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Xavier Dumusque's Alpha Centauri

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
...and having spent the last 50 years in microgravity...
If this is ever attempted, it is only a small effort to make the ship spin fast enough to have outward "gravity". Obviously, your point about the age still holds.

If you get a ship that can make it to Alpha Centari in 50 years... the people on the ship are not going to be 50 years older. There'd be some serious time dilation there. I can't find the math which gives the rate time slows down based on speed, though.

Actually there's not much gain ship time vs. the observed time on earth in transit at the speeds talking about: even the fastest of the proposed designs, Project Dadaelus, doesn't experience the sort of dramatic time dialation one would expect when you start positing relativistic flight - at the .1c transit velocity modelled for
The others are slower, by a fair margin - Longshot theoretically tops out at .07c for roughly a century transit time and Orion .03c for a time-in-transit of about 150 years.
Dadaelus the difference is small: one day ships-time at .1c translates to 1.01 days observed on earth, or 24 hours and 14 minutes. You need to break .5c to get any of the really dramatic time dilation effects.

Hmm... 177 days younger...

And it looks like .5 isn't even enough... .9 is only 1/2 the time, so 25 years on board.

Well, also, remember, if you're cranking the speed up to .9c the transit to Alpha Centauri only takes something like
4.2 LY to Centauri A divided by .9 LY travelled per Year
4.6-4.8 years observed time to begin with, and that would be subject to the dialation resulting in a one way trip time of 2.4 years for the crew aboard. When you start playing around with .9c + interstellar travel becomes possible in surprisingly short timeframes, at least from a time vs. distance perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muggie2 View Post
Getting there isn't as hard as people think. Getting there intact is harder, because it's not about science, it's about sociology and psychology. Physics is generally predictable, and you usually have a general idea of what to do and where to look. People are anything but predictable unless you use particularly powerful tools and make sure the people don't know enough about those tools to double-guess and thus throw the pattern awry. (Think Isaac Asimov's Foundation series).
Is it possible to built a ship that will get us there? Theoretically, yes. Will the people who arrive there follow what we would consider recognisable human sociological patterns as followed by any of our societies? Not a chance.
I don't think that human factor would be so hard on generational ship. You start with people, who are:
-well educated;
-sane and screened for all mental problems;
-deeply believing in the purpose of the mission.

Children brought up on the ship would simply get used to the culture (no alternative offered and no harmful external influence ). The culture should be, presumably:
-still well educated;
-treating their mission as a kind of sacred duty and maybe even starting a semi-religion belief system around it (in the same way as nationalistic mythology can keep the same function as religion mythology);
-absolutely used to any inconvenience of the trip;
-used to different political system that would evolve on the ship and treating it as natural.

Presumably the political system would involve some kind of authoritarianish, transparent, centrally planed meritocracy. That would be indeed different from contemporary social structure but it should not specially problematic.

Yes, but getting the power to accelerate to .9 c is problematic. Remember this is real engineering being discussed, not just how could it hypothetically work if we had our dream technology (which incidentally would be a wormhole jump drive powered by dark energy)

In terms of social drift over 50 years, look at American society today versus 1962. And that is with a stabilizing population of hundreds of millions of people. The smaller the group the more likely it will go off on a tangent. Plus at the same time society back home is still drifting in presumedly a different direction. And of course we still have the problem that whoever is funding the colonization is wanting something more than "hey it would be cool to send people to another planet and leave them there!"

If you reach speeds where time dilatation starts to be noticeable, your mass increases with the same Lorenz factor, which means the energy required to keep accelerating becomes larger as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TW Teczka View Post
Children brought up on the ship would simply get used to the culture (no alternative offered and no harmful external influence ). The culture should be, presumably:
-still well educated;
-treating their mission as a kind of sacred duty and maybe even starting a semi-religion belief system around it (in the same way as nationalistic mythology can keep the same function as religion mythology);
-absolutely used to any inconvenience of the trip;
-used to different political system that would evolve on the ship and treating it as natural.
That's the first generation raised aboard. Now, assuming that there are not a sufficient number of rebels (and, I mean, it's not as if teenagers rebel all *that* much), they will be the people who raise the second generation. Who will start to critique exactly why they're stuck there on the ship, and will start to cut corners, partly because they feel put upon, and partly because what they have is the whats and hows, and not so much of the whys. By the time you hit the third generation, things are starting to go wrong. Maintenance starts failing to cut it because things are just too old, and replacement of parts is necessary. But where and how? As new problems crop up, there's nobody who knows how to solve them, because nobody remembers... maybe in the holy books somewhere there's an answer...
Cold sleep is one good answer. That way you keep people around who know what the mission is, know what to do, and can advise the later generations.
Of course, this all assumes that nobody cracks, or that cultural issues don't raise their heads. If that happens, things can go very wrong very fast.




 

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