Should humanity build an FTL Drive?

By on March 28, 2012 2:14:16 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

imawsome29

Join Date 02/2009
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I have been thinking latley and realized that this planet wont last forever, so I got the idea why not pour our resources into making an FTL Drive.  I know it would cost trillions even more then that, but the money that could be made by effecient space travell could be greater than the money spent.  It could permanent the permenant survival of the human race.  This is my opinion tell me what you think.

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March 29, 2012 3:39:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would agree that simply "shedding the body" to become a robot/android/AI or whatnot ... (part of a machine) would simply be transmogrification and not transcendence.

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March 29, 2012 3:48:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Shedding the body would be existing without a body. Or one might say living as energy or on a higher level of existence. I never said anything about changing bodies. That was all you guys.

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March 29, 2012 4:00:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

CNN: Do you think humanity really has a future among the stars?

Iain M. Banks: Well, it's there or nowhere. I think it's insane to have the capacity to get off the planet and not use it. It's still the case that we've got no real defense against meteors or comets or anything else hitting the planet. You've got all your eggs in one basket, all six, seven billion of us in the one place, and all potentially vulnerable to strike by something really big that'd wipe us all out. It just seems really daft, so yeah, why not?

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March 29, 2012 4:06:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Thoumsin,
The problem is that we need first to build a few "factory" around the planet and around place we wish to mine resource... once this is done, money will begin to flow... in long term, mining the outerspace can generate profit, a lot of profit but the initial investment will be huge... and since the actual economic trend is immediate gratification/benefit without long term view, it will not happen soon...

An interesting point. Once we get a good Orbital Station/Factory in orbit we can use it to produce and repair non-atmospheric spacecraft cheaply. Although things like personnel and light weight materials would still be brought up from earth. Then we can mine asteroids and simply use disposable drop pods produced in space to dump the materials down to earth for next to nothing. Thus the expensive parts would be labour, I imagine you would have to pay space miners a lot, and setting up the actual mines on asteriods. Once we have invested in the infastructure we could probably actually transport the metal cheaply. I guess it is somewhat similiar to the old days when hugely expensive railroads had to be built to connect North America.

Still I have a hard time seeing this happen in the near future. Right now we have the private space companies that are building cheaper orbital spacecraft, and they should have that down within the decade. The problem is the huge expense of building a permanent orbital waystation. This is really something that should be built by a government, because it won't be profitible for years if ever. Just look at the international space station. An oribital waystation would be hugely more expensive then that to build, and the ISS took decades to build. Maybe once large scale industrial 3d printing takes off, private space flight reduces the cost of putting things in orbit, and the world economy picks up we will see a genuine interest in building such a huge project. Of course it would still only be worth building if there was a huge demand for the resources in space, which is not a given.

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March 29, 2012 4:35:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Space Ladder anyone? Aren't we about 50 years from having the plastics to make orbital factories cost efficient?

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March 29, 2012 4:40:06 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting DrJBHL,
Quoting Wizard1956, reply 33Another forward thinker!!! Brilliant plan, Dan. Why didn't I think of that?

Probably because you've been hanging out with RnD too long... adverse effects to that, you know.

Another problem... if the time machine thing worked, wouldn't it have already?


DOC -"Die Glocke"    conspiracists say the germans went back in time with it.Who knows LOL

if we would gather all the junk flying around our earth we would have plenty of recources to start with for free the only problem is bringing them down to earth (clean) and in one piece. And instead of trying hardly to invent some technology to get access to another realm or a direct path from point A to B´somewhere in space we should first try to get more "economically advanced" and save whats left on this planet or even further so it can regenerate. Someone once said the worst desease on P.E. is humans and it seems true. We are advanced already but we hardly think of the consequences that came with it.
Looking for another home planet -we already do and we have several potentials discovered already but how long would it last if we would have the requested tech to conquer it... i dont want to sound like a greeenpeace dude but its highly likely that we would ruin it in less than a couple of thousand years... 
I dont know who said its impossible to travel faster than light unless good old albert but actually scientists discovered it can be done ...you may google for CERN research in switzerland...Also harvesting from space ???uhm  yeah why not take an asteriod that may contain several species of unknown bakteria that might be harmfull for humans or animals and bring them straight to earth... ever thought of why astronauts get quarantined and tested for biological contamination ? its not that easy...

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March 29, 2012 5:03:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Human are great posting problems. We can think of a million problems. And for each million, we find one solution, which has 10 million problems.

Re: OP

No, there are too many problems with your idea.

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March 29, 2012 6:46:30 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

The hardest part of building an FTL is generating enough power to make that first leap. That's what some people say we can't do but they're wrong. The only thing we lack is the proper technology. The know how already exists.

