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Old 03-29-2023, 06:36 AM   #31
TGLS
 
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(with much more conservative laser intensities/max accelerations so it doesn't cost a billion dollars each time you fire it)
To clarify, the only reason it costs a billion dollars to fly to AC is because even at high efficiencies lots of antimatter is really expensive, and that's your favoured braking system. A kilo of antimatter generated at 10% efficiency takes 900 PJ, which at 1 cent a kwh is 2.5 billion dollars. Sure, you could push it higher, but it gets progressively goofier.

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A) It wouldn't affect the balance of power in the Solar system that much, since, again, people in THS do not try to wipe all life off the planet
I'd honestly be more concerned that cheap antimatter would make Helium-3 madness irrelevant and negate the high ground advantage that the Duncanites rely on. Good lasers don't help either (i.e. build orbital solar power plants for Earth, shove objects around the solar system).
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Old 03-29-2023, 09:44 AM   #32
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I'd honestly be more concerned that cheap antimatter would make Helium-3 madness irrelevant and negate the high ground advantage that the Duncanites rely on. Good lasers don't help either (i.e. build orbital solar power plants for Earth, shove objects around the solar system).
He3 madness doesn't make any sense, with or without cheap antimatter. It's a complete contrivance. Nor do I care if the Duncanites are completely expunged from the setting - there are a few thousand of them in a solar system of billions.

I mean, look. The actual logic of Transhuman Space's space development is incredibly loose, optimistic, and downright incorrect at times. That's fine - you'd have to push the timeline back by 50-100 years in order for that level of development to be plausible imo (well, less what happens to Mars), and that'd mean you'd have to significantly retard the development of computer and gengineering technology, deal with the big demographic changes, etc.

But it also means responding to a discussion of the consequences of Earth access to Pandora by nitpicking the second order effects of the tech is a bit like questioning how, exactly, these giant meat-eating dragons are supposed to find anything to eat in Westeros when the place clearly lacks sufficient excess agriculture to support more than a handful of cities across a continent the size of South America. Any story I care to tell is about who's going to throw in with the Targaryens, not the diet of their dragons.
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Old 03-29-2023, 12:51 PM   #33
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But it also means responding to a discussion of the consequences of Earth access to Pandora by nitpicking the second order effects of the tech is a bit like questioning how, exactly, these giant meat-eating dragons are supposed to find anything to eat in Westeros
I dunno; I feel what conditions back in Sol are probably at least a little relevant as to why anyone is willing to spend a billion dollars a kilo on shipping anything to Alpha Centauri (and that's assuming antimatter generation efficiencies over a hundred million times more efficient than today).

Anyway, the plausible first thing to do is to reduce the cost of shipping anything from Sol to Alpha Centauri from billions to to tens of millions by building their own laser. This also let's them ship stuff back. As there's little reason to go down a gravity well to start building stuff (for one thing the atmosphere is going to get in the way, another is sending a craft that can land is probably much more expensive than just a small ship to start construction.), they'll probably keep busy in space before landing, unless there's some reason to establish operations on Pandora very, very early.
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