PDA

View Full Version : colonization



g99
2002-Aug-06, 10:12 PM
Is colonization possible? Will we be immune to the diseases? Will they affect us at all due to differences in DNA? Alergies to the local environment? (Thanks nebularain, beskeptical, and Silas!!)
Heck what about other wild animals there? How would we grow food? Would we grow food or use some form of nanomachine to assemble food from atoms.

How would we get there? Generation ships? Cold sleep? Or send a bunch of fertilized eggs and a machine and "Grow" the new generation when it gets there?


Personally i think that we will never be able to go to other planets without some serious changes to the planet (like wiping out all life on the planet and instilling earth life) or genetically modifying ourselves to accomodate to the new environment. I know we eventualy will be able to get there. That is not the question. I just want to know how we will survive when we get there.

Espritch
2002-Aug-06, 11:14 PM
I assume you are refering to colonization of earth like planets with pre-existing biospheres. In that case I doubt we would have to worry much about diseases. Disease oranisms need quite specific adaptations to circumvent the defenses of and live in potential hosts. As a result, they tend to be fairly host specific. I doubt diseases adapted to a completely alien biota would be able to make the transition to a human host.

As far as wiping out a pre-existing biosphere to replace it with one of our own, I suspect this would quite difficult to accomplish without making the planet unlivable for us as well. Also, I would hope by then we will have advanced socially to the point where we would consider destroying an alien biosphere for our convinience to be morally unacceptable. A much more likely approach would be terraforming of planets that don't currently have any life.

As far as how we would get there, I haven't got a clue.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Espritch on 2002-08-06 19:15 ]</font>

traztx
2002-Aug-07, 03:33 AM
On 2002-08-06 18:12, g99 wrote:
Personally i think that we will never be able to go to other planets without some serious changes to the planet (like wiping out all life on the planet and instilling earth life) or genetically modifying ourselves to accomodate to the new environment. I know we eventualy will be able to get there. That is not the question. I just want to know how we will survive when we get there.


I don't think we will be on another star system for a long long time.

Shorter term, I predict we will have robotic space mines dotted sparsely with manned stations in Sol's system. The robotic commerce will extend out farther than man can comfortably and feasibly go. This will continue, extending our reach into deep space.

The robotic technology will be perfected with self maintaining reliability, using resources from deep space to "live off the land" during interstellar transit. Our reach continues to extend. Probes are sent, surveying nearby systems over hundreds of years.

In the meantime, man will perfect biotech and will be able to convert human bodies to new respiratory systems suited for the environments of each desired colony on the various planets, moons, etc near Sol. We will no longer resemble human.

Processor intelligence will be perfected to the point where a fleet could arrive at a system, survery the resources, determine a system of production, and use the resources to build cities. This intelligence will no longer be considered "artificial".

Medical technology will be perfected to the point of allowing people to be grown in a lab at the destination or frozen and reanimated at the destination.
There will be great accomplishments done my our descendants, who won't resemble us very much at all. But there will be great horrors too. Entire planets will be exterminated during conflicts! Even Earth may suffer this fate. The superior technology will survive, replace, and progress.

When alien life is found along the way, it will be conquered and replaced as well. Perhaps some of it will be retained in some sort of zoo.

We'll all be dead long before any of this happens.
--Tommy

nebularain
2002-Aug-07, 03:49 AM
My theory, theory the first - that which is in my possession, which belongs to me....

(Uh, sorry; got carried away on an old joke with some of my high school friends - does anyone recognize it? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif )

Seriousness aside /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif
I would think that if there is another "Earth-like" planet out there, one with the proper atmosphere and environment for us to be able to live on without being in a dome, then there's a good chance it will have its own lifeforms on it. So, any colonization we do would actually be an invasion (just ask the Native Americans). And if there were not intelligent life forms on the planet, by evolutionary theory, we'd be running the risk of interfering with the planet's natural evolutionary processes to produce intelligent life. Oh, the ethical violations!

