Author Topic: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home  (Read 7330 times)

Offline sanman

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Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« on: 05/06/2017 12:10 AM »
Physicist Stephen Hawking says that humanity must find a new home to live on within a century, or else face possible extinction - hopefully he's not just trying to upstage Bill Maher:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/05/05/stephen-hawking-just-moved-up-humanitys-deadline-for-escaping-earth/

Does that sound about right? Or is it like a Doomsday Clock thing, where the deadline gets moved forward or backward depending on what's going on in the world today?

Hawking is supposed to be signed up for a suborbital trip to space on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo - so at least he's putting his money where his mouth is.

Is this deadline a realistically achievable goal? I'm assuming that Mars and the Moon would be the earliest targets, and maybe also some choice asteroids.

Can it be achieved with room to spare? (ie. we still get to keep Earth in good shape and have these off-world living spaces - or are we destined to keep overloading things down here until we're literally forced to go off-world?)

Offline RonM

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #1 on: 05/06/2017 01:22 AM »
I hate to say anything bad about Stephen Hawking, but this is ridiculous.

Colonies on the Moon and Mars are a good idea. However, fixing problems on Earth is also a good idea. We should do both.

Planetary defense is being looked at, there's a seed bank just in case, population increase is slowing, climate change is being taken seriously by nearly everyone, there's research into stopping pandemics, etc. If the world keeps working on these issues we'll continue on.

Offline colbourne

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #2 on: 05/06/2017 06:59 AM »
I think what Stephen Hawking is saying is that if we don't go soon, we might find we never get the chance to go due to other problems taking priority followed by a collapse of the human civilization.

There is probably no rush according to meteor strikes or natural catastrophes but whether we have an Earth economy which can afford to go is another matter. Religious fundamentalism and wars are a likely problem. Over population , food and energy shortages will all distract us from getting off planet.

Offline RonM

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #3 on: 05/06/2017 01:57 PM »
That is similar to Musk's motivation for a Mars colony. Sounds like they believe we're at the height of our technological civilization and this will be our only opportunity to expand into space. Nothing lasts forever, but considering we survived the 20th century, they are being pessimistic.

Trying to convince people by saying "the sky is falling" doesn't work. It's alarmist and doesn't help credibility. They'll get more of the Bill Maher ridicule response, making it harder to get funding.

Offline scienceguy

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #4 on: 05/06/2017 04:07 PM »
Maybe Stephen Hawking said his to inspire scientists and engineers to develop better propulsion technology and power generation technology.
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Offline WBY1984

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #5 on: 05/06/2017 04:11 PM »
Stephen Hawking says lots of things these days, most of which has nothing to do with theoretical physics.

Offline sanman

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #6 on: 05/06/2017 10:00 PM »
But is it a realistic timeline? Can we get self-sustaining settlement going on Moon & Mars?

Would be quite a sight to behold, if we did.

Offline Proponent

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #7 on: 05/07/2017 03:30 AM »
None of the four types of apocalypses mentions in the article strike me as likely to make Earth less habitable than anywhere else in the solar system.

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #8 on: 05/07/2017 04:37 AM »
The Moon, Mars and probably Titan are the three most likely places mankind could live as 'colonies' with the right application of technology and commitment. I think the Colonies on Mars idea is rather overstated at this moment in time - establishing several Antarctica Base analogues on Mars and the Moon first to 'iron out the bugs' of day to day living on other worlds would give mankind enormous practical knowledge of how to do it anywhere else later. I doubt we'll see a manned mission to Titan until at least 25-30 years after manned Mars landings.

The Moons and planets of our Solar System relatively suitable for colonization: Moon, Mars, Titan, Ceres, Jupiterís moon Callisto and possibly Ganymede as well.  Titania & Oberon - largest moons of Uranus, and possibly Triton Ė largest moon of Neptune. Though Triton is extremely cold and has very weak surface gravity less than 8% percent of Earth  and orbits Neptune retrograde. Cere's weak gravity might be a problem for human health, too.

And as for Terraforming worlds in our solar system? Would it be worth it? Maybe not - I'd say it would be cheaper and quicker to send generation Starships to Earth like worlds in close star systems.
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Offline vapour_nudge

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #9 on: 05/07/2017 05:00 AM »
Physicist Stephen Hawking says that humanity must find a new home to live on within a century, or else face possible extinction - hopefully he's not just trying to upstage Bill Maher:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/05/05/stephen-hawking-just-moved-up-humanitys-deadline-for-escaping-earth/

Does that sound about right? Or is it like a Doomsday Clock thing, where the deadline gets moved forward or backward depending on what's going on in the world today?

Hawking is supposed to be signed up for a suborbital trip to space on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo - so at least he's putting his money where his mouth is.

Is this deadline a realistically achievable goal? I'm assuming that Mars and the Moon would be the earliest targets, and maybe also some choice asteroids.

Can it be achieved with room to spare? (ie. we still get to keep Earth in good shape and have these off-world living spaces - or are we destined to keep overloading things down here until we're literally forced to go off-world?)

Theoretical physicist. Well done Stephen. There's a chance I may or may not win the lottery next weekend too

Offline mme

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #10 on: 05/07/2017 08:57 AM »
On the show Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson (NdT) presented the concept that the Earth has survived five apocalyptic events.  So if one ascribes a completely impossible chance of surviving just one event, surviving five should begin to illustrate that there really is nothing to worry about. The system sustains life where it should not exist and may be actively managed thru these disasters.  The system is perfectly designed to give you the results you are now seeing.
...
Earth and life "in general" have survived 5 apocalyptic events. The human species has no track record of surviving such events.

There is no "design" that guarantees the continued existence of the human species. There is no guarantee we will maintain the technological capabilities required nor interest in spaceflight. There is no guarantee that life "in general" will result in one or more species capable of developing spaceflight.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #11 on: 05/07/2017 10:44 AM »
I usually put the horizon of predictable future technology at about 50 years. Even if you cannot imagine any significant threat at this moment, look at the sudden advances from discovering DNA to mapping the human genome, the rise of computers, Einstein to the cold war and the world a single button press away from a very bad day. Future threats will probably exceed what we have seen so far.

To me it is just a no-brainer. It is not that big an investment compared to things like the war industry, which are worse than useless anyway. 1% should be enough, if spent effectively instead of on boondoggles, and the spinoffs would be very useful for mastering self sufficient cities on earth.

Online ThereIWas3

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #12 on: 05/07/2017 01:10 PM »
I am not at all sure that today's modern "growth driven" economy, and the political system it supports, could make it through a massive drop in population along the lines of the Black Death in the 14th century. That is the sort of thing that could happen later this century if the climate models are correct.  (so far, things have been getting worse faster than the models predict)
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Offline dror

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #13 on: 05/07/2017 02:09 PM »
That is similar to Musk's motivation for a Mars colony. Sounds like they believe we're we might be at the height of our technological civilization and this will may be our only opportunity to expand into space.
Now that's a valid argument, isn't it?
As long as we have fear of death, poverty and religious persecution and before they materialize...

