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phat tony

why are we so connected to planets???

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hi, this is my first thread so please be kind.

why are we so connected to planets??.

this may look like a very strange question but i believe its an important one.

we are looking for new planets that are habitable with the hope that one day we can travel there and even one day live there, why??.

i like the idea of finding new planets but why do we need to live there.

why not make an extra large ship/craft and hit the road:headbang:

travel, forage and harvest as we go.

every thing we need on earth can be taken into space and recreated on the road, food, air, meds, education and everything we need.

everyone wants to get there now but i say why not explore as we go (take in the view) :). our biggest problems are the effects on the human body like gravity and radiation. its easy to protect from radiation and NASA are working on the gravity problem i do know that the gravity problem has been solved elsewhere.

we could drop a small group onto any planet to colonize them, take what we need and then move on. we could breath unpolluted air because we could filter it better, we could eat better food because it would not be poisoned by all the pollution and so on.

so once again why are we so connected to planets??????.

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........ its easy to protect from radiation....

I think radiation is going to be one of the big problems to overcome!

I sort of understand your point of view but with our current technology, travel to even nearby star systems would take a many years and to make it viable and self sufficient as you suggest it would need to be undertaken by a vast colony ship crewed by people who would know that they and their descendents would probably never see a destination world and certainly not be able to return to earth for many centuries.

I would love to see a mission of this sort but with current politics and budgets it will never happen. It would be hugely expensive, stretch technology beyond our current limitations and would need the cooperation of all the developed nations to make it happen.

Think how long it has taken and how much it has cost to build the ISS and that would be like comparing a canoe to the QE2 in terms of scale.

You also have to remember that once the ship was a few years into the mission it would be on it's own as far as we back on planet earth would be concerned. The crew would have to be prepared to cut all ties to planet earth and commit their children and grandchildren to the same fate.

It may happen, I hope it does, but I suspect we are centuries away from such an undertaking. We certainly need to get propulsion systems capable of a good percentage of light speed and be able find an energy source to suit. As important would be to protect the ship and the fragile explorers at these huge speeds and in the unforgiving environment of interstallar space.

EDIT.

Then of course we come to the human factor ..........

How many colonists would be viable to ensure that sufficient crew would be born en route to continue the mission. What is a viable population of humans?

What skills would the first generation need and bear in mind they would have to find time to not only carry out their own functions but would need to educate the next generations and what skills would they need to ensure the integrity of the mission?

Who would care for the children?

Who would care for the elderly and sick?

It would be a truly mammoth undertaking.

EDIT 2. The gravity problem is far from solved and will cause problems even on a comparatively short hop through the solar system to Mars

Edited by nebogipfel

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Hmmmm

Intellectual answer of why an inbuilt almost instinctive search for a planet that could be habitable is something of a pre-design?

Life is possibly more coherent in a format that we perhaps don't fully understand and that we are but a part of a grand scheme - the planet perhaps has to have offspring just as everything else on this planet does...to proliferate the genes of oneself.

What better way - is to provide the ingredients and environment for a species to evolve to spread out and procreate a new planet with what we have here - it will keep trying and if said species fails within a time frame the planet will kill them and start again....

After all the planet has time and the ingredients to get what it wants...

Edited by Space Bat

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nebogipfel hi and thank you for the reply.

radiation is not as big a problem because we are already in space and dealing with it, i do know it gets worse further out.

yes it would be very expensive with today's methods for leaving the planet but other methods are on the table that would be a huge amount cheaper. as for leaving earth for ever, that is the purpose of the question, why are we so connected to a planet, why do we need our children or grandchildren to be on earth or some other planet. i would go and take my kids with the intention that the craft would be 100% self efficient. as for self efficient we do have the knowledge and equipment but as you mentioned we are in need of a possibility of return to earth and that is why i ask why.

i believe that it would be possible but the need for a home planet within reach would be the big thing to hold us back. have you ever growing anything in a Polly tunnel you know its not too hard, i have used indoor sealed grow chambers to grow tomatoes to see if it is hard to do and its so easy to do but also you become mother nature, you control the air content, the moister, light and heat. this would give food and clean air, heat and a clean and stable environment, we would need to take earths full data base of knowledge and also people who could teach it and put it into practice. harvest as we go would work even in our solar system. water is 100% recyclable and hydroponics is the way of the future even here on earth.the big problems are the connection or need for a home planet and getting all of the starting resources into space.

thank you again for your reply, it was nice to see what other people think.

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We need some spare planets to move to when we destroy our own (or at least make it uninhabitable).

The more planets humanity is living on, the less likely our species will go extinct.