How does that bumper sticker I saw go?
"Earth first! We can exploit the other planets later."
(Something like that.)

Cloudy
2002-Aug-07, 04:13 AM
I have often wondered - assuming that everything evolved naturalisticaly - how can there be ethical problems with interfering with another planet's evolution?

Is evolution some sort of "Holy" process that can't be interefered with? If so, we have profaned it enough with our custom-bred crops, etc on earth. So what if you compromise another planet's life to better our own? That is not interference with evolution, that is simply participation in it. And participation in evolution is compulsory anyway - you can play to win or play to lose, but you can't quit the game.

Keep in mind that naturalistic evolution assumes that humans are as much a product of evolution as anything else. Even if evolution is some sort of "Holy" process - how can we profane it by our own participation? We don't make evolution purer by refusing to participate in it, by keeping an alien biosphere off limits. In such a case, we contaminate evolution with our decisions - albeit decisions that may not favor ourselves.

A concious, purely selfless act by an entire species is an insult to the idea of naturalistic evolution. I have a hard time understanding how any intelligent species that believed in naturalistic evolution would do such a thing. How can you keep evolution pure by doing something that insults the very idea? It is as if you said you were going to fight for the moral purity of baseball by throwing a game.

I would prefer to keep the origins debate out of this - I think the discussion would be more interesting and easy to follow if we assume naturalistic evolution in this case.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cloudy on 2002-08-07 00:20 ]</font>

Phobos
2002-Aug-07, 04:26 AM
We'll all be dead long before any of this happens.
--Tommy


With you all the way Tommy except for that last part. Today I celibrate my 38th birthday, and my life expectancy should be about 40 to 50 more years. But just one hundred years ago I would already be expected to be near the end of my life expectancy.

Organ transplants are relatively new technology, yet already we are expecting the first cloned human beings. We have nearly completed mapping the human genome, nanotechnology is beginning to take off and we have started to unravel the process of aging.

Look forward just another 30 years. What effect do you expect technological progress to have had on average life expectancy ?

If in 40 years time we are able to extend (and improve the quality of) life expectancy to say 110 then I would still have another 30 years of life expectancy left.

Nothing is certain, but imagine what happens when technology gives us spare body parts, memory backups (Norton Ghost 2050 ?), artificial white blood cells, regenerated parts through cloning technology and possibly even allow us to operate our "living" bodies from a safe distance (keep your origional body in a safe place and operate your clone via telepresence).

If your remotely operated body gets run over by a bus, you just transfer control to your spare.

OK wild speculation, but never underestimate the possibilities that technology can bring us. All we can say with confidence is when whatever changes happen, we will take them for granted and not really notice them (bit like mobile phone technology).

Phobos

g99
2002-Aug-07, 04:35 AM
Cloudy, how is it ethically right to enter a biosphere that we have never entered before (so thus we are not part of its evolutionary scheme) and tottaly screw with the life there. Form your post it seems that you belive in a form of fate. That our life has already been written for us and we have no choice in the matter. Truthfully that scares me, i hope that i have a choice weather or not to step on that ant tomorrow or not (but that is a different discussion not for this board).
By your reasoning is it O.K. to go to a foreign country and decimate the local wildlife and say it was "evolutions will"? If we acutally enter the environment of a planet and live there, yes we are a part of their evolutionary scheme. The second we step onto another planet we will forever change their evolution, even if it is only for a second. But we should not use it to better ourselves.


I do get your point, and you could be right for all we know. But to counter your argument: If we leave the ecosystem alone, it will continue to evolve like it always has. We are not hurting it at all, nor helping it. Are we destined to be the perverbial "asterid" of the universe, wiping out 70 or so percent of the life on each planet we come across like what hapened to the dinosaurs?

Or are we better? Are we destined to be the zookeepers of the universe. To keep living zoos of whole planets full of life to show off to the other empires of the universe?

Why not quarentine whole planets, there are many of them out there and if we do find life on other plaents, killing it off to suit our needs is wrong and selfish.