Once you put an apocalypse mongerer into a spaceship for a 100 year voyage to the planet Utopia, they're probably going to start bemoaning the design (a lot). 

At some point along the journey, they'll turn the craft around for Earth because the trip is so unpleasant that they'd rather risk going extinct on Earth.
Unless they're sleeping  ;)


That being said, we have better places on earth than anywhere on the solar system.
« Last Edit: 05/07/2017 03:21 PM by dror »
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Offline RonM

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #14 on: 05/07/2017 04:41 PM »
That is similar to Musk's motivation for a Mars colony. Sounds like they believe we're we might be at the height of our technological civilization and this will may be our only opportunity to expand into space.
Now that's a valid argument, isn't it?
As long as we have fear of death, poverty and religious persecution and before they materialize...

Yes, going from "we are" to "we might" makes a big difference. It's the "100 years to find a new home" absolute statement I disagree with.

To me it is just a no-brainer. It is not that big an investment compared to things like the war industry, which are worse than useless anyway. 1% should be enough, if spent effectively instead of on boondoggles, and the spinoffs would be very useful for mastering self sufficient cities on earth.

A small 1% investment in preparing for the worst is very reasonable. It's like buying insurance.

Some disasters can be avoided or mitigated. For the ones that can't, it would be nice to have resources in place to prevent the fall of our civilization.

Offline DAZ

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #15 on: 05/07/2017 06:33 PM »
What is probably driving Stephen Hawkingís thinking is the Drake equation and Fermiís Paradox.  Although the Drake equation was not intended to give absolute numbers for the number of technologically advanced intelligent life it can get you close enough to suggest some very real possible outcomes.  We donít have enough information, at this time, to truthfully fill in the Drake equation but we are making very good progress toward filling in all but the last variable.  It is this last variable where Fermiís Paradox comes in.  With the limited information, we have to fill in the Drake equation it is becoming quite obvious that the last parameter is the most critical.  This last parameter is the average life expectancy of a technologically advanced society.  With the limited information we have for the Drake equation if this last parameter is over 10,000 years not only should technologically advanced intelligent life be readily observable but most likely should have visited us multiple times by now.  And this is the Fermiís Paradox.  Where are all of these technologically advanced intelligent societies?  In fact, it has been estimated that if this last parameter is 1000 years with our ongoing SETI surveys we should have seen something by now.  As we fill in more of the Drake equation it is been suggested that this last parameter needs to be in the hundreds of years.  If that is the case then we have used up almost half of this number already.

Nobody really knows what the answer to Fermiís Paradox is.  There are many suggested possible theories to this paradox.  The most worrisome ones in this particular case are not the knowns but the unknown possibilities.  We know enough to calculate things like asteroid impacts but what we donít know is things like bioengineered organisms.  The list of possible unknown unknowns grows every year as we become more technologically advanced.  This opens up the possibility that there might be only a relatively narrow window of opportunity for a technologically advanced intelligence to escape its ultimate demise.  You canít say with absolute certainty which trigger pull will be the one that gets you when youíre playing Russian roulette.  You can say with an absolute certainty that if you play Russian roulette long enough that the outcome is assured.  All you really can say is that the more and sooner this technologically advanced society spreads out the less likely any possible situation can end this society.

The Drake equation/Fermiís Paradox is what I believe is driving many of these people to say we must do these things sooner because most likely there wonít be a later.
« Last Edit: 05/07/2017 08:45 PM by DAZ »

Online QuantumG

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #16 on: 05/08/2017 04:33 AM »
   Species visiting Earth seeking refuge from their own apocalypse: 0

Maybe you just haven't found the right pair of glasses.

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Offline zodiacchris

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #17 on: 05/08/2017 07:18 AM »
Yes, those five global extinction events haven't been much of a drag for the single cell organisms, bacteria and other really small creatures, but it kinda sucks if you weigh more than a rat.  >:(
At the end of the Permian period, over 90% of all species died, yay. And that was a pretty rubbish time in Siberia, too...

We have used up all the easily accessible ore and fossil energy reserves on the planet. If our current civilisation comes crashing down and we regress to a low technology, post industrial society, it will be extremely hard to bootstrap out of that again.

No more oil in Texas at a depth of 20 feet, no easily accessible copper or iron, apart from the ruins of the cities. We have chewed this planet up pretty good so far, and are not leaving much on the plate.

If we miss this window of opportunity, which could close any day now, if somebody starts a nuclear war or the global economy really tanks, we will not get of this rock. And developing the technology won't cost more than the average little dirty war that we are starting every few years.

War, disease, rapid climate change, economical collapse, totalitarian regimes, AI, oh yes, meteor coming our way while we are to busy staring at our cellphones.

My 2 cents worth as geologist and environmental scientist...
« Last Edit: 05/08/2017 07:20 AM by zodiacchris »

Offline Oli

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #18 on: 05/08/2017 08:10 AM »

No extinction event could render Earth less habitable than Mars or other places in the solar system.

So even if one believes the doomsday cultists (which I don't, I think they're all bonkers), it's no argument for colonizing the solar system.

Offline ciscosdad

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #19 on: 05/08/2017 08:19 AM »
To me, the economy and political instability are the near term threats. This needs to be done now while its possible.
Something that half kills us will confine us here until the real deal arrives.
Elon has it dead to rights. So does Stephen Hawking.

Offline blasphemer

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #20 on: 05/08/2017 08:33 AM »

No extinction event could render Earth less habitable than Mars or other places in the solar system.

So even if one believes the doomsday cultists (which I don't, I think they're all bonkers), it's no argument for colonizing the solar system.

Sun turning into a red giant certainly will. In the long term (more than a billion years), Earth is doomed and space is the only way for humanity (and life in general) to survive.

And in order to colonize space, we need to have an advanced technological society. Merely surviving on Earth is not enough, or it will be our tomb. Now, can you guarantee that current advanced technological society on Earth will be a norm, and not just a temporary exception? You cannot. Therefore we should seize the opportunity while it lasts and attempt to expand into space now, since we may not get another chance.
« Last Edit: 05/08/2017 08:35 AM by blasphemer »

Offline alexterrell

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #21 on: 05/08/2017 08:46 AM »

No extinction event could render Earth less habitable than Mars or other places in the solar system.

So even if one believes the doomsday cultists (which I don't, I think they're all bonkers), it's no argument for colonizing the solar system.
But could it render the Earth less inhabited than Mars?

