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-   -   [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3 (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=124426)

thrash 03-25-2014 04:58 PM

[IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
The Earth of timeline Lucifer-3 (B528, IW134) was sterilized by a supernova or gamma ray burster (GRB) in 1979. As of 2004, it was being "systematically" looted by Homeline. This description seems to imply that survivors (if any) are not significant in numbers or organization. I'm curious as to what might have transpired between the first indication of trouble and the final collapse of the ecosystem (and civilization along with it).

Although it seems reasonable to pin the divergence point to the March 5th Event, it doesn't really matter all that much. If so, it would mean that the offending burst of radiation came in from almost due south over Antarctica, in the autumn of the southern hemisphere.

The initial burst was probably powerful enough to knock out most spacecraft, due to secondary radiation effects from structural components.

The "sterilizing" effect of a supernova or GRB is largely due to the destruction of the ozone layer and subsequent influx of solar UV, rather than direct radiation received at ground level. Although the initial ionization products are confined to the hemisphere facing the supernova or GRB, they are rapidly (~60 days) carried around the globe and more slowly across the equator. Interestingly, some of the ionization products screen out the visible frequencies that drive photosynthesis: the sky could darken at the same time the UV spikes.

As the UV flux rises, plants on the surface start dying; the darkness hastens the process. Animals can presumably shelter during the day, but with their food sources cut off they begin to die as well. Eventually, every living thing in the first few inches of soil and first few feet of water is dead. By the mid-1980s, lightning-induced forest fires will burn out most of the standing dead wood around the globe, adding carbon dust and ash to the disaster.

Humans will notice when their satellites go offline, but they may be slow to react to the full scope of the disaster. Environmental concerns about the ozone layer have only been in the public consciousness for a few years at this point, and the science behind it is relatively new and uncertain. The phrase "nuclear winter" hasn't been coined. In the end, though, world-wide crop failures will signal the need to Do Something.

At this point, I'm interested in hearing what others think that Something would be. Panic, naturally, and some degree of fighting over remaining stores of food followed by starvation and disease, but does this occur at local, regional, or national levels? Humans, too, could survive by becoming nocturnal, and might even grow a few crops indoors -- as long as the lights stay on. Is this even possible? Ozone levels won't recover for at least 50 years, and then the replanting is only beginning -- what would it take to hold on that long? What would that effort leave behind for Homeline to loot?

PTTG 03-25-2014 05:09 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Nice work. How plausible that the side of the planet facing the burst was simply irradiated to death right off the bat?

ericthered 03-25-2014 05:24 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Well, there are going to be lots of refined metals: the hulking remains of skyscrapers, ships, and an industrial society completely gone.

Existing infrastructure can be leveraged: You don't only get untapped oil wells, the wells are drilled for you (though you may have to do some fix up work.

More dangerously (and temptingly), ancient nuclear stockpiles are probably still in place, waiting for someone to scoop them up and use them.

Why mine asphalt off of a pit on a remote world when you can get the refined product one jump and a few miles away on Lucifer-3, even if you do have to mine it at night?

David Johnston2 03-25-2014 05:44 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
I think oxygen levels would dip a bit with most of the land plant life gone.

thrash 03-25-2014 06:02 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
You'd think so, but the oxygen already stored in the atmosphere is good for hundreds of years before the loss would be noticeable.

Too bad, that: a suddenly oxygen-depleted alternate would have some fun possibilities.

ericthered 03-25-2014 06:20 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Humanity will figure out what has happened fairly quickly, what with the sudden increase in sunburns and skin cancer. The southern hemisphere will get hit hardest, which may give the north a chance. However, I don't think they'll be able to effect a reasonable solution. This will be a cold and calculating fall of society though: There won't be a fair start, but things will gradually get more and more desperate. worst of all, reducing the human population DOESN'T make the survivors better able to make it.