I am not saying you are wrong, i just disagree with you. I hope that we don't use the universe to suit our own needs like we do this planet. Ask any nature lover, hiker, or outdoorsman and most will say that living in harmony with nature is far better than living in a concrte motel on the side of a forest with colour T.V. and a foam matress.

Phobos
2002-Aug-07, 04:49 AM
On 2002-08-07 00:35, g99 wrote:
Ask any nature lover, hiker, or outdoorsman and most will say that living in harmony with nature is far better than living in a concrte motel on the side of a forest with colour T.V. and a foam matress.


Not all nature lovers avoid TV and sleep outdoors on a hard surface. It may well be that we are the only species on Earth capable of preventing all life on this planet from being wiped out.

Whilst it is good to consider preserving other life forms that we may come into contact with, we should not forget that "nature" has a habit of wiping out lifeforms without any intervention of man (just ask the dinosaurs).

Phobos

xriso
2002-Aug-07, 05:17 AM
On 2002-08-06 18:12, g99 wrote:
Is colonization possible? Will we be immune to the diseases? Will they affect us at all due to differences in DNA? Alergies to the local environment? (Thanks nebularain, beskeptical, and Silas!!)
Heck what about other wild animals there? How would we grow food? Would we grow food or use some form of nanomachine to assemble food from atoms.

How would we get there? Generation ships? Cold sleep? Or send a bunch of fertilized eggs and a machine and "Grow" the new generation when it gets there?


Personally i think that we will never be able to go to other planets without some serious changes to the planet (like wiping out all life on the planet and instilling earth life) or genetically modifying ourselves to accomodate to the new environment. I know we eventualy will be able to get there. That is not the question. I just want to know how we will survive when we get there.



Well I think for most colonization candidates, wiping out the life will be very easy. Why? Because there isn't any life there in the first place. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

The Rusty Lander
2002-Aug-07, 06:08 AM
I'm still waiting for the day that we can colonize the Earth properly! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Actually, if they want to practice colonization, they should start with trying to inhabit some of the more inhospitable places on this planet. For instance, the Australian desert might be a good start. Once they've mastered the art of terraforming there, then they might try the moon.

Conrad
2002-Aug-07, 10:29 AM
We seem to be assuming that "Earth" does the colonization via a future version of the UN. What if the technology to traverse space within human lifetimes is widely available to different countries? How would the mighty Iranian Space Navy deal with colonisation as opposed to the ferociously advanced Swedish Interstellar Research Group
(to hypothesize)?

traztx
2002-Aug-07, 04:19 PM
Cloudy: I have often wondered - assuming that everything evolved naturalisticaly - how can there be ethical problems with interfering with another planet's evolution?


Good points. I think societies cut off from other societies by the vastness of interstellar space will form local behavioral standards. When that happens, what may be unethical for one society may be statis-quo for another.

Bozola
2002-Aug-07, 05:08 PM
Espritch

As far as how we would get there, I haven't got a clue.

...suppose we build spacecraft powered by macassar/antimacassar annihilation?




nebularain

My theory, theory the first - that which is in my possession, which belongs to me....

...that dinosaurs were very small at one end, very big in the middle, and very small at the other end.

David Hall
2002-Aug-07, 05:45 PM
A theory on Brontosaurs by A. Elk (http://www.montypython.net/scripts/dinosaur.php)
/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

nebularain
2002-Aug-07, 06:49 PM
/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif You guys got it! ::dances::
Thanks for the link, David /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cool.gif .

[Oops - had to fix the smilie]

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: nebularain on 2002-08-07 14:51 ]</font>

Espritch
2002-Aug-08, 01:43 AM
...suppose we build spacecraft powered by macassar/antimacassar annihilation?

Well...um...sure. I guess that would work. Now all I got to do is figure out what the heck a macassar is.

g99
2002-Aug-08, 03:35 AM
On 2002-08-07 21:43, Espritch wrote:

...suppose we build spacecraft powered by macassar/antimacassar annihilation?

