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07-28-2015, 02:26 AM   #1
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A discussion on what would be needed for interstellar travel.

From time to time I always seem to revisit this topic in my head. I may not be able to work out mathematical or logistical details for things I come up with for this topic, but I sure don't seem to run out of things to add to the list. Anyway, seeing how I think about this somewhat frequently, I thought it would be fun to see what others have to think on the subject. I think this can become a rather interesting topic of lengthy discussion. What do you think is needed, what are the potential failure points, how do you work around said failure points, etc...

For starters you definitely need a ship... that is a given. This brings us to several points that need to be addressed: Design, materials, fuel, powering the ship, oxygen, food, and water. Obviously, when designing a ship for interstellar travel, you have to think VERY LARGE, a ship large enough to make the trip with enough crew, supplies, etc... is going to take massive amounts of resources to build. To obtain the materials, you would most likely have to obtain them from several planets in the solar system. Utilizing that many resources from a single planet might run the risk of upsetting the orbit or gravitational field (if you reduce weight from something and don't replace it obviously you're going to have consequences). The design of the ship will have to take into consideration housing, recreation/fitness, supply storage, energy production, waste processing, redundant systems for any mission critical aspects, etc...

The ship will need a crew. Interstellar travel will take quite a long time since we don't have FTL drives or drives that remotely approach those speeds. Since a single generation of crewmembers stands well... ZERO chance of making it to the destination, the best plan would be for multi-generational crew. The original crewmembers would basically be living all aspects of life planetside in addition to their duties. This means having kids, and then teaching those children the ins and outs of the crew positions so that things can continue to run smoothly (hopefully). It will most likely take several generations to reach the intended destination.

Food. As glorious as it would be to have warehouses upon warehouses of bacon and similar foodstuffs, well... it's not feasible, the food would run out and the crew would be SOL. This means that crew will have to grow, raise, and process most of their food. This means that the ship will need all elements necessary to do so.

Energy... every aspect of life on the ship will require some form of the stuff. The biggest question related to this is "how to power the ship"? Fuel is too bulky to store and is finite... and usually pretty volatile as well. This pretty much leaves nuclear and solar, unless other sources become available. One of the problems with solar is that solar panels are remarkably inefficient. The problem with nuclear is how to dispose of the waste. Physical to electrical energy conversion can help but only to an extent (putting dynamos on the stationary fitness bikes, for example).

These are just some of the necessities and some of the problems that will have to be discussed and overcome to achieve success. As it is now 5:30am and I've had about 3 hrs of sleep in the last 24hr period I'll have to cut myself short. Please continue the discussion with more ideas, the problems that will need to be faced for those ideas, and possible solutions.

07-28-2015, 02:39 AM - 1 Like   #2
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A very long expirery dated passport........trip length plus 6 months at a minimum....

As a general life observation...... should one put this level of thought and forward thinking.....towards, say, ones occcupation, life partner choice, investments entered into..... etc.... you surely will live a long and nice life......and would most likely would only have bought Pentax FF lenses in the past.......

Last edited by noelpolar; 07-28-2015 at 02:46 AM.
07-28-2015, 02:55 AM   #3
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The ship's Monopoly set would get well used. 'I Spy' would rapidly become a bore as the decades went past.

The terrible thing, Aussie Phoenix, is that your scenario is more plausible than a lot of the Equivalence nutters' stuff I've read over the last week. ☺
07-28-2015, 06:15 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Auzzie-Phoenix Quote
what would be needed for interstellar travel
More memory cards... as there's bound to be plenty of cool stuff to photograph.

07-28-2015, 07:17 AM   #5
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Don't forget your vitamin D supplements!
07-28-2015, 07:32 AM   #6
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Good news!

On a related note NASA announced this week the discovery of a planet in the habitable zone.
It's only 1,400 light years away from Earth!

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/us/feat-nasa-kepler-planet-discovery/

Chris
07-28-2015, 12:01 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
On a related note NASA announced this week the discovery of a planet in the habitable zone.
It's only 1,400 light years away from Earth!

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/us/feat-nasa-kepler-planet-discovery/

Chris
Read about that earlier this week on a diff. site. Probably what set me off thinking of this stuff again.


On another note:

People... a little humor isn't a bad thing, but please STICK WITH THE TOPIC. Noelpolar, your comment was way off of the discussion point and as such cannot be found to have merit towards the topic. As an aside, I have ZERO INTEREST IN THE FULL FRAME, so it matters not to me whether lenses are FF compatible, and I would much rather think about ways to potentially solve a future hurdle of mankind. Interstellar space travel is most definitely more interesting than planning out a future career or other such things here on earth.

That said, future attempts to derail or shut down the thread will be reported to the moderators. Please keep on topic and try to put honest effort into the discussion.
07-29-2015, 10:54 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Auzzie-Phoenix Quote
what would be needed for interstellar travel.
Stars.

07-29-2015, 11:29 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Auzzie-Phoenix Quote
thread will be reported to the moderators
They're already here!
07-29-2015, 11:41 AM   #10
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...got to have thirty minutes!

07-29-2015, 01:32 PM - 1 Like   #11
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It's interesting, asking people to stay on-topic in an off-topic forum, but there we have it. :-)

FWIW, the Bussard ramjet is a staple of science fiction. You can design the equivalent of a parachute to stop at the other end, hoping it doesn't get damaged.

The mission better be clear ... the motivations of the original travellers won't be matched by their descendants.

Last edited by clackers; 07-29-2015 at 01:40 PM.
07-29-2015, 01:51 PM   #12
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Until a means of transporting at extreme speeds and the ability to withstand collisions with even tiny space items are developed, speculation of interstellar space isn't really of much use. Yes, it's fun to speculate but don't get wrapped up too serious in something we'll never see in our lifetime.
07-29-2015, 01:51 PM   #13
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I have always wondered if folks with Universal Healthcare (we don't have it here in the US) can actually use it outside of our solar system? Sorry if it's off topic, but the sort of thing you can't find the answer to easily and I'm sure folks on the forum would know.
07-29-2015, 02:07 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
Stars.
Like, celebrities?

On a more serious note, there would have to be plans in case contact with "alien life" was made. And a portion of the crew should consist of Apple and Google employees, because they are evil geniuses smart, problem-solving people.

TBH, I have significant doubts that a ship containing thousands of humans - and multiple generations at that - can live together peacefully for decades.

---------- Post added 07-29-15 at 05:08 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I have always wondered if folks with Universal Healthcare (we don't have it here in the US) can actually use it outside of our solar system? Sorry if it's off topic, but the sort of thing you can't find the answer to easily and I'm sure folks on the forum would know.
If it's Universal, shouldn't it be applicable anywhere in the Universe? Or have the people been duped?

Also, 42.
07-29-2015, 03:36 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
...something we'll never see in our lifetime.


---------- Post added 29-07-15 at 16:38 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote

...

If it's universal, shouldn't it be applicable anywhere in the universe? Or have the people been duped?

Also, 42.
6 * 9?
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