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March 29, 2012 8:05:26 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Uvah,
The only thing we lack is the proper technology. The know how already exists.

What exactly does this mean??  We know how to make infinite energy, we just don't know how yet?

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March 29, 2012 8:27:31 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

FTL is all a bunch of untested theories. We have ideas on how to get there.

The actually "know how" of doing it is either untested or we havn't found it yet. So we have a long long ways to go before that happens.

M theory anyone?

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March 29, 2012 10:52:37 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

News flash! The planet will be here long after we have turned to fossils! Happened before...will happen again. Humans are just to full of themselves to think otherwise. Hey...the sixties were good to me too!

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March 29, 2012 11:12:17 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting WebGizmos,
Hey...the sixties were good to me too!

I don't remember them....

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March 30, 2012 12:04:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Quoting WebGizmos,
News flash! The planet will be here long after we have turned to fossils! Happened before...will happen again. Humans are just to full of themselves to think otherwise. Hey...the sixties were good to me too!

 

This ... makes me quite interested in what sort of 'evolution' would occur in a setting of 'infinite' modern society.

 

For one, culture/tech/etc, will constantly move in any given 'direction', bar any apocalyptic event. Even trying to hypothesize what the future could bring culturally/technologically is an interesting thought experiment in itself.

And I don't mean in the next 50 years ... but the next 100, the next 1000 years.

 

And then in terms of evolution, you are looking at MILLIONS of years.

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I mean, we came up with writing only a few THOUSAND years ago. Language probably 50,000 years ago. Hell, our species didn't even exist until around 1 million years ago, and then we finally reached some sort of "human singularity" around 50,000 years ago.

This sort of thought experiment is indeed mind boggling.

 

One thing to consider: Does unlimited gene flow STOP evolution? Or does it just keep the entire species going in the same direction.

 

Barring multiple planets and Cataclysmic events ... is there any way that geneflow would become limited, to create speciation? Clearly multiple planet habitattion without common access to FTL travel would cause this ... but if we continue to only occupy the earth?

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I don't necessarily think speciation is a bad thing, but I don't see it happening under 'normal' circumstances. But then again, the chances of circumstances remaining 'normal' for an amount of time approaching infinity begin to approach zero.

Meaning that, chances are, shit will hit the fan eventually, and thus eventually we will have speciation.

 

Even so ... it would likely take MILLIONS of years for such 'breeds' of human to actually become a completely separate species. That is to say, reproduction between breeds would likely remain possible for millions of years ... and with that being the case, there is always the possibility for gene flow to keep the species from completely separating.

 

To give some idea of what a breed is, we as humans are all one breed. Dogs on the other hand, are all one species, but multiple breeds. (I think Iguanids are also simply breeds of the same species)

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However, assuming that we DO populate different planets, and that we do NOT have FTL travel (or FTL breaks down eventually, et cetera), speciation is practically a guarantee.

Consider the movie 'Pandorum' and the difference between the recently awakened and those that were on the ship for quite awhile

 

I suppose the primary obstacle of such thought is that it is EXTREMELY hard to stay objective under such considerings, as many things are rather personal ... given that we all ARE humans, and so forth.

 

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Still, assuming speciation, neither of the populations will remain as we are today, but will become different on their own terms.

 

Which gives the consideration ... assuming we don't speciate, and instead remain all the same species (and the same breed) ... will we remain as we are today? Or will we inevitably become something different?

Will the standard deviation of traits simply expand, while the mean stays the same? Or will the mean shift altogether?

--------------

 

I suppose my main focus on this thought experiment would be to try and ignore Extinction events or Apocalyptic events because I think it would be far more interesting to see the simple effect of "TIME" on a species, and if there is any effect. Or if only a true change in the status-quo can cause a sort of evolution.

 

I mean it would be simple to say "Sun radiation killed all that did not upload themselves onto robotic software" or something silly, and I think transcendence is a similar cop out "all those that did not transcend were ...".  Actually, all transcendence stories seem to entail the entire species Transcending, or even there being some religious plot for the rest that did not transcend.

But I am not talking about about becoming robots or transcending, but the pure biological fate for humanity as a species over the course of time.


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I think there are two ways of looking at this ...

1. that humanity will fundamentally change long before FTL becomes accessible.

and

2. that humanity will miraculously stumble upon FTL, and will be able to actively colonize other planets, and perhaps be able to interact with other sentient life.

 

as part of #2, there are two ways of looking at this as well

A. Humanity will find other sentient species and interact with them in a similar fashion as Star Trek et al.

B. That humanity will find no other sentient species.

 

And B is separated into 2 more parts as well

1B. We have complete access to FTL travel, and all of humanity will be on the same boat ... which brings us back to #1!!

