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Re: RE: starship-design: Re: Starship design

In a message dated 10/1/97 11:37:04 AM, david@actionworld.com wrote:

>Yes, it all depends on what role we see these explorers filling.  As
>"Hero", it is obviously better for our psyche if they return.  As
>"Pathfinder", returning does not seem so important (given that they
>could live a full life wherever they are).  Certainly you'll be able to
>find explorers willing to go on such a one-way journey.  Would we be
>willing to send them?

Would we be willing to send them, certainly not. In a way exactly because our
inability to bring them back proves they arn't pathfinders.  I.E. their is no
path for travel to and fro.  Given that, sending them is an expensive, and
frivilous lark of no practical benifit.  Much less a sick joke on the crew.

>As far as living a full life, this seems easier the more people that go
>on the journey.  Living a full and happy life alone could be nearly
>impossible.  With a few people it would be difficult.  With hundreds it
>is simple... of course, at that point we're talking colonization, which
>might be beyond our scope for a first mission.

Or beyond our technical capacity, much less the folk back homes willing to
fund for the life of the crew.

>The fact that our perceptions of the purpose of the mission matters is
>important.  I am reminded of a time when I read Clarke's "Songs of
>Distant Earth".  I always felt weirded out by the colonies, and didn't
>know why.  Then when I got to the part where the vessel from Earth
>arrives I felt much better.  It's because the colonies were not founded
>by people from Earth, but rather machines from Earth carrying genetic
>material.  It felt... discontinuous, like it really wasn't "us" out
>there.  Of course, it WAS us.  Humans were conquering the stars - but
>there was no real psychological link for me.  But seeding surrounding
>star-systems to insure the survival of the species is a perfectly valid
>reason for star-travel.  It's just that my perception of star-travel has
>always been one of exploration... perhaps even Star Trek-like.  So the
>ship from Earth "felt" much better to me.  (It's not that it was from
>Earth that was important... the important fact is only that it is crewed
>by people who have more of a link to home... they could have been born
>in another starsystem somewhere for all I cared... as long as their
>parents, or parent's parent, or whatever at somepoint actually travelled
>from the Earth.)
>Same thing with cloning.  If I left some DNA samples behind when I died,
>to be cloned five hundred years from now into a new me... well, it's not
>like traveling to the future, is it?  It's not really ME.  It's my
>genes, it's an identical body - but that's it.

Goiod point, and relavant.  "we" Human beings, wern't exploring.  We were
comisioning robots to do the exploration for us, but we had no involvement in
it.  No more then we would applauded the NASA HR departments heroic
exploration of the moon.  They never explored the moon, the astrounauts did.

>David Levine