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We must travel to the stars to save the human race!





ryukenden
I have just read following news

"Stephen Hawking warned that future generations would need to leave the planet to ensure the survival of the species as he picked up a prestigious scientific accolade yesterday.

Professor Hawking, 64, a mathematics professor at the University of Cambridge, said space rockets using the kind of technology seen in Star Trek would be needed to colonise hospitable planets."

Original article is at following page.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/article2029276.ece

What do you think about that?
Bikerman
It is correct and, if I may say so, very obvious and not at all suprising or controversial.
We know that every now and again the Earth is struck by meteors or, worse comets of a size sufficient to do massive damage to the biosphere.
The dinosaurs were finished off by the last big one (I don't personally believe they were wiped out by it since it seems to me to be clear they were already in terminal decline, but it certainly finished them and many other species off).

We therefore know with certainty that sooner or later a human-threatening strike will occur...not IF but WHEN. Hawking is, therefore, stating the obvious,
which is not to say that the obvious is not worth stating occasionally..
Regards
Chris
Montressor
Another reason would be the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which defines entropy, and states that the localized entropy of a system can only be decreased if the overall entropy of the universe still increases. In other words, as we continue to apply more and more "order" to our world, we need to find a place to "ship" our disorder (like the fine state of California does with its distasteful products, by sending our convicts, garbage and polluting industries to Nevada, and importing desired products like electrical energy and finished consumer products).
Essentially we need to either find a way to export our wastes and strip mine other planets to keep our planet growing, or to ruin this planet, more to another, ruin it ...and so it goes.
Which gives a new meaning to the saying "we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" since each life lived and action taken now is an expenditure of the finite supply of energy in the universe. Of course, that is only applicable if you believe that the human race will last that long.
Bikerman
Montressor wrote:
Another reason would be the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which defines entropy, and states that the localized entropy of a system can only be decreased if the overall entropy of the universe still increases. In other words, as we continue to apply more and more "order" to our world, we need to find a place to "ship" our disorder (like the fine state of California does with its distasteful products, by sending our convicts, garbage and polluting industries to Nevada, and importing desired products like electrical energy and finished consumer products).
Essentially we need to either find a way to export our wastes and strip mine other planets to keep our planet growing, or to ruin this planet, more to another, ruin it ...and so it goes.
Which gives a new meaning to the saying "we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" since each life lived and action taken now is an expenditure of the finite supply of energy in the universe. Of course, that is only applicable if you believe that the human race will last that long.


Wow..somebody actually quotes 2nd law correctly Smile Makes a nice change Smile

The long term solution is the one that the Sci-Fi writers messed around with a while ago - Heinlein, Jose-Famrer and others all platyed with the notion of the Dyson Sphere (an enclosed volume of spherical space around the Sun. This would reduce universal entropy of course by stopping the thermodynamic flow from the Sun. It would also provide sufficient local energy to overcome entropy for a very long time indeed ...

Regards
Chris
alkady
It's a bit obvious that it would happen, but the down part is most of the poor world would be left behind since they won't have the means to achieve that and I doubt they would get a helping hand.
QrafTee
Montressor wrote:
Another reason would be the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, which defines entropy, and states that the localized entropy of a system can only be decreased if the overall entropy of the universe still increases. In other words, as we continue to apply more and more "order" to our world, we need to find a place to "ship" our disorder (like the fine state of California does with its distasteful products, by sending our convicts, garbage and polluting industries to Nevada, and importing desired products like electrical energy and finished consumer products).
Essentially we need to either find a way to export our wastes and strip mine other planets to keep our planet growing, or to ruin this planet, more to another, ruin it ...and so it goes.
Which gives a new meaning to the saying "we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children" since each life lived and action taken now is an expenditure of the finite supply of energy in the universe. Of course, that is only applicable if you believe that the human race will last that long.

Wow you make us sound like parasites... Not saying that we aren't, I mean we probably are. We're not really going by Nature's Rules anymore. But man, putting it so bluntly. It's going to be interesting to see how other species think of us just taking planets until it's exhausted and then moving on.
Montressor
QrafTee wrote:

Wow you make us sound like parasites... Not saying that we aren't, I mean we probably are... But man, putting it so bluntly. It's going to be interesting to see how other species think of us just taking planets until it's exhausted and then moving on.

