Topic: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!  (Read 7649 times)

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Offline stoneyface

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=/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« on: September 30, 2010, 06:57:17 pm »
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Offline Bonk

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2010, 12:14:50 pm »
Could be? It is. Even if it is not the one. Only 20 light years is damn tempting. The more of this stuff we find the better. Maybe we'll finally get off our collective butts and get it together.

Soon, we will have a destination! We must blast8)

At least maximise sub-light probes. One of our local plasma engines here should do the trick. Hmmm actually, which would be better for unmanned probes to hit 0.9c? Chemical or Plasma? (need sheild(s) too, so probably better to go plasma, use the same reactor to power the shields and plasma drive.) In theory, a plasma drive could even refuel with clever shield design?

It could collect fuel in "flight", but better would be to manage some way of refueling from planetary atmosphere at the first destination and use it to get to the second and so on... We could even put an ASB (alien serial bus ;)) port on it to allow entry of new destinations. Hopefully no one would load an antimatter warhead and send it back though.

I have no idea why we are not seriously working on this stuff.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 12:28:01 pm by Bonk »

Offline Nemesis

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2010, 04:49:39 pm »
It could collect fuel in "flight", but better would be to manage some way of refueling from planetary atmosphere at the first destination and use it to get to the second and so on... We could even put an ASB (alien serial bus ;)) port on it to allow entry of new destinations. Hopefully no one would load an antimatter warhead and send it back though.

You appear to have reinvented the Bussard Ramjet.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2010, 04:55:22 pm »
Mount a fusion drive inside a ice ball.  The ice ball acts as both fuel tank and shield. 
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Offline stoneyface

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2010, 06:54:38 pm »
Mount a fusion drive inside a ice ball.  The ice ball acts as both fuel tank and shield.

brilliant!!!

i agree with bonk. we must confirm this planet and make it a destination IMMEDIATELY! voyager is almost to the heliospere we could theorhetically reroute it to the newly discovered planet. i think we finally have a solid lead for a destination for a extra solar colonization
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Offline marstone

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2010, 08:55:18 pm »
thing is at the speed we can move at, it isn't worth trying yet.  work on how to move faster yet.  voyager hasn't even gotten that far out and it has been moving for a long time.  20 LY away, that is probably several hundred years away right now.  We need to get at least near light speed to make it 25 to 30 year trip before even leaving.  Or as I have read from a author I forget his name. 

If we take to the stars now, after generations born and died on the space craft.  When they get to the target planet, they will find humans living there for the last probably 50 years or more.  Because it will take so long to get there, that we will get the advancement in tech to make it there way faster.  So work on that tech, and wait alittle longer.
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Offline knightstorm

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2010, 09:15:33 pm »
20 LY away, that is probably several hundred years away right now. 

several thousand years is probably a closer estimate.  It still takes transmissions from the voyager probes under 24 hours to reach earth.

Offline marstone

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2010, 09:39:15 pm »
I would agree, I was just trying to be optimistic.  But the main point is, not really worth trying to go to another system yet.  Lets just get to mars and see how that goes.  Keep working on engines, then shoot for the stars.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2010, 10:21:39 pm »
If we take to the stars now, after generations born and died on the space craft.  When they get to the target planet, they will find humans living there for the last probably 50 years or more.  Because it will take so long to get there, that we will get the advancement in tech to make it there way faster.  So work on that tech, and wait alittle longer.

A.E. vanVogt had a story like that where the crew got to Alpha Centauri (suspended animation and all male crew) to find it colonized hundreds of years before.

To early for manned star missions, unmanned probes yes.  I'd love to see an attempt at Robert Forwards Starwisp proposal.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2010, 10:27:50 pm »
Mount a fusion drive inside a ice ball.  The ice ball acts as both fuel tank and shield.

brilliant!!!

Obviously I agree but I can't claim it as my idea as it has been used in SF for decades. 

Similarly you take along an asteroid to mine for materials and build your habitat and equipment you need at the destination during the generations long trip.

i agree with bonk. we must confirm this planet and make it a destination IMMEDIATELY! voyager is almost to the heliospere we could theorhetically reroute it to the newly discovered planet. i think we finally have a solid lead for a destination for a extra solar colonization

Even if Voyager could be kicked there instantaneously it isn't equipped as a probe for a life bearing planet or to communicate at interstellar distances.  I doubt that it has the maneuvering capability to change course to go there anyhow (is it even aimed in the right general direction?)
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2010, 10:34:15 pm »
My idea (that I have never that I recall read of being proposed), send a von Neuman probe. 

1/ Probe arrives in star system looks for comet to refuel then for asteroids. 

2/ Mines asteroid and builds a general purpose factory. 

3/ Factory builds probes for within the system and communications system to send info back to Earth.  Also builds new interstellar probes to launch from its new location programmed to report back to Earth.

4/ If a life bearing planet is found build space colonies and transfer some of the life forms there for study.  (Assumes no intelligent technological life).  Don't transfer intelligent being whether hi tech or not to colony.

