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Old 02-12-2020, 01:04 PM   #11
ericthered
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
As in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, or Utah, a religious group would have the passion and focus to make good colonists. People might worry about the resulting societies.
People WILL worry about the resulting societies, but that's the entire point of putting a difficult to traverse distance between you and your objectors back home. To change things, the homeland has to mount something military, either an invasion or a genocidal flight of kill vehicles. That's a lot of economic and moral investment for getting rid of someone who went to extreme lengths to not bother you.

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if you're happy in Earth's Oort why are you going anywhere?
To get away from the neighbors, for one. They're pretty far away in the oort cloud, but another system offers a whole different kind of isolation.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:19 PM   #12
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

Ericthered's answer is pretty much the best one you can get. Besides hopping from star system to star system lets you renew resources and makes it more likely that if humanity developes FTL drives, you'll get a chance to find out about it and get one. Not wildly likely, but to anyone who read Far Centaurus, by van Voigt, a thing worth doing.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

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It is very likely that there stars out there whose systems are no more useful to STL travellers than Earth's Oort Cloud and if you're happy in Earth's Oort why are you going anywhere?
If you believe a god is telling you to go to another star system, you go, regardless of how nice it might be in the Oort Cloud.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:43 PM   #14
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

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To get away from the neighbors, for one. They're pretty far away in the oort cloud, but another system offers a whole different kind of isolation.
Plus a much broader range of resources to tap into. If you've got a star system of your own, you can tap stellar energy near the photosphere, use any available planets or rock-and-metal bodies inside the local 'snow line', mine gas giants for He-3 or whatever or use them for Oberth maneuvers, etc. Plus you've also got the other star's Oort as well.
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Old 02-13-2020, 02:51 AM   #15
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

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You mean that the children are committed to the voyage too with no choice? That happens a great deal. The settlers in 17th century America, especially the poorer ones committed their children without their consent. in the THS setting people regularly genetically modify their unborn children. We even read about people removing the sex drive from their children, having them born androgynes, or simply having the French Biochemical Lady prevent them from growing up. The ethical issues involved in a Generation Starship are trivial compared to those.
We'll have to disagree on that. That something was done in the past doesn't make it right; and all of those things you talk about in TS can be undone or at least heavily mitigated when the children become legal adults. Making someone spend their entire life aboard a spacecraft seems to me a whole new order of kidnapping and enslavement.

"Hopping from system to system" is going to make the project even bigger: as well as the 250 years of maintenance supplies (which presumably involves a lot of feedstock and redundant fabricators), you now need to take along miner/refiner capability so that you can restock all those supplies without a base civilisation, for another 600+-year hop. (Supplies including antimatter-boosted hydrogen at $12M per ton, which implies that the manufacturing process is not trivial.)

I'm not saying it's impossible, but I think even the single four-and-a-bit light year leap will be a hugely expensive project requiring a great deal of custom hardware.

The famous Mayflower was a typical early 17th century merchant ship, making a non-stop voyage which was longer than usual but not wildly so, to a place known to be at least somewhat livable. So it wasn't too hard to find investors in the venture; it was risky, but an evaluable risk with a good chance of paying off. This is untried hardware to largely-unknown worlds (yes, good synthetic aperture telescopes will catalogue the planets, but they won't tell you about the subtle stuff), paying off after centuries if ever.

The requirements are, then, that the backers be immensely wealthy (probably multiple large corporations/nations would need to get involved) and that they be irrational by the standards of TS society (otherwise they'd do it with starwisps or other microships which are Much Cheaper). Doing that in a way that feels like TS feels like the biggest authorial challenge of this project.
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Old 02-13-2020, 03:06 AM   #16
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

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We'll have to disagree on that. That something was done in the past doesn't make it right; and all of those things you talk about in TS can be undone or at least heavily mitigated when the children become legal adults. Making someone spend their entire life aboard a spacecraft seems to me a whole new order of kidnapping and enslavement.