Technically speaking, we are parasites, living off the finite supply of energy in the universe. But for that matter, other life is as well, and would either be moving from planet to planet just as we will have to, or dieing a slow death on their own planet.
Moonspider
Like Chris said, Hawking simply stated the obvious and there is nothing controversial whatsoever in his comments. If the human race is to survive in the longer term, we must spread ourselves out among the stars.

I also look at it from a psychological aspect as well. Humans, I believe, possess an innate desire to expand and explore. Furthermore, exercising this desire is often a catalyst for growth and development as a society, a forge in which social evolution occurs. Societies that do not grow eventually decay. There are many avenues for growth, but arguably the easiest and most productive is colonization.

We can argue over the destruction wrought by colonialism during our own histories. However those colonial periods brought great change, including technological and economic development. They even brought new sources of food and medicines to the world.

I believe that unless we expand and colonize space, human society will deteriorate and decay even without a catastrophic visitor like an asteroid. I believe it possible that future developments could culminate in a planetary defensive system able to neutralize any potential impact threat to our planet, even in as little as a century from now. However, human society cannot long suffer stagnation and population pressures.

I think Asimov had it right in his Robot series. Hopefully we will decide on our own to go forth to the stars without an R. Daneel Olivaw having to poison Earth to force us off for the survival of humanity. (In obedience to his zeroth law of robotics.) Wink
S3nd K3ys
Moonspider wrote:
Humans, I believe, possess an innate desire to expand and explore


I thought it was divide and conquer?

Seriously, it is very obvious that we will expand. The moon first, then likely Mars, then possibly out of this solar system.

We'll prolly end up on the moon sooner than many think.

Wink
honestman
Obvious as it maybe, the big question is always finance and fore thought. Money for this means diverting it from something else - hopefully war mongering, but more likely from money to hep the poor and thrid world.

The other side is that where as it may be prudent to do it 'now' the polictical and public will to do it will nl b when the danger of not doing it is opn us - e.g too late. Voters wont see it, unless we have elightened goverment ??? So i fear that we will not do it in time and the plane will be lost.
S3nd K3ys
S3nd K3ys wrote:


We'll prolly end up on the moon sooner than many think.

Wink


Looks like I spoke just in time...

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/12/04/D8LQ8TKO0.html

Quote:


NASA Says It Will Set Up Polar Moon Camp

Dec 04 4:10 PM US/Eastern

... by 2024


I'm pacific time, this was released just hours after I typed my initial reply. Wink
Montressor
Both Russia, and the U.S. have been considering setting up a permanent base on the moon for some time. I'm personally of the opinion that your post had nothing to do with (yet another) press release on the subject. Especially since the actual release happened on Monday (as the report said)

Moving on to other things...
Yes we will colonize other planets, and the first may be the moon (technically not a planet, but who cares), and the next perhaps mars. But it will indeed take an enormous amount of investment and time, and you can hardly expect to spend a vacation on mars within your lifetime (unless you happen to be a multi-billionaire)
S3nd K3ys
Montressor wrote:
Both Russia, and the U.S. have been considering setting up a permanent base on the moon for some time. I'm personally of the opinion that your post had nothing to do with (yet another) press release on the subject. Especially since the actual release happened on Monday (as the report said)


Don't spoil my moment of clarity. (Yes, that's all I get, a moment). I hadn't seen any definative dates set before today. But I have no doubt they were. Wink
glenwood
So maybe the moon isn't a star, but at least they have made plans to colonize. It will be really fun to watch as these developments take place. I'd love a continental breakfast at a lunar Holiday Inn.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/12/04/D8LQ8TKO0.html

2024...that gives any of you space enthusiasts a few years to train and make the crew.
S3nd K3ys
glenwood wrote:
So maybe the moon isn't a star, but at least they have made plans to colonize. It will be really fun to watch as these developments take place. I'd love a continental breakfast at a lunar Holiday Inn.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/12/04/D8LQ8TKO0.html

2024...that gives any of you space enthusiasts a few years to train and make the crew.


How the ef would you colonize a star? Them sucka's is HOT! Shocked
ocalhoun
^How are they planning on supplying the moon base? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we even currently have any rockets capable of getting significant amounts of material as far as the moon. I suppose it could be made to be mostly self-sufficient, but you'd still have to make regular trips there. I wonder, will the replacement for the space shuttle be able to make it to the moon? That's the only way I see a lunar base being practical.
Montressor
ocalhoun wrote:
That's the only way I see a lunar base being practical.

