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starship-design: Land or orbit


You're right. Alien bacteria could be a problem. Also consider fungus.
It could be real
nasty on humans, perhaps even deadly. Fortunately, it can be killed (I
hope the
tau cetian variety could). But I still think that it would be so much
if we were to land on the planet, rather than stay in orbit a few years,
and begin the trip home. And it would probably get more funding from the 
public. As far as atmospheric gasss, if you'll look in the charter
section of the
web page, you will find that it says "spectral studies indicate an
containing significant amounts of O2, N2, CO2, and water vapor, but we
cannot give
relative amounts. I think its safe to say that by the year 2050, we
might have
an instrument sensitive enough to give us a ball-park estimate of the
As far as pressure, I've thought about it, and can't come up with a
plausible system
for measuring it from here. Albedo would probably not work (a friend
of mine tried this, and said that the atmosphere of mars was between
8000 and 19000 
millibars!) Density wave analysis, maybe, but how do we pass density
waves 11.9 ly
to target, bounce them back, and record the information? Let alone
generate them in
the first place. If anyone has an idea, let me know. Just the signature
of O2 and CO2
tells me there's probably life of some kind there. The water vapor
indicates (maybe)
clouds and water, perhaps oceans at the warm equator. I would recommend
that the colony be established at the equator, where the temperatures
aren't to
harsh. Then again the poles might be somewhat devoid of life, making the
of germ contamination less likely...

				Kyle R. Mcallister