Science Rapid Interstellar spaceflight, exploration and,colonization thread

fsci123

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Well there are multiple threads on the forum so i thought that spawning this thread could be an easy solution ot keeping a lot of other threads on-topic...

==Starter==
I was watching the science channel on colonizing mars when i thought could it be possible to send a single spacecraft to a planet orbiting another star and colonize it...
 

HAL9001

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if the spacecraft is big enough (*HAL9001 thinks at an AR-18 and a flamberge and an explorer) it would be possible t colonize with a si ngle spacecraft, but using many would be technically more easy, because a structural engineer could get crazy, when he has to build a flamberge in reality...
 

jedidia

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One of the problems is that for a colonisation in one go, you have to take an awfull lot of people with you. I heared a number of at least 10'000 people to have a stable enough genepool to make colonization in the long run possible, but I don't know the source anymore and have no idea how reliable it was.

another problem is to simply send a larger spacecraft to another star (hell, it's a problem to even send an unmanned probe!) With current (and foreseeable) tech it's a no-go. For a task like that we'd need some mcguffin to get there more easy than to accelerate a humongeous mass to ludicrous speeds and back down again.
 

fsci123

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One of the problems is that for a colonisation in one go, you have to take an awfull lot of people with you. I heared a number of at least 10'000 people to have a stable enough genepool to make colonization in the long run possible, but I don't know the source anymore and have no idea how reliable it was.

another problem is to simply send a larger spacecraft to another star (hell, it's a problem to even send an unmanned probe!) With current (and foreseeable) tech it's a no-go. For a task like that we'd need some mcguffin to get there more easy than to accelerate a humongeous mass to ludicrous speeds and back down again.


Well im not currently thinking about sending humans, just plants and some machinery...
 

T.Neo

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That is not much of a colonisation effort then.

I would say, leave the really high speed stuff to exploration, if you want round trips, etc. Colonisation ships can go a good deal slower. Maybe they wouldn't be full-blown generation ships, but they probably don't need superduper ultra uber antimatter pion anihillation gamma ray tether magnetic droplet cooled engines...
 

fsci123

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Well you need a pretty good infrastructure so... Send robot to make habs and to form crops first then send humans that will occupy and use stuff setup by robots... Like in my desighn the ship is desighned to be disassembled...
 

T.Neo

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It'd be best to have a human presence there firsthand. You can't just send robots to a dynamic alien environment and then rely on them to set up critical equipment perfectly.

For example what if there is some problem with the growing of crops? Or if Altarian Jabberwockys eat the crops? Etc.

Also, it is a nice idea to have your interstellar spacecraft as something that can be disassembled... but what are you going to do with it afterwards?
 

fsci123

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Well a defensive perimeter could be setup while the remainder of the ship could be used as a spacestation and a solar power sattelite and a communication relay...
 

T.Neo

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Who says this defensive perimeter will be adequate? Maybe there are flying creatures, for example, that can simply fly over such a barrier. Or creatures that can burrow under it. Or even organisms that can blow their young on the wind, to fly passively and land where there is food- i.e., your crops...

Your spacecraft sounds pretty cool, it's like the spacecraft version of... a swiss army knife.
 

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Also, it is a nice idea to have your interstellar spacecraft as something that can be disassembled... but what are you going to do with it afterwards?


The answer to this should be readily apparent. The disassembled spacecraft would be used for creating the beginnings of planetary infrastructure; shelters and work spaces for the inhabitants, water reclamation and purification plants, bio-domes for the crops, labratorys, etc...

It is actually a basic (and quite brilliant) idea.
 

T.Neo

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Of course... but an interstellar spacecraft is pretty big, and certainly not built for atmospheric reentry, so getting it down to the surface intact would be pretty difficult.
 

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Of course... but an interstellar spacecraft is pretty big, and certainly not built for atmospheric reentry, so getting it down to the surface intact would be pretty difficult.

remember that we first have to make an atmosphere, there is only a thin one before...

It'd be best to have a human presence there firsthand. You can't just send robots to a dynamic alien environment and then rely on them to set up critical equipment perfectly.

For example what if there is some problem with the growing of crops? Or if Altarian Jabberwockys eat the crops? Etc.