I highly doubt that many people will see pouring the amount of money that will be required as a "practical" endeavor...

As far as transport, yes, we will need a significantly better system to do that. And developing a better system would probably include (at least) a revamp of the current shuttle.
S3nd K3ys
Montressor wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
That's the only way I see a lunar base being practical.

I highly doubt that many people will see pouring the amount of money that will be required as a "practical" endeavor...

As far as transport, yes, we will need a significantly better system to do that. And developing a better system would probably include (at least) a revamp of the current shuttle.


I think you're mistaken. Did you see the X Prize? Wink
ocalhoun
S3nd K3ys wrote:


I think you're mistaken. Did you see the X Prize? Wink

That's just outside of the atmosphere; going all the way to the moon is a whole different problem.
Just to get three people that far took some of the biggest rockets mankind has ever built; what would it take to bring a biodome's worth of building materials and supplies?
Montressor
ocalhoun wrote:
Just to get three people that far took some of the biggest rockets mankind has ever built; what would it take to bring a biodome's worth of building materials and supplies?


A whole lot more than quite a few X Prizes...

Oh, and by the way I didn't "see" the X Prize, but have heard about it. Did you see it? And which one are you talking about?
S3nd K3ys
Quote:
That's just outside of the atmosphere; going all the way to the moon is a whole different problem.
Just to get three people that far took some of the biggest rockets mankind has ever built; what would it take to bring a biodome's worth of building materials and supplies?


Yes. But it's a start. And the amount of interest shown was astounding. I have no doubt these private venues will help take us there.

Montressor wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Just to get three people that far took some of the biggest rockets mankind has ever built; what would it take to bring a biodome's worth of building materials and supplies?


A whole lot more than quite a few X Prizes...

Oh, and by the way I didn't "see" the X Prize, but have heard about it. Did you see it? And which one are you talking about?


It was a contest (1 million dollars to winner) for a private venue to get into space. Keep in mind, every entry (considered worthy, spent a helluva lot more than a million to win that million. There's more to it than that.
Montressor
I knew which one you were talking about, and the details that you've mentioned. I was just pointing out that there are more than one X Prize, the one you are talking about is the Ansari X Prize http://www.xprize.org/xprizes/

I wasn't talking about the price being in the millions, I was thinking about billions, which is a far more realistic view of inter space travel. Not just touching space, but crossing it, landing on another planet (or the moon), taking off again, and landing back on Earth, which is a lot more than the Ansari X Prize attempts to do.
S3nd K3ys
As I said...

S3nd K3ys wrote:


... it's a start...


Wink

And it shows a huge interest from the private sector. It will also be cheeper than the government doing it, like most things.
Moonspider
ocalhoun wrote:
^How are they planning on supplying the moon base? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we even currently have any rockets capable of getting significant amounts of material as far as the moon. I suppose it could be made to be mostly self-sufficient, but you'd still have to make regular trips there. I wonder, will the replacement for the space shuttle be able to make it to the moon? That's the only way I see a lunar base being practical.


We are not building another shuttle, since it does not help achieve the future goals of the U.S. space program. The replacement is a capsule similar but far more advanced than the original Apollo capsules. (Ironically, in the fictional novel Encounter with Tiber by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes, this is the path NASA took after a space shuttle disaster and the decision that the fleet was no longer practicable.)

The shuttles will only be kept in service until the ISS is complete.

The capsule, known as Orion, will be built by Lockheed Martin. The heavy lift capacity you mentioned will be done by the planned Ares V rocket. (The Ares I will be the crew lift variant.) The program is known as the Constellation Program.

For more information see NASA's website: Constellation

Respectfully,
M
Montressor
S3nd K3ys wrote:
And it shows a huge interest from the private sector. It will also be cheeper than the government doing it, like most things.

