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100 Year Starship

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:28 pm
by i blame blame
Since I've received an email from Athamos Stradis I've decided to post something here, which I only learned about a couple of days ago:
The United States military reseach organization DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has issued a call for papers to collect ideas on how to send a manned spaceship to nearby star systems:

http://www.100yss.org/

Re: 100 Year Starship

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:21 pm
by RickLewis
Hello - good to see you here again!

Many thanks for the link. The symposium sounds fascinating and I wish I could go! Having read some of the info on that website, I'm still not clear what the "100 Years" bit refers to. Is it about starships that will take 100 years to reach their destination? Or is it that the aspiration is to launch such a starship within 100 years from now?

Re: 100 Year Starship

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:12 pm
by athamosstradis
Hi,

I'm thinking that's within 100 years from now. The nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is around 4 light years away, so would take about 0.05% of the speed of light to get there in 100 years. That doesn't sound like much, but that's nearly 140000 km/s...

Having said that, over the next century we might improve Solar Sails a lot (I suppose by making them bigger). At the moment they can reach 90 km/s, but take a while to accelerate. But after that, there's no stopping them!

Re: 100 Year Starship

PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:31 pm
by athamosstradis
Hi,

I was just wondering, do you think there are ethical considerations about sending humans into space for good?

This sounds far-fetched, but I'm assuming future manned space travel would require a self-sustaining, mini "ecosystem" with food, water, and reproduction playing key roles. But in that case, would it be fair for someone to be born away from their home-planet?

I know the idea of being on something like the Enterprise sounds (well, is :)) amazing, but we take for granted our years of being around trees, animals, other people, etc. Do you think space-born individuals would be deprived of rights to these things? Also, how would people choose husbands/wives from this limited few? I suppose people in space couldn't be picky :lol: .

Just wondering what everyone's thoughts were on these things!

Re: 100 Year Starship

PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:00 pm
by i blame blame
RickLewis wrote:Hello - good to see you here again!

Many thanks for the link. The symposium sounds fascinating and I wish I could go! Having read some of the info on that website, I'm still not clear what the "100 Years" bit refers to. Is it about starships that will take 100 years to reach their destination? Or is it that the aspiration is to launch such a starship within 100 years from now?

I still suffer from the same confusion. Maybe it's supposed to be interpretable as both?
athamosstradis wrote:Hi,

I was just wondering, do you think there are ethical considerations about sending humans into space for good?

This sounds far-fetched, but I'm assuming future manned space travel would require a self-sustaining, mini "ecosystem" with food, water, and reproduction playing key roles. But in that case, would it be fair for someone to be born away from their home-planet?
Isn't that a contradiction in terms? They wouldn't have a home-planet. They'd have a home-spaceship. You could compare the ethical implications to those of children who were born in a newly established colony with no infrastructure, their parents having abandoned "the old world" for the new.

athamosstradis wrote:I know the idea of being on something like the Enterprise sounds (well, is :)) amazing, but we take for granted our years of being around trees, animals, other people, etc. Do you think space-born individuals would be deprived of rights to these things?
Inuit and desert dwellers are also deprived of these things. We are an adaptalbe species. Consider also immersive simulations.

quote="athamosstradis"]Also, how would people choose husbands/wives from this limited few? I suppose people in space couldn't be picky :lol: .[/quote]Indeed. Perhaps the potential crew's DNA should be screened during the selection process to minimize the chances of offspring with genetic complications.

Re: 100 Year Starship

PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:15 pm
by athamosstradis
Inuit and desert dwellers, that's a good point, they seem happy enough. We could always play it safe with a few houseplants :D. But the inuits etc have at least the opportunity to go somewhere else, e.g. settle in a city (not that it's necessarily better). Is it ethically right to put someone where they can never change their lifestyle no matter what? Even if many isolated tribes don't know about cities (and vice versa), they still have the chance of finding a different world.

It's true they wouldn't know any different, but lets say I raised a child and somehow deprived him of music (their life was something like the Truman Show/Matrix), it's true they wouldn't know what they're missing, but it still seems questionable... We have a 'Brave New World' type scenario

I suppose to keep the gene-pool healthy there would need to be at least a couple of hundred people on board. The DNA screening's a good idea i think.

Law and order is another thing that would need to be thought through very carefully... Since there are relatively few people a direct democracy might be possible to settle any quarrels fairly and peacefully. Because there are so few people, I think too much power (i.e. a clearly defined police) amongst too few people on the ship might be risky... What do you reckon?

Re: 100 Year Starship

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:31 pm
by RickLewis
athamosstradis wrote:Inuit and desert dwellers, that's a good point, they seem happy enough. We could always play it safe with a few houseplants :D. But the inuits etc have at least the opportunity to go somewhere else, e.g. settle in a city (not that it's necessarily better). Is it ethically right to put someone where they can never change their lifestyle no matter what? Even if many isolated tribes don't know about cities (and vice versa), they still have the chance of finding a different world.

It's a real problem. I suppose people often makes choices which will affect the lives and opportunities that their children will have, though it is true that this decision is a particularly irreversible one.

I suppose when you contemplate signing on for a 100-year voyage to another star, part of the decision-making must be weighing up the effects this will have on your children, grandchildren, etc. If things were going really badly on Earth, or if the prospects of life in a distant colony looked sufficiently glowing, it might seem the best option for your descendants, all things considered. For example, suppose you and your family lived in a slum with few prospects of advancement ... and NASA (or whoever) came along and said that if you signed on for their 100 year trip, then during the voyage your family would have a good standard of living, top quality education and interesting well-paid jobs?

On Earth, the explorers have usually been the adventurous and inquisitive, but early colonists have often been the brave and desperate. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

Re: 100 Year Starship

PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:28 pm
by athamosstradis
I guess that's the answer, if Earth ever starts going wrong (well, much more so), space colonisation will be for the greater good. The on-ship 'government' would still be an issue... Perhaps they would have video communication with Earth regarding any disputes? Not that the Earth-bound humans could enforce their advice. Also, if a starship travelled to distances of even the order of a light year away, lagging would be a problem. I suppose it really would have to be its own world.