Well until the time when interswtellar spaceflight becomes an option there is time enough to make an AI...
 

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remember that we first have to make an atmosphere, there is only a thin one before...
How do you figure all alien worlds have thin atmospheres? Look at Venus, or Titan. I presume that if we're going to spend the trillions of dollars and thousands of man-hours on sending a bunch of people to a planet lightyears away, it had darn-well better be close to habitable or there's no point. If we're ever going to terraform a world, it will be Mars.
 

T.Neo

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remember that we first have to make an atmosphere, there is only a thin one before...

That is still a problem. Imagine landing your entire spacecraft (even in bits) on Mars. It isn't easy.

I didn't know this was a terraforming mission...

Well until the time when interswtellar spaceflight becomes an option there is time enough to make an AI...

Considering that humans usually don't make the right decisions, I'd be hard pressed to believe a computer could do better...

EDIT:

How do you figure all alien worlds have thin atmospheres? Look at Venus, or Titan. I presume that if we're going to spend the trillions of dollars and thousands of man-hours on sending a bunch of people to a planet lightyears away, it had darn-well better be close to habitable or there's no point. If we're ever going to terraform a world, it will be Mars.

I second this. Adding stuff is easier than taking stuff away. The best hope for extrasolar terraformation is a planet similar to Mars or, even better- a planet similar to early Mars, and even then, it would be pretty darn hard to do. Unless you set up a large presence there, with entirely artificial habitation.
 
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fsci123

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Well you could use skyhooks...
 

T.Neo

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Skyhooks!?

Good luck with using a skyhook anywhere, let alone several light-years from Earth. :blink:
 

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Personally I liked the idea that Avatar's Venture Star ISV had: Not the antimatter or whatnot (though that's certainly a good option), but that it used a passive system for leaving and returning to Earth, so the rocket-equation part of the design only needs 1/2 the Delta-V it otherwise would, accelerating to the star and decelerating on the way back (assuming you're headed back).

Be it Solar Sail, Photon Sail, Magnetic Sail, Plasma Sail, Repeller engine, or whatnot, just some sort of passive system. (Well, passive in the sense that it doesn't carry it's own reaction mass, or perhaps not even it's own fuel, too. What's the name for that?)

Anyways, why is it all these futuristic designs don't have staging? Staging is a great way to get your Delta-V up, decrease cosmic radiation exposure en route by increasing transit velocity, decrease need for life support.

For that matter, I'm a fan of Cryo. It's a pipe dream ATM, but if it's far enough in the future that we're sending an interstellar vessel, I seriously doubt cryo will still be impossible then, especially considering it's a medical technology.

Also, if it's far enough in the future to send a manned interstellar mission, then surely A.I.'s are good enough to run things. Heck, they'll probably be more than good enough in 50 years, just look at where they were 50 years ago compared to today, and in 50 years we'll be even further ahead than that comparison according to Moore's law.

In my scenario, it's a one-way colonization mission. The crew and colonists are frozen en route. Once the craft reaches orbit over the planet, a minimalist crew is woken, and machines set up a minimal infrastructure on the surface before waking up the colonists and the rest of the crew. (Crew first, to set things up to shuttle colonists to surface.) If it's practical, then the ISV will carry re-usable shuttles that can be refueled from the infrastructure the robots built. Colonists are woken up a batch at a time, as shuttles are ready to take them down, so they don't take up resources and space on the ISV, and to help with logistics.
Also, the vast majority of the colonists will be unborn. Embryos and the like are much easier to keep frozen, and also much lighter, than fully grown humans, and can provide genetic diversity just as well. There might even be children: #1. So there isn't an age gap, and #2 because they're lighter than adults.
Single adults will be a minority, since with the vast majority of the colonists are unborn you'd want most of the adult colonists to be married so each family isn't too large (which is a very subjective size).
Also, since parents won't be genetically related to many of their children, family trees may not sprout for the first generation...

