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NATGEO: Why our first alien encounter could happen within 10 years

Discussion in 'The PatsFans.com Pub' started by KontradictioN, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. KontradictioN

    KontradictioN Florida Man PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Why Our First Alien Encounter Could Happen Soon

     
  2. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    This is interesting but it makes me think of the Fermi Paradox.

    It states even without light speed travel any type 1 civilization should probably have enough tech to branch out into the galaxy though if nothing else robot representatives. Why do we see no evidence any have?

    Here is the idea. You build a few hundred ships with 3 basic orders

    #1 Go to planets in search of life
    #2 contact species and/or replicate yourself (maybe 10-20 replicates)
    #3 blast off and repeat step 1

    You can even set a dead switch where after so many generations it simply sustains the population if you are concerned with it running amok and it would die out after so many generations (the number you project needed to search the milky way).
     
  3. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Bob, the phrase "even without light-speed travel" covers an enormous number of possibilities.

    What we know so far is with a combination of propulsion and falling into heavy things, we can make a manmade object get to 150,000 miles per hour. Let's build that out to 186,000 to make the math more straightforward, and call that a velocity that we know we can do, and furthermore, say that we can do it without the gravity assists for a sustained period.

    So that's 1/3600 of light speed, and proxima centauri (our closest neighbor) is something like 3.7 LY away. You see where I'm going. Without dragging out the calculator - and somebody correct me if I'm wrong - the order of magnitude you're dealing with is (X) x 10^5 (10,000+) years.

    Of course, some slime on an underwater vent isn't going to be building robots. The chance of life versus the chance of intelligent life vs. the chance of spacefaring life gets increasingly remote.

    Fermi's paradox might just be a matter of speed and distance. It's a really big galaxy, and like everything else, it's mainly empty. When we contemplate getting anywhere, with robots or otherwise, we often talk about propulsion that we might one day develop, and technologies for shielding from radiation and micrometeorites and so on (the latter is as important for machines as for humans). We'll get a real work-out on those baby steps going to Mars, no doubt. But throw that into the Drake equation: the chance that physical objects can go 10,000 years (minimum - call it 100,000 years, in order to even have a handful of stars within 30 some LY, assuming speeds not yet achieved and possibly not achievable).

    Maybe we have 10,000 intelligent, space-faring cultures out there, and, except for some very unusual circumstances, nobody ever meets each other (but all of us get very excited that we find slime on an underwater volcano).

    I don't like that answer because I like Star Trek... but as Hawking would tell you (and as is stated in the article,) if we've got anything of value to whoever we meet, maybe I wouldn't like Star Trek. After all, we're more likely to be found by these guys than to find them, if we assume an indefinite possible lifespan for a spacefaring culture. It's extremely likely, since we're in the vicinity of Year 0 of interstellar exploration, that whoever finds us will be thousands of years ahead of us technologically.

    And like us, they will be descended from a long line of casual killers. Will they have gotten past the fun of pulling wings off flies? Fun aside, what do they want that we have? I'd figure an outpost with liquid water seems pretty important to us, maybe it is to them. Er, sort of sucks that we live on one then.

    But that's only "if there's no practical speed limit." If there is, they'd build the robots as you say. Maybe they'd send along some well preserved genetic material to infuse into whatever primitive life is around. You know, like simians that don't yet walk upright. :) And badda bing badda boom, ancient astronaut nonsense set back a few million years.

    One last observation. We've been technological capable of destroying our own population - or certainly setting back its technological level very significantly - for approximately the same amount of time that we've been able to propel ourselves outside of the Earth's gravity well. We don't know what we don't know about how others do these things - self-destruction and space travel - but here, the early stages of these two pursuits are coupled via rocketry.

    If the actuaries are right, and if am average, I have 30 more years. Being an optimist, I do not believe that I will die in a nuclear, biological, or other such war. I don't think within 30 years I'll die because there is no longer a habitat on earth for human life because of environmental catastrophe. Etcetera.

    I hope for the sake of our kids/grandkids that this day does not come during their lifetimes either.

    But how many generations are we talking about, realistically, when each generation is rolling the dice continually?

    I believe that the Drake Equation has a variable for the length of time a civilization exists at a sufficiently advanced state to make contact. (L = length of time a civilization can send signals).

    Maybe the average L is close to 0. (On this scale, even if we go another 100 years, that's close to 0.)

    You know what I'd love it if they found out one day?

    I'd love it if they found out that the "Wow!" signal was a one-time only enormous expenditure to overcome the deterioration of the signal over distance for 72 seconds (if it is an extraterrestrial signal sent by intelligent beings, I could just see their "Congress" arguing about tripling the planetary debt for 1 minute-like unit of time of signaling).