The humans who survive the best will be the ones who can hide with a large stock of food quickly and silently. Secrecy will be as important as the food stock. There will also be a few military winners, but they may not have the resources to preserve their food. I also doubt that the surviving humans will have the resources to start growing food again: they need a huge energy source to even turn the lights on, not to mention a place to make bulbs. That kind of organization discourages secrecy, which will spell defeat and invasion. They might be able to put something together after the rest of humanity has died off though.

I'm not sure how complete the die-off will be. Yes, UV radiation is a powerful sterilizer. But life is suburb at surviving. The deep sea vent life, at least, will come out alive. The food chain at the bottom normally fed by the top will survive for a long time by cannibalizing itself, and its got a slow metabolism in the first place. The plankton locked in Antartic ice will survive. I'm also not sure if there is a depth where visible light reaches but the deadly UV varieties do not. That last category offers some hope for sustaining human life, as well as for repopulating the land once UV goes down.

I can actually see infinity biologists being incredibly interested in this world for the sake of understanding what a mass extinction looks like and at exploring how quickly life returns and which phyla come to dominate.

On second thought, there may be a way for humans to survive other than 'hunker and hide':

The best solution for growing food isn't underground with lighting: its in making a material that will filter out UV light while passing visible light through. Humanity probably has time to invent a material before it goes under, and indeed to make several factories that make great big panels of it. These will be in high demand though, and won't be in time to save more than a fraction of humanity, and civilization will still fall. you may get some groups of people who had enough power, enough foresight, and enough luck to own some of the factories. That won't save you from a possible nuclear winter, but it may leave a few enclaves of humans still alive and still above ground.

fifiste 03-26-2014 07:09 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
As I understand even ordinary glass blocks most of the UVB - it lets a lot of UVA thorugh. Some specialty glass* or plastic should be practically impenetrable to all UV.
Constructing a significant acerage of greenhouses might not be too big of a project for some powers - the biggest trouble as you already mentioned with indoor lightning being of course the hungry hordes wanting their share.

I think it might open a bigger possibility for smaller more secretive survivor enclaves - (hidden valleys, islands, repurporsed oil-freighters or what have you - feeding their small populations with greenhouses)

edit: remembered something about quartz. But as it turns out quartz glass is specifically to let UV through - I remmeber the tanning lamps being called quartz lamps in my childhood so it makes sense

Fred Brackin 03-26-2014 08:42 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thrash (Post 1741937)
You'd think so, but the oxygen already stored in the atmosphere is good for hundreds of years before the loss would be noticeable.

Too bad, that: a suddenly oxygen-depleted alternate would have some fun possibilities.

Does this calculation take into account the decay of newly dead plant matter? I understand that to be a significant source of oxidation. At the least it's why plants don't remove CO2 from the atmosphere on a long term basis unles they are buried in peat bogs or similar locations.

I suppose dead animal matter would affect things as well.

Then there's rusting and other inorganic oxidation processes.

Anders 03-26-2014 08:45 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Phil Plait's Death From the Skies, about various ways the universe can kill us, has a scenario on GRB. I can really recommend the book.

thrash 03-26-2014 10:36 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin (Post 1742127)
Does this calculation take into account the decay of newly dead plant [and animal] matter?

Total atmospheric oxygen: 1.4x10^15 tons. Total carbon in biomass (living and dead): 2.0x10^12 tons. Even if all of the carbon in biomass were fully oxidized, it would result in a 0.3% drop in atmospheric oxygen. Then there's the question of how decay will proceed in the presence of sterilizing UVB.

Quote:

Then there's rusting and other inorganic oxidation processes.
About 6x10^8 tons per year: significant on a geological time scale (~23,000 years for a 1% drop), but not in the 35 years so far in this scenario.

patchwork 03-26-2014 11:28 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
With at least 60 days until the scope of the problem is fully realized, followed by mass starvation, people have time for a lot of odd final statements. Blowing up the IRS buildings, or bizarre sculptures in the middle of freeways, or any number of things I'm insufficiently caffeinated to come up with right now. I would imagine a subset of the artistic community to find this world fascinating.