Begging your pardon, but you're dead wrong. It doesn't show a huge interest in developing interspace travel in the private sector, it shows huge interest in winning a prestigious prize and having some of your expenses paid (a very small, but significant "some") by someone else, and an interest in space tourism (which was the main goal of the prize)
As far as interests accomplishing things, you seem to have an interest in killing off terrorists, but simply having a desire hardly makes that desire feasible.
And yes, it is a small step, and as such the expenses should be considered small in comparison to the expenses needed to extend that small step towards the means that this topic is devoted to.
You are however, right in saying that the private sector would be more cost effective in this matter. But partially so because of the fact that the private sector does not have to worry as much about loss of life and such trivial things as much as the government does. Besides the fact that if a private company settled the moon first, they would set up a "company town", not exactly the sort of thing that would be favorable for colonists...
Tumbleweed
As sure as eggs are eggs one day "The sky will fall on our heads" but I never thought Mr Hawking would prefer Star Trek technology to Star Gate technology Surprised
Maybe we can change our form through genetics and do away with the need for space ships and fly off as giant space butterflys... Razz
S3nd K3ys
Montressor wrote:
S3nd K3ys wrote:
And it shows a huge interest from the private sector. It will also be cheeper than the government doing it, like most things.

Begging your pardon, but you're dead wrong.


No need to beg for things, friend. But I'm not wrong.
honestman
Whose begging for things on here lol. Begging for a decent ride to the stars then, or a decent hotel at the other end, now theres a thought, nice meal, wine party's. Mmmmm This cud catch on you know.
furtasacra
ryukenden wrote:
I have just read following news

"Stephen Hawking warned that future generations would need to leave the planet to ensure the survival of the species as he picked up a prestigious scientific accolade yesterday.

Professor Hawking, 64, a mathematics professor at the University of Cambridge, said space rockets using the kind of technology seen in Star Trek would be needed to colonise hospitable planets."

Original article is at following page.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/science_technology/article2029276.ece

What do you think about that?


I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Professor Hawking, but I would like to see him address something a little more practical, and achievable in my lifetime.

Reaching for the stars is all well and good, but the way things are going now, we aren't going to survive long enough to develop the technology to get there. If the problem of global warming isn't taken seriously and solved, the Earth will become uninhabitable long before we can colonize other planets. Bye, bye human race.

And of course, this is just plain stupid, because we already HAVE the knowledge and technical skill to halt global warming. It's simply a matter of stepping up to the plate and taking care of it.

If you haven't seen "An Inconvenient Truth," I strongly recommend it. There's some scary stuff in it, but it's very interesting, and ends on a hopeful note, even to the point of pretty painless ways that an individual can reduce his or or her contribution to the problem. And it's NOT political, aside from pointing out that we need to get off our collective butts and DO something before it gets worse. Correction: he expresses some frustration with the political process in general, particularly about dealing with a long-term global problem, and takes a few pokes at the Bush administration, but the film is primarily about the science and solutions.

I personally want to get something done before it gets bad enough to be more expensive. I live in Florida, so my house will be under 20 feet of water if the polar ice caps melt. My homeowner's insurance won't cover that, and I can't afford another house. Check this out - http://www.climatecrisis.net/thescience/

At any rate, I think we need to clean this planet up and control our population growth before we take off to colonize Alpha Centauri. I like this planet, and I'm staying here, preferably in comfort.
Shin
This reminds me of the movie Matrix, the Agent once said human kind is virus, once they consumed all the resources, they move on to other hosts. Quite true! Smile Looks what we do to this planet...
Blu_Spykz
It appears to be the end of the world as we know it.

<<Enter the Mariner, a water-filled world, and the dizzy heights of Everest and you have yourself the (then) worlds most expensive movie, and dead-reviews>>
John6000
=============================
ralphbefree
hawkins what a crazy nut anyways. i mean the man is brilliant that is for sure but why say that the only way for us to survive is to colonize other planets in outerspace? why not develop technology that will allow us to survive on this planet. we messed up this planet so we have to go and mess up another planet? just seems to me a limited and unresponsible answer to a long ongoing problem. can't are great minds come up with some better solution than abandoning ship?
Moonspider
ralphbefree wrote:
hawkins what a crazy nut anyways. i mean the man is brilliant that is for sure but why say that the only way for us to survive is to colonize other planets in outerspace? why not develop technology that will allow us to survive on this planet. we messed up this planet so we have to go and mess up another planet? just seems to me a limited and unresponsible answer to a long ongoing problem. can't are great minds come up with some better solution than abandoning ship?


How about because the Earth is periodically devastated by large impacts causing mass extinctions. Even if we become able to prevent those, the Earth will be destroyed in a few billion years by the sun, and there is nothing we can do to stop that.

