Science-Based Starships And Colonies Part 3

*** This is Part 3 of a multi-part series. Download a free version of this article from the Freebies page at Raymond Towers Dot Com. ***

Lunar Bases

The most important factor in setting up a lunar colony is WHY would you do it? Simply explaining this off as a research center, such as in the Space 1999 scenario, is not feasibly enough. The most valuable material found on Luna is Helium 3, but it simply isn’t worth the trouble to set up a base and mine for that because of the vast amount of regolith that has to be sifted through to get at the Helium 3. Other abundant lunar material such as oxygen, silicon and nickel we already have plenty of.

Solar power is good for a moon base, as Luna’s thinner atmosphere lets a lot more sunlight in. Vehicles running on solar energy would be ideal. Solar collectors built as towers would get more sun because the horizon wouldn’t obscure them. Polar bases would get sunlight longer than equatorial bases. Nuclear power is a good second choice.

Glass or clear surface domes are a bad choice for moon bases. This is because of the heavy amounts of solar and cosmic radiation that would normally be blocked off or filtered on Earth, but they won’t be on Luna. A better choice would be an underground base, or a surface base covered with moon regolith with mirrors reflecting sunlight in.

Communication time between the moon and Earth would lag by 4 to 5 seconds. This would make for stunted conversations and clunky Earth people to Luna robot remote control.

Telescopes and giant lasers could be built bigger and will work more efficiently than on Earth.

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Space Colony Notes

Dunbar’s Number – This estimates the approximate number of people one individual needs around them to maintain healthy social and romantic relationships.

About 5 – very close friends

15 – 20 – good friends

35 – 50 – acquaintances

150 – 160 – total members in a tribe

Over 160 – additional recognizable people

A colony of 10,000 people is calculated to double every 25 years. It would take approx. 500 years for the initial colony to reach Earth’s present population.

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Dead Aliens

Wrap your head around this, which I tried to simplify a bit. If, in the last 10 billion years, 10% of stars spawned an intelligent civilization, and if each civilization is visible for an average of 10,000 years, then every 1 million stars would have 1 currently visible civilization. This area would be a circle of 400 light years in radius. That means that theoretically we would have at least one other intelligent, interstellar species, besides us, somewhere around us right now. In a sci-fi scenario, that would translate to one space-capable species every 400 light years.

Two good candidate solar systems for possible extinct alien species are 82 G Eridan and Delta Pavonis. Both stars are about 20 light years away from Earth, and are estimated to be at least 6 billion years old. The species on any life-supporting planets would have gone extinct hundred of thousands or millions of years ago. There would be nothing left of their society except rubble, and no ruins or buried technology as seen in pop movies. A destroyed or collapsed atmosphere might cause some artifacts to erode slower. Artifacts might last longer on moons, unless meteor impacts have demolished them.

Arriving colonists would not be colonizing planets right away, as they would have mastered space habitats and interstellar, long duration travel by then. They won’t jump off their ship immediately. A colonizing ship might first spot alien technology on a moon, and send probes in for a closer look. A manned exploration vessel would go in next. If any habitats, doors or walls are found, explorers will not try to enter them. They will use drills to make holes, keeping internal pressures intact, and send in devices with cameras attached to them.

Explorers might take the door apart for study on how it was constructed. They will not try to pressurize any structures so they can walk around without space suits, because this will cause oxygen to be present that would erode any sensitive artifacts. If the aliens from the moon base watched their home planet get destroyed due to war or disaster, they may have left a record of their culture behind, including mummified bodies and a collection of their accomplishments and knowledge. The last survivors might even leave a trail of clues to the bottom of a shaded crater, where colder temperatures can preserve bodies or other artifacts for a longer time than on the surface. It is even possible that DNA or other genetic material might be hidden there that would allow these people or their clones to be replicated.

Not every single living creature on an extinct planet might have perished. Life might still be found in the bottom of the oceans, or in deep cave systems.

As a general rule of thumb, the more advanced a civilization is, the faster its tech will degrade and vanish. Think about that! We’re more likely to find cave paintings on an extinct alien planet than computer chips!

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Improbability Issues

This topic strays away from the main purpose of the article. I thought it worthwhile to include it, as I will certainly delve into quantum jumping and multi-verse subplots in my fiction project.

Mechanistic Universe – Everything in the universe runs strictly on mathematical principles. There is no random chance or novelty, as the future is predetermined and can be predicted by math. (Westworld, Season 3 delves into this concept.)

