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starship-design: FW: New thoughts

-----Original Message-----
From:	Kyle R. Mcallister [SMTP:stk@sunherald.infi.net]
Sent:	Monday, April 20, 1998 9:47 PM
To:	'starship-design@lists.uoregon.edu'
Subject:	New thoughts

Greetings all:

I was reading the recent posts to the list, (why are things so slow anymore?) and had a few thoughts:

1. What we need to get to a nearby star

A. Colonies on the moon, asteroids, etc. to gather resources to build starships
B. Extraordinary advances in materials development, propulsion systems, and fuel production
C. A better government/economy system
D. More public interest in spaceflight (ad-campaigns, tv shows, etc?)
E. Interferometers to detect presence of planets at a destination star system. That way, we'll know whether or not to go there.

2. Timelines (when will we get there?)

As proposed by Michio Kaku and Lee Parker:

Type .8 civilization (Lee's estimate) fossil fuels, possibility of nuclear destruction, fission nuclear systems, verge of fusion energy. Slight expansion into nearby regions of space (earth-moon theater) Best current engine systems are nuclear hydrogen or ion drives. This is where we currently are, 1998

Type I civilization: Improved economy, less warfare, more devotion of resources to scientific research and space exploration. Nuclear fusion developed, antimatter production possible. Best current engine systems are nuclear fusion, antimatter catalyzed fusion, or antimatter/matter annhilation. Expansion into solar system, colonies on moon, mars mission completed, possible planetary colonies. Possible probes to nearby solar systems. Possible manned missions to nearest systems near end of timeframe. Circa 2020-2300?

Type II civilization: solar system economy, no warfare, near complete devotion of resurces to expansion. Energy crises cause new energy sources to be investigated, such as "dyson shells" and "zero-point energy". Colonization of nearest star systems begins, expansion into farther systems possible. Maximum radius for expansion increases slowly. Circa 2300-5000?

Type III civilization: large areas of intestellar space colonized, expansion rate continues to increase. Advanced technologies available that are currently unknown. Circa 5000+?

What would be nice: (changes are shown only)

Type I civilization: 2020-2200. Best engines are antimatter annhilation, and possible investigation into "gravity drives" and zero-point energy.

Type II civilization: 2200-2700. Expansion rate increases slowly, energy resources rise with exploitation of advanced energy sources. Possible investigation into faster, propellantless spacecraft.

Type III civilization: 2700+. No limit to expansion. Possible creation of superluminal-capable starships and communication systems. Expansion rate increases to greater than C. 

Which scenario will happen? Who knows. It is impossible to decide.

3. Extraterrestrials

I've heard much discussion about why we haven't heard from extraterrestial civilizations. Here are some possible explanations:

1. Perhaps we have heard from them, but do not know it. SERENDIP III detected over 300 candidate signals, most of which were observed twice at the same position and frequency. META detected 37 signals of unknown origin that appear likely, and are aligned alon the plane of the milky way. 2 stong signals from META were detected in Saggitarius, and the famous 1977 WOW signal was also in Saggitarius. It has also been shown that a true signal would "scintillate" or flicker in position and intensity. This type of signal is what we observe and catalog as interesting but unprovable signals. Perhaps follow-ups of greater magnitude are in order?

2. Perhaps we can't hear from the really advance civilizations. True, they would radiate infrared radiation, but if you were a civilization that advanced, you would need every bit of energy you could get. Perhaps they would harness this heat for energy purposes. Also, perhaps radio is NOT the best medium for interstellar communication. If you had a superluminal method of communication, you would surely choose this over slow radio waves. Recent experiments seem to show that superluminal transmission of signals may actually be possible.

Well, that's about it.

Best regards,
Kyle Randall Mcallister
Email: stk@sunherald.infi.net
Phone: 228-875-0629
Fax: 228-872-5837