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FMF - space projects

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Fourth millennium Foundation

on 22 April 2013

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Transcript of FMF - space projects

FMF - fourth millennium foundation Interstellar space projects The pale blue dot A new age of discovery? rockets (Under which circumstances) could this become true? Advanced Propulsion Politics / sociology / economics / Future studies 692 exoplanets and counting
Some in habitable zone
(Gliese 581d,…)
More interest will develop in:
Settling on another habitable world
Could have more potential then colony in own solar system
Long time survival, spread of life, science
Is more interest enough? Is this realistic?
In a perfect world, a very active field of research… Warning: concepts
Only theoretical studies done
Most are peer-reviewed, though

Required energy goes up quadratically with Ve

Issue with noncharged nuclear fragments
Cannot be directed, efficiency lower
Heating , neutron damage,… Huge cost
Non-urgent The Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a distance of about 6 billion kilometers http://exoplanet.eu/catalog.php Propulsion techniques
With realistic physics (in principle)
‘Slight’ difficulties
Fermi paradox & Drake equation
Politics / sociology / economics / Future studies Outline 81 stars (59 systems) are within 20 lightyears
Closest = proxima centauri, 4.22LY
72000 years @ speed of voyager 1
Not the best we can do In Perspective A rocket takes all its reaction mass with it
Tsiolkovsky’s rocket equation:

Δv = ve ln (Mtot / Mempty)
Ve = exhaust speed of reaction mass
Δv = attainable speed

For high Δv a large ve is needed! Project Orion 1950s technology Work of Freeman Dyson et Al.
In the limit Δv ~ 0.03c
Note shock absorber – has minimum size – test ban treaty‘63 Nuclear pulse propulsion Project Daedalus 1970s project
Now revised (Icarus)
Assumes ICF fusion
Current research: NIF, laser mégajoule, HiPER
D-He3 fuel = very hard, $$$
Magnetic nozzle
In 2 years to 0.12c
450t payload
27 TW (humanity: 15 TW)
(slower accelleration = less power) Other LASER sailing Gets rid of rocket equation
Power plant can remain at home
But even more massive infrastructure
Lens, sails, power plant 1 TW = appox. 4000 km² of space solar power @ 20% eff. Fission fragment rocket Part of proposed NASA 10 year mission to gravitational lens point

Beefed-up version could be used for interstellar travel

High accellerations mean high power (4.4 LY in 50 years= 200GW)

Radioactive exhaust as well

Ref: dusty plasma based fission fragment reactor, Rodney A Clarck, AIAA People Better storytelling in SF
Even huger cost
Some popular concepts:
World ship
Hibernation / cryogenics
Embryo ships
AI Small & slow is beautiful…
Quadratic power law applies
Many studies obsessed with speed
Going slow shifts problem to equipment lifetime
Minimal robotic exploration or ‘life seeding’ scenario seems in principle feasible
Travel in one human lifetime not Conclusion on propulsion Fermi paradox: where is everyone? Suppose you could colonize one planet, you could do the galaxy in a few million years… Intelligence rare outcome of evolution
Intelligence ≠ technology
Life genesis is rare
Suitable planets are rare
Technol. society self destructs
We don’t notice others (SETI)
Colonisation is too expensive Laws of physics at practically attainable energies and scales well understood
Correspondence principle!
Sigmoidal economic development
No massive colonization of solar system (or deep sea...)
Does not exclude economic activity in space
No singularity
No collapse either
Transition to sustainable economy
Global modern analogue of ‘primitive’ pacific island nations
Does not exclude good standard of living
Still an optimist’s scenario Assumptions Least action principle Some justificiation Population
Rate of invention
limits to growth

Carbon footprint
Water Challenges to direct commercial investment Return?
Information? Goods?
Money has its cost
Current value of distant future gain 0
Does not exclude private sector as supplier Funding Public funding ‘Return’ can be interpreted broader
Economical advantages, military superiority, technological advance, prestige, support of industry,…
Starship = a beefed up megaproject such as Apollo (av. 0.4% of US GDP)?
Megaproject = involving a steep threshold unsurpassable by normal economic or scientific development
Global effort of 0.5% of world GDP = 300 G$/year
Sense of urgency? Public support?
‘waiting on better tech’ meme
Benefit vs. Investment size and risk... Public megaproject funding: costs vs. benefits Costs are in actualized USD Unique Set of disincentives High costs of time and resources
Absolute non profit
Benefit can be for life and humanity in general
Benefits will be for future generation, far away
Non urgency
“Waiting for better times / technology” (blame Star Trek)
Why develop specific tech if no one is interested in using it
Will never be urgent (until it is too late)
Must be recognised fully
Acceptance of the long timespan,
charity character and non urgent
character can be the key out Getting out of the stalemate? How? long timespans Long timespans, charity character and non urgency:
NOT reasonable to put massive funding in
Project is still worthwhile => start an organisation that work over generations
Public or NGO Milan Cathedral – took 600 years to build Towards an interstellar Fund? Gradually, resources could be put in a fund that will, once a certain threshold is reached, finance
The actual interstellar mission
Technology development that is still to be done at that time
Sensible to start the fund before all technology is there
Breaks circle of procrastination
Very presence of such a fund can be an impetus for existing research agencies to invest in relevant research 1T$ Interstellar probe – financing time cited returns are above inflation Points of interest Long term funds exist (e.g. Nobel Foundation’s)
Economic disturbance?
Currently 20 trillion $ in pension funds
Can this grow out of existing space advocacy organisations?
can be put to the test Conclusion Is at verge of wat is probably possible
Centuries of travel time not avoidable
(if physics does not surprise me)
With all complications that adds
Not all technology for this will come from market
This generation: more observations
Still need more info on possible destinations Long term missions need either
Policitical will fostered by a long period of wealth, stability, long term vision
A large long term NGO organization fostering the project + some stability
A bit like a church
Don’t be too surprised if you see people fundraising for this
Sooner or later… Take good care of this one…
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