The Science Thread

Redglyph

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Once again, you pretend I meant something I haven't said, I'll start to think you're doing that just for the sake of arguing.

I never said we were only exploring, nor that all of us had this tendency. Or that we were doing it all the time.

As for the budget for space exploration, I don't know where to start. Why limit the inclination to explore to space exploration budget? Why limit to any budget at all? Or why compare it to other occupations that have nothing to do with it?

A lot of wars are driven by the need to extend one's territory, and military budgets are far from small, just to allow for that or defend from it. You English people should know that better than anyone, by the way. How many countries all over the planet have been a colony or a dominion of the UK at some point? France, Portugal and Holland were not bad in that regard either.
 
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Nereida

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I'm not even British, I just live here :)

No need to be so defensive, you said humans are explorers, and I digress, that's all.

We are driven by vanity and power, and "humans are explorers" is a romantic concept that does not adjust to the reality of our species, just like a desire to live off clean energy. Those things will only happen when we have no choice, and not before. As it has, at every point in human history.
 

Alrik Fassbauer

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I fear that humanity might end up like in Wall-E.
 
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Myrthos

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I personally think there are only a limited number of actual explorers throughout history, the rest just did it for financial gain and ended up taking something that belonged to someone else, just because they wanted to have it and they had the power to do it.
Throughout history we have been conquerors, driven by greed, where we want to have what others have and take it by force if we think we get away with it. In that process we had to do some exploring though.
 
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Redglyph

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What I wrote is not a reproach or criticism of the British, by the way, I admire them a lot. :) Several great nations or people conquered many lands, I don't know if that should be a pride or not, since today we tend to look for moderation, respect of everyone, and so on, which is not always compatible with that. But it's certainly a remarkable feat, and it wasn't just "invasion", most of the time it brought something positive.

If we conquer other planets, we'll have to see if we bring something positive too, or if that's just to pump out all resources and screw it another time. I must admit my vision of our species is not the kindest one, these days. ;)

I was really surprised to see the Mars Exploration Program was persevering and setting concrete, near-future goals the last few years. I thought it would be buried and forgotten because of financial priorities.
 
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Alrik Fassbauer

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It was Jules Verne who made stories of exploring the moon, and the centre of the earth, plus other continents as well.
 
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The thing is there is no breathable atmosphere in Mars, the gravity is milder than in Earth, which would cause damage to our muscle and bone structure after prolonged exposure just by existing in there, and nothing really grows off the ground.

While technology can compensate for some of those things in the long term, the conditions for living in there will never be better than the conditions for living in Antartica, and I don't precisely see people piling up to purchase some patch of land in Antartica. And that doesn't even take into account the absurd cost of taking a pretty much one-way trip there, with no hope for help or return, should anything happen.

Touching down on Mars and setting up a colony seems feasible. Making it a second home? It's not happening.

Not unless we have to evacuate Earth because we managed to nuclear winter it or something.
 

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Well, we don't really know how many Earth-like planets there are in the Universe. We only have a limited ability to tentatively detect them, and chances are there countless ones out there. The trouble is the distances between them. Getting to the nearest stars is physically conceivable if we can overcome huge engineering challenges, but that still only gives us a tiny bubble to play in.
 
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Alrik Fassbauer

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I often think that we could put a few plants on Mars to produce an athmosphere breathable for us … It would take a few million years though …
And the problem would be to find plants which can endure this planet's temperature range …
 
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Couchpotato

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I often think that we could put a few plants on Mars to produce an athmosphere breathable for us … It would take a few million years though …
And the problem would be to find plants which can endure this planet's temperature range …
Reminds me of the Mission to Mars and Red Planet movies. Unfortunately the reality according to NASA is we lack the technology, and mars wont be easy to terraform.