Or, a reasonably common Sci-Fi theme: Something happens on Earth like a nuclear war or a biological agent which destroys the level of technology people on Earth have. A few billion people survive in poverty as global supply chains collapse.

People from Moon / Mars / L5 colony keep technology and civilisation and get Earth back up and running again.

Offline alexterrell

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #22 on: 05/08/2017 08:51 AM »
The other point that could be driving Hawking's concerns:

Civilisations have to expand or stagnate and contract. We see this with many "Empires".

If "Earth" stagnates, with a rising population, and declining living standards, it could lose the ability to expand and colonise other places. Especially if falling living standards are reinforced with the occasional small nuclear war.

It's perhaps a Dystopian view. The kinds of societies we see in many sci-fi movies could not support space travel, let alone colonisation. 

Offline IRobot

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #23 on: 05/08/2017 09:13 AM »

Actually Siberia is better than Mars because it is warmer and ACTUALLY HAS OXYGEN. 

I read some of the comments in the WP article.  Best comment was (paraphrased): why attempt to create a whole  new world so very far away... just clean up what you've got.  Can't take this article any further than just trying to sell a newspaper for a day.
Space exploration will be mostly decided by economic reasons. And later for ecological reasons. At some point, asteroid or even perhaps Mars mining will be much more profitable and eco-friendly than extracting materials on Earth.

Same thing happened in the oil industry. When cheap oil was not enough, oil companies just spent billions into offshore drilling.


 why attempt to create a whole  new world so very far away... just clean up what you've got.
Actually the easiest way to clean up Earth is to move mining and industrial production to space.
« Last Edit: 05/08/2017 09:13 AM by IRobot »

Offline Oli

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #24 on: 05/08/2017 10:30 AM »

The worst we can expect is massive climate change due to nuclear war or an impact event. E.g. a 8į drop in global temperature. That might kill billions, but it would still leave Earth infinitely more habitable than Mars.

a reasonably common Sci-Fi theme

The Fi in Sci-Fi stands for fiction. Most Sci-Fi is nonsense.

Offline mme

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #25 on: 05/08/2017 04:56 PM »

No extinction event could render Earth less habitable than Mars or other places in the solar system.

So even if one believes the doomsday cultists (which I don't, I think they're all bonkers), it's no argument for colonizing the solar system.
This is a non-sequitor.  An asteroid strike on Earth could result in the deaths of billions of people and the collapse of our technological society. Maybe we survive as a species, maybe we don't. Maybe we eventually rebuild to our current state of an "almost spacefaring" species, maybe we don't.

Less habitable is irrelevant as long they are self-sufficient. This isn't about the ability to host microbial life or having an atmosphere, it's about maintaining knowledge and capability.

The total collapse of modern civilization is unlikely but not impossible.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline Oli

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #26 on: 05/08/2017 06:21 PM »
Less habitable is irrelevant as long they are self-sufficient. This isn't about the ability to host microbial life or having an atmosphere, it's about maintaining knowledge and capability.

That makes no sense whatsoever. If you want to maintain "knowledge and capability", build bunkers and data vaults here on Earth, it's infinitely cheaper.

Offline mme

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #27 on: 05/08/2017 08:14 PM »
Less habitable is irrelevant as long they are self-sufficient. This isn't about the ability to host microbial life or having an atmosphere, it's about maintaining knowledge and capability.

That makes no sense whatsoever. If you want to maintain "knowledge and capability", build bunkers and data vaults here on Earth, it's infinitely cheaper.
Maybe.

A pre-existing self-sufficient "colony" on Earth that can handle all potential eventualities (including nuclear fallout, biological weapon, extinction of large photosynthesizing species and all animals larger than a mouse do to an asteroid or mega-volcanos, etc?) And of course armed to fight off any "unwelcome" survivors needing food, shelter, medical supplies, etc. Do people live there before the unexpected disaster occurs? How do they get there after? Seems pretty difficult and expensive build.

I think self-sufficient colonies off of Earth, created for other reasons, are more likely to occur than a survivalist Earth based bunker/colony that actually works. Off world colonies will be motivated to be self-sufficient for basic survival and for financial reasons.
« Last Edit: 05/08/2017 08:15 PM by mme »
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Offline bad_astra

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #28 on: 05/08/2017 11:06 PM »
but it would still leave Earth infinitely more habitable than Mars.


We don't need gravity wells to settle the solar system. If anything they seem to be an idea that keeps getting in the way of getting started.
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #29 on: 05/09/2017 01:44 AM »
@QuantumG:  you have to see the movie "They Live".  Best line in the entire history of Hollywood.... "I've come here to chew bubblegum, and kick buttocks.  And I'm all out of bubblegum".  People could see aliens with the right pair of glasses.

Ya don't say.
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Online QuantumG

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #30 on: 05/09/2017 01:44 AM »
That makes no sense whatsoever. If you want to maintain "knowledge and capability", build bunkers and data vaults here on Earth, it's infinitely cheaper.

We're not doing that either.
Non-commercial spaceflight and filicide  http://tylervigen.com/view_correlation?id=185

Offline tdperk

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #31 on: 05/10/2017 12:17 AM »
The official score is:
   Earth surviving an apocalypse: 5
   Species visiting Earth seeking refuge from their own apocalypse: 0

Well, that we know of.

Offline tdperk

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #32 on: 05/10/2017 12:17 AM »
That makes no sense whatsoever. If you want to maintain "knowledge and capability", build bunkers and data vaults here on Earth, it's infinitely cheaper.

We're not doing that either.

Where'd you get that idea?

Offline tdperk

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #33 on: 05/10/2017 12:22 AM »
Large scale manufacturing in space is pure fantasy.  There are red herrings such as the supercollider and bridges to nowhere.  Total buttered unicorn fantasy.  The funding to do this is better spent on Earth. 

Think about it from an economic perspective.  A venture capitalist puts their largess down on a facility with an expectation of a return on inestment near 7x the original investment.  Net present value is buried below zero.  It's a no go.

For taxpayers to fund this is immoral. 

The worlds economy is standardized off of oil, not precious metals such as gold/silver.

No, it's standardizing on watts, as stored in differing petrochemicals for now.  It will be standardized on watts beamed in from solar power satellites, precisely because of their ROI.


Taxpayers won't thank you if you were to prevent them from getting in on the "ground floor"*.

*I apologize for the pun, I could not resist.


Online QuantumG

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #34 on: 05/10/2017 12:26 AM »
Where'd you get that idea?

It's not the 1950's anymore?

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Offline tdperk

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #35 on: 05/10/2017 12:31 AM »
I believe the leading contender for explaining the Fermi Paradox is that something/someones are very quiet, careful, deadly, and jealous--and they go around stomping on emerging civilizations prophylactically.

The next leading contender is that in our ability to observe space, we happen locally to be first.