While there would be looting and savagery, the sheer scope of the problem makes the end clear to basically everyone; in the end, I suspect most people would choose to go in an orderly (if deranged) fashion. Lots of mass graves, bodies neatly laid out and cataloged, people executed by their "loved ones", etc.

There's lots of biomass that can and will be preserved and eaten if it's dying anyway. I suspect people in very rural areas of the developed world would be able to hold on for a few years (or until the flashfires get them).

I can't seriously expect there to be any survivors anywhere. That requires enough greenhouse space to feed them, already in operation and defensible at the time of the event.

Vaevictis Asmadi 03-26-2014 12:08 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 1741944)
I'm not sure how complete the die-off will be. Yes, UV radiation is a powerful sterilizer. But life is suburb at surviving. The deep sea vent life, at least, will come out alive. The food chain at the bottom normally fed by the top will survive for a long time by cannibalizing itself, and its got a slow metabolism in the first place. The plankton locked in Antartic ice will survive. I'm also not sure if there is a depth where visible light reaches but the deadly UV varieties do not. That last category offers some hope for sustaining human life, as well as for repopulating the land once UV goes down.

Yes, a couple meters below the water surface appears to be photic enough for life but mostly safe from UV (A thru C).

But oxygen would get depleted very fast in the water. All that dead material would be a bonanza for any decomposer that can survive UV by being buried in its food and/or catch dead stuff falling into the aphotic zone. Deep ocean anoxia also appears to have cascade effects that could kill huge swaths of the biosphere -- it was probably a significant factor in the Permian mass extinction. With decomposition overtaking photosynthesis both on land and in water, I'd expect a CO2 and CH4 increase -- though when offset by a rapid end to industrial activity and possible darkened skies, it may not accelerate global warming.

Some marine life would survive, after all it survived a 96% die-off at the Permo-Triassic. But I think that all or nearly all land and freshwater life would be gone. Keep in mind that Earth plants are exquisitely vulnerable to radiation, compared to animals. Unless humans already had self-sufficient underwaters cities, I doubt any of us would make it. People would have to last on stored food until the ozone layer fully recovered, before agriculture would become viable again. Then they'd have to cope with soils that might be changed -- essential microbes and fungi might be gone, replaced by large quantities of decomposers.

Not another shrubbery 03-26-2014 01:36 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thrash (Post 1741914)
The Earth of timeline Lucifer-3 (B528, IW134) was sterilized by a supernova or gamma ray burster (GRB) in 1979. As of 2004, it was being "systematically" looted by Homeline. This description seems to imply that survivors (if any) are not significant in numbers or organization. I'm curious as to what might have transpired between the first indication of trouble and the final collapse of the ecosystem (and civilization along with it).

The use of the word 'sterilized' implies that the world was scoured clean of most life, and almost certainly all human life, at least by the local year 2004. If not, I'd expect some mention of rescue operations, rather than just looting of resources. With the presence of ruins after a fairly short time (on the civilization scale), there's reason to suspect that some survivors squabbled a bit (causing more disarray than nature would on its own) before dying off.

malloyd 03-26-2014 02:10 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery (Post 1742248)
The use of the word 'sterilized' implies that the world was scoured clean of most life, and almost certainly all human life, at least by the local year 2004. If not, I'd expect some mention of rescue operations, rather than just looting of resources. With the presence of ruins after a fairly short time (on the civilization scale), there's reason to suspect that some survivors squabbled a bit (causing more disarray than nature would on its own) before dying off.

Not particularly. Everybody dies in seconds (which may well be the intent here) will produce plenty of ruins in fairly short order as still running machinery and processes do destructively uncontrolled things. Unfought fires alone will damage most cities rather noticeably in fairly short order.

thrash 03-26-2014 03:01 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
I haven't found a plausible mechanism for directly killing off the humans while still leaving the atmosphere intact, which is why I've been taking "sterilized" to specifically mean "subjected to lethal doses of solar UV." GRBs are too short to affect more than one hemisphere at a time, although the possibility exists for "aftershocks." A supernova event might last a full 24 hours and cover the entire globe, but in most scenarios the damage would either be limited to the upper atmosphere or strip the atmosphere entire.