We might discover life on another planet that has had a completely seperate evolutionary history, which would help us to understand our own history and biology in general.

It would be fascinating to discover other life that has developed technology, philosophy etc whom we could learn from.

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.........

radiation is not as big a problem because we are already in space and dealing with it........

All of the recent human activity in space has been at least partially protected from radiation by the earth's magnetosphere in the same way we are on planet earth.

Even a short jaunt to the moon would be fraught with danger if the astronauts were en route to or on the surface of the moon if a large CME from the Sun headed in their direction.

On a possible trip to Mars they would have to survive perhaps 2 years for the total mission. Not only that but there is the constant exposure to galactic cosmic rays in adittion to radiation from the sun.

Highly ionising radiation is hugely injurious to living tissues and the health risks to astronauts of exposure could be dire.

NASA and others are working on shielding to protect astronauts on, for example, a Mars mission but they have yet to find a satisfactory method.

Radiation risk is one of the many hazards facing space explorers in the near future and if you do a quick Google search you will get a sense of the scale of the problem.

If you get the chance to see "Mars Rising" a recent Discovery Channel documentary series it gives a very good account of just how difficult and fraught with danger a 2 year round trip to Mars would be, not only in terms of the technological challenges but also such risks as the radiation exposure and the psychological problems of human beings isolated in space with no possible escape should the worst happen.

That's 2 years in space ........not the 100's of years needed to begin interstellar exploration.

I'm sure Star Trek will happen, but it's centuries away I fear.

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If man is destined to reach the stars, then he has to utilise the ready made training ground in the form of the Solar System itself.

The stepping stones that will require him to develop the technology, not only to perfect the transportation that will be needed, but the survival technique too. The first minute step has been taken in managing to put his mark on the moon, but that is only a miniscule achievement in the immense task of sailing the seas of interstellar space.

The most radical requirements reside, not in mans technological revolutions required, but in his own behaviour and attitudes. Such a project would be hundreds of years in the planning, and planetwide harmony and committment would be essential.

Considering the behaviour of the human race from day one until the present, that is going to be nothing short of miraculous.

This is nothing short of a science fiction based dream today.

Will it become reality in the far distant future ? we, and thousands of generations to come will never know the answer to that question.

Ron.

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If man is destined to reach the stars, then he has to utilise the ready made training ground in the form of the Solar System itself.

The stepping stones that will require him to develop the technology, not only to perfect the transportation that will be needed, but the survival technique too. The first minute step has been taken in managing to put his mark on the moon, but that is only a miniscule achievement in the immense task of sailing the seas of interstellar space.

The most radical requirements reside, not in mans technological revolutions required, but in his own behaviour and attitudes. Such a project would be hundreds of years in the planning, and planetwide harmony and committment would be essential.

Considering the behaviour of the human race from day one until the present, that is going to be nothing short of miraculous.

This is nothing short of a science fiction based dream today.

Will it become reality in the far distant future ? we, and thousands of generations to come will never know the answer to that question.

Ron.

Very well said.

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Tony

Interstellar travel is, hypothetically, feasible but would be very "challenging".

Prof. Richard Pogge discusses this in detail in one of his excellent undergraduate (podcast) lectures entitled "Lecture 41: Intersteller Travel and Colonisation".

As usual, science fact trumps any science fiction.:)

Edited by Grunthos

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Tony.

This link outlines some of the issues around radiation ...

ESA - Human Spaceflight and Exploration - Facing the radiation dangers of interplanetary travel

You might also like to read around the attempts on earth to create viable sealed ecosystems. Remembering that in these cases the "crews" are never in any real danger and have abundant solar energy, normal gravity, no harmful radiation and have "outside" for emergency top-ups.......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2

Now put it many light years into interstellar space and populate it with hundreds of human explorer colonists.......

As a final note, think of the distances involved. Voyager 1 is travelling faster than anything else we have built and if it were heading for Proxima Centauri (the nearest star) it would take approaching 70,000 years to get there!

Sorry to be so pessimistic but we need a few more centuries of science and technology ....remember we are only a few years on from human flight and the discovery of the transistor.

Edited by nebogipfel

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we are looking for new planets that are habitable with the hope that one day we can travel there and even one day live there, why??.

i like the idea of finding new planets but why do we need to live there.

Some professional astronomers (certainly not all, or even most) are looking for planets around other stars. They aren't doing it because they want to live there, they're doing it because they find it an interesting problem.

The media reports a tiny proportion of the scientific work that gets done. Finding a new planet is news-worthy if the planet bears any remote resemblance to Earth.

Astronomers need public money and interest to do their work. So it's in their interest to play up whatever resemblance a new planet might have to Earth (for example, if its distance from the parent star would make it possible for liquid water to exist on the surface).