"Hopping from system to system" is going to make the project even bigger: as well as the 250 years of maintenance supplies (which presumably involves a lot of feedstock and redundant fabricators), you now need to take along miner/refiner capability so that you can restock all those supplies without a base civilisation, for another 600+-year hop. (Supplies including antimatter-boosted hydrogen at $12M per ton, which implies that the manufacturing process is not trivial.)

I'm not saying it's impossible, but I think even the single four-and-a-bit light year leap will be a hugely expensive project requiring a great deal of custom hardware.

The famous Mayflower was a typical early 17th century merchant ship, making a non-stop voyage which was longer than usual but not wildly so, to a place known to be at least somewhat livable. So it wasn't too hard to find investors in the venture; it was risky, but an evaluable risk with a good chance of paying off. This is untried hardware to largely-unknown worlds (yes, good synthetic aperture telescopes will catalogue the planets, but they won't tell you about the subtle stuff), paying off after centuries if ever.

The requirements are, then, that the backers be immensely wealthy (probably multiple large corporations/nations would need to get involved) and that they be irrational by the standards of TS society (otherwise they'd do it with starwisps or other microships which are Much Cheaper). Doing that in a way that feels like TS feels like the biggest authorial challenge of this project.
And yet there are plenty of people today, who if given the chance to go on a generation starship, with at least the same chance as a Transhuman Space starship of making the voyage, they jump at it. Perhaps you might say only single people can go. But they'd still have children some day.

Many people have made choices that defined the lives of their children. If the one you truly love has a genetic disease in their family history and they carry the trait, then marrying them is putting your children at risk. The logic you use to say generation starships are immoral could be used to say you're only allowed to have children if you are judged genetically fit by certified experts. In order to protect the children's right to good health.
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Old 02-21-2020, 06:20 PM   #17
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

People who don't yet exist have no rights, any more than the dead have rights.

Parents don't owe their children perfect childhoods. They only have the responsibility to do the best they can, with what they have, to raise healthy, well-adjusted children with an understanding of the importance of ethical behavior, as the parents understand it.
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:03 PM   #18
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

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So that's the fastest that TS tech can manage it with an on-board drive. (I have a nasty feeling that a network of launching lasers would rapidly turn into a short war.) Given this mission duration, how can we run the ship?

- generation ship. Obvious ethical problems.
Not so much. Or rather, it depends heavily on what life on the genship is like, how good the odds of survival are, etc.

Everyone must live with the results of choices made by their parents, grandparents, and great-great-great-great-great-grandparents. Emigrate to America or stay in Europe. Migrate east or west out of the Indo-european heartland, and thus become ancestral Brits or ancestral Indians or Iranians. Out of Africa or stay in the home continent? We all live lives defined by choices made by ancestors literally tens of millennia ago.

A kid born on a genship that would have preferred to be born on Earth faces a contradiction in this wish. If his parents or grandparents had stayed home, their offspring and grand-offspring would be on Earth, as he wishes to be...but those offspring would not be him. Different circumstances lead to different people being born.

It certainly could be immoral to commit your descendants to live on a genship, depending on the details, but it doesn't not have to be.
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Old 02-24-2020, 05:01 AM   #19
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

I think that the issue is not just that your parents' decision commits you to living here rather than anywhere else, but with a generation ship, here is likely to be severely constrained, possibly claustrophobic, and probably at significant risk of highly lethal disasters -- especially as compared to pretty much any other plausible option, in a civilisation capable of building a generation ship. And with severely limited opportunities to escape the choice imposed by your ancestors. Plus the risk of humiliation implied by the Far Centaurus possibility.

If you can make your generation ship big, very comfortable, and amazingly safe, the moral issue is reduced. If.
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Old 02-24-2020, 11:12 AM   #20
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Default Re: How to leave the Solar system.

The Mayflower had 102 passengers. 45 of them died the first winter in Plymouth. Other settlements were wiped out entirely.

Exploration is dangerous. A generation ship is no different from the other methods.
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