2B. We have limited access to FTL, and speciation ultimately occurs. If FTL eventually becomes commonplace ... then you will have the "Star Trek" scenario, but every species would have originated as 'human', and equally none will be 'original human' any more.

 

Personally I think #1 is the most interesting to think about ... as we already have a ton of popular literature on #2.

While concept 2B is also interesting to consider .... (especially if one can argue that travel outside of our galaxy would be rather difficult, and under the assumption that other recognizable sentience would be unlikely to exist within the same galaxy)

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March 30, 2012 3:06:11 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting DsRaider,
Although things like personnel and light weight materials would still be brought up from earth. Then we can mine asteroids and simply use disposable drop pods produced in space to dump the materials down to earth for next to nothing. Thus the expensive parts would be labour, I imagine you would have to pay space miners a lot, and setting up the actual mines on asteriods.

Why use space miners... weight and cost for bring miners from earth to space is almost nothing when compare to the amount of water/oxygen/food that you need to send in space for them to survive... robot are the solution... robot will be the space miners with only a few people on the orbital station for control them... in fact, they can be controlled for the ground too...

Robot can work 24/24, don't eat, can use hydrogen ( from Jupiter ) fuel cell for power, you don't need to pay them a loan, deficient one are recycled for build new one ( cheaper that health insurance or retirement fund when they become old ), they don't form ( yet ) union who start strike action, etc...

 

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March 30, 2012 3:34:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You still need engineers to run the machines and repair them.

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March 30, 2012 3:43:40 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting seanw3,
You still need engineers to run the machines and repair them.

Nah man, you get them repair bots, have yourself some robots repaired by robots....

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March 30, 2012 4:49:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Cylon Scum! 

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March 30, 2012 6:53:33 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Seleuceia,

Quoting Uvah, reply 58The only thing we lack is the proper technology. The know how already exists.

What exactly does this mean??  We know how to make infinite energy, we just don't know how yet?

     Its like having only the nail without the hammer. You know how to do it but lack a proper tool. We know how unstable anti-matter is. We know how to contain it, temporarily, and we know the amount of power it contains. We build huge electromagnets for the particle accelerators. These produce the EM field to contain and control particles. It takes an enormous amount of power to generate the field, more power to create the anti-matter and still more to keep it going. Extremely expensive. Ramp that up a bit, the LHC can do that, and you have the first stage.

     For example...lets say, for the sake of argument, that we succeed in 'generating' the power through the use of fusion reactors. Using this first stage could get us to within 90% of light speed. Successive stages, configured in series/parallel can increase that output by an order of magnitude. You're not actually surpassing the speed of light. Instead you're using the power generated to 'fold' space.

     When I say we know how it means just that. We do it with the fission power plants in use now. Fusion power can take that a few steps further. One tool. We know how to extract deuterium from water but its an expensive process. Tool number two. We know how to create but not collect anti-matter or store it for lengthy periods, another expensive process. Tool number three. The knowing is there but the tools, proper technology isn't. 

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March 30, 2012 8:08:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Uvah,
The hardest part of building an FTL is generating enough power to make that first leap. That's what some people say we can't do but they're wrong. The only thing we lack is the proper technology. The know how already exists.
No, it doesn't. We have speculation that amounts to little more than science-fiction, and a century-old theory that says you can't do such a thing. That theory has resisted all our best attempts to make it obsolete.

Considering the logical implications of FTL (causality violation), it's not unlikely that it just won't ever exist.

Instead you're using the power generated to 'fold' space.
Space folding, wormholes, Alcubierre drives and the like are all in the domain of pure, untested speculation with very little to back them up, and an immense chance to be nothing but a dream.

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March 30, 2012 8:45:12 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting seanw3,
Cylon Scum! 

Hey!

Some of the best Cylons are my friends.

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March 30, 2012 10:22:24 AM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Quoting Werewindlefr,
(causality violation)

All you're doing is generating power. There's no violating causality. Nuclear plants, for want of a better description, harness the power equivalent of the sun. Fusion can go so far beyond that. To violate causality you'd have to pick up the cup before you dropped it, can't be done. Also you aren't proving a century old fact wrong, Einstein's theories are more common sense than anything else. Remember...you're not exceeding light speed, you're using the power needed to attain it. You can do 99.997% of the speed of light without the so called infinite mass/energy thing getting in the way, time dilation and all that good stuff. I'd have to dig up all the paraphernalia but if you search the net you can probably find it.

BTW...I put theories in bold to emphasize the fact that they are only theories, very good ones that have stood the test of time but eventually will be, not disproved, but modified.  