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I'm increasing coming to the conclusion that we won't be doing much in the way of long-distance exploring until we can perhaps crack the problem of either proper functional AI, or uploading minds\personalities\whatever you want to call it into electronic form. If we ever manage to get to that point (after working out the hellish ethical and technical issues involved) then the majority of the problems go away, even the time it takes to cross the voids.

It's all very science fiction I know, but I suppose so was a viable space station or a man on the moon 100 years ago.

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Space travel isn't such a daunting prospect really is it...?

We have trapped our minds in certain area's of physics which make things appear nr impossible or fruitless.

But go back 500 years ago and tell people man would be standing on the moon in under 500 years and that you could project your image around the world instantly and you would possibly burned at the stake for being a witch...

So 500 years from now...perhaps the shackles of our false ideals of physics will not deter the impossible :)

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Space travel isn't such a daunting prospect really is it...?

No I don't think it will be ........ given time

So 500 years from now...perhaps the shackles of our false ideals of physics will not deter the impossible :)

Precisely; there is an attitude that the limitations are all known and that we will never be able to travel to the stars. In truth we know little about the universe and matter and in 500 years or a few thousand years our decendants will look on us as primitives.

As I have said previously the future is a very long time

We may find ways to traverse the galaxy in reasonable times using a science as yet inconceivable. We may send our AI "children" to the stars. But equally when the biology of life is truly understood we may engineer our explorers so that they can thrive in space.

But in answer to the original post interstellar travel even to nearby planetary systems just isn't on the cards for the forseable future. We have a great deal to learn! :)

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We may find ways to traverse the galaxy in reasonable times using a science as yet inconceivable. :)

Or, far more likely, we may traverse the galaxy using science conceived (in the UK) in the 1970's.

Intrigued?

See my previous post regarding a certain podcast link...:)

(I reiterate, science fact trumps any science fiction).

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Or, far more likely, we may traverse the galaxy using science conceived (in the UK) in the 1970's.

Intrigued?

See my previous post regarding a certain podcast link...:)

(I reiterate, science fact trumps any science fiction).

We don't have the facts - so science fact can't triumph :)

OK lets look at some simple truths...

The brain of a mouse is small and doesn't have the abilities of a human with a larger brain..

So look at our planet - pretty tiny when compared to Jupiter -

Now imagine a planet 5 times the size of Jupiter being in the goldilocks zone....somewhere out in space. Imagine the conditions are such that the beings were 1000 times bigger than man and thus their brains 1000 times the size and the computing power to equal its size

What would they think of a human making bold statements of physics - science fact?

We do know something but we have probably the same understandings similar to a mouse's understanding of the universe compared perhaps to others beings...

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Or, far more likely, we may traverse the galaxy using science conceived (in the UK) in the 1970's.

Intrigued?

See my previous post regarding a certain podcast link...:)

Thanks for the link. I intend to listen to the complete course :)

(I reiterate, science fact trumps any science fiction).

Given sufficient time I agree. Even the most imaginative writers cannot conceive the wonders to come

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Firstly I doubt that people like Geoff Marcy are planet hunting with a view to space travel. It has to do with intellectual curoisity.

Secondly I think that there is a subtle misconception lying behind all notions of long term human space colonization, travel and almost eternal life at species level. It is the idea that we are somehow 'permanent' and universal. Now I don't thnk we are. I think we are very, very specific top predators tightly linked to very precisely defined environmental conditions. We will not survive outside those conditions and we are not going to be around for long in the scheme of things. The fantasy of eternal life exists in many forms and space colonization is one of them.

The further you get from being a microbe the less chance you have of turning up later in some other part of the universe. The trick is to get used to the idea. Mark Twain is always useful; 'I was dead for billions of years before being born and it didn't inconvenience me in the slightest.'

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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Secondly I think that there is a subtle misconception lying behind all notions of long term human space colonization, travel and almost eternal life at species level. It is the idea that we are somehow 'permanent' and universal. Now I don't thnk we are. I think we are very, very specific top predators tightly linked to very precisely defined environmental conditions. We will not survive outside those conditions and we are not going to be around for long in the scheme of things. The fantasy of eternal life exists in many forms and space colonization is one of them.

Interesting view Olly but you are assuming (coming from basically a late 20th Century viewpoint) that we will never be able to move beyond our biological evolutionary roots. I think that it is perfectly possible that we may, given sufficient time and hoping we do not suffer a catastrophic natural disaster we are the first species to evolve on planet earth to have the potential to leave our origins behind.

There are no reasons why with a few (OK Quite a few) more years of scientific and technological development we cannot send viable colonies of human beings out to the stars.

