Author Topic: Can We Ever Colonize Space?  (Read 13381 times)

Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« on: March 05, 2013, 01:38:33 AM »
I think the answer is no.

Here's a few reasons why.

1) All life on planet Earth conforms to the Schumann Resonance (a set of spectrum peaks in the extremely low frequency (ELF) portion of the Earth's electromagnetic field spectrum). Changes in the ELF can cause problems with biological life... whale beachings, mass bird deaths, etc. It would seem that life on Earth is biorhythmically tuned to the Earth's magnetic field. To live on other planets would require that planet's EMF to conform to this small range of frequencies. Dis-conformity could result in health issues: sleep problems, biological clock, etc.

2) Day length, atmospheric content, specific gravity, etc. Our biology is attuned to this planet and our chemistry depends on these cycles. With the already astronomically low probability of finding another planet that could sustain life, it narrows our choices down to only those planets which are "Earth-like," having similar size, day length, atmosphere, EMF resonance, etc... There may be many out there but the chance of us finding one close enough to visit is highly unlikely. We might even have to go as far as another galaxy to find the right Goldilocks planet that is just like Earth. It would take us 100,000 years traveling at light speed to cross from one side of the Milky Way to the other, so we can hardly expect to find another Earth-like planet any time soon. If we're lucky, then maybe we find one after about a million years of searching, and that aint none too practical!

3) Our females reproduction rhythms are influenced by the Moon's gravity... tidal forces which regulates the 28 day menstrual cycle. Without our Moon these cycles might lose rhythm and go 'out of whack,' so to speak. It could result in serious health problems for women, and who knows what effect it could have, long-term, for reproduction. If nothing else, it may be likely to reduce the rate of reliability reproduction, which could really slow the progress of a growing space colony. If it turns out we can't reproduce at all away from Earth, well... that's that then, I guess.

4) Speed of light limitation. Until and IF we can crack that nut, then maybe... but as it is there would seem no way to get from here to there in anything even remotely resembling a reasonable amount of time. Even if we're patient and send a rocket ship full of colonists, knowing we won't hear from them for 500 or so years, a lot can happen in that time. Could we really expect our colonists would remain loyal after so long? Would some evolution take place in that short time, splitting us into separate species? What could we hope to maintain in common with people we haven't seen in half a millennium?

Depending on how readily we can adapt to a drastically new environment, then maybe it's possible we could live on other planets. I doubt that we could without the aid of drugs or genetic engineering to adapt us to the new planet, and even so, we might possibly produce an entirely new species in the process... one acclimated to THAT planet alone. So if we colonize the galaxy, we probably won't be able to maintain our current Human form. We will have to artificially evolve to suit the new environments. And I don't think "Terra-forming" is anything other than a science fiction pipe dream.

The good news is we don't have to live on other planets and don't really have to worry about running out of resources. All the stuff we'll ever need (and then some) can be found in the many asteroids right here in our solar system; water, mineral resources, etc. So all we need to do is travel within our own solar system and mine those resources. Of course, we still have a finite amount of land area on good 'ole Earth, so we'll have to maintain a population limit if we're going to make the long haul.

What do you guys think?
Where am I right?
Where am I wrong, and did I leave anything out?

Or if I'm just completely crazy then just say, "There goes that silly Blind Swordsman again... slashing at shadows again!"  :P

(No subject)
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 01:59:15 AM »
Yes. I belive Carl Sagan's "glorious dawn" indeed awaits us.


However, I have a couple of bones to pick with some of your asserted issues. Namely, the effect of the Moon's gravity on our bodies very negligible. IIRC, Neil Tyson said it amounts to something like a trillion times weaker the force exterted on your head by your pillow. Unless you mean it's the tidal forces that affect female reproductive systems? If so, I've no knowledge on that tidbit. :P

I don't think 500 years would be enough to to diverge an entirely knew species. If we have found a way to circumvent FTL travel (say, by contracting and expanding space itself), we'll have already reached a technological point to where environments themselves are of practically NO concern in regards to our survival. And that notwithstanding, 500 years might not be enough time for those humans to have become genetically different enough to prevent reproduction with them... ;D
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Offline Plu

(No subject)
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 02:25:01 AM »
I don't think anyone 30 years ago could have predicted what today looks like. I don't feel comfortable making predictions about what is and is not possible, but considering the track record of science so far I'd say there's a good chance we'll figure something out in the end.

They said the same things about flight once, and the moon next, and we've already reached Mars and are preparing to send the first colonists... so yeah.
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Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 04:49:15 AM »
Quote from: "Zatoichi"
Can We Ever Colonize Space?