Copenhagen Interpretation – There is only one reality, and everything within the universe is in a constant state of flux. The future is random or novel until an observer witnesses it. The fluctuation is going on at the atomic level. (See the example of Shrodinger’s Cat.)

Many Worlds Theory – In this theory, everything that can possibly happen does happen on an infinite number of worlds. (See the Butterfly Effect in Time Travel paradox speculation. Basically, this is where something minor you do today can affect people greatly in the far future.)

Pilot Wave Theory – This wasn’t mentioned in the video I watched, but I thought it worthy of inclusion. In this theory, a ball is dropped into viscous liquid that has no friction, bounces an infinite number of times and creates new ripples with every bounce. These ripples intersect each other as seen in the Double Slit Experiment. They represent space-time and can be measured as a range or pattern. The uniqueness of Pilot Wave Theory, from my metaphysical perspective, is who initially drops the ball? Just like you need an observer to create the Double Slit Experiment by shooting photons through apertures, in Pilot Wave you need an initiator to start the process. None of the other theories proposed by scientists really addresses the idea of Intelligent Design.

Moving on; if you become Dr. Who and transport yourself to a location on another world, is the person who arrives at the destination truly you, or is it a collection of your possibly false memories? If a super 3D printer maps you down to the atomic level and reproduces you, is that really you? Can there be two of you at once, and is the You on a different planet the same as the You on Earth? Isaac Arthur put together a very good and though-provoking analysis, which I will jot down below.

Dyson Dilemma Conditions

1. It is actually possible to build a Dyson Sphere, and doing so makes sense.

2. It is possible to engage in interstellar colonization.

3. No method of power generation exists which is vastly superior to stars, nor can matter and energy simply be summoned from nowhere for free.

4. Faster Than Light Travel, or to travel to other realities or dimensions, is either not possible or not incredibly easy.

5. Civilizations do not inevitably wipe themselves out.

6. Most civilizations will expand their population, territory and resources if they can comfortably do so.

Following these conditions, a civilization doesn’t need to expand and colonize into space. Potentially, it can travel to other realities or dimensions, find a suitable new planet there with the right living conditions or resources, and simply take what it needs. If that’s the case, we might be competing with other Earths that develop the same inter-dimensional travel methods for the best new planets out there.

Again, if you travel to another universe, is it your data or your mass? If your data is duplicated from empty space-matter, i.e. reassembly of atoms, that’s not you. If it is your actual mass that travels from Point A to Point B, then you’ve just added mass and energy to another dimension, therefore increasing the size of the new universe and decreasing it from the one you’ve left behind. In Many Worlds Theory, your jumping from one place to the next could theoretically happen trillions of times, with only a small variance between your selves.

(See the story of John Titor, Time Traveler, for a Many Worlds Theory where similar worlds have variances between 3 and 5 percent. That also ties in with Quantum / Mandela Effect where some people, like myself, are noticing how the universe is constantly changing around them in all aspects.)

Isaac Arthur doesn’t like Many Worlds Theory. I heard one physicist stating that nature would conserve its energy with temporary time-line splits, or short tributaries in a river of time, that would later join back up with the main body. That makes more sense to me, based on what I can see in Earth nature and biological or weather cycles. Nature does not simply waste its energy. From a metaphysical point of view, it also makes sense, as some people have very strange experiences that defy what is known in physics, events that cannot be replicated and are usually dismissed by academia, but which are very real for the person who went through them. Reality refuses to be categorized and defined by Science.

In a Hologram Universe, Many Worlds and time-line splits are as possible as a person playing a video game, having their character die, and then resuming the game with a revived character. If your video game character dies and is revived, is it really the same character, or a different one? Could this be compared to an Out Of Body or Near Death Experience? Do you see what I’m saying now, about transporting yourself to another planet / dimension and you still being you?

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Sources

Dead Aliens by Isaac Arthur (Youtube)

Infinite Improbability Issues by Isaac Arthur (Youtube)

Interstellar Colonization by Isaac Arthur (Youtube)

Interstellar Highways by Isaac Arthur (Youtube)

Megastructures 04 – Rotating Habitats by Isaac Arthur (Youtube)

Moon Base Concepts by Isaac Arthur (Youtube)

O’Neill Cylinder, article on Wikipedia

Space Habitats, article on Wikipedia

Stanford Torus, article on Wikipedia

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