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Thanatos
2013-Mar-15, 08:41 AM
I have this recurring nightmare where we achieve contact with an incredibly advanced [>1,000,000 years] civilization on a nearby [<100 light years] planet and we inquire about interstellar space travel. They reply 'Er, that's impossible'.

Perikles
2013-Mar-15, 08:49 AM
Why does this have to be a nightmare? By the time their answer comes back, everybody will have forgotten what the question was.

Thanatos
2013-Mar-15, 08:58 AM
I have this friend who was a history major, now in telemarketing, who inquired about future job market prospects.

cathal
2013-Mar-15, 10:22 AM
That could well be a best case scenario.

If interstellar travel is possible, I imagine galactic history being composed of periodic symphonies of destruction. A universe where entities can only travel via signal, and require functional infrastructure where they arrive is ideal.

earthstation
2013-Mar-15, 10:55 AM
That would be interesting. It's hard to imagine what might prevent it. Perhaps more interstellar debris than we believe is out there or some other problem that we haven't anticipated. For humans multi-generation life support could end up being a major problem. It may as well be true for any of us currently alive. Strange dream.

ravens_cry
2013-Mar-15, 12:12 PM
Actually, I think among the most depressing replies would be silence.
Worse, though not so sure if more depressing, if they reach for the equivalent of a can of Raid.

neilzero
2013-Mar-15, 12:43 PM
Believe it or not, many of us believe a bunch of things that are not true, so we should realize that even very advanced beings may be wrong about what is impossible. Neil

Rhaedas
2013-Mar-15, 03:04 PM
I think a depressing ET message would be like the end of James Gunn's The Listeners, when we get the whole message. Won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

Noclevername
2013-Mar-15, 05:43 PM
The most depressing message would be "the berserker fleet has detected your signal and is on its way in your direction. This is a recording."

Solfe
2013-Mar-15, 06:22 PM
"Press one for Madarin, please press 2 for Spanish, please press three for English... BEEP! Our IVR has recently changed. Please wait for all options before making a selection. Press one for Madarin, please press 2 for Spanish, please press three for English, press four for Hindi, please press five for Arabic, press six for Portuguese... BEEP! Our IVR has recently changed. Please wait for all options before making a selection. Press one for..."

Noclevername
2013-Mar-15, 07:59 PM
"Our people are dying out, just like every intelligent civilization we've encountered. But you can avoid our mistake. Whatever you do, just don't*CLICK* bzzzzzzzzzzzz"

ASTRO BOY
2013-Mar-15, 08:26 PM
I have this recurring nightmare where we achieve contact with an incredibly advanced [>1,000,000 years] civilization on a nearby [<100 light years] planet and we inquire about interstellar space travel. They reply 'Er, that's impossible'.

I suppose there is a non zero chance that dream could be true.
There is also the non zero chance that we are alone.
In both cases however, I cannot Imagine the likelyhood of either being true.

Noclevername
2013-Mar-16, 12:00 AM
"Your interstellar phone bill comes to ten trillion quatloos. We accept money orders, PayPal and Galactic Bank transfers."

Selfsim
2013-Mar-16, 12:42 AM
The most depressing message I've read lately is the one sent out by the creation of the topic of this thread. :p

Noclevername
2013-Mar-16, 01:18 AM
"The signal is coming from inside your house!"

Cougar
2013-Mar-16, 01:39 AM
I think a depressing ET message would be....

.... "We have determined your species is overly irrational and violent. This is our last message."

"P.S. Sorry about the reasonable and non-violent units that frequent CosmoQuestX Forums. Couldn't be helped."

Noclevername
2013-Mar-16, 01:51 AM
"Sorry, wrong number."

KaiYeves
2013-Mar-16, 02:59 AM
.... "We have determined your species is overly irrational and violent. This is our last message."

"P.S. Sorry about the reasonable and non-violent units that frequent CosmoQuestX Forums. Couldn't be helped."

W-what? Did Headquarters miss my last report?

Noclevername
2013-Mar-16, 03:02 AM
"(snicker) Do you have Prince Qxznarx in a can?"

Thanatos
2013-Mar-16, 08:15 AM
Serously, might that explain the Fermi paradox? If there is no way to circumvent GR, it appears likely all ET's are doomed to deal with whatever version of hell they have created.

Strange
2013-Mar-16, 08:43 AM
Or the message provides the secret of FTL travel but ends with: "... and when you arrive, we have booked you onto the next series of I'm an Alien Get Me Out of Here"

SRH
2013-Mar-16, 10:53 AM
"All your base are belong to us."

Jeff Root
2013-Mar-16, 01:13 PM
Serously, might that explain the Fermi paradox? If there is
no way to circumvent GR, ...
You have it backwards. Relativistic (special/general) effects
make interstellar travel significantly easier than Newtonian
theory allows. But it is still so difficult that it might be as
bad as if it were impossible.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Gomar
2013-Mar-17, 12:40 AM
They reply 'Er, that's impossible'.

Well, then you hit up an alien species 10,000,000 ahead of us for an answer. Oh, and dont stop at just one. I am sure there are dozens,
if not thousands of aliens that view us as we view ants. I wont be having tea with an ant, so wont an alien with a human.