Next leading explanation is that the fraction of a technological civilization's lifespan that is spent caring about such things and being observable to us is so short, that many have "ascended" and watch us no more interestedly than most people do fungi.

I do kind of hope it's that second one.

Anyone else feel impressed by "The Toolmaker Koan" by McLoughlin or "Star Child" by Hogan?
« Last Edit: 05/10/2017 12:44 AM by tdperk »

Offline tdperk

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #36 on: 05/10/2017 12:33 AM »
Where'd you get that idea?

It's not the 1950's anymore?

And what's your point?

Just from my library the better part of the industrial, chemical, and electronics industries could be re-created--and a book with a bullet-hole in it is still a book.  And there are a lot of libraries.  That leaves alone my machine shop and woodworking tools.  I believe the Wayback Machine is saving most of YouTube deep underground, as well as most of the rest of the Internet first surface.

There is the artic seed bank, and the like, the salt mines filled with records and data.

I'm not sure what you are looking for that you aren't seeing.
« Last Edit: 05/10/2017 12:36 AM by tdperk »

Offline kch

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #37 on: 05/10/2017 01:25 AM »

I believe the leading contender for explaining the Fermi Paradox is that something/someones are very quiet, careful, deadly, and jealous--and they go around stomping on emerging civilizations prophylactically.

"Pest Control", eh?  That might qualify as Community Service, in the wider view -- after all, we know what humans are like ... ;)

Offline DAZ

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #38 on: 05/10/2017 01:50 AM »
I believe the leading contender for explaining the Fermi Paradox is that something/someones are very quiet, careful, deadly, and jealous--and they go around stomping on emerging civilizations prophylactically.

The next leading contender is that in our ability to observe space, we happen locally to be first.

Next leading explanation is that the fraction of a technological civilization's lifespan that is spent caring about such things and being observable to us is so short, that many have "ascended" and watch us no more interestedly than most people do fungi.

I do kind of hope it's that second one.

Anyone else feel impressed by "The Toolmaker Koan" by McLoughlin or "Star Child" by Hogan?

There is speculation of dozens of possible answers to Fermiís Paradox.  Some of them are very wild and extreme while others are more pedestrian.  There are a few leading contenders for the more probable answers.

One of the leading contenders that are the more worrisome in this regard has to do with the unknowns.  Almost all the speculation about what could end an advanced technological civilization has to do with something that is foreseeable.  An asteroid strike, nuclear war, or some kind of self-induced environmental damage.  The problem with these kinds of scenarios that if you know about them then obviously there foreseeable and being foreseeable this said civilization shouldíve avoided the problem.  So this implies that whatever caused the end of this civilization must not have been foreseeable and thus unknown and unknowable.  We could speculate on what it is that tends to make it unknowable and thus unavoidable.  For example, you could say it was the rise of AI or the creation of some biological agent through advances in CRISPR technology but again this would seem to be foreseeable.  So maybe there is something about the rise of a technologically advanced civilization that un-foreseeably creates its own end.

This is one of the more worrisome possible scenarios but there is another possible scenario that I personally subscribe to as being more probable.  These advanced technological civilizations just naturally go quiet through advancements in their technology.

The scenario goes something like this.  They advanced technologically to the point where they can generate radio waves.  These 1st radio systems are things like CW, AM, FM, and pulsed radar.  These 1st radio systems are loud, noisy and easy to distinguish from the background noise.  But even being easy to distinguish it has been calculated that detecting these broadcasts out past about 40 to 50 light years would be difficult.  Even using large mile diameter antennas, you would still need to be pointing exactly at us to see us.

As we are advancing our radio technology the systems we are using to modulate the radio waves becomes much more wideband, broadband, and naturally, starts to resemble noise.  In addition, we are starting to using lower and lower powered systems.  When these legacy radio systems that we are using now fade away the range at which we may be detectable might be down to only a handful of light-years.  If other advanced technological civilizations follow a similar trend then there might be only a period of 100 to 200 years that these civilizations might be detectable at all.  So it might not be that the civilizations have a short lifespan, only that there is a short span of time that they can be readily and easily detected by the type of technology we are using.

If the answer to Fermiís Paradox is something along the lines of the 2nd scenario then we have nothing to worry about.  The problem is that we really donít know that the answer to the problem is not the 1st scenario.  If it is something like the 1st scenario then just spreading out to other habitats (whether self-created or not) might be enough to mitigate most of the possible bad scenarios.  Just by going into space we might find the answer(s) to any of these problems and never actually see the worst-case scenarios happen.  For example going into space gives us the technology to see and divert an incoming asteroid.  Learning how to create self-sustaining environments might help us save our existing environment.  If you look at the history of the colonization on our own planet most of the answers to our past problems were found due primarily to the colonization of these new locations.  It would seem most likely that the same thing would happen when we colonize these new locations as well.
 Others have suggested that we should stay on earth and concentrate on solving our present problems.  This could be a catch 22 that might be the 1st scenario.  That is if we stay and try to solve our present problems we quite likely would never develop the tools to solve these problems unless we do go out and colonize.

Ultimately, this space colonization is such a small infinitesimal expenditure of resources that it is an extremely cheap way to hedge our bets.  So colonizing space is where the smart money is.

Online QuantumG

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #39 on: 05/10/2017 03:34 AM »
The species != the whole population.

Personally, I think people who concern themselves with saving humanity need to find a new religion, but let's not misconstrue what they're saying.
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Offline Mr. Scott

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #40 on: 05/10/2017 04:39 AM »
The entire Earth ecosystem has to be brought to this next destination.  The concept of just a few going will start a political/economic and moral battle so bad that it will easily be worse than any squabble you think is occurring now.

I searched the web (astronomy picture of the day) and found a viable location.   It is in the void between the two spiral arms above the center of this galaxy.  Blue stars are bad.  Exploding stars are bad.  There is a garden planet that is in pristine shape ready to move in somewhere next to a G2 star.  The galaxy is 300 million light years beyond Andromeda.  UGC 1810.

There it is.  That's were the planet Earth needs to be relocated to!!!  Days are longer, but you won't need to work because the unicorns feed you.  Longer nights under a bluish golden sky makes for more romance.
« Last Edit: 05/10/2017 04:41 AM by Mr. Scott »

Offline mme

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #41 on: 05/10/2017 04:03 PM »
There are enough strawman arguments in this thread for an army of scarecrows.
Space is not Highlander.  There can, and will, be more than one.

Online llanitedave

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #42 on: 05/10/2017 05:04 PM »
Yes, those five global extinction events haven't been much of a drag for the single cell organisms, bacteria and other really small creatures, but it kinda sucks if you weigh more than a rat.  >:(
At the end of the Permian period, over 90% of all species died, yay. And that was a pretty rubbish time in Siberia, too...