Not another shrubbery 03-26-2014 03:26 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by malloyd (Post 1742263)
Not particularly. Everybody dies in seconds (which may well be the intent here) will produce plenty of ruins in fairly short order as still running machinery and processes do destructively uncontrolled things. Unfought fires alone will damage most cities rather noticeably in fairly short order.

Ah... Probably not much direct damage from unsupervised machinery, but good call on fire. That might be reason to suspect a quick-kill event, but see below.
Quote:

Originally Posted by thrash (Post 1742295)
I haven't found a plausible mechanism for directly killing off the humans while still leaving the atmosphere intact, which is why I've been taking "sterilized" to specifically mean "subjected to lethal doses of solar UV." GRBs are too short to affect more than one hemisphere at a time, although the possibility exists for "aftershocks." A supernova event might last a full 24 hours and cover the entire globe, but in most scenarios the damage would either be limited to the upper atmosphere or strip the atmosphere entire.

I wouldn't expect sterilized to be used that way, given Kromm's usual precision in word choice, but you could be right. It might simply mean 'rendered infertile'.
It would be kind of a strange event that killed everyone so quickly.

Vaevictis Asmadi 03-26-2014 03:54 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
What if it was a very nearby supernova, one close enough to sweep Earth with plasma waves from the supernova remnant?

robkelk 03-26-2014 06:09 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vaevictis Asmadi (Post 1742327)
What if it was a very nearby supernova, one close enough to sweep earth with plasma waves from the supernova remnant?

You'd still be looking at one hemisphere taking the brunt of the damage, unless the supernova was on a line roughly perpendicular to the Earth's axis.

Consider Beta Hydri. I don't know whether it's a supernova candidate, but Beta Hydri is the closest near-end-of-life star to Earth, slightly over 20ly away. It's close enough to damage the Solar System if it goes nova, although we don't expect it to go nova any time soon - something would have to happen to it. (But in an alternate universe, something could happen to it.) Trouble is, it's almost due south of the South Pole ... so you've got the "one hemisphere only" issue to deal with.

Drifter 03-26-2014 07:18 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
There is this from NASA, linking the Ordovician extinction to, possibly, a GRB.

And here is a link to a NOVA site on what would happen to the ozone. Aside from the stuff already mentioned C-14 is also produced in the upper atmosphere. If the GRB was the result of a pair of neutron stars in a mutual, decaying orbit (apparently thought to be a common cause of GRBs), you'd get high energy particles just after the gamma rays, lasting for weeks. If it was close enough the particles would come right on the heels of the gamma rays.

As Mr Lloyd points out, I think the intention was that Lucifer worlds be killed off relatively quickly - at least that's how I read it too. But as Mr. Thrash points out, that is hard to do without blowing off the atmosphere. So does a pair of neutron stars colliding, within about 3000 light years, do it? A GRB knocks out most of the ozone in the southern hemisphere, resulting in skin cancers and dying plant life over a period of a few weeks. C14 and other radioactive fallout adds to the destruction. Then several weeks later a new rain of high energy particles sleets through the atmosphere, causing more fallout like material.

In anycase if it was going to take weeks, with skin cancers suddenly appearing, crops and life in general dying in the fields, fallout raining down, people would panic on a grand scale. I'm sure people in the outskirts, away from communications, would swarm into the cities looking for food, medicine and protection. People in the cities would hunker down, hoping for the government to come up with something - especially when people figure out going outside is deadly (at least during the day).

Famine, deaths from cancer and, very quickly, things like cholera and associated diseases pile up. Most cities decay into chaos. Military hardened areas, set up to deal with a nuclear attack, would have supplies and shelter to keep some people alive for a while. Like the government leaders of the US, Soviet Union, and most of the other major countries, along with many military bases. Although you'd probably get mutinies pretty quick when the soldiers realize they're going to die while their leaders live, just because of where they stand in the ranks, not for any nationalistic reasons.