For back and forth travel, you'd either used a giant, many-staged beast, or if it's a civilized system you'd only carry half the Delta-V for the round trip, and re-fill at destination star system.
Antimatter, of course is the fuel of choice for making the flight as short as possible. With cryo, fusion would be workable, IMO I'd use cryo no matter what to save on the need for life support, and to keep the passengers from going insane being trapped, bored, in the same ship for years on end. Imagine cabin fever, for years instead of weeks, with hundreds, or even thousands of people. Not good.

Also using a closed ecosystem, and building facilities to keep passengers from going insane over the many years, and then designing the acceleration/thrust profiles to work well with the human need to walk around, you know, once every few weeks, would pose huge challenges, much more difficult than just doping the passengers out for all those years. Heck, if cryo isn't around, you could even use an induced coma, and that gets rid of the need for luxurious facilities and challenging acceleration profiles.

(Quick word on acceleration profiles: Spinning arms that can rotate back along the spine of the ship, so "down" is always towards the ground, whatever the thrust level is. I believe the ISV Venture Star also used this design...)

And all the staging designs in a vacuum would probably only stage the propellant tanks, no need to get rid of any engines.
 
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fsci123

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IN My scenario a large 1.2 mile long ship departs a planet and heads to another planet 9 ly away at 0.2c... The first craft is one way just like the first 5 ships... It arrives after 40years so scientist can build another smaller .3 mile long ship with the most advanced propulsion possible and it takes 14 years to arrive assuming its traveling at .6c... This craft contains 500 embryos selected from a government program and 20 individuals along with a whole bunch of farm animals... Out of the 20 crew 5 are awake at one time as the rest are in ____.... Once at the planet they dock with the core of the first ship and settle down in the new base down on the surface meanwhile automata dismantles the second ship and uses it for whatever... A whole bunch other ships arrive so they can develop a colony the size of newyork and a space port so they can build their own vessels...After 50 years the first trading vessels arrive that can bring people to and fro the colony...
 

T.Neo

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Be it Solar Sail, Photon Sail, Magnetic Sail, Plasma Sail, Repeller engine, or whatnot, just some sort of passive system. (Well, passive in the sense that it doesn't carry it's own reaction mass, or perhaps not even it's own fuel, too. What's the name for that?)

Yeah. I think that if a magnetic parachute can be made viable, it is really worth looking into. Then you can essentially skid to a stop (or a near stop, anyway) by using the matter around you- and you won't have to carry propellant.

For that matter, I'm a fan of Cryo. It's a pipe dream ATM, but if it's far enough in the future that we're sending an interstellar vessel, I seriously doubt cryo will still be impossible then, especially considering it's a medical technology.

I don't like the idea of being killed and brought back from the dead. It'd be pretty advantageous if you could do it right though. Still, I fear that keeping the person alive after rethawing (even if care was taken to minimise damage as much as possible) could be pretty difficult, there could be a whole host of things that could be biologically traumatic, etc.

Also, if it's far enough in the future to send a manned interstellar mission, then surely A.I.'s are good enough to run things. Heck, they'll probably be more than good enough in 50 years, just look at where they were 50 years ago compared to today, and in 50 years we'll be even further ahead than that comparison according to Moore's law.

Moore's law is not about software, it is about hardware. You can't predict what a computer can do 50 years on, but you might be able to predict what sort of processing ability it has. Again, processing power does not mean overall capability. My computer has far better mathamatical ability than I do, but fails to do things that are utterly fundamental to me.

And there are other things you need people around for... for example, you want human intelligence and intuition... and also human dynamic attributes. Those are very difficult to get with a fully automated system.

You can have a smaller crew, that rotates in shifts, for example. Or you could even have the main crew rotate in shifts. Natural radiation in the body will, over long periods of time, damage tissues to the point of death. When someone is alive that damage is constantly being repaired. When that person is frozen, all biological activity has ceased.

Anyways, why is it all these futuristic designs don't have staging? Staging is a great way to get your Delta-V up, decrease cosmic radiation exposure en route by increasing transit velocity, decrease need for life support.

Because it can increase complexity, cost, and even mass.

Daedalus uses staging though. If anything, I'd go for a two-stage system: an acceleration stage, and deceleration stage.

The ISV is not a staged design, because it has to be reusable...

If it's practical, then the ISV will carry re-usable shuttles that can be refueled from the infrastructure the robots built.