We have used up all the easily accessible ore and fossil energy reserves on the planet. If our current civilisation comes crashing down and we regress to a low technology, post industrial society, it will be extremely hard to bootstrap out of that again.

No more oil in Texas at a depth of 20 feet, no easily accessible copper or iron, apart from the ruins of the cities. We have chewed this planet up pretty good so far, and are not leaving much on the plate.

If we miss this window of opportunity, which could close any day now, if somebody starts a nuclear war or the global economy really tanks, we will not get of this rock. And developing the technology won't cost more than the average little dirty war that we are starting every few years.

War, disease, rapid climate change, economical collapse, totalitarian regimes, AI, oh yes, meteor coming our way while we are to busy staring at our cellphones.

My 2 cents worth as geologist and environmental scientist...


I completely agree with all this and have used many of the same arguments myself, except...
100 years is a bit arbitrary, and probably too little too late.  If our civilization survives the next 100 years, then there's a very good chance that we would have already succeeded with the transition, the energy infrastructure would by then already be transformed, genetic engineering would be more or less mastered, population increase successfully stabilized, and food production adjusted.  It's not a new planet we'll need by then, we'll either have addressed our existential challenges here on Earth or we won't have.  If we haven't done that within 100 years, we probably never will.  I'd say we have more like fifty years to do most of this work.  I'm all for colonizing other planets, but we can only do that if we make Earth survivable.
« Last Edit: 05/10/2017 05:14 PM by llanitedave »
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Offline steve smith

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #43 on: 05/11/2017 09:00 AM »
The official score is:
   Earth surviving an apocalypse: 5
   Species visiting Earth seeking refuge from their own apocalypse: 0

Let's say the next apocalypse sterilizes the Earth into an iron oxide dust bowl.  There is never a static unchanging condition with any object in the universe.  Eventually life will continue.

If someone is so easily able to foresee an imminent apocalypse, why are they not understanding the implications of attempting a journey into a certain demise by a 1000'year journey into space (micrometeorites, radiation, lack of any resources, etc)?

If aliens had visited here, it's likely their home world is in worse shape.  I fear that somebody is just trying to sell their doomsday books on other worlds. unfortunately, somebody should explain to the doomsday authors that aliens won't want to read this type of literature.

You cannot equate a concept of going nowhere fast with the idea that you are doing something meritorious.  In other words, transporting the world's population to Siberia would not be a noble cause.  Actually Siberia is better than Mars because it is warmer and ACTUALLY HAS OXYGEN. 

Offline KelvinZero

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #44 on: 05/11/2017 12:21 PM »
I believe the leading contender for explaining the Fermi Paradox is that something/someones are very quiet, careful, deadly, and jealous--and they go around stomping on emerging civilizations prophylactically.
I don't think that is a popular one. You have to postulate a bunch of counter intuitive things just to explain why the universe looks empty. Easier to assume it is as it appears.

It is only useful being quiet and careful if you yourself are hiding from something bigger, and postulating something bigger to explain a big problem is no solution. A fast expanding civilisation would outperform a quiet careful one. (note that being fast expanding does not mean that every element is loud and visible. It could include a quiet fraction). If (for an unexplained reason) the races goal is to prevent other life and keep the universe in its current inefficient state with most energy being wasted, they should just have small probes in every star system, that awake every thousand years to scan the planets for life, eliminate it while it is 100 million years from sentience, not when it has begun its explosion into space.

Online QuantumG

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #45 on: 05/11/2017 10:56 PM »
Isn't the universe full of enough civilisation killers without ascribing malice?
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #46 on: 05/12/2017 01:22 AM »
What is probably driving Stephen Hawkingís thinking is the Drake equation and Fermiís Paradox.  Although the Drake equation was not intended to give absolute numbers for the number of technologically advanced intelligent life it can get you close enough to suggest some very real possible outcomes.  We donít have enough information, at this time, to truthfully fill in the Drake equation but we are making very good progress toward filling in all but the last variable.  It is this last variable where Fermiís Paradox comes in.  With the limited information, we have to fill in the Drake equation it is becoming quite obvious that the last parameter is the most critical.  This last parameter is the average life expectancy of a technologically advanced society.  With the limited information we have for the Drake equation if this last parameter is over 10,000 years not only should technologically advanced intelligent life be readily observable but most likely should have visited us multiple times by now.  And this is the Fermiís Paradox.  Where are all of these technologically advanced intelligent societies?  In fact, it has been estimated that if this last parameter is 1000 years with our ongoing SETI surveys we should have seen something by now.  As we fill in more of the Drake equation it is been suggested that this last parameter needs to be in the hundreds of years.  If that is the case then we have used up almost half of this number already.

Nobody really knows what the answer to Fermiís Paradox is.  There are many suggested possible theories to this paradox.  The most worrisome ones in this particular case are not the knowns but the unknown possibilities. 

In the book, alone in the Universe, John Gribbin argues that we are alone in the galaxy and perhaps in the Universe. If we are the only ones in the galaxy that would explain why nobody has visited us.

I wasn't crazy about his book but I tend to agree with him that there may only be one advanced civilization per galaxy.   
« Last Edit: 05/12/2017 01:31 AM by yg1968 »

Offline MATTBLAK

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #47 on: 05/12/2017 01:27 AM »
There is absolutely no way to know the answer until they come here, or we go to them. Some folk think there are millions of civilizations in the Galaxy - others think there are none. And in the spirit of 'for what it's worth' I think the answer would be firmly in the middle. Even if there are only a few dozen advanced civilizations in the Galaxy, that would be extraordinary. And probably so thinly spread out, it would be difficult for them to ever talk or meet.
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Offline yg1968

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #48 on: 05/12/2017 01:32 AM »

No extinction event could render Earth less habitable than Mars or other places in the solar system.

So even if one believes the doomsday cultists (which I don't, I think they're all bonkers), it's no argument for colonizing the solar system.

Sun turning into a red giant certainly will. In the long term (more than a billion years), Earth is doomed and space is the only way for humanity (and life in general) to survive.

And in order to colonize space, we need to have an advanced technological society. Merely surviving on Earth is not enough, or it will be our tomb. Now, can you guarantee that current advanced technological society on Earth will be a norm, and not just a temporary exception? You cannot. Therefore we should seize the opportunity while it lasts and attempt to expand into space now, since we may not get another chance.

I agree and I made a similar argument before. The only counter argument that was made was that a billion years is a long time.

