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(Big Think)   In the not-so-distant future, we might have the capability of sending probes, or even humans, to other stars. How should we decide what our first target should be?   (bigthink.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Alpha Centauri, Proxima Centauri, Binary star, Solar System, Sun, Interstellar travel, Star system, Star  
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427 clicks; posted to STEM » on 25 Mar 2022 at 4:47 PM (13 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



42 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-03-25 12:29:31 PM  
♪ ♫ ♬ Next Sunday, AD ♪ ♫ ♬
 
2022-03-25 12:31:40 PM  
MTG, Lauren Boebert, Gym Jordan, etc... loaded into a rocket and sent to explore the sun.  But it's OK, we'll send them at night, so they'll be fine
 
2022-03-25 12:41:58 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size


im sure it will turn out fine.
 
jbc [TotalFark]
2022-03-25 1:09:39 PM  
And, for that matter, planets that may even be potentially conolizable

Maybe even with better spellcheck.

It will be just 4% of the distance presently separating Earth from the nearest stars, and will outshine every object in Earth's night sky except the Sun,

That's not how night works, you damned moran.
 
2022-03-25 1:39:20 PM  
The closest solar system, Alpha Centauri.

They've got three suns so it's triple the beach days there
 
2022-03-25 3:14:56 PM  
We just need to fire off a Crazy Eddie probe, wait for civilization to collapse, rebuild, and then see who shows up
 
2022-03-25 4:01:08 PM  
Ali G - Buzz Aldrin (HQ)
Youtube AwARY7Kk8ek
 
2022-03-25 4:34:47 PM  

Thoreny: The closest solar system, Alpha Centauri.

They've got three suns so it's triple the beach days there


You Are Here: A Tourist's Guide to the Local Neighbourhood
Youtube v1dZfX8fmrk
Where else would we go? To go anywhere else adds centuries, although Barnard's Star would be interesting.

The Parallax Nick video above is part 1 of a 3 part series about our local stellar neighborhood. Awesome work and worth every second. Nick is very low key. Other 2 installments posted below.
 
2022-03-25 4:35:30 PM  
You Are Here: A Tourist's Guide to Your Local Neighbourhood: Episode 3
Youtube E8djCvcLmAQ

Part 3. LOL.
 
2022-03-25 4:36:20 PM  
You Are Here: A Tourist's guide to the local Neighbourhood, Episode 2
Youtube Rhz4iuev8os
part 2.
 
2022-03-25 4:56:43 PM  
cultofwhatever.comView Full Size
 
2022-03-25 4:58:36 PM  
Not going to happen. We will wipe humanity out due to climate change before we figure out fusion power, let alone interPLANETARY human travel. We will never visit other stars
 
2022-03-25 5:01:44 PM  
Here's an anal probe and a human you can send out into space in any direction.
i.insider.comView Full Size
 
2022-03-25 5:04:18 PM  
We should take out Gamilon before they start lobbing radiation bombs towards our planet.
 
2022-03-25 5:05:54 PM  
Hopefully they don't find us delicious.
 
2022-03-25 5:06:01 PM  

lifeslammer: Not going to happen. We will wipe humanity out due to climate change before we figure out fusion power, let alone interPLANETARY human travel. We will never visit other stars


The Vaselines jesus doesn't want me for a sunbeam
Youtube RcLM_gqLlYc
 
2022-03-25 5:24:48 PM  

OhioUGrad: Here's an anal probe and a human you can send out into space in any direction.
[i.insider.com image 386x289]


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-03-25 5:31:21 PM  
The one that doesn't want Ukraine
 
2022-03-25 5:32:09 PM  

OhioUGrad: Here's an anal probe and a human you can send out into space in any direction.
[i.insider.com image 386x289]


Never knew Grimes was such a wing nut until today.
 
2022-03-25 5:41:14 PM  
I can think of a few people who I wouldn't mind if they got a one way ticket into the sun.
 
2022-03-25 5:57:56 PM  

lifeslammer: Not going to happen. We will wipe humanity out due to climate change before we figure out fusion power, let alone interPLANETARY human travel. We will never visit other stars


The best we will ever do is a few colonies on the Moon, Mars, larger asteroids like Ceres  and some Jovian satellites.  Rather like the Expanse but without the Protomolecule...  And this will occupy a thousand years or more... Much of the required engineering isn't even close to being in place these days....e.g. sealed habitats here on Earth don't work past a few months....
 