I already seriously question the ability for a human crew to build such infrastructure in the wilderness, let alone the ability for a bunch of automatons to do it... :uhh:

Also, the vast majority of the colonists will be unborn. Embryos and the like are much easier to keep frozen, and also much lighter, than fully grown humans, and can provide genetic diversity just as well. There might even be children: #1. So there isn't an age gap, and #2 because they're lighter than adults.

Children onboard the ship (and even at the destination before the colony is properly established) are a bad idea. They tax resources while not being of much use to the operation of the ship or associated equipment.

The problem I have with embryos here, is that turnining people into baby-making machines can't be good socially.

Single adults will be a minority, since with the vast majority of the colonists are unborn you'd want most of the adult colonists to be married so each family isn't too large (which is a very subjective size).
Also, since parents won't be genetically related to many of their children, family trees may not sprout for the first generation...

Of course family trees would exist. To my knowledge you don't have to have genetic relation to someone to be on their family tree.

For back and forth travel, you'd either used a giant, many-staged beast, or if it's a civilized system you'd only carry half the Delta-V for the round trip, and re-fill at destination star system.
Antimatter, of course is the fuel of choice for making the flight as short as possible. With cryo, fusion would be workable, IMO I'd use cryo no matter what to save on the need for life support, and to keep the passengers from going insane being trapped, bored, in the same ship for years on end. Imagine cabin fever, for years instead of weeks, with hundreds, or even thousands of people. Not good.

Fusion is slower than antimatter. That is not only the problem to the crew (even in cryo), but a problem to the ship as well... for the longer the ship is operating the more likely things are to break, etc. For a colony mission if you get there in half a century, it doesn't matter much... but for actual... two-way travel between stars, you want to go as fast as possible.

Multi-staged beasts would be utterly impractical for two-way travel. Reusing an interstellar spacecraft could prove extremely problematic... but hey, it is less problematic than reusing a multistaged interstellar spacecraft. Also, you don't want to leave that much... fast... stuff flying around in space.

Antimatter is a necessary evil here. But it is extremely, extremely evil.

Also using a closed ecosystem, and building facilities to keep passengers from going insane over the many years, and then designing the acceleration/thrust profiles to work well with the human need to walk around, you know, once every few weeks, would pose huge challenges, much more difficult than just doping the passengers out for all those years. Heck, if cryo isn't around, you could even use an induced coma, and that gets rid of the need for luxurious facilities and challenging acceleration profiles.

Some sort of coma-like suspended animation might be preferable where possible.

Of course you can make a ship that can accomodate people for years on end without them going insane... but... it would be big. And heavy.

(Quick word on acceleration profiles: Spinning arms that can rotate back along the spine of the ship, so "down" is always towards the ground, whatever the thrust level is. I believe the ISV Venture Star also used this design...)

That's only if you have high acceleration. You don't need such high acceleration (but the ISV had it anyway, for reasons that fail me), you can accelerate at a much lower rate, that a normal centrifuge could be built to cope with.

And all the staging designs in a vacuum would probably only stage the propellant tanks, no need to get rid of any engines.

That is better than staging away the expensive engine, even though the engine is quite heavy. But it still has problems.

IN My scenario a large 1.2 mile long ship departs a planet and heads to another planet 9 ly away at 0.2c... The first craft is one way just like the first 5 ships... It arrives after 40years so scientist can build another smaller .3 mile long ship with the most advanced propulsion possible and it takes 14 years to arrive assuming its traveling at .6c... This craft contains 500 embryos selected from a government program and 20 individuals along with a whole bunch of farm animals... Out of the 20 crew 5 are awake at one time as the rest are in ____.... Once at the planet they dock with the core of the first ship and settle down in the new base down on the surface meanwhile automata dismantles the second ship and uses it for whatever... A whole bunch other ships arrive so they can develop a colony the size of newyork and a space port so they can build their own vessels...After 50 years the first trading vessels arrive that can bring people to and fro the colony...

- What star is at 9 ly?

- Why 0.2c?

- What about scientists building smaller ships with "most advanced propulsion possible"? Why would such a ship be roughly 480 meters long, to be exact? Why would it travel at 0.6c?