Well...um...sure. I guess that would work. Now all I got to do is figure out what the heck a macassar is.



macassar=Matter (I think?)
Or It could be litteral...Killing and reanimating a person and unisng the energy created to power a ship. Ummm...Far out there, but who knows what will happen in 100 years. I wonder what the conservatives would say about that?

Senor Molinero
2002-Aug-08, 03:50 AM
Didn't anyone get the pun?
Macassar was an ingredient in 19th century pommades (hair creams). Antimacassars are covers for the backs of chairs to prevent the hair cream from soiling the chair (still used on aircraft seats).

Cloudy
2002-Aug-08, 06:17 AM
G99,

I did NOT say I myself believe its is ok to do what you please with other species. I said that someone who believed in purely naturalistic evolution would think so, if he was consistent. I myself do not believe in purely naturalistic evolution - I believe in a creator. From my own standpoint, neither interference nor non-interferance are mandated - you just do unto others what you would have them do unto you (not that this is always easy).

What I was saying is that IF you believe in naturalistic evolution, it is illogical to point to it as some sort of holy process that we shouldn't interfere with. A Star Trek style "Prime Directive" does not make sense to me, unless you are willing to bring God/morality into it. You might be opposed to interplanetary genocide for practical reasons. You may want to keep some sort of intergalactic "social contract" - you don't kill me, I don't kill you.

But when you say you shouldn't interfere with another species because it is just wrong, you are invoking a moral principle that has nothing to do with evolution.

In fact, many Star Treck episodes have the characters refraining from GOOD deeds (such as curring a disease) rather than "interfere" with evolution. This makes no sense to me unless you think of evolution as a "Holy" process.

If you believe in naturalistic evolution, why would you think it would be our responsibility to guard it? How could we anyway? That would make about as much sense as saying we should keep the law of conservation of mater/energy pure by not sending mater to Mars in the form of probes.....

Again, lets keep the origins debate out of this...we can just assume naturalistic evolution for now (though again, I don't believe in it myself).

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cloudy on 2002-08-08 02:26 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cloudy on 2002-08-08 02:27 ]</font>

David Hall
2002-Aug-08, 08:40 AM
Well, I tried looking "macassar" up in my dictionary, but it didn't have it, so I gave up. Too obscure for me. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

And to nebularain: What, you think you can quote Monty Python around here and not have everybody recognize it?

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_lol.gif
(Same goes with Douglas Adams)

g99
2002-Aug-08, 06:07 PM
On 2002-08-08 02:17, Cloudy wrote:
G99,

I did NOT say I myself believe its is ok to do what you please with other species. I said that someone who believed in purely naturalistic evolution would think so, if he was consistent. I myself do not believe in purely naturalistic evolution - I believe in a creator. From my own standpoint, neither interference nor non-interferance are mandated - you just do unto others what you would have them do unto you (not that this is always easy).

What I was saying is that IF you believe in naturalistic evolution, it is illogical to point to it as some sort of holy process that we shouldn't interfere with. A Star Trek style "Prime Directive" does not make sense to me, unless you are willing to bring God/morality into it. You might be opposed to interplanetary genocide for practical reasons. You may want to keep some sort of intergalactic "social contract" - you don't kill me, I don't kill you.

But when you say you shouldn't interfere with another species because it is just wrong, you are invoking a moral principle that has nothing to do with evolution.

In fact, many Star Treck episodes have the characters refraining from GOOD deeds (such as curring a disease) rather than "interfere" with evolution. This makes no sense to me unless you think of evolution as a "Holy" process.

If you believe in naturalistic evolution, why would you think it would be our responsibility to guard it? How could we anyway? That would make about as much sense as saying we should keep the law of conservation of mater/energy pure by not sending mater to Mars in the form of probes.....

Again, lets keep the origins debate out of this...we can just assume naturalistic evolution for now (though again, I don't believe in it myself).