Offline DAZ

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #49 on: 05/12/2017 01:58 AM »
What is probably driving Stephen Hawkingís thinking is the Drake equation and Fermiís Paradox.  Although the Drake equation was not intended to give absolute numbers for the number of technologically advanced intelligent life it can get you close enough to suggest some very real possible outcomes.  We donít have enough information, at this time, to truthfully fill in the Drake equation but we are making very good progress toward filling in all but the last variable.  It is this last variable where Fermiís Paradox comes in.  With the limited information, we have to fill in the Drake equation it is becoming quite obvious that the last parameter is the most critical.  This last parameter is the average life expectancy of a technologically advanced society.  With the limited information we have for the Drake equation if this last parameter is over 10,000 years not only should technologically advanced intelligent life be readily observable but most likely should have visited us multiple times by now.  And this is the Fermiís Paradox.  Where are all of these technologically advanced intelligent societies?  In fact, it has been estimated that if this last parameter is 1000 years with our ongoing SETI surveys we should have seen something by now.  As we fill in more of the Drake equation it is been suggested that this last parameter needs to be in the hundreds of years.  If that is the case then we have used up almost half of this number already.

Nobody really knows what the answer to Fermiís Paradox is.  There are many suggested possible theories to this paradox.  The most worrisome ones in this particular case are not the knowns but the unknown possibilities. 

In the book, alone in the Universe, John Gribbin argues that we are alone in the galaxy and perhaps in the Universe. If we are the only ones in the galaxy that would explain why nobody has visited us.

I wasn't crazy about his book but I tend to agree with him that there may only be one advanced civilization per galaxy.

This is referred to as the Rare Earth hypothesis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rare_Earth_hypothesis.  This resembles the sun is the center of the universe theory from the past.  The more we seem to know about the universe the less likely it seems that we are unique but on the other hand itís possible we could be early.

A short time ago, some scientist did some calculations on the age of the universe and the conditions to produce life.  They also looked at how long the universe likely could continue to produce life.  Based on these numbers it appears that the universe is only a teenager at 13.5 billion years.  A pun is obviously not intended here.

The thinking goes something like this.  When the universe was 1st created it was primarily hydrogen and helium with an extremely small amount of lithium.  You canít produce rocky planets from this let alone life.  You can produce very big stars.  The 1st stars were supposedly humongous and short-lived.  These produced an extremely large number of supernova.  The remnants of these supernovae are what the 2nd and 3rd generation stars were built from.  So for something like the 1st 3 to 5 billion years, there wasnít much in the way of rocky planets like the earth.  Over approximately the next 4 to 8 billion years rocky planets started to form.  So it is at approximately this time that life could have started to form.  If you use the earth is it typical ruler (which admittedly it may or may not be) the sun is approximately 5 billion years old and it has taken between 4.8 and 4.5 billion years for us to evolve.  So the theory goes that eventually the universe will be filled with intelligent life just about everywhere.  At this time though there just hasnít been enough time for much intelligent life and their advanced technological civilizations to be produced yet.  When you take that into account (and the fact that we are somewhat in the backwoods of our galaxy located in what is referred to as the Orion spur) then it is possible that there is just not much intelligent life in our neck of the galaxy yet.  We maybe just some of the 1st to be leaving the nursery.

Online mike robel

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #50 on: 05/13/2017 12:04 AM »
This article offers some perspective on what if we discover a less advanced extra-Sol civilization than ours.

Edit:  I didn't notice I had pasted the wrong URL into the message.  This is the correct one.  The previous one pointed to our local planetarium as a place with some interesting space exhibets

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/outthere/2017/05/10/alien_civilization/#.WRbA6TGrOM9

From Earth's history, if this happens, we can anticipate if we discover one, we will go there and economically exploit it before the Ferengi can get there.  If the "discovery" of America is any indicator, it won't turn out too well for them.  Of course, by the time we get there, they could be more advanced than we are, and it might not turn out too well for us.

As to if there are other civilizations out there, my feeling/opinion is "yes" but there is no evidence to support us.

Why haven't we been visited?  I can think of several reasons why:

1.  We're the first advanced civilization.
2.  We're the last.  Everyone else has blown themselves up before discovering how to travel faster than the speed of light.
3.  You can't go faster than the speed of light.
4.  They REALLY follow the Star Trek Prime Directive and they have cloaking technology.  Oh, and we don't interest them.
5.  They haven't gotten here yet.
6.  They are us, and we were abandoned and placed on this planet for punishment.

All in all, it might be better if we hide.  Even Hawking says so.

« Last Edit: 05/13/2017 08:18 AM by mike robel »

Offline Oli

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #51 on: 05/13/2017 09:30 AM »
Fermi's Paradox is built un the false premise than sufficiently advanced intelligent life actually has an incentive to "colonize" the galaxy.

In fact not even humans today have that incentive. Two reasons. First, no population pressure:



In fact in most developed countries the fertility rate is below the replacement rate (~2.1), developing countries are getting there.

Second, the primary sector of the economy (Agriculture, Fishing, Logging, Mining, Oil & Gas exploration and production, etc.) is of less and less importance in the economy.



Meaning the cost of extracting resources pales in comparison to the cost of making nice things out of it. We won't fight Aliens for the resources they sit on just because their resources are cheaper to extract than others, especially if you factor in the cost of transporting the resources to our home planet. Moreover, if we develop cheap space travel we might as well mine 10^99 uninhabited planetary bodies first.

So really, if Aliens are exploring the galaxy they do it "for fun" and if they see us they have no incentive to contact us. At best we are of interest to their anthropologists.
« Last Edit: 05/13/2017 09:37 AM by Oli »

Online Johnnyhinbos

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Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #52 on: 05/13/2017 12:57 PM »
With all due respect, colonizing is but one aspect for an intelligent species to reach beyond their boundaries.

Resource utilization, individual (hive?) need to see what's "beyond", governmental (in whatever form it may have) motivation, local disasters- both natural and otherwise, science,...

Point being, there's very little probability that if there are other intelligent beings out there, they (at least some of them) would not attempt to reach beyond. And the likelihood that we are looking at only parallel evolution- that in all the billions and billions of years before our planet even existed, that there wasn't already the rise (and possibly fall) of countless civilizations (because if it could happen twice, then it would happen everywhere) - that likelihood is exceedingly small.

The thing is, even if other civilizations aren't actively out there exploring/ colonizing/ mining/ whatever, we should have seen at least their signature. Sure, we as a planet radiate less and less energy away from our planet as we mature our technology - terrestrial high energy transmitters have given way to cable and focused beams to satellites- but our past still is out there radiating away from earth. So would be true for other intelligent species. And odds have it this would have been happening for billions of years - so where are those signatures? Where are all those countless "pasts"?

