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At 4:35 PM 3/4/96, David Levine wrote:
>Kelly Starks x7066 MS 10-39 wrote:
>> Thats a very long time to wait around for first initial survey reports!  At
>> 61 years (2111) you'ld get you first report back from Tau.  If you were
>> that patient, you wern't that interested.  You might as well have just done
>> photo recon from orbiting 1000 kilometer telescope arrays.  You'ld get a
>> lot of the data, 60 years earlier.
>> If your 60 years patent, you probably arn't interested enough to pay the
>> big bill for this stuff.
>I agree.  If you launch a mission that will not return
>scientific results in your lifetime (assume you are in your
>30s or 40s when you send the mission off), most people would
>probably just say "why not let them do it -then-, instead?"
>The payoff is too distant for most corporations, and the
>bill too big for governments to justify to the people when
>considering the length of time involved.
>If we can't do it faster, we're not going to do it.

I'm tending toward the steping stone idea.  Try a few of the near by stars
now, and strech when you can.

>Too bad we don't have a target system with already-contacted
>ETs.  Deceleration seems to be our biggest problem.  They
>could construct an in-system maser decelerator... Of course,
>assuming they trusted us.  I don't know what we'd do if an
>alien civilization contacted us and asked us to build a maser
>array to decelerate their spacecraft.
>Interestingly, many people say that interstellar travel is
>so amazingly difficult (and we are seeing part of it) that
>it won't be accomplished for millenia, if at all.  One of
>the responses to the Fermi Paradox. But lately I think we'd
>agree that interstellar travel is, in fact, possible, but
>at horrendous cost.  If we had a pre-existing deceleration
>system (i.e. cooperative aliens in the target system),
>however, interstellar travel may actually not be too difficult.
>It makes me think of an area of the galaxy where civilizations
>may arise frequently, and there is some sort of trade route
>set up with masers.  You could travel easily between stars if
>there were lots of aliens around... But, if (like us) you
>seem to be alone, you might be stuck at home.  Interesting
>paradox - if there are places to colonize, you can't go there.
>If everywhere is filled up already, you can go there.
>Just rambling.


Interesting point about Star travel.  The whole idea of the radio search of
the galaxy is that phyisical star travel is impossible.  So civilizations
would have to content themselves with randomly transmiting (possibly for
hundreds of thousands of years!), until someone in the galaxy decides to
listen and reply.  We have shown that it is possible; not practical yet,
but possible.  Given that what civilization would wait hundreds of
thousands of years for an answer, when they could just go look for

So in a way, we haven't come up with a doable concept yet, but we've done
better than Carl Sagen and friends.



Kelly Starks                       Internet: kgstar@most.fw.hac.com
Sr. Systems Engineer
Magnavox Electronic Systems Company
(Magnavox URL: http://www.fw.hac.com/external.html)