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Author Topic: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life  (Read 17423 times)
Death 999
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2008, 09:56:53 pm »

Some extra considerations from Asimov:

If asteroid/kuiper belt/oort cloud civilizations form, they wouldn't have a psychological problem making the jump across to another system, even if it takes 1000 years, because they bring home with them.

The time it takes to cross the galaxy is going to be short on geological/astronomical time scales even if it is done at a small fraction of light. Like, if it's done at an average of only 0.5% of lightspeed (100 times as fast as the voyager probes), filling the whole galaxy will only take a few million years.
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2008, 10:07:12 pm »

How could you have a civilization on an asteroid or a comet? They're tiny and airless. Even a whole cloud of them wouldn't warrant much of a civilization. And I don't think there would be enough resources to make any kind of colonization of an asteroid other than a small mining operation worth it.   
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2008, 10:50:57 pm »

You don't live ON the asteroid, you have spaceships which mine them, potentially  completely.

You run on a minimal mass loss economy, so mining isn't important except to replenish what little you do lose, or to replace stuff that has been embrittled by radiation.

Kuiper belt and Oort cloud objects have plenty of hydrogen, so you can use fusion for energy.

This obviously requires very high technology, especially in recycling.
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2008, 04:34:26 pm »

What kind of civilization would think that this adventure was worth it? Even if each one of your spaceships was practically a floating city you'd overpopulate them all easily. That would lead to further complications. Unless you aren't implying that a whole civilization would live there, only part of one instead.
 
And with all of the technological advancements necessary for such an endeavor, wouldn't it be way easier to just colonize planets? Even if these planets would take thousands of years to get to it would still be cheaper, easier, and more efficient.
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2008, 04:39:32 pm »

What kind of civilization would think that this adventure was worth it?

The kind that comes from an overcrowded/threatened/dying planetary system and just needs to get away?

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Even if each one of your spaceships was practically a floating city you'd overpopulate them all easily. That would lead to further complications. Unless you aren't implying that a whole civilization would live there, only part of one instead.

A spartan and careful civilisation, every couple just gets the two children. What is a civilization anyhow? Even if they started off as part of a larger one, after 500 or so years they'd be pretty unique anyhow.

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And with all of the technological advancements necessary for such an endeavor, wouldn't it be way easier to just colonize planets? Even if these planets would take thousands of years to get to it would still be cheaper, easier, and more efficient.

Your civilisation could be heading towards another planetary system, bringing loads of people.

Also, maybe it's a xenophobic civilisation that wants to be left alone?
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2008, 05:01:16 pm »

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What kind of civilization would think that this adventure was worth it?

The kind that comes from an overcrowded/threatened/dying planetary system and just needs to get away?
But why asteroids?

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A spartan and careful civilisation, every couple just gets the two children.
Well, this might work for a little while, but if these critters are anything like humans [which they very well might not be] there will probably end up being all kinds of corruption, waste, and ultimately conflict. Whatever survives this inevitable mess will probably then pick up the pieces and make a another "careful" society, which will one day blow itself away too.  This process would probably then repeat until the asteroids run out of suitable resources. Then what?

And what the Heck would they do if a spaceship breaks, accidentally or not, in a way that couldn't easily be repaired? Build a new one? Probably not since there would be few tools and nowhere to build it. 

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Also, maybe it's a xenophobic civilisation that wants to be left alone?
Tell me again about why planets would not work for this.
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2008, 05:17:07 pm »

But why asteroids?

Because that's all there is on the way to the next system.

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Well, this might work for a little while, but if these critters are anything like humans [which they very well might not be] there will probably end up being all kinds of corruption, waste, and ultimately conflict.

Corruption and conflict are tolerable for such a civilization. Waste is another; but I really wonder what kind of waste you're thinking of here. When you're in a closed system, it's not so easy to truly waste. You'd have to dump something out the airlock for it to be truly gone.
So, waste is just losing stuff and wrecking its organization. It can be found or remade, or both, again.

This process would probably then repeat until the asteroids run out of suitable resources. Then what?

They're doing this as they go to another system; so, if they can last the roughly 5k years it'd take to get there, they're going to have a lot of resources again. The scarcity conditions relax, planets are colonized, more ships made. Repeat until you've colonized the galaxy.

And what the Heck would they do if a spaceship breaks, accidentally or not, in a way that couldn't easily be repaired? Build a new one? Probably not since there would be few tools and nowhere to build it. 

A civilization that lacks tools? You're really not grokking this concept of civilization. If you'd expect a civilization to have it (e.g. tools, a foundry, a 'drydock'), they have it.

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Also, maybe it's a xenophobic civilisation that wants to be left alone?
Tell me again about why planets would not work for this.

Because it's too nearby? Mars, or even Pluto, is practically on our doorstep if you're capable of building an asteroid civilization.
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2008, 05:17:24 pm »

But why asteroids?