    "Our super-sensitive ability to detect radio waves found unmistakable primitive wireless on Earth! It just got here! Let's send a signal back! A REAL POWERFUL signal! Not because it is easy, but because it is hard!"

    "Why, so some guy 39 light years away can say "Wow!"?"

    Anyhoo... don't get me wrong. Find me a single-celled organism in an ice-covered ocean on a moon of Jupiter or Saturn or somewhere, or hanging onto a volcanic vent orbiting Proxima, whatever, and I'll be a happy camper. It solves another term in the Drake Equation. But it's likely to be a long time before we're saying "Live Long and Prosper" to somebody through a universal translator.

    Much better chances at mapping dolphin brains, if we want to talk to another intelligent species. And they'd probably just say "FINALLY! Could you STOP with the big sharp underwater fans on boats already?"
     
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  4. RecoveringCowboy

    RecoveringCowboy In the Starting Line-Up

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    Drake equation

    The conditions for life as we know it are astronomical, but so are the worlds that might be harbor life. To me it's anyone's guess.

    I think most of the UFO sightings were us. With the internet, if aliens are really visiting word will get out.
     
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  5. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    LOL re: the internet. Yeah word has gotten out. It's just not as impressive as the fact that we're all naked underneath our clothes.

    Anyway... It's very possible that what a certain range of planets do is make life - in fact, life as we know it (i.e., there are extremophiles on many planets in the "habitable zone.") Life might be all over the place after a planet's got, say, liquid water. Maybe a molten core is necessary too, but the water could be enough of a radiation shield.

    But Life that could give us anything more than a new outlook on the universe and a new kind of dysentery is another matter.

    BTW, I'm also a big fan of a self-sustaining patch of Mars human can live on, very uncomfortably. God, I pity the bastards who do it, but there would be no shortage of people willing to go.
     
  6. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan In the Starting Line-Up

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    . A great read about how we have been preparing to go to mars, and it ain't Star Trek cool....but I hope I live to see it.
     
  7. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan In the Starting Line-Up

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    A great read about how hard it will be to get humans to mars
     
  8. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan In the Starting Line-Up

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    Packing for mars by Mary roach is a great read about how difficult it will be to get there.
     
  9. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Pat the Pats Fan, is that also the book you were linking to?
     
  10. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It's amazing the difference in scale just going to see our nearest neighbor (Mars) rather than our own satellite. How do you not fry your astronauts? How much food/water are we talking for that trip (that's the easy part...)... WTF is the plan for getting hit by a rock the size of say, your fist, going thousands of miles an hour? Screw that, how about a bucket of sand? I am sure the challenges multiply from there.

    I'll look for it, Pat the PF, thanks
     
  11. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yes, I didn't think the links were working. Sorry for the redundancy.
     
  12. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Okay will look for it
     
  13. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan In the Starting Line-Up

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    One of the interesting elements is the books description of the psychological aspects of the journey. In a space shipment look our the window and all you see is black, nothing, for months on end, in something the size of a Winnebago. Being in jail could be better, you get an hour a day to be outside....
     
  14. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Pat, "human factors" is a huge matter of research at NASA. As it happens I got offered the chance to talk human factors with a guy there, but turned it down - the basic intro reading on that stuff, and a few journal articles, was plenty for me, and the speaker I was writing for wanted to stick at the top level (another topic, not "human responses to the Void and long periods of time")

    PS, you can get an hour a day outside... Once. :)

    I wrote a scifi piece once where they'd actually developed insanely fast propulsion, .98 c, so you get about a 5:1 time dilation... so you have comparatively short trips but still very lengthy when you get to stars beyond the immediate neighborhood... and how different "civilizations" take hold, despite everybody's best intentions. Each ship a little petri dish :)

    Anyhoo... back to science fact, will look up the book.
     
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  15. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan In the Starting Line-Up

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    Would like to read the sci if piece you wrote? Was it published?
     
  16. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I got some nibbles, in terms of publishing, but the answer is no. I might have gotten somewhere if I went with a few cents per word but I was trying to get bigger money. Anyhoo...

    Send me an email address, pledge that you'll assure anonymity, and I'll dig it out and send :)
     
  17. BobDigital

    BobDigital Pro Bowl Player

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    Don't get me wrong I would love to meet aliens and think such a meeting might be possible in the future. Also it would be cool to meet life even if not intelligent.

    My main hope though is humans settle on other planets. I think that will be needed if our civilization is to live on though i do hope we have a way to communicate with each other at least if we do.
     

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