Yes, easily.

There's been a constant human presence in space for quite some time now.  All of your little worries can easily be addressed with a little trip through Google.
Winner of WitchSabrinas Best Advice Award 2012


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tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. -Plato

Offline moog

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2013, 08:35:40 AM »
I see a few problems here.

Quote from: "Zatoichi"
1) All life on planet Earth conforms to the Schumann Resonance ....

This is false.

Quote from: "Zatoichi"
3) Our females reproduction rhythms are influenced by the Moon's gravity... tidal forces which regulates the 28 day menstrual cycle.

As is this.

Quote from: "Zatoichi"
4) Speed of light limitation. Until and IF we can crack that nut, then maybe... but as it is there would seem no way to get from here to there in anything even remotely resembling a reasonable amount of time. Even if we're patient and send a rocket ship full of colonists, knowing we won't hear from them for 500 or so years, a lot can happen in that time. Could we really expect our colonists would remain loyal after so long? Would some evolution take place in that short time, splitting us into separate species? What could we hope to maintain in common with people we haven't seen in half a millennium?

This is a problem, there have been a few good studies on the problems of interstellar travel (see "Prospects for Interstellar Travel" J. Mauldin.
From an evolutionary perspective 500 years is nothing though.

Offline stromboli

(No subject)
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2013, 09:12:20 AM »
The present space station is a bad example. Without support from earth it would not exist. To build a self sustaining environment is probably possible, but the fact is efforts at building totally self sufficient systems have not been very successful. The asteroid belt is a possibility, since it could provide both places on which to base a structure and raw materials for building it. But frankly I think we are a long way from any such capabilities now.
You would essentially have to build an entire ecosphere from scratch and be able to produce viable food crops or sources, waste systems, energy systems and so on. Tough job.
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(No subject)
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2013, 10:27:35 AM »
I'm going to have to disagree. I think it's not only possible, but inevitable. All of the environmental problems(Weight loss, radiation...etc) will no doubt be solved in the future. And as for speed limitations, I'm sure that in future we will find some way to get around that pesky "Speed of light" thing! :) I mean, c'mon, it's the future!
"The idea of getting a, y\'know, syringe full of heroin and shooting it in the vein under my cock right now seems like almost a productive act." -Bill Hicks

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2013, 10:27:43 AM »
I think all but your fourth has been shown to not be a major problem with current human presence in space. The vast distances involved will be a major impediment, even within our solar system much less interstellar travel. There's plenty of resources within a year or two flight using today's propulsion technology, though, ie. the moon, Mars, asteroid belt, maybe Venus though it's a pretty hostile environment, Jupiter & Saturn moons.

As stromboli mentioned, self-sustainability will be difficult, but I don't think anywhere near impossible to overcome. Most resources should be attainable out there, food will be the hard one since it needs to be grown, at least until we can come up with a decent artificial source like a meat vat or Star Trek replicator type machine that can assemble passable food at the molecular level.
"When you landed on the moon, that was the point when God should have come up and said hello. Because if you invent some creatures and you put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, then you fucking turn up and say, 'Well done.' It's just a polite thing to do." - Eddie Izzard

Offline Plu

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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 10:36:00 AM »
I'm not sure how much longer it'll take before we can mechanically build edible substances from carbon, hydrogen and some trace atoms. Vitamins and minerals are the toughest ones, but we only need a few of those. A few tablets a day can sustain us as far as vitamins go. The rest is just filler material that (I think?) has a pretty simple molecular structure.

Of course I'm only a laymen so I might be interpreting some things wrong.
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Offline _Xenu_

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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2013, 11:01:36 AM »
I dont the light barrier is necessarily a deal breaker if we can figure out how to put people in long term stasis. Doing so also takes away the need to bring much in the way of supplies, and can save enormously on energy because speed is no particular issue. In addition, lower speeds actually make space travel safer, as they reduce the impact of collision with space debris. On the other hand, I don't think a "generation ship," in which people live, breed, and die on the vessel, would be a particularly good idea.
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Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2013, 12:14:58 PM »
Quote from: "Zatoichi"
I think the answer is no.

Here's a few reasons why.

1) . . . Schumann Resonance . . .

Life adapts to environmental change. Not really a problem, although the period during which species were adapting might be kind of rocky.

Quote
2) Day length, atmospheric content, specific gravity, etc.
Life adapts. See above.

Quote
3) Our females reproduction rhythms are influenced by the Moon's gravity . . .
Not really.