Bring your resources with you. If you just head out on a ship, you have nothing except for what you can carry. Bring a bunch of asteroids and at least you have some resources.

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Well, this might work for a little while, but if these critters are anything like humans [which they very well might not be] there will probably end up being all kinds of corruption, waste, and ultimately conflict. Whatever survives this inevitable mess will probably then pick up the pieces and make a another "careful" society, which will one day blow itself away too.  This process would probably then repeat until the asteroids run out of suitable resources. Then what?

Then they die I suppose, unless they made it to wherever they were going.

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And what the Heck would they do if a spaceship breaks, accidentally or not, in a way that couldn't easily be repaired? Build a new one? Probably not since there would be few tools and nowhere to build it. 

What would your colonists travelling by ship do if that happened? They'd have even fewer resources and less tools. A large civilisation traversing the void could have the capability to build new ships and platforms, provided they brought enough factories. And with resources available they can repair almost everything.

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Tell me again about why planets would not work for this.

Because if there are other races out there, planets are the first place they will look. We're desperately searching for planets and dreaming of going there. Out somewhere in Deep Space, no one will find you and you'll be left alone.

EDIT: Darn it you overgrown bug. Beat me to it.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 05:19:45 pm by Lukipela » Logged

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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2008, 05:46:21 pm »

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Corruption and conflict are tolerable for such a civilization.

No they're not. For example, let's say someone is unhappy with the resource system, they get some people to support them and then take over a ship. The other colonists wouldn't like this, and they'd attack the hijacked ship. Negotiations might fail. Then the two sides would butcher each other until one surrendered. The result: a demoralized and potentially unruly populace, lots of blown up junk, and possibly not enough left to go around. This would lead to more conflict.

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A civilization that lacks tools?

My idea wasn't that they wouldn't bring tools, it was that these tools might be lost somehow and not easily replaced. The same applies to these "factories" you both say they would have. You know what a pain in the ass it would be to lug around a giant spaceship factory with you everywhere you go?

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Also, maybe it's a xenophobic civilisation that wants to be left alone?
Tell me again about why planets would not work for this.
Because it's too nearby? Mars, or even Pluto, is practically on our doorstep if you're capable of building an asteroid civilization.

And if you are capable of building an asteroid civilization, aren't the asteroids practically on your doorstep too?

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And what the Heck would they do if a spaceship breaks, accidentally or not, in a way that couldn't easily be repaired? Build a new one? Probably not since there would be few tools and nowhere to build it.

What would your colonists travelling by ship do if that happened? They'd have even fewer resources and less tools.

They'd all be dead. But the point is that you can pump out ships and cram them full of people more easily and with less cost than a giant fleet of asteroid-colonizers. 

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And with resources available they can repair almost everything.
Well, until they run out resources anyway.
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2008, 05:58:34 pm »

Actually it's pointless to bring live citizens with the migration party. Way better would be to bring just some zygots in cryogenic stasis, or just genetic material (the ships being crewed by robots). Planets that can support live are seeded with some colonies, and planets/asteroids with lots of minerals are mined (new migration parties being fabricated from them). With something like this you'd cover a big chunk of the Galaxy pretty easy. (Which makes me wonder for a minute -- are we alone in the Galaxy?)1

And no need to build asteroids along, as resource consumption is going to be minimal (just a little fuel consumption, and some patching of micrometeorite holes).

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1Other, more likely and more exciting possible reasons:
1. The race that inhabits our region of the galaxy has an ethical principle not to mess with primitive races.
2. It's not cost-effective to equip the robot colonizer fleets with weapons to obliterate lesser races from inhabited planets (and equipment to detect those sentient races, and detect their technology level as well -- you don't want to risk a war with an advanced race).
3. My idea sucks.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 06:07:02 pm by Valaggar Redux » Logged
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2008, 06:02:57 pm »

No they're not. For example, let's say someone is unhappy with the resource system, they get some people to support them and then take over a ship. The other colonists wouldn't like this, and they'd attack the hijacked ship. Negotiations might fail. Then the two sides would butcher each other until one surrendered. The result: a demoralized and potentially unruly populace, lots of blown up junk, and possibly not enough left to go around. This would lead to more conflict.

I think your still thinking on the wrong scale here. This is a civilisation, not just a few hopscotch ships. So what if one rebels? The other thousand or so will deal with them. Unless you're talking about a gigantic split down the middle, in which case the result is exactly the same as if you live in a solar system, the opposing parties wipe each other out.


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My idea wasn't that they wouldn't bring tools, it was that these tools might be lost somehow and not easily replaced. The same applies to these "factories" you both say they would have. You know what a pain in the ass it would be to lug around a giant spaceship factory with you everywhere you go?

You don't lug it with you any more than the rest of the fleet. You launch together and all go in the same direction. It's not like the factory will have to taker a detour along the way and get lost, they'd all be travelling with the same velocity. And what kind of loss is this anyhow? An entire civilisation (say, he population of Earth or maybe a bit less) have launched themselves into space along with all the infrastructure needed to support them and enough pieces of rock to replace any raw material losses they might have for the next 5000 years.. They aren't going to lose their only can opener on the way.