4 a/ Attempt communications if intelligent life found.

5/ If humans are signaled as coming build space colonies and space craft for them.

6/ Assist the human colony as required.
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Offline Bonk

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2010, 03:49:56 am »
I actually had similar thoughts and have heard similar proposals. But you know how software can be.

I fear a human created von-neumann space probe might become some kind of virus of the universe.

Though I really like your "flowchart" for system exploration. If we can lock it all down, then I'm all for it.

But. We don't want to take the mess that is driving us with us. That will be the tricky part of such designs.

I think we just outlined a novel. Just need a few characters.  ;D

Offline Bonk

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2010, 04:00:26 am »
Quote
You appear to have reinvented the Bussard Ramjet.

That thought occurred to me, but this is not quite the same idea (unless I've missed something). What I did not mention was a sheild/collector design that can separate collected material by mass/charge. A flying mass spectrometer in open space.


Mount a fusion drive inside a ice ball.  The ice ball acts as both fuel tank and shield.

Wow, I missed all these posts... I love these discussions... anyway...

On a similar note... a backup plan: give the earth a star drive for escape from the sun when the time comes. It is the biggest ball of silicon immediately available. The flying earth sized silicon brain with the sum total of human knowledge on board blasting through the universe, collecting more, knowledge. (a la kurzweil, but not quite)

Offline Bonk

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2010, 04:36:24 am »
I like the ice ball idea. Macgyver solution. Good one.

I'm not so sure about this one as a target though. It does not spin. We kinda need that I think. Sure we could make do without. but...

Also, don't forget relativistic effects: if we managed to achieve a probe that could do 0.9c (or even a manned craft, at much lower accelerations)... Most importantly, time dilation on board and length contraction from our observational frame.

To make it simple, let's assume our probe/ship does 0.9c for 100% of the journey (overly simplistic for ease of calculation, neglecting a passenger appropriate acceleration/deceleration curve - heinous math):

Let's see what would the time be dilated to from our frame for such an abused passenger?

[mathb]\Delta T^{\prime}\;=\;\frac{\Delta T}{\sqrt{1\;-\;\frac{v^{2}}{c^{2}}}}[/mathb]

Where [math]\Delta T\;[/math] is the time interval between events  for a local observer and [math]\Delta T^{\prime}\;[/math] is the interval between those events as measured by an observer in motion (our space traveller) with respect to the first (family at home).

Using the Lorentz factor:

[math]\gamma\;=\;\frac{1}{\sqrt{1\;-\;\frac{v^{2}}{c^{2}}}}[/math]

[math]\Delta T^{\prime}\;=\;\gamma\Delta T\;=\;\frac{\Delta T}{\sqrt{1\;-\;\frac{v^{2}}{c^{2}}}}[/math]

[math]\Delta T\;=\;\frac{\Delta T^{\prime}}{\gamma}\;=\;\frac{\Delta T^{\prime}}{\frac{1}{\sqrt{1\;-\;\frac{v^{2}}{c^{2}}}}}[/math]

sub in our values...

[math]\Delta T\;=\;\frac{22.23\;y\;\times\;(365\;d/y)\;\times\;(24\;h/d)\;\times\;(3600\;s/h)}{\frac{1}{\sqrt{1\;-\;\frac{(269813212.2  (m/s))^2}{(299792458\;(m/s))^2}}}}[/math]

[math]\Delta T\;=\;\frac{701045280\;s}{\frac{1}{\sqrt{1\;-\;0.81}}}[/math]

[math]\Delta T\;=\;\frac{701045280\;s}{\frac{1}{0.435889}}[/math]

[math]\Delta T\;=\;\scriptsize 305577926\;s\;=\;9.69\;y[/math]


Edit: fixed - so the journey at 0.9c that the "stationary" observer sees as 22.23 years is clocked at 9.69 years by the "moving" observer. (use of quotes as it is all relative ;))

Hmm. Did I  screw that up somewhere? Math layout is not easy I'm discovering. Lets check by the Lorentz factor for 0.9c (2.294 x 22.23 y = 50.995)  - yup, looks right - neglecting gravity effects along the way for now of course. So I guess the special relativistic effects of such a journey are significant. That complicates matters. Or does it really? Still, I'm not sure I have it quite right.

If I do have it right (someone please check?), then the 20 light year journey at 0.9c that we'd expect to take 22.23 years for the traveling clock would be observed as 50.99 years from Earth.

Hmmm. I wonder how the trade-off in velocity works out for time considerations and cost? What's the best velocity to shoot for (mean over the acceleration curve of course - for now, in this exercise)

Wakey, wakey everybody... I'm making my second coffee!

I think we should aim for
2039
. ;) I bet we could have at least an unmanned 0.9c probe within eight years if we really put ourselves on it.

I need to build an excel super-science spreadsheet, keeping it OO.o and GDocs compatible. What would be really cool would be a LaTeX solution that spans all three seamlessly to provide pretty equations for the cell formulas. Actually, looks like MathML would be the way to go for that, as it seems new office versions support it.