Quote
4) Speed of light limitation.
There are two possible answers to this problem: A generational ship, in which the great-grandchildren of the original settlers are the ones who actually reach their destination; Some sort of stasis or hibernation, which is theoretically possible.

The real problems with colonizing other planets are:

1) Our biosphere is not simply plants growing in dirt. The soil is inhabited by a complex of microscopic life-forms, all of which work together to create fertile soil. Without Earth microbes to break down Earth plants, those plants will not turn into Earth dirt, which provides nutrients for more Earth plants. We would need to either find a completely sterile yet habitable planet, or sterilize the soil of our destination planet. Both options create some serious logistical problems.

2) Stars (like the Sun) emit hard radiation which will kill all life if it's not shielded. Any candidate for colonization will need to have an iron core like Earth's in order to generate Van Allen belts to shield the planet from stellar radiation. This is why colonies on Mars or the Moon would need to be underground.

On the upside, we have this very handy Moon orbiting Earth, and we can experiment with creating habitable bio-domes underground on the Moon. Once we work out the kinks in that system, we can move on to Mars, learning as we go. By the time we're ready to attempt interstellar colonization (a few centuries away, at least), we will have overcome the significant obstacles to colonization.

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2013, 05:19:37 PM »
^ Excellent post Davka. :-)

However, @Xenu I've a slight bone to pick; one thing isn't totally correct. Yes, slower speeds in space would be safer.... if in a collision scenario both parties are moving slow and aren't massive in size. Otherwise we still get splattered across an asteroid. <("o.o)>
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Offline _Xenu_

Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2013, 05:33:26 PM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
^ Excellent post Davka. :-)

However, @Xenu I've a slight bone to pick; one thing isn't totally correct. Yes, slower speeds in space would be safer.... if in a collision scenario both parties are moving slow and aren't massive in size. Otherwise we still get splattered across an asteroid. <("o.o)>
Well, I did assume the other object was stationary and fairly small, but the computer may be able to steer around larger ones, which is less of a problem re: fuel at lower speeds. This whole long distance space travel thing becomes much simpler if you're in stasis and it doesn't matter how long it takes. Theres no reason we can't colonize the galaxy at sublight speeds, it will just much, much longer.
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Re: Can We Ever Colonize Space?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2013, 06:19:28 PM »
Quote from: "_Xenu_"
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
^ Excellent post Davka. :-)

However, @Xenu I've a slight bone to pick; one thing isn't totally correct. Yes, slower speeds in space would be safer.... if in a collision scenario both parties are moving slow and aren't massive in size. Otherwise we still get splattered across an asteroid. <("o.o)>
Well, I did assume the other object was stationary and fairly small, but the computer may be able to steer around larger ones, which is less of a problem re: fuel at lower speeds. This whole long distance space travel thing becomes much simpler if you're in stasis and it doesn't matter how long it takes. Theres no reason we can't colonize the galaxy at sublight speeds, it will just much, much longer.
Detecting large bodies in interstellar space would be a serious pain in the ass. They would be so far from any light-source that they would reflect almost no light, and block almost no light. Reflection and eclipse are the two methods we use to detect extra-Solar planets, so I'm not sure how we would be able to detect any large body in deep space. All the space sci-fi shows that depict planets and asteroids in deep space which are magically visible are completely wrong. The Enterprise would not be able to put a deep-space asteroid on-screen, because the asteroid would be as black as the rest of space.

What might work is radar, but it would require constant energy output in pinging the path ahead and reading the reflections. And it might even restrict the possible speed of the craft, since you wouldn't want to approach the speed of light, because that would render the radar useless.

IMO, either we figure out how to fold space-time, or we stay inside the Solar system. Unless we can freeze people for a couple of centuries and thaw them out when they get where they're going, that is.

Offline _Xenu_

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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2013, 06:25:20 PM »
I was actually wondering about Radar. It does rely on echolocation and there's so sound in space. Im not sure either way, but I know at the very least the ship would be restricted to the speed of sound. As an alternative, lasers could possibly be used to illuminate objects on a collision course by making them visible combined with AI to interpret the results. Now, I wouldn't recommend firing them constantly because that would drain too much energy over time. Wouldn't constantly ping radar for the same reason. Im not saying this would be risk free, just more practical than any other method I'm aware of. And yes, I am talking about freezing people. We could always pick them up later if we develop some sort of functional warp drive, but I'm trying to think about what could be practical within a few centuries. We have at least some of the technology now.
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