- Selected from what govenrment program?

- Assuming your crew is 50% female, they'll each have to have 50 babies in their life. I'm not a woman, so I probably can't fully explain the absurdity of those numbers...

- How are the ships placed on the surface? Are they dismantled in space?

- What is the climate of this planet like? Is it naturally habitable?

- Why a city 'the size of New York'? Wouldn't that be a bit... large? I doubt 500 people could put that together.

- What are you trading that is so expensive to warrant interstellar travel? People? I don't even thing people are expensive enough...
 
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fsci123

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Yeah. I think that if a magnetic parachute can be made viable, it is really worth looking into. Then you can essentially skid to a stop (or a near stop, anyway) by using the matter around you- and you won't have to carry propellant.



I don't like the idea of being killed and brought back from the dead. It'd be pretty advantageous if you could do it right though. Still, I fear that keeping the person alive after rethawing (even if care was taken to minimise damage as much as possible) could be pretty difficult, there could be a whole host of things that could be biologically traumatic, etc.



Moore's law is not about software, it is about hardware. You can't predict what a computer can do 50 years on, but you might be able to predict what sort of processing ability it has. Again, processing power does not mean overall capability. My computer has far better mathamatical ability than I do, but fails to do things that are utterly fundamental to me.

And there are other things you need people around for... for example, you want human intelligence and intuition... and also human dynamic attributes. Those are very difficult to get with a fully automated system.

You can have a smaller crew, that rotates in shifts, for example. Or you could even have the main crew rotate in shifts. Natural radiation in the body will, over long periods of time, damage tissues to the point of death. When someone is alive that damage is constantly being repaired. When that person is frozen, all biological activity has ceased.



Because it can increase complexity, cost, and even mass.

Daedalus uses staging though. If anything, I'd go for a two-stage system: an acceleration stage, and deceleration stage.

The ISV is not a staged design, because it has to be reusable...



I already seriously question the ability for a human crew to build such infrastructure in the wilderness, let alone the ability for a bunch of automatons to do it... :uhh:



Children onboard the ship (and even at the destination before the colony is properly established) are a bad idea. They tax resources while not being of much use to the operation of the ship or associated equipment.

The problem I have with embryos here, is that turnining people into baby-making machines can't be good socially.



Of course family trees would exist. To my knowledge you don't have to have genetic relation to someone to be on their family tree.



Fusion is slower than antimatter. That is not only the problem to the crew (even in cryo), but a problem to the ship as well... for the longer the ship is operating the more likely things are to break, etc. For a colony mission if you get there in half a century, it doesn't matter much... but for actual... two-way travel between stars, you want to go as fast as possible.

Multi-staged beasts would be utterly impractical for two-way travel. Reusing an interstellar spacecraft could prove extremely problematic... but hey, it is less problematic than reusing a multistaged interstellar spacecraft. Also, you don't want to leave that much... fast... stuff flying around in space.

Antimatter is a necessary evil here. But it is extremely, extremely evil.



Some sort of coma-like suspended animation might be preferable where possible.

Of course you can make a ship that can accomodate people for years on end without them going insane... but... it would be big. And heavy.



That's only if you have high acceleration. You don't need such high acceleration (but the ISV had it anyway, for reasons that fail me), you can accelerate at a much lower rate, that a normal centrifuge could be built to cope with.



That is better than staging away the expensive engine, even though the engine is quite heavy. But it still has problems.



- What star is at 9 ly?

- Why 0.2c?

- What about scientists building smaller ships with "most advanced propulsion possible"? Why would such a ship be roughly 480 meters long, to be exact? Why would it travel at 0.6c?

- Selected from what govenrment program?

- Assuming your crew is 50% female, they'll each have to have 50 babies in their life. I'm not a woman, so I probably can't fully explain the absurdity of those numbers...

- How are the ships placed on the surface? Are they dismantled in space?

- What is the climate of this planet like? Is it naturally habitable?

- Why a city 'the size of New York'? Wouldn't that be a bit... large? I doubt 500 people could put that together.

- What are you trading that is so expensive to warrant interstellar travel? People? I don't even thing people are expensive enough...

TO be honest im not talking specifically humans...:facepalm:
 
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