In the near term I might add that we are probably approaching carrying capacity. (Nature has a way of dealing with that problem if we don't.)

So yes, you may call him a nut. However try to explain to me how the human race (in whatever form it is 5 billion years from now) can survive on a planet that no longer exists?

Respectfully,
M
Sikon
The key would be to begin by reducing launch costs, and focus more on space infrastructure and space habitats than starships initially.

Imagine history if ocean ships had cost as much as dozens of times their mass in gold like the International Space Station. The ISS will mass several hundred tons and cost $100+ billion at planned completion. There can be no real future in space until its economics change.

NASA is making little progress. The Saturn V cost $430 million in 1967 dollars for a launch capable of putting 130 tons into LEO: $2.6 billion in 2006 dollars. The Space Shuttle delivers less than one-fifth of the payload mass, yet it has cost $1.3 billion per mission in total.

Energy/fuel costs are not the problem, not 1% of launch costs. Propellant is mostly liquid oxygen costing cents per pound. Studies suggest present costs are unnecessary. For example, NASA verified that the Sea Dragon proposal might drop launch costs several times or more. There are even alternatives to rockets alone, such as a Sandia National Laboratories study on an electromagnetic launcher, a LLNL study on a gas gun, and more (SNL & LLNL studies, LEO on the Cheap). For example, a very small fraction of world power production powering mass drivers could help put a lot of equipment into orbit.

The electrical energy equivalent at $0.05/kw-hr of sending an object to orbit is $0.20 per pound before inefficiencies. The preceding Space Shuttle launch costs are a hundred thousand times greater: $26000+ per pound of payload. Normally all transportation systems from ships to aircraft only cost a few times energy expense. One need not assume a particular proposal is the solution, but trying almost anything could be better than continuing the status quo, decade after decade. No proposals like the preceding have ever received a single billion dollars of funding.

The present commercial launch market involves too few tons of satellites annually to make private investors interested in spending even one billion dollars to develop a new launch system. Yet half of NASA's $200 billion per decade funding is 10000 times the $10 million Ansari X-prize. If enough funding was used to provide motivation, private investors might develop a system cheaper than present rockets, which are like throwing away a 747 after one flight. The government would not have to spend anything if success did not occur, instead just guaranteeing such a reward if one of the competitors succeeded. Unfortunately this is not happening. Congress cripples the space program with poor funding decisions.

If launch costs were decreased, then a plan could be followed a little like that outlined in the 1975 NASA space station study here for having thousands of people and the suitable industrial equipment in space to start having a real space age. That involved a 10-million-ton spacestation completed after 22 years of average annual expenses equivalent to $33 billion per year in today's dollars, including funds for development costs. More importantly, it included massive space construction capability, lunar mass drivers, etc. For perspective, NASA's current budget is $17 billion, consuming only a bit more than 1/1000th of U.S. economic output, which is a GDP of $12.5 trillion: $12500 billion.

That space station study plan wasn't perfect, and it could be improved. However, it did have the right basic idea of creating real space industrial capability, allowing an astronaut to eat a meal without its launch cost being the equivalent of the annual wages of a person on earth.

If launching material into orbit no longer cost the unaffordable thousands of dollars per pound of today, enough equipment could be placed in space to utilize extraterrestrial materials for enormous leverage. Such would let a given mass of equipment launched from earth be used to collect and process a vastly greater amount of material already in space.

For example, the study for building a 10000-person spacestation considered a lunar linear synchronous motor (mass driver) system including nuclear reactor and mass catcher. A mass of 8800 tons of such could launch many times its own mass of lunar material: 500,000 tons in a few years. Perhaps better yet, each 11-ton nuclear ice rocket could launch 3800 tons per year of lunar ice over repeated flights, helpful for radiation shielding and other uses. (Shielding requirements against the enormous levels of natural cosmic radiation in space dominate the mass needed for that kind of permanent spacestation). In the preceding manner, space cities massing millions of tons could become possible.

While colonization starships would be desirable someday, what would work best for an initial goal would be space habitats, as having enough people anywhere off earth could drastically reduce risks. In the near future, millions of miles distance within the solar system could provide practically almost as much separation from earth for independent survival as light-years of distance. There are actually a lot more potential benefits and reasons for such than survival of civilization alone, but I think this is enough for one post. Razz
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