Interstellar Travel as Delusional Fantasy

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  • #40091

    Unseen
    Participant

    Interstellar Travel as Delusional Fantasy

    Beyond the article, my own thoughts:

    BEFORE WE HEAD TO THE STARS, A QUESTION OF ETHICS

    Barring some unimaginably unlikely breakthrough (greater than light speed travel, wormholes, “folding space,” etc.), interstellar travel will involve multiple generation of travelers. Of these, only the first generation will be volunteers.

    The generation that finally arrives may enjoy the exultation of the end of a trip they didn’t volunteer for, assuming (a huge assumption) that the destination turns out to be a habitable, friendly place. At least they may have that.

    However, what of the generations in between the initial volunteers and the final survivors of the journey? What are they, if not a rather peculiar kind of slave?

    It seems to me that this poses ethical issues that people don’t think about or, worse, don’t really want to discuss.

    Anyone here want to discuss it?

    #40092

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I have always thought that interstellar travel as some sort of mitigation for the environmental destruction of the Earth is a feeble long shot at best. Even the South Pole is orders of magnitude more livable than anything we know about in space. The ethics of generational concerns gets really interesting considering we don’t even know enough about the effects of galactic radiation on our bodies to say if long term space travel is feasible.

     

    #40093

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    It seems to me equivalent of volunteering to go and live on Mars.  One is part of a historic scientific endeavour, but one has a miserable time doing it.

    #40094

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    In fact, it is worse, because the intervening generations would be forced, without any choice, to live out their entire lives in a spacecraft.  That’s an unethical removal of someone’s agency, inflicting something on them they almost certainly wouldn’t choose, without any other option.

    #40095

    Wormholes may be viable shortcuts through space-time after all, new study suggests.

    #40096

    The problem is all about the distances to the nearest potentially habitable planets, even within the Milky Way. To travel one light year is similar to traveling around the diameter of the Earth 36,000,000 times in one year (without even stopping for a picnic). Planets on the “other side” of our galaxy are up to 100.000 light years away and the nearest galaxy. Andromeda is about 2,500,000 light years away.

    If a spaceship left Earth today for Andromeda and another left in 10,000 years time, the latter would get there first due to technological advantages.

    #40097

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    It would be like Star Trek, or Red Dwarf

    #40098

    Unseen
    Participant

    Wormholes may be viable shortcuts through space-time after all, new study suggests.

    I admit to skimming, but I didn’t catch the part where you have any idea where you’ll end up? A scouting party? How do they get back?

    The problem is all about the distances to the nearest potentially habitable planets, even within the Milky Way. To travel one light year is similar to traveling around the diameter of the Earth 36,000,000 times in one year (without even stopping for a picnic). Planets on the “other side” of our galaxy are up to 100.000 light years away and the nearest galaxy. Andromeda is about 2,500,000 light years away. If a spaceship left Earth today for Andromeda and another left in 10,000 years time, the latter would get there first due to technological advantages.

    Suppose you’re in cryostasis for all those years. Your ship is traveling through space at near the speed of light (as if that’s even possible) and space isn’t really empty. There’s dust clouds and even the occasional pebbles and rocks floating around. What is the effect on the hull integrity of the ship of hitting that sort of stuff at that speed?

    What is your purpose in going? Just to satisfy your own curiosity? It can’t be to return home or relay your findings back home somehow. The problems with that are all too obvious starting with there’s likely to be nobody home.

    #40099

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Read an article couple a days ago indicating that our own little moon has ample oxygen to support a great many humans for a long time. But it is not in the atmosphere. It is in the surface and we have the technology to extract it. I am not averring the truth of the matter asserted only being messenger tellin all y’all.

    #40100

    Davis
    Moderator

    It is certainly morally ambiguous to say the least, to impose such a life on a child (living their lives on a spaceship with the goal of breeding more children to do the same) without much of a chance to opt out and turn back. I would say the stakes would have to be pretty high to allow that (extreme over population or end of world situation). In any case, hopefully by the time interstellar travel was feasible, there would be technology by then to hibernate humans or even freeze them (or some safe equivalent). In any case, if they did go ahead, they would certainly need extremely well thought out policies, amble psychological preparation and education for the following generations and thousands of contingency plans for everything.

    In effect though, your question Unseen opens up a can of worms. Would two parents who live in a safe developed country who move to a less safe or even dangerous country and have a child there (for whatever reason they have) be subjecting their child to a dismal environment against their will (or at least before they could ask their consent)?

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #40102

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Humans are already breeding like blind monkey rabbits even as civilization is on a collision course with its extinction.

    #40103

    We have made no inroads into any science that could make cryostasis possible.  I guess such technology and that of a viable spacecraft is a few centuries away still.

    The article (imo) almost takes for granted the likelihood of some type of collision. But once we pass through the man made space junk we should be safe. The first 300 miles would be the problem. The next 26, 000,000,000,000 to Proxima Centauri would be much safer. Even passing though a meteor field is relatively safe as they would be tens of thousands of miles apart.

    #40104

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Moon babies would look adoringly at the pale blue dot.

    Regaled in stories of yore before earth was destroyed the moon babies play in craters the way earth babies played in sand boxes.

    #40105

    Unseen
    Participant

    Post deleted for messed up formatting. I’ll try again. LOL

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #40107

    Unseen
    Participant

    It is certainly morally ambiguous to say the least, to impose such a life on a child (living their lives on a spaceship with the goal of breeding more children to do the same) without much of a chance to opt out and turn back. I would say the stakes would have to be pretty high to allow that (extreme over population or end of world situation). In any case, hopefully by the time interstellar travel was feasible, there would be technology by then to hibernate humans or even freeze them (or some safe equivalent). In any case, if they did go ahead, they would certainly need extremely well thought out policies, amble psychological preparation and education for the following generations and thousands of contingency plans for everything.

    To have the best chance at being ethically justified, the best situation would have the people who volunteered to start the trip be the crew at the end with no lost middle generations. Of course, that would require pretty thoroughly robotic ship.

    Policies are a problem. Must the crew live with them no matter what? Are they immutable? Who enforces them? Would the ship come along with a goon squad to put down populist rebellions?

    In effect though, your question Unseen opens up a can of worms. Would two parents who live in a safe developed country who move to a less safe or even dangerous country and have a child there (for whatever reason they have) be subjecting their child to a dismal environment against their will (or at least before they could ask their consent)?

    This is easy. At least, if you’re on Earth you can, in principle at least, bail on a situation you dislike.

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