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2079: "Alpha Centauri"

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:08 pm UTC
by crystalmeph
Image

Alt-text: And let's be honest, it's more like two and a half stars. Proxima is barely a star and barely bound to the system.

0.1c is no joke. Make sure you've got a lot of shielding, or just lots of different probes so that you still have some left after losing 99.9% of them.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:23 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
Anyone who's played the original Civilization knows that you don't launch until you can get transit time under about 20 years.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:42 pm UTC
by svenman
rmsgrey wrote:Anyone who's played the original Civilization knows that you don't launch until you can get transit time under about 20 years.

And that you can further reduce that transit time by a whole lot through equipping your spaceship with just the bare minimum of habitation/life support but the largest possible number of propulsion modules.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:52 pm UTC
by WriteBrainedJR
I rarely laugh out loud at XKCD, but "three stars" got me good.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:14 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
crystalmeph wrote:0.1c is no joke. Make sure you've got a lot of shielding, or just lots of different probes so that you still have some left after losing 99.9% of them.

…to the swarms of other probes being sent the other way/cross-ways.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:25 pm UTC
by Plasma Mongoose
Can NASA even control Voyager 1 or 2 anymore or just receive their signals?

Even if you could, do either Voyagers have any delta V left at this point?

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:41 pm UTC
by crystalmeph
Plasma Mongoose wrote:Can NASA even control Voyager 1 or 2 anymore or just receive their signals?

Even if you could, do either Voyagers have any delta V left at this point?


The attitude control thrusters are still functioning, but Voyager 1's AC thrusters are not working as well as they used to, so NASA recently verified that they can use the trajectory correction thrusters to also control attitude. They don't mention how much Delta-V is left, but I can't imagine it's anywhere near enough to target anything that's not already directly in the crosshairs, so they probably are reserving all remaining fuel for attitude control.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:09 pm UTC
by Plasma Mongoose
crystalmeph wrote:
Plasma Mongoose wrote:Can NASA even control Voyager 1 or 2 anymore or just receive their signals?

Even if you could, do either Voyagers have any delta V left at this point?


The attitude control thrusters are still functioning, but Voyager 1's AC thrusters are not working as well as they used to, so NASA recently verified that they can use the trajectory correction thrusters to also control attitude. They don't mention how much Delta-V is left, but I can't imagine it's anywhere near enough to target anything that's not already directly in the crosshairs, so they probably are reserving all remaining fuel for attitude control.


The only question left is "Will it be able to relay any new useful information or are we merely just waiting to announce the day that we can no longer receive any signal from Voyager 1?"

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:31 pm UTC
by DavidSh
JPL says that they expect to have to turn off the last science instrument about 2025, because of low power levels. At the moment, they each have the Cosmic Ray Subsystem, Low Energy Charged Particles, Magnetometer, Plasma Wave Subsystem instruments functioning, and Voyager 2 also has the Plasma Science instrument functioning. Expect these to be turned off one by one as the available power drops.

It's useful data to those studying the interaction of the heliosphere with the interstellar medium.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:07 pm UTC
by J%r
35 years? Wouldn't there be a risk of drone riots causing the probe to split up before arrival?

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 1:11 am UTC
by fibonacci
Just have Chairman Yang Nerve Staple them, no more drone riots. ;)

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:41 am UTC
by StClair
I groaned. Good bad joke.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 4:59 am UTC
by Cougar Allen
Plasma Mongoose wrote:
The only question left is "Will it be able to relay any new useful information or are we merely just waiting to announce the day that we can no longer receive any signal from Voyager 1?"

Before that happens I expect it'll be good for at least a few more announcements that it's finally left the solar system. Six or eight more boundaries, maybe.... 8-)

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 5:20 am UTC
by Himself
It's still a lot better than our system. Only one star.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:16 am UTC
by x7eggert
J%r wrote:35 years? Wouldn't there be a risk of drone riots causing the probe to split up before arrival?

No, as long as they have Unimatrix 0, they are happy.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:28 am UTC
by x7eggert
Cougar Allen wrote:Before that happens I expect it'll be good for at least a few more announcements that it's finally left the solar system. Six or eight more boundaries, maybe.... 8-)


It's not easy to tell when you finally left the wibbelly-wobbely timey-wimey ball of solar wind. It's like "I finally left the ocean - no, there is one more wave …", except with larger waves.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:04 am UTC
by CorruptUser
crystalmeph wrote:0.1c is no joke. Make sure you've got a lot of shielding, or just lots of different probes so that you still have some left after losing 99.9% of them.


Your math is off. The probe has to accelara, and possibly decelerate. Assuming constant acceleration throughout it's going to be going at like .2-.3c, at least from our perspective.


