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(Slate)   Say hello to my faint, cool, little friends: Astronomers discover third closest star system just six light years away   ( divider line
    More: Cool, light-years, Alpha Centauri, Atomic Nucleus, NASA's Wide, failed star, Binary Star, metallicity, dwarf star  
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9364 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Mar 2013 at 1:43 PM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-03-12 06:08:55 AM  
Makes you wonder where our brown dwarf is hiding.
2013-03-12 07:52:21 AM  
Lt. Cheese Weasel: Oldiron_79: Our future will be more like Planet of the Apes than Star Trek.

[ image 246x205]
Only the roaches will win in the end.

Well its hard to bet against a species thats hung  in there since the carboniferous.

If any mamalian species survives WWIII it will be pigs. They live feral on every land mass except for Antarctica, and they have like the highest radiation tollerance amongst mammals, and they are omnivours.
2013-03-12 08:51:34 AM  
2013-03-13 08:20:15 PM  

Stone Meadow: C_Canuk: 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.

actually, based on some napkin scribbling that's not quite true.

If we could build a ship big enough to support an eco system for life support and food, and this ship housed nuclear reactors to drive ion engines that accelerate at 9.81 m/s; you would reach 3 light years in as little as 16 years.

Probably less as I reflect I didn't do my calculations properly(I scaled 9.81 m/s to Km/year as if it was velocity not acceleration).

Once the ship reaches the half way point, it would turn around and decelerate at the same rate. This solves the gravity problem as 9.81m/s squared is the force the earth exerts on us.

You could conceivably build a ship that could get you there in under 32 years.

Currently we don't have ion engines capable of this scale of thrust, but I feel we are within a few hundred years of having them. Everything else is just having the billions of dollars to build.

Nope, not even close. There are two problems with your approach. First, ion engines are veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrryyy low thrust. Figure a ten-thousandth of a G acceleration...maybe, but obviously nothing like 9.8 m/s^2. FWIW, the first ion engine to propel a rocket out of earth's orbit needed 13 months to pass the moon, and the nearest star is 81,000 years away at ion drive speeds.

Second, in spite of their high specific impulse, ion engines are still reaction engines, and NASA calculates that for a "real space ship" even a nuclear powered ion drive would take 4 days to go from zero to 60 mph...and their maximum speed would be about 321,000 km/h. That's great for low priority cargo moving around the solar system, but won't do for interstellar travel. Sorry man, but we gotta find a better technology. :)

I mentioned current ion engine tech wasn't up to it but might be in a few hundred years. There are also ideas out there for magnetic ram scoops to use existing matter as reaction mass which would decrease drag and craft inertia while allowing you to use using the existing mass's inertia to draw yourself forward before using it in the ion engine.

I am confident that at some point in the future, new applications of physics will provide a method of constant acceleration using electricity.
2013-03-14 11:09:10 AM  

GeneralJim: one must be a highly trained professional to make a wild-ass guess.

Of course, most people like that just look it up in the Urantia Book.

What is it with you farkwits?  I have NEVER used the Urantia Book in any argument.  Anyone who has ever commented on that has a serious cognitive disorder -- like you. Monkeys flinging excrement make a more cohesive argument than you do.
2013-03-14 11:12:12 AM  

elchupacabra: StopLurkListen: elchupacabra: I wanna find a brown dwarf that's just shy of the mass for sustained fusion and then nuke it.  Just to see the fireworks.

Dunno what you think is going to happen. Explode an almost-star, or start the fusion? If you want to start fusion, just drop matter into it, no "nuke" necessary. (Assuming in our scenario humanity is capable of moving 'Jupiter'-equivalent masses several light years just for lulz)

Nuking it would start fusion that would run out of steam as it would lack critical mass.  But it would last long enough for lulz.

No it wouldn't.

That would depend upon how easily amused he is...
2013-03-14 11:21:35 AM  

The speed of the reaction mass, no?

One thing a lot of people seem to forget is time dilation.  That 16 year trip would feel a lot shorter to the occupants.

No, it wouldn't.  It would BE shorter, a bit.  But most of the relativistic effects are only seen VERY near to the speed of light.  On a "flip ship" the majority of the voyage is at significantly less than light speed, even if the trip peaks at 99% at the flip.  Too lazy to do the math.
2013-03-14 11:32:40 AM  

Just in case anyone was tempted to buy into General Jim's BS:

Hypothetically, an increasing solar magnetic field could deflect galactic cosmic rays, which hypothetically seed low-level clouds, thus decreasing the Earth's reflectivity and causing global warming. However, it turns out that none of these hypotheticals are occurring in reality, and if cosmic rays were able to influence global temperatures, they would be having a cooling effect.

It's amazing how he'll tout a single published paper that supports his opinion, but will ignore the thousands of others that do not. Wait, that's not amazing, that's painfully obvious.

Keep being stupid -- that's what you do best.
Some of your stupids:  Cosmic rays DO increase cloud cover.  Increased solar activity reduces atmospheric cosmic ray flux.  Therefore, increased solar activity warms Earth by insolation, AND via the Svensmark Effect.

I would also note that CERN has validated Svensmark's position, and the effects DO occur in nature.  Strangely enough, however, they ONLY show up when you take measurements.  Since the Svensmark Effect isn't built into the models, it *GASP* doesn't show up in model runs.  So, anyone who conflates running models with doing research is likely to miss it entirely.  And, finally, take your blog post and shove it.  Or, better yet, go explain to CERN how your blog post invalidates their experiment.  That should be good for some lulz.

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