The great filter concept certainly still holds some probability, and when you look at our own little planet with that in mind, it's a bit chilling.
« Last Edit: 05/13/2017 12:59 PM by Johnnyhinbos »
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Offline RonM

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #53 on: 05/13/2017 03:49 PM »
The thing is, even if other civilizations aren't actively out there exploring/ colonizing/ mining/ whatever, we should have seen at least their signature. Sure, we as a planet radiate less and less energy away from our planet as we mature our technology - terrestrial high energy transmitters have given way to cable and focused beams to satellites- but our past still is out there radiating away from earth. So would be true for other intelligent species. And odds have it this would have been happening for billions of years - so where are those signatures? Where are all those countless "pasts"?

Our technological civilization has been broadcasting for less than a century and we are already moving away from high energy transmitters. There is only a short period to detect unintentional interstellar transmissions. The signals get lost in the background noise only after a few light years distance, so we would have to very close to an alien civilization and at just the right time to detect them. Highly unlikely even if the galaxy was teeming with technological civilizations.

One false premise of the Fermi Paradox is that there should be evidence of our system being visited because at least one civilization would have sent probes to every star system in the galaxy. Even if a civilization wanted to catalog every star system, they wouldn't have to visit each one. They could send a self-replicating probe to a system, build a big telescope and remotely survey thousands of stars. Then build new probes and skip ahead to the next observing locations.

Another possibility would be a flyby to gather data and off to the next target. No evidence left behind.

Even if a civilization sent a probe to stop in our Solar System, we haven't looked around enough to find it. There could be one in the Kuiper Belt right now transmitting back to its home and we wouldn't know it.

The great filter concept certainly still holds some probability, and when you look at our own little planet with that in mind, it's a bit chilling.

There are many possible great filters. On a positive note, perhaps the great filter is evolving intelligence and a technological civilization. In ten thousand years of agriculture and five thousand years of civilization we've only had modern science for a few hundred years. We've already passed that test. Of course, there are all the ones that still might get us, running out of resources, nuclear war, environmental damage, etc. that could wipe out civilization or even result in extinction. Maybe there's an experiment that seems harmless, but results in destruction. Then only the few civilizations that get their sums right survive.

Offline corneliussulla

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #54 on: 05/13/2017 08:14 PM »
A lot of people including Musk and Hawking have said that for humans to survive we need to move to other worlds and that is definetly true in the long term but is Mars the correct choice. I see a few problems with this assuming Elon is successful and he creates a civilisation on Mars I expect within a few generations that the population of this planet will probably be unable to live on earth and will evolve to be a different species. We will no longer be humans but earthlings and Martians.

By our nature we tend not to trust people that are different to us, wether it be in colour, cultural or religious beliefs. I believe that Martians who will no longer be physically the same as humans could become our enemies, here on earth people with different religious beliefs think it is acceptable to destroy any unbeliever, Its not hard to imagine misguided cults growing which in an age with fusion drives etc that could lead to mutual destruction rather than survival of the species

I think to really find a new home we need to find a home which is similar to earth and that's going to mean interstellar travel in a Noah's arc type ship which can haul 10s of thousands plus all our technology. Probably not going to happen before we destroy ourselves or at least do enough damage which would put such a task beyond us
« Last Edit: 05/13/2017 08:21 PM by corneliussulla »

Offline blasphemer

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #55 on: 05/13/2017 08:59 PM »
We have already discovered many extrasolar planets. Advanced civilizations doing such observations for millions of years probably have long ago catalogued every potentialy habitable planet in the galaxy. They very likely know about Earth being a planet with life. It is not a thing that can be hidden or overlooked, IMHO.

Offline corneliussulla

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #56 on: 05/13/2017 08:59 PM »
The official score is:
   Earth surviving an apocalypse: 5
   Species visiting Earth seeking refuge from their own apocalypse: 0

Let's say the next apocalypse sterilizes the Earth into an iron oxide dust bowl.  There is never a static unchanging condition with any object in the universe.  Eventually life will continue.

If someone is so easily able to foresee an imminent apocalypse, why are they not understanding the implications of attempting a journey into a certain demise by a 1000'year journey into space (micrometeorites, radiation, lack of any resources, etc)?

If aliens had visited here, it's likely their home world is in worse shape.  I fear that somebody is just trying to sell their doomsday books on other worlds. unfortunately, somebody should explain to the doomsday authors that aliens won't want to read this type of literature.

You cannot equate a concept of going nowhere fast with the idea that you are doing something meritorious.  In other words, transporting the world's population to Siberia would not be a noble cause.  Actually Siberia is better than Mars because it is warmer and ACTUALLY HAS OXYGEN. 

Yep Mars just such a awful place to live. I think civilisation on Mars idea likely to fail, nice once in a  lifetime holiday destination but I don't see many people lining up to move to Antarctica and it is so much more hospitable than Mars and ur kids are going to look like u on earth, on Mars who knows what we going to evolve into.

Offline corneliussulla

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #57 on: 05/13/2017 09:27 PM »
We have already discovered many extrasolar planets. Advanced civilizations doing such observations for millions of years probably have long ago catalogued every potentialy habitable planet in the galaxy. They very likely know about Earth being a planet with life. It is not a thing that can be hidden or overlooked, IMHO.

Let's face it there is probably very little if no intelligent life nearby, there a number of reasons to think that earth maybe a rare jewel in a universe teaming with planets. Let me just give a few example. Earth is big enough to maintain a molten core for a long period but not to big to make getting of the planet almost impossible using chemical technology, earth has tectonic plates which may well be rare given neither Mars or Venus have them, earth is partly coveted in water, this could be rare wouldn't it make sense that planets had no water or where totally covered in it. Earth has a very large sister planet keeping our axial tilt fairly stable, not so on Venus or Mars. Earth is near a stable star more stable than most G class stars, We may just have been lucky in our travels not to have been to close to supernova or neutron star collisions. Also once a civilisation gets to a level where it can replicate or enhance itself maybe destruction is not to far away.

Offline Oli

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #58 on: 05/14/2017 10:26 AM »
I think to really find a new home we need to find a home which is similar to earth and that's going to mean interstellar travel in a Noah's arc type ship which can haul 10s of thousands plus all our technology.

In a billion years. Let that sink in for a moment. Our civilization is merely 10k years old. Who knows whether we are still meatbags or silicon 10k years from now.

We have already discovered many extrasolar planets. Advanced civilizations doing such observations for millions of years probably have long ago catalogued every potentialy habitable planet in the galaxy. They very likely know about Earth being a planet with life. It is not a thing that can be hidden or overlooked, IMHO.

If they did how would we know it?

Offline Warren Platts

Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #59 on: 05/14/2017 11:42 AM »
In the book, alone in the Universe, John Gribbin argues that we are alone in the galaxy and perhaps in the Universe. If we are the only ones in the galaxy that would explain why nobody has visited us.

I wasn't crazy about his book but I tend to agree with him that there may only be one advanced civilization per galaxy.