2022-03-25 5:58:13 PM  
We should get a head start and begin boarding on Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet Ship B.

/I know it's weak, was waiting for someone else to do it.
 
2022-03-25 6:12:20 PM  
Travel to Mars?  Conceivable...Travel to another star?  Not likely.  Possible...but very unlikely.  Without a way to simulate gravity, the human body would degenerate so badly that it would simply fail.  Even the one astronaut that spent a year in space came back to find out that the radiation had altered his DNA so much he wasn't even 'related' to his monozygotic twin. Now imagine a lifetime or two going to another star...

By the time we get there, we won't be 'human' anymore.  We'll be...something else.
 
2022-03-25 6:15:47 PM  
<starts reading>
"few centuries"
"fusion"
"suspended animation"
<stops reading>

ok if we're going to just assume magic we can go anywhere we want...
 
2022-03-25 6:35:44 PM  
static.voidu.comView Full Size

Just hope there are no glitches on the way.
 
2022-03-25 6:52:32 PM  

psilocyberguy: Thoreny: The closest solar system, Alpha Centauri.

They've got three suns so it's triple the beach days there

[YouTube video: You Are Here: A Tourist's Guide to the Local Neighbourhood]Where else would we go? To go anywhere else adds centuries, although Barnard's Star would be interesting.

The Parallax Nick video above is part 1 of a 3 part series about our local stellar neighborhood. Awesome work and worth every second. Nick is very low key. Other 2 installments posted below.


Is he British? I hope he's British. I cannot listen to non-Brits talk about science on YouTube.
 
2022-03-25 6:55:12 PM  

A Cave Geek: Travel to Mars?  Conceivable...Travel to another star?  Not likely.  Possible...but very unlikely.  Without a way to simulate gravity, the human body would degenerate so badly that it would simply fail.  Even the one astronaut that spent a year in space came back to find out that the radiation had altered his DNA so much he wasn't even 'related' to his monozygotic twin. Now imagine a lifetime or two going to another star...

By the time we get there, we won't be 'human' anymore.  We'll be...something else.


I'm sorry, mutated his DNA so much he wasn't even related to his twin? What does that even mean? I think something is lost in translation here. By the time that much change had occurred at the DNA level, he would basically be a giant cancer.
 
2022-03-25 7:04:00 PM  

Odd Bird: We should get a head start and begin boarding on Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet Ship B.

/I know it's weak, was waiting for someone else to do it.


I'm a telecommunication technician, and the other day I was sanitizing a phone for re-use and realized I was an Ark-B candidate.... Crap...
 
2022-03-25 7:14:20 PM  
Well, we chould calculate how many tens of thousand of years it will take, and the movement of thoe stars in our sky. The goal being, when our colonists all land in the same week, the star systems will be lined up in our night sky to be a gigantic connect the dots picture of a majestic dick.
 
2022-03-25 7:46:26 PM  
The speed of light is absolute.  It's not being broken any time soon.

With a fission drive we can do 5% of c on average, we seem likely to figure out a decent fusion drive soon and double that.  That makes the nearest star a 40 year trip each way.

If you want to pipe dream, maybe one day we can collect or produce, and then safely bottle, antimatter.  Then we might make 50%.  Makes the nearest star a no-brainer for a probe and maybe possible for some seriously dedicated humans.

So you decide generation ships are the way to go - well, first find an already habitable place, because you'll have a much easier time terraforming bodies around Sol than traveling for hundreds or thousands of years and hoping you manage it at your destination... and once you have a ship that can last generations in space with humans safe and sound inside, you no longer need planets.  You'd pick up comets and asteroids for raw materials once in a while, but other than that your destinations are mostly random picks.  The stars don't matter, the planets don't matter, you just want a nice residual debris disk to pick over.
 
2022-03-25 8:33:13 PM  
In the not-so-distant future, we might have the capability of sending probes, or even humans, to other stars

Ain't gonna happen for humans.  We now know of over 5,000 exoplanets.  Not one of them would support the life of our fragile human race - even if we could get there alive, which we can't.  Too big, too small, too hot, too cold, hostile atmosphere, nothing to stand on, nothing to protect us from radiation - and the list goes on.  Ain't gonna frkkin' happen.
 
2022-03-25 8:38:22 PM  
Find out from Shatner which system has the hottest female aliens, go there.
 