As for all the SMAC jokes, I just have a question. So, the fungus being a neural network and all, where did that scifi concept originate? I know Avatar stole it from somewhere, but I'm sure it wasnt from SMAC.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:26 pm UTC
by fibonacci
CorruptUser wrote:As for all the SMAC jokes, I just have a question. So, the fungus being a neural network and all, where did that scifi concept originate? I know Avatar stole it from somewhere, but I'm sure it wasnt from SMAC.


At a guess, it goes at least as far back as the story concept of ley lines and faerie rings and stands of talking trees growing along them. As far as citations, I'm going to venture a guess and say one would need to brush up on either Old Norse or Welsh to find one that could be called earliest.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:10 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
I wouldn't really call the faerie rings that. I'm talking about the concept of the planet's biomass as one giant brain, not some Star Wars-esque Zen type "everything is connected by the Force" or whatever.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:47 pm UTC
by DavidSh
The oldest version of "all of a planet's life forming a single consciousness" I can find is Isaac Asimov's Green Patches, from 1950. The method of interconnection isn't specified there, however.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:01 pm UTC
by fibonacci
CorruptUser wrote:I wouldn't really call the faerie rings that. I'm talking about the concept of the planet's biomass as one giant brain, not some Star Wars-esque Zen type "everything is connected by the Force" or whatever.


I, on the other hand, would count them.

There's more to the fungal network in SMAC than just the blue kitty Avatar scenario. The idea of being able to walk into a hillside, or mushroom ring, or what appears to be a solid tree and traveling through a living network of beings along some paranormal current line fits the story line of SMAC to a T. Sometimes stepping out into an entirely otherworldly realm, or another location in the human realm. Don't forget that investigating a pod sometimes clones the unit, or whisks it away to another spot elsewhere on the planet's surface. And then there are the monoliths. Stories of the fair folk often include dopplegangers and changelings.

For that matter, I would likewise definitely include some of H.P. Lovecraft's writings describing an entire city that's tough to tell whether of natural or artificial construction, and very clearly shows signs of being alive.

"For I Have Tasted The Fungus (Why Prophet Cha Dawn Can't Blink)"

Also, how's circa 400 B.C. for the idea that the world is alive, has a soul, and possesses intelligence?

Re: 2079: "Alpha Centauri"

Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:36 am UTC
by CorruptUser
Not really, no. Anima Mundi is The Force mumbo jumbo, not the SMAC "all the plants are actually a neural network, and the mindworms are the white blood cells as envisioned by the lovechild of HR Giger and HP Lovecraft".

And that's not mumbo jumbo?

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:05 am UTC
by x7eggert
CorruptUser wrote:As for all the SMAC jokes, I just have a question. So, the fungus being a neural network and all, where did that scifi concept originate? I know Avatar stole it from somewhere, but I'm sure it wasnt from SMAC.


The fungus in our woods _does_ connect the trees, it's called "wood wide web". (un?)forunately it's over-hyped, it's mostly pr0n.

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:24 am UTC
by Mikeski
x7eggert wrote:The fungus in our woods _does_ connect the trees, it's called "wood wide web". (un?)forunately it's over-hyped, it's mostly pr0n.

That's what really happened to the entwives? They all left because the ents were just watching dryad pr0n all day?

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:36 pm UTC
by Ken_g6
Himself wrote:It's still a lot better than our system. Only one star.

Ooh, good point! Although Jupiter is close enough to being a star that it's more like one-and-a-half stars. :mrgreen:

Maybe when we get fusion reactors going we'll be considered to have more stars? :P

Re: 2079: Alpha Centauri

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:14 pm UTC
by Old Bruce
Ken_g6 wrote:
Himself wrote:It's still a lot better than our system. Only one star.

Ooh, good point! Although Jupiter is close enough to being a star that it's more like one-and-a-half stars. :mrgreen:

Maybe when we get fusion reactors going we'll be considered to have more stars? :P

What about all those H bomb tests?

Re: 2079: "Alpha Centauri"

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:06 pm UTC
by Reka
Who or what is "SMAC"?

Re: 2079: "Alpha Centauri"

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:16 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest

Re: 2079: "Alpha Centauri"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:16 pm UTC
by pebkac
Yeah, maybe only 3 stars, but one of 'm is class M, according to Wikipedia.

Re: 2079: "Alpha Centauri"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:26 pm UTC
by ijuin
Yes, but it means a different thing for a star to be Class M than for a planet to be Class M.

Re: 2079: "Alpha Centauri"

Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:38 pm UTC
by Sableagle
Means you need to plan things on your generation ship to make sure everybody on board is at least 21 years old by the time they pass its Kuiper Belt.

Re: 2079: "Alpha Centauri"

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:53 am UTC
by Mikeski
ijuin wrote:Yes, but it means a different thing for a star to be Class M than for a planet to be Class M.

Thankfully. "Not on fire" is an excellent feature for a planet to have, from my perspective.

Re: 2079: "Alpha Centauri"

Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:43 am UTC
by ijuin
Yes, so far we’ve found quite a lot of planets that fail the “not on fire” requirement.