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March 30, 2012 11:36:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

All you're doing is generating power.
I misunderstood you - I thought you were talking about the FTL know-how, not the power generation know-how.

Regardless, then, saying the hardest part of FTL is power generation is plain wrong. The hardest part of FTL is that it is most likely just impossible, period. If it is at all possible, it might require a lot of power or no power at all or anything in-between: how can we do more than pointlessly speculate on the amount of energy needed for a technology that probably cannot even exist?

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March 30, 2012 1:15:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,

Quoting shadowtongue, reply 43Transcendence requires no technology whatsoever.  I'm not talking about sticking consciousness in a machine, that's not transcendence, that's transmogrification.

Then perhaps you should explain what you mean. I took it to mean the classic definition of the word, metaphysical shedding of the body. That will require technology. It can be done, but not by our species and not without a perfect understanding of the universe. 

 

Or are you talking about religious mumbo jumbo? 

 

I don't see how religion needs to enter into it, though it is a term commonly used by various religions.  You can apply terms such as Spiritual or Mystical without requiring religion to be involved whatsoever.  But if you wish to consider it 'religious' that's fine too, doesn't really change anything about the nature of transcendence.

 

And what is the hang up with technology?  Can you explain how technology is necessary to 'shed the body'?  I think there may be too much of a sci-fi bias in your thinking.  Or you are still conflating the concept with transmogrification.

 

Really both the concepts of transcendence and FTL are both somewhat silly to debate in practical terms.  At this point in our understanding of physics and the nature of the universe both are impossible.  So far as we know, both will remain impossible due to the laws of physics at some point being immutable and our running into this hard wall.  But, we don't know this, I would argue (philosophically) we cannot know this either.  Which is more likely to wind up a reality?  No idea, but I'll stick with transcendence simply because it's so much more difficult to actually quantify, and thus, disprove

 

 

 

 

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March 30, 2012 2:23:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have nothing against transcendentalists, but you never know when you are talking to one. Been burned alot on the internet when at the end of a month long conversation they start quoting Revelation. The thing is, on a basic level, transcendence must be possible. It would likely require some significant evolution of the human to make it possible for our offspring. I would posit technology or a deeper understanding of the way things work as the faster way to effect change towards a transcendental state. Science Fiction looks to the future based on our current understanding of today. There is alot to be learned from it. Like, what happens when truly evil people become beings that transcend time and space? We may accidently create benevolent gods, but we may also make the devil.

 

FTL is much less scary to think about. Although, TBH, If I had a time machine or some sort of Jacuzzi time machine combo, the first thing I would do is time skip around, making myself an immortal machine, killing all future people that work on time travel, insert myself into all religions as a messiah, and then return to rule the species I have done this to. Then I would come back to Earth and see what humans have been doing. (Because all this would come from an intelligent race.)

Oh look, they blew themselves up again...   

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March 30, 2012 3:37:49 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Uvah,
Instead you're using the power generated to 'fold' space.

I don't think we "know" how to do this at all, and a "lack of tools" isn't the only thing holding us back....the idea of "folding" space is a scifi concept, we aren't even sure that is the right approach in trying to obtain FTL...

Even if it was, more energy may be needed, but simply having gasoline doesn't mean you know how to build a car...obtaining fusion power, even cold fusion, and reducing the production/containment costs of AM is not going to magically get us FTL...

Quoting Uvah,
Also you aren't proving a century old fact wrong, Einstein's theories are more common sense than anything else.

What theories?  Relativity?  I'd hardly call that "common sense"...it is quite the opposite in fact...

Quoting Uvah,
You can do 99.997% of the speed of light without the so called infinite mass/energy thing getting in the way, time dilation and all that good stuff.

At 99.997% the speed of light, your relativistic momentum would be 129 times greater than the classical value...essentially, the effective efficiency of your propulsion would be reduced by two orders of magnitude...so yes, relativity matters...anything over a tenth the speed of light is going to start being relativistic (at that speed, effects start at about 1%)...I also bring this up to highlight the importance of energy/power technology you have stressed...

At 99% the speed of light, your lorentz factor is about 7, while at 99.999% the speed of light, your lorentz factor is about 224...

Consider a 100 light-year journey...at either speed, it would be about a 100 year trip...however, for the passengers, time dilation would result in either a 14 year trip or a 5 month trip...that is the difference between needing stasis technology and not...point being, at the price of 37 times more energy, you completely change the dynamics and practicality of long-distance traveling...

Of course, that is ignoring an acceleration phase, which could possibly be during the entire journey (accelerate to halfway point, decelerate to destination)...

Anyway, Uvah, you are right in that energy and power technology is the limiting factor when it comes to sub-light travelling...but with FTL, we simply have no clue how to do it, and energy is only part of the problem...

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