WISE mission has detected 200 new brown dwarfs.[25] There are actually fewer brown dwarfs in our cosmic neighborhood than previously thought. Rather than one star for every brown dwarf, there may be as many as six stars for every brown dwarf.[25]

Or we have only detected 1/6th of the brown dwarfs. Or 1/10th. Or 1/100th.
Stupid science. It will be interesting to watch the estimate of the number of brown dwarfs change as we build better and better detectors.
2013-03-11 01:06:08 PM
1 votes:
so how many brown dwarfs are there?
we have detected little or none of them.
what percentage of the galaxy do they make up?

do they make up close to enough of the needed mass to explain the rotation of the galaxy?
2013-03-11 12:34:31 PM
1 votes:
Hello, brown dwarf, my old friend. I've come to talk with you again...
 
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