Longer term you'd have to have access to foodstuffs. Deep sea animals would survive, so maybe you'd see submarines used for fishing. Somehow. Or the pockets of survivors would raid surrounding ruins for a few months to years for food, then gradually die off. I suspect you'd have survivors for years at coastal military bases, San Diego, New London, or Pearl Harbor. Maybe with a still President Carter at one of them, or Acting-President Cyrus Vance.

Ulzgoroth 03-26-2014 07:52 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
I'd think there's a fairly straightforward if physically improbable way to get the required effect.

Lethal neutrino flux.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vaevictis Asmadi (Post 1742327)
What if it was a very nearby supernova, one close enough to sweep earth with plasma waves from the supernova remnant?

If you sweep earth that way there's going to be some serious property damage.

cptbutton 03-26-2014 08:39 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 1742422)
I'd think there's a fairly straightforward if physically improbable way to get the required effect.

Lethal neutrino flux.

If you sweep earth that way there's going to be some serious property damage.

Xkcd says not to worry about neutrino flux, if you are that close you are already inside the star going supernova, and neutrinos are the least of your problems.

Fred Brackin 03-26-2014 08:40 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by robkelk (Post 1742387)
Consider Beta Hydri. I don't know whether it's a supernova candidate, .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_Hydri

...has Beta Hydri being barely more massive than the Sun. It won't even make a decent Red Giant.

If you want a future supernova you need to go here....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antares

....and even at 15-18 solar masses Antares won't make a top rank boom. It is the closes tone I know of and the Wiki article implies the same.

It's also 550 ly distant which is about the same distance of the Geminga pulsar. That's a supernova remnant from about 30,000 years ago. No really big mass extinctions tied to that time period.

A parallel Earth with a supernova candidate close enough to be really dangerous is going to be highly variant in terms of local astronomy. Gurps Space 4e puts the sort of Type O stars you need at 1 in 3,000,000 in our neighborhood.

cptbutton 03-26-2014 08:53 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin (Post 1742433)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_Hydri

...has Beta Hydri being barely more massive than the Sun. It won't even make a decent Red Giant.

Though that was the premise of the anime Stellvia of the Universe. Earth is devastated by the lightspeed radiation of the supernova Beta Hydri, and 200 years later they are preparing a defense against the matter shockwave.

(The numbers don't work, but they do drag in some Weird Physics later on to help explain it.)

robkelk 03-26-2014 08:53 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
So a supernova is pretty much out, without variant astronomy.

(At least we've reduced the number of things to worry about by one...)

robkelk 03-26-2014 08:54 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cptbutton (Post 1742441)
Though that was the premise of the anime Stellvia of the Universe. Earth is devastated by the lightspeed radiation of the supernova Beta Hydri, and 200 years later they are preparing a defense against the matter shockwave.

(The numbers don't work, but they do drag in some Weird Physics later on to help explain it.)

Which is where I got it from, actually. And the physics is very weird - but not impossible.

Flyndaran 03-26-2014 09:12 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
One could always leave the exact source of the radiation burst undetermined over the course of the game.
Without knowing what caused it, players might rationally feel that it could happen again at any moment.
The handful of astronomers studying the alternate might each have their own idea, and thus divide the limited research resources.

Ulzgoroth 03-26-2014 09:32 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cptbutton (Post 1742432)
Xkcd says not to worry about neutrino flux, if you are that close you are already inside the star going supernova, and neutrinos are the least of your problems.

No, it says not to worry about neutrino flux from a nearby supernova.

That's why I said physically improbable. Getting a neutrino flux like that anywhere that isn't simultaneously being destroyed in other ways would be really bizarre.

But it would let you deliver lethal radiation poisoning to the entire Earth biosphere simultaneously.

tantric 03-26-2014 10:43 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Hmm - alternate means of destroying the ozone layer...solar flares, sudden reversals of the magnetic poles, antimatter meteors, multimegaton nukes in the upper atmosphere, ozone eating alien microbes, am I forgetting anything? No SciFi writers' guild, I wasn't asking you.