Gribben, in another book, offered a philosophical reason as to why we should try to persist as a species: it is that we are somehow the "germ line" of the Universe: the idea is that Big Bang appears to have been a highly fine-tuned process, almost as if it were designed. That is, the intelligent design folks are really on to something. However, if we reject an old fashioned God as the literal creator of the universe, then there are only three possible explanations of the fine-tuned nature of the Universe:

1. Given enough time, fully formed 747s can just form spontaneously through random chance somehow.
2. The Universe arose through a process of natural selection.
3. The Universe arose through a process of natural selection, but life itself is involved, and this involves an element of literal intelligent design, but of a material, rather than supernatural nature.

The problem with #2 is that life emerges as a lucky side effect. But why should that be? In the case of #3, new universes intelligently designed to produce life will reproduce faster than other sorts of universes. It would seem a rather extravagant and wasteful form of reproduction, with 1 - 10^99% of the universe lifeless, but then again ordinary organisms produce trillions of cells just to make one more copy of themselves.

Thus, if #3 were the case, then there really might be some important ultimate destiny that our species must fulfill, thus providing a good reason to survive over and above our individual survival.

I think Isaac Asimov first explored this problem in his short story "The Last Question".
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."--Leonardo Da Vinci

Offline colbourne

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #60 on: 05/14/2017 01:18 PM »
I think the universe is probably only conceptual see below. There would then exist an infinite number of universes each having its own rules , constants and starting condition. Of these most will not have life, a much smaller percentage will have simple life and very few will develop intelligent life. For intelligent life to arise independently in more than one place in the same universe is going to be exceptionally rare, although life might spread from one starting planet to many others. Therefore the chances are that we live in a universe where we may be the only advanced life form.
Otherwise the other advanced life forms may just be too far way to contact with our existing technology.



To answer the question why there is SOMETHING rather than NOTHING leads to the answer that there is actually NOTHING

Except that Mathematics still exists 1 + 1 will still = 2
The universe is simply a set of rules under which a calculation is performed. It does not exist but the concept of the universe ( under that set of rules) does exist.

We are just one of the results of this calculation after it has been calculated to a point equating to about 14 Billion years. (N.B. Time does not really exist but is one of the rules of the calculation).
There is no difference from our point of view to living in a REAL PHYSICAL UNIVERSE and to living in the mathematical concept of a universe, We can not tell the difference.

Consciousness is local to one point and time in the model. Most points will have very little or none but for a few points which coincide with a critical part of a brain or possibly of a computer they have access to much more data through memory cells linked to that point

Obviously a universe can be defined by many rules and a starting condition. Therefore there are an infinite number of universes but only a small percentage will evolve to the point
that we experience.

Offline Nilof

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #61 on: 05/15/2017 02:34 PM »
I think humanity expanding into the solar system has the major benefit of putting humans further away from each other than 10 minutes by ICBM. Even if we did end up recreating a mutually assured destruction scenario across the entire solar system, it would give decision timescales on the order of months, not minutes.
For a variable Isp spacecraft running at constant power and constant acceleration, the mass ratio is linear in delta-v.   Δv = ve0(MR-1). Or equivalently: Δv = vef PMF. Also, this is energy-optimal for a fixed delta-v and mass ratio.

Offline TakeOff

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #62 on: 05/16/2017 02:50 AM »
I think "we" are alone. We commit a big mistake comparing alien life with life on Earth. We are all one and the same here, we have zero variation. You and I consist of more microbial cells that have unhuman DNA, than we have cells with human DNA. So if you thought that a bacteria or a virus is exotic, surprise surprise, they ARE you!

But the aliens are totally unrelated, they don't have any single similarity with us. And the combinatorics of biology is so enormous that we know that two similar proteins never have and never will occur independently in the visible universe. For example, chlorophyll and hemoglobin are the same molecules. We know that they only exist on Earth. No plants and no animals never have and never will exist anywhere else in the universe (unless we go out there and seed it). And evolution doesn't help the slightest, because evolution is only selection of variation that happens to occur. Evolution can never relate to that which never occurs. So the question is what we are missing. What has never happened on Earth?

We're stuck with this "intelligence" which is so stupid that it cannot even begin to study its very own subjective consciousness. Consciousness is a phenomena way beyond intelligence. No one has ever even suggested a way to start to observe it, and not a single bit of data has been collected about it. What other anti-objective phenomena exist out there that intelligence is too stupid to even try to study? Aliens will not be "intelligent", they will not have "civilizations". They will have totally different kinds of phenomena. In that sense "we" are truly alone.

I think humanity expanding into the solar system has the major benefit of putting humans further away from each other than 10 minutes by ICBM. Even if we did end up recreating a mutually assured destruction scenario across the entire solar system, it would give decision timescales on the order of months, not minutes.
Weapons of mass destruction are really easy in space. Just redirect the huge kinetic energy of a comet and a planet's entire surface can be molten. If all nuclear weapons were detonated in all cities on Earth, people would just rise up, clean off the radioactive dust and keep growing their food and rebuild their Hiroshimas.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 02:57 AM by TakeOff »

Offline TakeOff

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #63 on: 05/16/2017 06:19 AM »
My saying that we cannot know anything about the aliens isn't very helpful for finding out the next step we need to take to deal with it. So lets look at something we can know about alien life.

Speed of light and the size of the galaxy necessarily means that there's no useful galactic coordination between any aliens, not even between those who have colonized stars from the same origin. A message from the center of the Milky Way would be like a cave painting in the stone age when it reaches us. If it orders us to pay every tenth grain of wheat in tax (and they didn't even have wheat back then) and cut out a stone for a pyramid, it wouldn't become our law even if the Pharaoh himself once painted that command on a wall. No one but archaeologists would care about it. That's the miserable command and control of the galactic empire.

So whatever is out there must have a huge variety. Hardly any similarities with each other, given the infinite combinatorics of biology and whatever path dependency that comes out of that in turn (like intelligence, civilization, whatnot). Thus, the worst thing possible is indeed around here in the Milky Way! How it is bad for us, we can hardly imagine. But it is there because it cannot have been defeated, it has not received any influence from anything because of the unbreakable spacetime distances.

That's how I would argue for trying to hide (which I doubt is possible, I think we must go on the offensive in order to survive). Not that we have any problem here on Earth to flee from. That's an insane mix of medieval geocentrism and current political doomsday mythology.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 06:32 AM by TakeOff »

Offline TakeOff

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Re: Stephen Hawking Says: 100 Years to Find New Home
« Reply #64 on: 05/16/2017 08:12 PM »

Are you really there, master?
Why can't I smell you? Are you dark matter now?
And how do these sonic funnels work? Should I pee in it?
(Just trying to communicate here. Do you hear me? "Helloween"! Woff.)



« Last Edit: 05/16/2017 08:32 PM by TakeOff »


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