an_owomoyela: Escher's rendering of two hands drawing each other. (Default)
[personal profile] an_owomoyela
From reading up on The Great Filter...

1) What if we mastered slower-than-light colonization (via processes like generational ships) but didn't have the advanced technology needed to maintain communications to those colonies? How would that effect colonies essentially cast out from Earth into the void to fend for themselves and develop in isolation?

1a) What happens to those generational ships once they reach their destination? What of people who don't want to settle down planetside?

1aa) Or what if they decide to drop off a core of planetside colonists and head somewhere else? What if they head for another planet slated for colonization and their descendents arrive in orbit of that colony? What if they arrive in orbit of that colony to find that something horrible has happened?

1aaa) Like the Wraith. ...or, really, any alien species invested in keeping the universe at a low stage of development.

2) Riffing on the God in the Sky idea, what about an Earth where we began to see evidence of things like solar harvesting or Dyson Swarm construction around distant stars, with full knowledge that such evidence, visually observed, would represent events from hundreds of years ago? "Yeah, whoever's out there... well, they were disassembling solar systems back when we were inventing the trireme. GOD KNOWS WHAT THEY'RE DOING NOW."

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-18 08:06 pm (UTC)
eleraama: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eleraama
Charlie Stross wrote an interesting (pair of?) articles recently; one of them was on his pro blog ( and I think maybe there was a followup on his personal blog ([ profile] antipope).

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-18 08:07 pm (UTC)
eleraama: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eleraama
Badly formatted tag was badly formatted. [ profile] antipope

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-19 03:06 am (UTC)
iamnomad: Action scene from the original Star Trek. Redshirts get vaporized. You know the drill. (Sterilize!)
From: [personal profile] iamnomad
I think 1a and 1aa would depend a lot on technology. Do you have a fuel source that's compact and/or renewable enough to allow a ship to travel to another star system, deposit colonists, then leave again for yet another interstellar trip? Alternatively, you might design the ship so that it could be disassembled and used to build habitats on the surface; that would probably be the most efficient design choice, but then large parts of the ship would have to be capable of reentry.

Spaceships are normally designed to be just strong enough to complete whatever mission they're designed for, since the more mass you have, the more fuel you need. Even a craft like the Space Shuttle, which was designed to be reusable, requires a huge amount of retrofitting between missions; for a crew to do that all by itself would be a monumental undertaking.

Of course, if you're building a ship that would need to last for decades and possibly centuries with no outside maintenance (and sustain a large enough crew for a replacement-level population), that would require a whole new kind of engineering mindset. And technology that doesn't exist yet. (I suppose technically we could build a generation ship with existing technology; it would just take pretty much all the money in the world.)

To answer your first question last, my reading is that culture depends a lot on your environment, so the nature of the particular planet the colonists land on would probably have a strong influence on what their society looks like. (Same for the ship they lived on during the trip. That would actually pose its own problems: How does a culture that's developed, by necessity, on the need for sustainability adapt to an environment where space and resources are relatively unlimited? Assuming the planet is habitable.)


an_owomoyela: Escher's rendering of two hands drawing each other. (Default)
An Owomoyela

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