2022-03-25 8:46:13 PM  
HAH!  You are assuming we're going to last long enough on this planet to be technically able to explore others, Subby.

/either we all end up trapped in VR rigs or get killed by reengage sex-bots.
 
2022-03-25 8:52:04 PM  
We haven't explored most of this solar system yet.  There's a great deal of our backyard that was only pictured by Voyager a lifetime ago.
 
2022-03-25 9:29:25 PM  
We need to start thinking about putting together such a probe, and that will probably entail development of a lot of technologies that can be used for our inner planets and possibly asteroids and outer planets.

Then we should send out probes JUST WHEN we believe we have propulsion technologies that are not likely to be improved for the next 40 years or so.

If we do that, then we will not be in the awkward position of passing our own probes when we launch faster probes later. In other words, we should pay attention to how we stage the exploration so that we get the information that we need just at about the time we can act on it.

With every new advancement in propulsion technologies, we can launch probes farther out while we continue to develop colonization and terraforming technologies, resource gathering, etc. There need not be such a mad rush to get to these distant places because we still do not know what we can do when we get there.

In terms of sociology and economics, I think that humanity in general is going to have to see more distributed benefits from space exploration and development before it commits to high-risk, low-return projects such as exoplanet exploration. The proper sequence is cis-lunar and lunar development, asteroids and Mars moons, Mars, Mercury..... after that development moves along, we will have the resources and confidence to make a decent shot at exoplanets.
 
2022-03-25 11:48:36 PM  
Work backwards to determine the target. How far can we go in the desired timeframe? Okay, now that the range is narrowed down, what do we want to accomplish in an ideal outcome? Now find the target that is in range and that also helps advance us to that outcome.

My suggestion is to find out what is inside a black hole. So I say we send somebody to the nearest black hole and tell them to radio us once they are in there.
 
2022-03-26 4:41:48 AM  

lifeslammer: Not going to happen. We will wipe humanity out due to climate change before we figure out fusion power, let alone interPLANETARY human travel. We will never visit other stars


You and aren't likely to live long enough see it, but the humans with the resources will cure aging, and then evetially they will accomplish everything they set their minds to.
 
2022-03-26 9:16:58 AM  

lilbjorn: In the not-so-distant future, we might have the capability of sending probes, or even humans, to other stars

Ain't gonna happen for humans.  We now know of over 5,000 exoplanets.  Not one of them would support the life of our fragile human race - even if we could get there alive, which we can't.  Too big, too small, too hot, too cold, hostile atmosphere, nothing to stand on, nothing to protect us from radiation - and the list goes on.  Ain't gonna frkkin' happen.


...We know there's a handful of planets in the 'Goldilocks Zone' that could in theory support us -  but we'd have to send massive probes first to check everything out.  For instance, it's not much help if you can breathe, but the liquid water is poisonous.  Or great if we can breathe and drink, but the soil won't support agriculture.

To get all that done on any kind of human scale, we'd need BIG probes with onboard processing labs that could travel at something like 10%/C and with utterly, absolutely reliable systems.

Doable....(except for the 10%/C thing, and they're working on that) but damned difficult.
 
2022-03-26 1:05:53 PM  
Kurt Vonnegut agrees it should be Alpha Centauri if my memory serves.  He wrote a short story "The Great Space Fuck"
 
2022-03-26 1:07:41 PM  
 
2022-03-26 1:25:49 PM  
As anyone who has ever read Childhoods End, this might not be what we want to do...
 
2022-03-26 3:36:29 PM  
It's very unlikely that the planet in Proxima Centauri's habitable zone has an atmosphere. There are two problems: it's a flare star with occasionally intense EM radiation that could rip an atmosphere off a planet. Also, it's only about 0.12 the mass of the Sun, and the planet in its habitable zone has a tight orbit, with each year taking just eleven days. This means it is almost certainly tidally locked (the same side of the planet always faces the sun) which makes it a lot harder for the planet to hold onto its atmosphere, even if it wasn't a flare star.

I'm excited to learn more about any extrasolar system, but most excited about the ones with the highest potential for alien life. There are almost certainly a few good candidates within 20 light years. It would be awesome to see the beginnings of a mission to explore any of them, though of course it's very unlikely we'll see any results in our lifetimes.

We should probably focus on stars with at least 0.3 the mass of the Sun, so planets in the habitable zone are far enough away from the star to keep them from being tidally locked. But the JWST will give us a lot more interesting data to look at.
 
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