That said, I think it is much more likely that our decendents at some point in the future will re-engineer themselves to such an extent that the chains linking us to the earth ecosystem will be broken and then we will be free to move beyond the "cradle"

I'm always amused to look at the predictions of so called futurologists from even two or three decades ago whose predictions are usually wildly out and of course totally fail to see what is just around the corner.

Give mankind another 500 or 1000 years and they will be more distant than the neolithic is from us.

"The Internet? We are not interested in it"

-- Bill Gates, 1993

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

ARTHUR C. CLARKE,

Edited by nebogipfel

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Perhaps so. I think there might be more mileage in genetically re-engineering ourselves than in trying to create earth-like capsules. However, deep down I have a lot of respect for a view of life in which it is spurious to consider a creature in isolation from its environment.

'Futurology' (what a word!) is, of course, the source of many custard pies for the faces of those who engage in it. I do think people have a tendency to say things like, '150 years ago we were travelling on horses so in the future...' and here they can insert whatever vision they like of miraculous new technologies because only a fuddy duddy would declare them impossible. But I think plenty of things are, and will remain, impossible. And I think that many of our technological marvels are actually pretty superfical and involve changes that are more concerned with degree than with kind.

Olly

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Perhaps so. I think there might be more mileage in genetically re-engineering ourselves than in trying to create earth-like capsules. However, deep down I have a lot of respect for a view of life in which it is spurious to consider a creature in isolation from its environment.

'Futurology' (what a word!) is, of course, the source of many custard pies for the faces of those who engage in it. I do think people have a tendency to say things like, '150 years ago we were travelling on horses so in the future...' and here they can insert whatever vision they like of miraculous new technologies because only a fuddy duddy would declare them impossible. But I think plenty of things are, and will remain, impossible. And I think that many of our technological marvels are actually pretty superfical and involve changes that are more concerned with degree than with kind.

Olly

Nothing is impossible Olly :)

The limitations are a) our intelligence and :D our imagination

150 years ago we didn't have controlled manned flight...we do now

So who is to say what a 150 years would bring...

Faster than light travel has already been put on a agenda of a select few :D

The question of how that came to pass is rather interesting and a closely guarded secret :)

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Many things are impossible. It is impossible to add two and two together and not get four.

Really you are confirming my original point. Controlled manned flight is no big deal. The Chinese made rockets years ago and rose on kites. These things are really quite superficial in my view and don't remotely equate to the colonizing of distant planets.

A select few are privvy to superluminal travel? Or even to a serious secret disccussion of its possiility? I hate to seem rude but I don't believe it. As a general rule the only closely guarded secrets in the world are those invented by conspiracy theorists. Since they are aware of them, one might say, they are not all that closely guarded...

The physics of wormholes and the like is in the public domain and perfectly serious, I know. Kip Thorne surprized his colleagues by working hard on it.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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Interesting that you would disregard the feat of engineering flight O.o Possibly because we have grown up with it and use it so readily we take it for granted?

Ok if you explained to someone 150 years ago that you could propel several hundreds of tons of metal with people onboard across the globe in a matter of hours - you would be laughed at...however the theorists would work out that it was indeed possible given that if you provide enough thrust..lift etc but they would have no comprehension of the workings of a jet turbine.

Even now I am in awe of these heavy birds and their ability to hang in the sky - even though I understand the physics...etc

It is truly wonderous :)

So space travel....do we need to travel anywhere at all?

This is without wormholes etc...but is quite simple in its method its almost laughable - however equally its the know how which is causing the problem....not the impossible.

Edited by Space Bat

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I agree that aeroplanes are remarkable at one level. In a sense what I find more remarkable is that what might have been considered 'simpler' - making a human powered flying machine - actually took longer than getting into space. However, flight is natural in our environment. Birds and insects do it all the time. So no, in another sense I don't find it remarkable or particularly significant. Flight has always been 'out there' and greatly predates man. We're still not very good at it and require staggering amounts of energy to lumber off the ground. So what would it take to make me consider human flight truly remarkable? The ability to grow unobtrusive wings. The abliity simply to annul gravity and rise into the air. You may think I'm being frivolous but I'm not, I'm repeating the idea that there is no really new thinking or technology in the areoplane. It is based on biological models millions of years old. And that takes me back to my first point about the relationship between creatures and their environments. They belong together. I suspect that flight confirms rather than denies this. Maybe that's going too far.

Have we, in all our history, ever done anything as remarkable as simply learning to rise into the air unaided? You see, I don't think we have and I don't think we will. And I don't think that our technology is profoundly remarkable for precisely that reason.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice

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