However, had an alien species asked some naked African 500 years ago if trans-oceanic travel were possible, he would certainly have said
no... just prior to being captured by a slave trader and taken... yes, you guessed it... across the vast space of the ocean to be a slave in South Carolina.

Certainly, the Aztecs, Incas, Mayas, and Apaches felt safe from an invasion from the ocean, as they could not cross it. Until the day the white man did come across the ocean.
Thus, you see it all depends on whom you ask and when.

Noclevername
2013-Mar-17, 12:55 AM
Serously, might that explain the Fermi paradox?

Or maybe it's that the universe is so huge that any ET intelligence is just too far away to do anything.


If there is no way to circumvent GR,

No need to, you can actually take advantage of GR's time dilation to shorten the trip. This still requires truly massive amounts of energy, but it makes within-a-mortal-lifetime interstellar travel just barely physically possible (though very, very impractical).


it appears likely all ET's are doomed to deal with whatever version of hell they have created.

Hell, or paradise. Or, as is more likely than either, crappy mediocrity.

JCoyote
2013-Mar-17, 05:54 PM
"Greetings friends! All your worries are now past, soon, you will all be as crazy about the Elder Gods as we are!"

publiusr
2013-Mar-17, 09:34 PM
We are going extinct--oh, by the way, we have determined that Gilese 710 will hit your sun.

Jens
2013-Mar-18, 08:09 AM
"Press one for Madarin, please press 2 for Spanish, please press three for English... BEEP! Our IVR has recently changed. Please wait for all options before making a selection. Press one for Madarin, please press 2 for Spanish, please press three for English, press four for Hindi, please press five for Arabic, press six for Portuguese... BEEP! Our IVR has recently changed. Please wait for all options before making a selection. Press one for..."

Sorry, I don't get that. What is the point you're trying to make? That aliens also have IVRs? Or that they also speak earth languages? I suppose the fact that they've developed IVRs would be pretty depressing, but the fact that they speak earth languages? What would be depressing about that?

swampyankee
2013-Mar-18, 09:02 AM
"You have violated the terms of your planetary lease. Vacate immediately."

Solfe
2013-Mar-18, 11:25 AM
Sorry, I don't get that. What is the point you're trying to make? That aliens also have IVRs? Or that they also speak earth languages? I suppose the fact that they've developed IVRs would be pretty depressing, but the fact that they speak earth languages? What would be depressing about that?

It implies that the creator of the IVR understands humans and has made this choice of construction on purpose. It is specifically frustrating and at its most basic level, not helpful. Edit - The languages are secondary, since they go in order of most common usage, it seems helpful, but forces users to sit through all languages before making any selection. One could never know how long the list is or if it also includes historic or dead languages without sitting through the whole thing.

Noclevername
2013-Mar-18, 04:47 PM
Getting a message that was meant for the preceding dinosaur civilization: "Look out, we've observed a comet headed to your planet... Oh, wait, I forgot about the time difference. *yelling in background* Mom, is Earth ahead of us or behind us?"

starcanuck64
2013-Mar-18, 09:22 PM
I have this recurring nightmare where we achieve contact with an incredibly advanced [>1,000,000 years] civilization on a nearby [<100 light years] planet and we inquire about interstellar space travel. They reply 'Er, that's impossible'.

This assumes they would automatically be honest with us, it could be a hostile universe out there, hence the silence.

redshifter
2013-Mar-18, 09:35 PM
Most depressing ET message: "we've all known about you for quite some time, we just don't like you very much". And to add a bit of twilight zone reference, add 'you taste like chicken' to the end of the previous sentence...

Nick Theodorakis
2013-Mar-18, 09:37 PM
They're Made of Meat (http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/TheyMade.shtml), by Terry Bisson.

transreality
2013-Mar-18, 09:46 PM
Don't bother.

Noclevername
2013-Mar-18, 09:51 PM
"Yes, interstellar travel exists, we just won't let you do it."

SkepticJ
2013-Mar-18, 10:57 PM
Do a couple of incoming relativistic impactors each massing on the order of a few kilotonnes count as a message?

Solfe
2013-Mar-18, 11:14 PM
"Run anywhere but home. Stay hidden. Do not reply. End of message."

swampyankee
2013-Mar-18, 11:25 PM
Do a couple of incoming relativistic impactors each massing on the order of a few kilotonnes count as a message?

Yes, although there probably wouldn't be enough time for that sort of message to be depressing.

Cookie
2013-Mar-19, 01:59 AM
"All your base are belong to us."
What you say !!

Noclevername
2013-Mar-19, 02:25 AM
Do a couple of incoming relativistic impactors each massing on the order of a few kilotonnes count as a message?

Someone set us up the bomb!

JCoyote
2013-Mar-19, 05:31 AM
"... but wait! If you order within the next 48th of a rotation of your planet, you'll also receive..."

Thanatos
2013-Mar-21, 08:35 AM
I was hoping for better than 'twilight zone' material.

Noclevername
2013-Mar-21, 09:32 AM
I was hoping for better than 'twilight zone' material.

:confused: The OP did not contain any requests. If you are looking for something specific, you should say that.

publiusr
2013-Mar-22, 09:33 PM
Depressing would be if it came from the Hyades..."This is Carcosa..."