Link - https://www.planetary.org/articles/can-we-make-mars-earth-like-through-terraforming
Well, we don't really know how many Earth-like planets there are in the Universe. We only have a limited ability to tentatively detect them, and chances are there countless ones out there. The trouble is the distances between them. Getting to the nearest stars is physically conceivable if we can overcome huge engineering challenges, but that still only gives us a tiny bubble to play in.
There are actually two schools of thought on that matter.
The mediocrity principle suggests that planets like Earth should be common in the Universe, while the Rare Earth hypothesis suggests that they are extremely rare. The thousands of exoplanetary star systems discovered so far are profoundly different from the Solar system, supporting the Rare Earth Hypothesis.
Also read this today and found it very interesting.

Earth may be trapped inside a giant magnetic tunnel

Link - https://www.livescience.com/earth-inside-giant-magnetic-tunnel
Our planet, along with the rest of the solar system and some nearby stars, may be trapped inside a giant magnetic tunnel — and astronomers don't know why.

A tube of vast magnetized tendrils, 1,000 light-years long and invisible to the naked eye, may encircle the solar system, astronomers propose in a new paper. Jennifer West, an astronomer at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, made the proposal after an investigation into the North Polar Spur and the Fan Region — two of the brightest radio-emitting gas structures in our galactic neighborhood — revealed that the two structures might be linked even though they are located on different sides of the sky.

"If we were to look up in the sky, we would see this tunnel-like structure in just about every direction we looked — that is, if we had eyes that could see radio light," West said in a statement.
 
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I often think that we could put a few plants on Mars to produce an athmosphere breathable for us … It would take a few million years though …
And the problem would be to find plants which can endure this planet's temperature range …

This is a bit of a misconception.

The problem with Mars is that its gravity is 43% of Earth's. That does not only mean that you will have physiological and cardiovascular problems that will lead to a premature death after prolonged exposure which is why astronauts aren't allowed to take missions for more than 6 month - that's how long it's considered to be "safe" for the human body to not be subject to Earth's 1g).

It also means that Mars' gravity is not strong enough to retain an atmosphere. Even if you managed to transform Mars' air composition to match exactly that of Earth's, standing on Mars' surface would be like being in Earth's stratosphere because of how thin it would be - you would need oxygen tanks regardless to even survive for a few minutes.

There are things that can be done also to make Mars' atmosphere thicker, like using greenhouse gases, but the amount of them needed to create the thicker atmosphere that is heavy enough to stick to the planet would be high enough that the atmosphere would be toxic. And this is not a challenge within our reach yet, both because of its gigantic scope, and because we lack the appropriate technology to make it happen.

So really, the best we can do is take care of Earth for a few hundred years, because desperate lifeboats aside, there's nowhere to go until we can build our own home out of metal in space, then we don't need any planet, just go to whatever distance from the Sun we feel is best, and orbit happily forever. By the time the Sun's life is nearing its end, which is still a few billion years, whatever race humans turned into should be able to easily overcome the technological challenges of finding another suitable star to orbit and travel to it safely.
 

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No offense but that sounds boring and you have no exploration spark. Anyway no one in this thread was talking about building lifeboats to escape/abandon earth permanently.

That wont be needed until our sun cools down explodes and turns into a white dwarf.

Were talking about progress and advancement not constant stagnation.:)

As I said before I predict a colony on the moon first with the possibility of some type of space elevator. Then we can work on more bigger space stations and a shipyard.

This will be possible in 100-200 years at best. We need better tech first.

I will agree anyone going to mars now is basically a one way suicide mission.
 
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Arhu

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I often think that we could put a few plants on Mars to produce an athmosphere breathable for us … It would take a few million years though …
Reminds me of the Mission to Mars and Red Planet movies. Unfortunately the reality according to NASA is we lack the technology, and mars wont be easy to terraform.
I recommend reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars trilogy. It offers a very compelling story and very detailed realization of the Martian Dream. One of my favorite works of science fiction.
 
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Couchpotato

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I recommend reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars trilogy. It offers a very compelling story and very detailed realization of the Martian Dream. One of my favorite works of science fiction.
I've read those books in the past. There was two sequels if I remember. I did enjoy reading them as Earth in the books went through what's happening to our planet.