(grr.. seems neither jsMath or MathJax handle units properly. I might have to fix that.)

I have decided 0.9c makes no sense at all really other than to demonstrate the possible magnitude of the effect. One must consider the acceleration curve.

The fun part is that the speed of light (EM - i.e. radio) is constant in all frames, that will magically simplify comms (somewhat).

Have people built algorithms to work all this crap out? I expect they have, but if not, the time is now.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 12:45:38 am by Bonk »

Offline Nemesis

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2010, 11:13:04 am »
I actually had similar thoughts and have heard similar proposals. But you know how software can be.

I fear a human created von-neumann space probe might become some kind of virus of the universe.

Though I really like your "flowchart" for system exploration. If we can lock it all down, then I'm all for it.

But. We don't want to take the mess that is driving us with us. That will be the tricky part of such designs.

I think we just outlined a novel. Just need a few characters.  ;D

Obviously you would want some really severe testing and redundancy against failure/corruption.  Ideally a fail safe where the system becomes inert if it detects errors.  Test within our star system.

Part of the reason for putting the alien life on a habitat for study was to minimize interference on the home world by a machine following preprogrammed instructions that might not suit an alien ecology.  Limit the damage done to the ecology by studying a "clone" of it (a miniature clone admittedly) until humans arrive with human level intellect and creativity.

You could add to it another option.  If the planet is colonizable as is then create humans from a stored pattern to colonize.  You could of course see issues with various groups sending out "colony probes" each with their own genetic ideals and trying to wipe out competing colonies.  You could have humans created even without a habitable planet but with space colonies.  Given a suitable world they could then terraform it.

Actually part of it originated with my asking myself if "*I* were creating a background for a new SciFi show how would I get around some of the problems shows like Trek have (actual history over riding the Trek history as one example issue).  The background was bigger and more complex though.  That was derived in part from my thoughts on the novel "Rocheworld" where I had earlier asked myself if *I* were planning the mission with that level of technology how would I have done it?  One of the problems in the novel was a fixed level of equipment and raw materials even though the robotics could build new things by disassembling the old for raw materials but even in a rich and complex solar system they did no new mining for resources (it was a manned ship with robotics for assistance).  I'd have sent fewer probes, manned landers and fuel for them and more mining robotics.  In the novel they were limited to one mother ship which could only support landing parties on one planet at a time and no resources to spare for a rescue if a lander crashed.  That seemed silly when the tech was present to custom build anything you wanted given the local mineral resources.  Each crew man could have been given their own mothership in time.  They could have built a retirement space colony for when the crew got old (one way mission no 2nd generation intended) or to raise a future generation.
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Offline stoneyface

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2010, 06:36:02 pm »
i am glad bonk pointed out one of the things that most scientists forget. the fact that the time passed on the ship and the time passed on earth would be different. ^5 and kudos for that.

second, i would just point out that our tech has improved greatly since the voyager engine was designed. i think that getting to .9c would be totally feasible. getting humans to survive the acceleration is another matter of question altogether. a 23 year trip is not all that long as far as space travel is concerned. the hard questions come when you have to decide whether to leave them there or try to bring them back. ethics get involved at that point. it would be really complicated if we managed to get a crew there only to discover alien life. it would not matter if it was intelligent or not, the question then arises of whether or not we should try to colonize an already populated world. curiouser and curiouser...

good discussion folks, lets keep it going, we are making progress
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Offline marstone

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2010, 09:12:15 pm »
If I remember my time differential I think Bonk has it backwards.  The trip would take 23 years to us on earth, you are moving at .9c.  But time on the craft slows so it seems less to them.  But until we actually start to move at those speeds, it is all theory.  But would be neat to test it out fully.

Now I do hold out that we will work out the warp field and be able to slip through space and get past a time shift and speed limits (tho, I am not sure if we are really limited to just under the speed of light)
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2010, 09:24:40 pm »
But until we actually start to move at those speeds, it is all theory.  But would be neat to test it out fully.

Even the GPS satellites are moving fast enough that they have to compensate for time dilation or be radically inaccurate.  So time dilation is pretty well proven.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2010, 09:40:09 pm »
If I do have it right (someone please check?), then the 20 light year journey at 0.9c that we'd expect to take 22.23 years for the traveling clock would be observed as 50.99 years from Earth.

I haven't tried checking the math but I don't need to to know that it is wrong.  Allowing no time for acceleration the trip at .9c would take 22.22 years (20/.9=22.22).  I'm not even going to attempt to estimate the dilation but the time experienced aboard the ship would be somewhat less.  As I recall at .9c the dilation wouldn't be much but the trip would be slightly shorter from the ship viewpoint.  To get substantial dilation you need to go past .99c.
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Offline Nemesis

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Re: =/\= a must read for any exoplanet buff!
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2010, 09:57:04 pm »
A little googling found this site.

It calculates the tau factor for .9c as 2.294157338705618.  If I'm right that would reduce the 22.222222 year trip to 9.68644 years ship board time.  I didn't think it would be that high. 
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