Flyndaran 03-26-2014 10:53 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
A smallish comet full of ozone depleting chemicals is at least possible if rather unlikely.
The scientists of the alternate expecting one type of disaster and get an even worse unexpected one.

Vaevictis Asmadi 03-26-2014 11:11 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Well according to the Wikipedia article on the Permo-Triassic extinction, widespread ocean anoxia can encourage anaerobic green sulfur bacteria to produce tons of H2S, which damages the ozone if it gets into the atmosphere (besides just generally being toxic).


Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 1742422)
If you sweep earth that way there's going to be some serious property damage.

They did say they're looting the ruins of Lucifer-3. Only really hitting one hemisphere is a bigger argument against it.

I'm liking the "colliding binary neutron stars" idea.

Fred Brackin 03-27-2014 09:01 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vaevictis Asmadi (Post 1742474)
I'm liking the "colliding binary neutron stars" idea.

The issue there is that those are already supernova remnants. Unless very ancient the supernova that produced the neutron stars would leave a bubble of hot gas the way the Geminga supernova did. I haven't heard of a detectable bubble besides the Geminga one in our neighborhood.

<shrug>It's more possible and I can't rule it out but it still requires some extremely improbable events.

Drifter 03-27-2014 10:18 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
As was pointed out the March 5th, 1979 GRB event seems to be the implied change. This article links it to a possible magnetar in the Greater Magellanic Cloud. This paper links soft gamma ray repeaters (SGR) with gamma ray bursters, stating its just a matter of direction; if you get hit full on it looks like a GRB, otherwise you see only the spillover, seen as a SGR.

I think the improbably event is that the burst hit us head on, at an order of magnitude or three greater than the real life burst. Apparently March 5 lasted only 2/10ths of a second - if it lasted 10 seconds it could have done more than swamp some astronomy instruments.

Anyway, the original post was for what the reaction would be. Panic (probable) or peaceful acceptance and a quiet passing into that good night (yeah, right).

If there are pocket of survivors I'd also go with an extreme paranoia and mystical mindset. Plenty of studies show that when people have to deal with events totally beyond their control they usually attribute events to non-logical sources; like evenly match sports teams with the members wearing lucky hats or socks or using lucky balls. The unfortunate Syrian situation was even more illustrative. Interviews with the anti-Assad forces were blaming Isreal and the West; they acknowledged that Assad was an enemy of Isreal, but through convoluted "logic" were able to convince themselves somehow Isreal and the US was behind their suffering. Politics aside that is the classic mark of people with nothing left and bewildered by events.

I'm sure survivor populations would be just as paranoid. Americans would blame Soviets, and visa versa. Traditional enemies would blame each other. If their scavenging teams met they would likely attack, and probably try to destroy enemy bases.

Homeline might think that Lucifer3 is empty but in fact have several pockets of very paranoid survivors, armed to the teeth and probably possessing nuclear weapons. Infinity agents blundering into THAT would have a heck of a time explaining themselves.

Vaevictis Asmadi 03-27-2014 02:48 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
No doubt some people would think it's the Rapture or the Apocalypse, or whatever. Somewhere somebody else will blame aliens.

Anyone who's left alive will probably also be desperate enough to kill and eat strangers, such as ISWAT. Might make rescue operations a bit awkward...

Agent 1: Holy crap, I can't believe anybody is still alive in this hellhole!
Agent 2: Hey you down there! We've come to help you!
Guy in rags: Meat!

ericthered 03-27-2014 03:28 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Of course, when you're carrying a ton of food with you already, that may be quite easily solved. Though anyone who makes it 30 years isn't going to be insane. They'll be paranoid, but not insane.

malloyd 03-27-2014 03:28 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin (Post 1742580)
The issue there is that those are already supernova remnants. Unless very ancient the supernova that produced the neutron stars would leave a bubble of hot gas the way the Geminga supernova did. I haven't heard of a detectable bubble besides the Geminga one in our neighborhood.

