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Is Interstellar Colonization the Great Filter?
(01-03-2019, 07:55 AM)iancampbell Wrote: IMHO interstellar colonisation may well be easier than we think, assuming that fusion of some sort can be made to work.

The point is that interstellar space is not empty. Best estimates of the size of the Oort cloud of a typical G star is around 2LY radius. Which means that in many cases, the Oort clouds of neighbouring stars would butt up against each other and maybe even interpenetrate. The requirement for fusion is because it's just about the only way of getting reliable energy two light years from the nearest star. As far as we can tell, cometary bodies ("dirty snowballs") contain enough of everything to build world ships (colonies of reasonable size with engines) given time.

So colonists could island-hop across space, with reasonable distances to travel at each step. This also means that, eventually, there would be far more people in interstellar space than close to suns.

Take that to the next level, and you have clanking Von Newmanns. Ships that use the resources scooped from the oort clouds to create more ships, which take a portion of the population on a slightly tangential direction. By the time they're too far apart for signals to easily carry the news from one to another, they've drifted far enough apart that even the closest relations on the other ship are at best very distant cousins you've only heard of from your great grandparents.

As the ships get further apart, and keep replicating, a significant change in culture wouldn't result in a collapse of the whole diaspora, but gaps in the outward expanding shell.

One way to do that would be to have the ship add to its own mass, in new rings, in the middle of the ship, until the ship was over a certain length, then fabricate a new middle section that was empty, and large enough to support manufacturing a new nose section for the tail ship, and a new engine section, (presuming reaction drives,) for the lead ship, while still facilitating traffic between the front and rear halves. Break down this ring, and either use small impulses to drive the ships onto divergent paths, or drag them up parallel, so they can kick off of each other.

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RE: Is Interstellar Colonization the Great Filter? - by SeanR - 01-03-2019, 08:51 AM

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