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BBC's The Planets - Intelligent life appears to be very rare indeed

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by mrk, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Angilion

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 5, 2003

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    Location: Just to the left of my PC

    I outlined three potential solutions to that problem earlier in the thread. So with the two you refer to, that makes 5 potential solutions just from people in this thread.

    The 3rd potential solution was a protective shell around Mars, which is more complicated but theoretically possible. A far simpler, smaller and easier version of a Dyson sphere, essentially, but still impossible with current technology. The other two solutions I referred to could be done with current technology. Not at all easily, but they could be done. It's not an insurmountable problem. The artificial magnetic field would have the advantage of not blocking the useful energy from the sun, so that would be a better solution than shielding. The lower level of useful energy from the sun is already a serious problem for humans on Mars, so lowering it still further is less than ideal.

    Any form of artificial protection would have problems. Life on Mars would be dependent on it working. No failure. No downtime. You'd need multiple redundancy and an extremely expensive level of reliability. But it's not impossible. Impractical? Too expensive? Quite possibly. But not impossible.

    It might also be dangerous. If a Mars colony ever became wholly self-sufficient, it might rebel. Colonies often do. It wouldn't be particularly difficult to devastate Earth from Mars. You don't need advanced technology. No sci-fi Death Star stuff. Just throwing rocks, basically. Not particularly difficult from the lower gravity of a Mars colony that would have to have some form of space travel. Just push some mass in the general direction of Earth. Earth's gravity well would do the rest.
     
  2. mrk

    Man of Terrible Jokes

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 84,598

    Location: South Coast

    I'm on one fence of that debate which is another matter entirely I guess but worth briefly exploring :p

    I don't think colonising humans of the future will resort to rebelling. This is the kind of mindset we need to lose because this isn't the kind of future that is likely given what will be possible by the time colonisation of other planets is a part of normal life. Like the ISS, space-faring people will be from all nations capable of launching into space and working together. By that time we will have mastered a number of new technologies to make space travel faster, and life on earth much simpler too. This won't be in our generation, nor the generation after us.

    As humans we've only known war and conflict throughout history. History never had technology and access to information and collaboration between people of all nations though. Some conflicts will always exist, but the future will see those be the minority I feel as information and communication gets faster and brings more people working together each generation.

    It's the same reason why I'm on the same side of those that think advanced alien civilisations if/when they meet humans won't just resort to wiping us out, because to travel the kind of distances they will have done requires a different type of intelligence that goes far beyond any conflict as such a thing would be redundant for them having almost infinite energy at their fingertips. That kind of power is what would be necessary to travel even a portion of our own local galaxy neighbourhood for starters.

    Modern humans are far more intelligent than generations of old. This much is fact. Every generation is generally more on the ball, more resourceful and more mindful of their surroundings. Yes the information we now share often shows terrible things happening around the world, but that stuff has always been happening, it's just televised more because of technology. We are still primitive compared to what even 3 or 4 generations from now will be like.
     
  3. Angilion

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,354

    Location: Just to the left of my PC

    That was the reason for the paper I referred to earlier about creating an artificial magnetic field. It's possible that the Earth's magnetic field would be weaker during a magnetic pole switch, so it's possible that adding an artificial field to beef it up might be a good idea. Maybe. The paper went as far as considering a complete lack of magnetic field and concluded that even that worst case scenario could be fixed with an artificial field, but there's no reason to think it could happen. Earth's magnetic poles have switched repeatedly with no evidence of serious adverse effects. The main concern is technology, not life. A reduction in the strength of Earth's magnetic field would be more of a problem for current technology than it would be for life. There's no evidence that previous pole switches have resulted in no magnetic field at all, but modern human civilisation is far more fragile than anything in the past and even a reduction in the magnetic field might be a problem for essential infrastructure. It has never been a quick process though, so there would probably be time to build a solution.
     
  4. chrcoluk

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 27, 2015

    Posts: 3,720

    Yeah sadly tech progression seems to have stagnated since the space programs got cut back.

    Interestingly tho I read on the bbc news app about a month or two back about people carrying around portable mechanical hearts in backpacks. Some kind of experimental mechanical device that effectively puts you on bypass.

    A lady sadly died tho as she wasnt happy carrying it around so then opted for a normal transplant which failed. But the backpack one as far as I know was working.

    So I think mechanical hearts is something that can happen perhaps within a few decades, but other advances, I think are much further off. Of course even then there is going to be a delay between when something is workable and when its supplied to masses of people. Population control will always be a factor in decision making on whether to supply it to millions of people or not. Because once you cure cancer, and you deal with the primary causes of age related deaths, any crowding issues we have now on the planet will seem like childs play in comparison, the need for space travel, or at least the ability to build habitable space stations will escalate greatly.
     
  5. Mercenary Keyboard Warrior

    Sgarrista

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    Location: Wilds of suffolk

    Yeah its tricky, have the switches been the same, will there be warning, will there be a reduction in the field.
    Could it even be instantaneous, or maybe it flips backwards and forwards a few times before stabilising.

    I am not convinced at all that we will all look like we have been boiled in a bag from the switch, far more likely to me is an impact on the environment that sees some reduction or significant change in things we rely on. You mention tech and thats definately more and more an issue. I was more focussed on plants and animals etc, we are already seeing a change in weather patterns, the fish that require warmer water are becoming more common around the UK, equally the cooler water fish are moving away to cooler waters.
    It was more plants I was interested in, I predicted some years ago the next world war would come about because of food shortages, something (natural / unnatural) event wise that created a severe shortage of food, something we didnt see coming (eg a nuclear winter from an asteroid strike). The poles switching could trigger one of these events. A short, even very short spell of heating (or cooling actually) could massively impact the food production for a year or two. A few years later that would be undetectable, but for that short spell it would be very difficult to mitigate. Last year was a good example at the allotment where mine is, no one had good onions, the high temps in June really damaged that crop, this year they already look larger, despite some people watering 3 times a day last year the temps just didnt encourage the growth, in fact most of us had poor potatos as well, another crop that seemed to suffer from those prolonged high temps. Over time we would adapt if this was the norm, move to crops that handle the temps better, but in one season you take the decision what to grow, most of the time there isnt enough time to change your decision when you get it wrong. Its that sort of event I would be most worried about from the poles switch, 4-5 degress of warming for a short peroid would be pretty much undetectable a year or two after, but could be quite dramatic on the environment whilst it was in effect :)
     
  6. Mercenary Keyboard Warrior

    Sgarrista

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    Location: Wilds of suffolk

  7. MegaPinches

    Gangster

    Joined: Dec 9, 2015

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