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And if you are capable of building an asteroid civilization, aren't the asteroids practically on your doorstep too?

Not if you launch them out of the system into the void between the stars It's a very big place, and the odds are very much better that you won't meet anyone. Put it like this. If you live in a city, where do you meet the least people? A) in the city centre. B) in your car out in the suburbs or C) out in the wilderness where you drove your car?

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They'd all be dead. But the point is that you can pump out ships and cram them full of people more easily and with less cost than a giant fleet of asteroid-colonizers. 

If you ahev the technology to pump out loads of ships and colonists, I doubt it's going to be that more cost efficient to launch a small splinter civilisation with better chances of survival every 50 years than it's going to be to launch new colony ships every year and hope they don't break, run out of tools, die of infighting, meet hostiles etc.

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Well, until they run out resources anyway.

At which point they'll hopefully be in the next system ,or have found some more rocks floating around somewhere.
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2008, 06:06:43 pm »

Actually it's pointless to bring live citizens with the migration party. Way better would be to bring just some zygots in cryogenic stasis, or just genetic material (the ships being crewed by robots). Planets that can support live are seeded with some colonies, and planets/asteroids with lots of minerals are mined (new migration parties being fabricated from them). With something like this you'd cover a big chunk of the Galaxy pretty easy. (Which makes me wonder for a minute -- are we alone in the Galaxy?)

Only if your main goal is to colonise new worlds and travel onwards. It'll work till you run into Ur-Quan's or somesuch, and after that they'll enslave you all. Out in the dark cold space some of you will survive.

I wonder how the first generation raised by robots and videos turns out? Still, I suppose if our A.I is good enough to handle the travel, colonisation and so forth, raising toddlers shouldn't bee too hard.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 06:12:42 pm by Lukipela » Logged

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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2008, 06:10:40 pm »

Only if your main goal is to colonise new worlds and travel onwards. It'll work till you run into Ur-Quan's or somesuch, and after that they'll enslave you all. Out in the dark cold space some of you will survive.

Er, how can they enslave us all if they don't know where we are? They just meet a vanguard robot fleet, that's all. They have no idea where the fleet comes from (it might be a good idea to approach the star from another direction than the one you've been travelling along, so that they can't pinpoint your starting point).

I wonder how the first generation raised by robots and videos turns out?

Mmm... maybe if the robots are androids (I know, improper term for alien-like-looking robots, but I can think of no better word), or if the toddlers are born already mature (their species being like that naturally, or maybe they became so via genetic engineering)?
« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 06:18:36 pm by Valaggar Redux » Logged
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2008, 06:15:19 pm »

Er, how can they enslave us all if they don't know where we are? They just meet a vanguard robot fleet, that's all. They have no idea where the fleet comes from (it might be a good idea to approach the star from another direction than the one you've been travelling along, so that they can't pinpoint your starting point).

Good point ,as long as the robots don't know anything about their makers and don't carry any material that can be traced back. Such as instructional videos for the toddlers, history books and such. But I guess if every civilisation starts off fresh you'd be safe.

Also, as an aside while this is a very cost effective way to colonise planets, it doesn't really help the billions left behind as their sun is slowly dying and/or the black hole of doom approaches.
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Re: Earth-like planets raise prospects of extra-terrestial life
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2008, 06:22:22 pm »

Er, how can they enslave us all if they don't know where we are? They just meet a vanguard robot fleet, that's all. They have no idea where the fleet comes from (it might be a good idea to approach the star from another direction than the one you've been travelling along, so that they can't pinpoint your starting point).

Good point ,as long as the robots don't know anything about their makers and don't carry any material that can be traced back. Such as instructional videos for the toddlers, history books and such. But I guess if every civilisation starts off fresh you'd be safe.

Also, it doesn't protect from invaders that use the same method to propagate their own species, only they have big guns and enslave everyone in their path. I suppose that big defense/retaliation/preventional-offense fleets could help, though... (and a war would go like this: A. Invader sends scouts to all nearby stars. B. One scout detects a spacefaring race -- and is detected, and destroyed by it, but not before broadcasting the discovery back to its builders. C. The defenders are bolstering up their defenses, while the invaders are on their way. D. The fights continue until one of the fighting parties runs out of resources, or abandons.) and your species would get more resources than in the dark, grim depths of interplanetary space.

Also, as an aside while this is a very cost effective way to colonise planets, it doesn't really help the billions left behind as their sun is slowly dying and/or the black hole of doom approaches.

Maybe they can just lower their population growth when the sun is nearing to death. So that the planet isn't anymore inhabited when the sun goes bye-bye (or rather, hi-hi).
« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 06:27:23 pm by Valaggar Redux » Logged
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