Actually they are pretty common. In fact the Sun sits fairly close to the boundary of the Local Bubble and the Loop1 Bubble, which raises the local density a bit over both, though still vastly lower than the galactic average.

There's also quite a lot of debate over what supernovae were responsible, the Gemini gamma ray source is a popular candidate, but the irregular shape seems to point at several supernovae being involved. The other favorites are stars formed and since exploded in association with the Pleiades. In any case, as geologic things go, the Local Bubble is not particularly old, no more than a few 10s of millions of years. There's been lots of time for neutron stars to have formed around here long before it existed, and lots of time for ones formed quite far away to have moved into this vicinity or vice versa.

Flyndaran 03-27-2014 04:46 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vaevictis Asmadi (Post 1742474)
Well according to the Wikipedia article on the Permo-Triassic extinction, widespread ocean anoxia can encourage anaerobic green sulfur bacteria to produce tons of H2S, which damages the ozone if it gets into the atmosphere (besides just generally being toxic).
....

You drew the short straw private, so you get to go to one of the Fart realities. Depressing because as long as you can smell it it hasn't hit toxic levels.

Fred Brackin 03-27-2014 08:53 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by malloyd (Post 1742751)
In any case, as geologic things go, the Local Bubble is not particularly old, no more than a few 10s of millions of years. it .

The estimate I have for the Geminga pulsar is only 30,000 years.

Any relatively close neutron star binary ought to be a known x-ray source.

malloyd 03-27-2014 09:16 PM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin (Post 1742878)
The estimate I have for the Geminga pulsar is only 30,000 years.

I've never seen one *that* low, but the error bars on just about everything related to Geminga are huge, like +/-100%, even on how far away it is, and they're as bad or worse on the Local Bubble dates.

Edit: 300,000 seems to be pretty popular on recent pages, did you drop a zero? Unfortunately it's 4 or so sectors to Rimward, so it's in the wrong place to blame the Ancients for a Traveller game.

thrash 11-03-2017 08:56 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Photobiological effects at Earth's surface following a 50 pc Supernova

Recent paper on arXiv describing the likely effects of local supernovae, such as are thought to have happened ~2.5 and 8 Mya.

Short version: not enough damage to cause a major extinction event, much less "sterilization." So, we're left with the most likely cause for Lucifer-3 being some flavor of gamma ray burst.

AlexanderHowl 11-03-2017 10:20 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin (Post 1742878)
The estimate I have for the Geminga pulsar is only 30,000 years.

Any relatively close neutron star binary ought to be a known x-ray source.

Any rapidly rotating neutron star is a known x-ray source. Slow rotating neutron stars are almost impossible to detect if they are not consuming matter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_star).

A plausible scenario would be a dead neutron star passes by the Sol System and runs into a rogue gas giant the size of Saturn within 1 light-year of the Earth. With the accretion causing 10% of the mass of the rogue planet to turn into gamma rays, the energy released would equal 5 * 10^42 J of energy. It is 'only' 10% of the energy of a typical GRB, but it would occur within 1 light-year of the Earth rather than within 30,000 light-years.

The Earth would receive 4 GJ of energy per square meter from the event, which would blow off the atmosphere if it happened in an instant. If it occurred over a month though, the extra flux of 1.69 kW per square meter would raise the surface temperature to uninhabitable levels, which would kill off everyone without destroying most of the infrastructure. When the accretion ended, the temperature would return to normal, though everything other than extremophiles would be dead.

Fred Brackin 11-03-2017 10:34 AM

Re: [IW] Imagining Lucifer-3
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2132835)
Any rapidly rotating neutron star is a known x-ray source. Slow rotating neutron stars are almost impossible to detect if they are not consuming matter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_star).

A plausible scenario .

I wouldn't say better than "perhaps physically possible".

You'd need an old neutron star whose void had filled in and we might still detect it from collisions with Oort Cloud objects smaller than planets. These would be far more probable than the very large object collision your scenario needs. They'd still be bright in the more energetic (and conspicuous) parts of the EM spectrum.


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