It was also interesting reading how two different species of humanity were evolving over the years. Though the second species was a genetic abomination by a mad scientist.
 
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That wont be needed until our sun cools down explodes and turns into a blue sun.

That's very optimistic, considering the rate at which we're turning Earth into a Greenhouse hell like Venus. According to most predictions, if nothing is done about it, Human life as we know it in Earth, doesn't have much longer than a century. Some scientists are not even sure if we're already at the point of no return in which no change in the rate at which we produce greenhouse gases will prevent it from being fatal for the human species (not for Earth, Earth will fine without us).

Also the Sun would first turn into a red giant when it runs out of helium to fuse in its core, eventually swallowing Earth within its own body, far before it turns into a white dwarf (it will never be a blue sun).

As a last note, Andromeda is in a collision course towards the Milky Way. We might need to think of getting out of the way before our Sun runs out of fuel to burn, although that event will likely occur afterwards.
 
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There are actually two schools of thought on that matter.
The mediocrity principle suggests that planets like Earth should be common in the Universe, while the Rare Earth hypothesis suggests that they are extremely rare. The thousands of exoplanetary star systems discovered so far are profoundly different from the Solar system, supporting the Rare Earth Hypothesis.

As I said, the fact is that we really don't know yet - so there's no shortage of hypotheses. The thing to bear in mind is whether Earth-like planets are extremely common, extremely rare, or somewhere in between, the sheer number of stars in the universe means that the absolute number of them is still highly likely to be very large.

If you look at that first article you posted about exoplanets, it mentions that in the systems they've looked at, around 15% may have Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone. Even if we then took the most conservative estimate on what fraction of those could actually support life, once you've multiplied that by all the solar systems in the universe, that's going to be a pretty large number. So "rare" in this context shouldn't be confused with "few".
 
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As a last note, Andromeda is in a collision course towards the Milky Way. We might need to think of getting out of the way before our Sun runs out of fuel to burn, although that event will likely occur afterwards.
Well…
Previous simulations have suggested that Andromeda and the Milky Way are scheduled for a head-on collision in about 4 billion to 5 billion years. But the new study estimates that the two star groups will swoop closely past each other about 4.3 billion years from now and then fully merge about 6 billion years later.
As likely as our sun cooling so the odds are the same.
According to a study in the journal Nature Astronomy, the Sun will 'die' in about 10 billion years. Stars, like the Sun, start to 'die' when they've burnt all of their hydrogen fuel. At this point, they expand and become a very large kind of star called a red giant. It's thought this stage will happen to our Sun in around five billion years.
Don't forget the giant black hole in our galaxy that might devour us as well.
The supermassive black hole that lurks at the center of our galaxy, called Sgr A*, has a mass of about 4 million times that of our Sun. A black hole is a place in space where gravity is so strong that neither particles or light can escape from it. Surrounding Sgr A* is a dense cluster of stars.
By that point we should have died off, evolved into something different, or colonized other galaxies. One of the greatest sayings is life will always find a way to survive.
 
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Atrachasis

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This thread has taken a gloomy turn!

But relax about the collision with the Andromeda galaxy, everybody! Stellar collisions are exceedingly unlikely even during a galaxy merger. Neither are we likely to be swallowed up by the central black hole.

Though the merger will most likely trigger an inflow of gas into the nucleus, feeding the hole, and activating a QSO right here in our own galaxy. But I guess that's survivable...?

I'd be more concerned about the billions of years of ennui that await us afterwards. The night sky in elliptical galaxies is exeedingly boring.
 
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Couchpotato

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Sorry for getting gloomy didn't mean to. Fact is everyone has a percentage you might die everyday. It's called life. Anyway I just listed probable causes I'll dead by then so meh.

I didn't even talk about what if aliens will have enslaved or killed us as well.:biggrin:
 
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