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cloudy on 2002-08-08 02:26 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Cloudy on 2002-08-08 02:27 ]</font>



That is a very good point, and i see now what you are getting at, thanks for your opinion. And personally i agree with you on how confusing and how illigocal doing just one of the two ways is. I this we sould do some sortd of "intergalactic "social contract"" with other races.

But what if we are the only intelgent life in the universe? How do we choose what planets to colonize and what not too? What to leave along and what to intrude upon?

traztx
2002-Aug-08, 07:29 PM
On 2002-08-08 14:07, g99 wrote:
But what if we are the only intelgent life in the universe? How do we choose what planets to colonize and what not too? What to leave along and what to intrude upon?


I think that any principle guiding such choices will be unenforceable across interstellar space. Whether it's pilgrims creating utopia, or outlaws escaping control, the incentives for establishing colonies may often supersede concerns over the previous lifeforms.

Rodina
2002-Aug-08, 07:39 PM
If it takes, say, 120 years to get to Tau Ceti (let's assume 0.1c is reasonable), no colony ship is going to turn around and say, "Oh, there are cavemen (or caveslugs or cavekoalas or whatever), we better turn around." They might set off a continent or two to be off limits as the colony develops its own population and such, but I doubt they'd simply -NOT- land after spending a couple of dozen trillion dollars to get there.

Azpod
2002-Aug-08, 08:38 PM
On 2002-08-08 15:39, Rodina wrote:

If it takes, say, 120 years to get to Tau Ceti (let's assume 0.1c is reasonable), no colony ship is going to turn around and say, "Oh, there are cavemen (or caveslugs or cavekoalas or whatever), we better turn around." They might set off a continent or two to be off limits as the colony develops its own population and such, but I doubt they'd simply -NOT- land after spending a couple of dozen trillion dollars to get there.



Perhaps, but if we were a space-facing species coming to the Solar System for the first time while civilization was just starting to take root on Earth, we might stop and decide to terraform and colonize Mars instead. After all, there'd be no way for humans to realize that the strange lights on the night side of Mars was from another civilization until we were only a hundred years or two from going into space ourselves! But if we took over Australia, the Antartica or the Americas and either killed or otherwise quieted the native human population, it wouldn't take long for migrant humans to realize that there was an alien species living on their planet!

Likewise, if we found a planet with a biosphere that was our target for colonization and it turns out to have advanced life that is well on the road to developing civilization, it would be in our best interests to colonize another world or moon of the same system. By the time they are able to detect the colony, they would have progressed enough in technology themselves to minimize the damage that discovering an alien species in their backyard would cause to their society.

SeanF
2002-Aug-08, 09:47 PM
On 2002-08-08 16:38, Azpod wrote:

Perhaps, but if we were a space-facing species coming to the Solar System for the first time while civilization was just starting to take root on Earth, we might stop and decide to terraform and colonize Mars instead. After all, there'd be no way for humans to realize that the strange lights on the night side of Mars was from another civilization until we were only a hundred years or two from going into space ourselves! But if we took over Australia, the Antartica or the Americas and either killed or otherwise quieted the native human population, it wouldn't take long for migrant humans to realize that there was an alien species living on their planet!



If the migrant humans of that time were not developed enough to see (and identify) the lights on the dark side of Mars, why would they identify strange creatures they encountered as alien? Wouldn't they more likely think those beings were native to this new land they had migrated into?

"Here there be dragons."

Espritch
2002-Aug-08, 10:42 PM
Didn't anyone get the pun?
Macassar was an ingredient in 19th century pommades (hair creams). Antimacassars are covers for the backs of chairs to prevent the hair cream from soiling the chair (still used on aircraft seats).

Thanks for the explanation. My dictionary jumped straight from macaroon to macaw. Perhaps this was just a bit too obscure. Of course, if Bozola had made a pun about macaroons I would have just told him he was nuts. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Espritch on 2002-08-08 18:43 ]</font>

Bozola
2002-Aug-09, 02:58 AM
Puns about macaroons aren't nuts, but coconuts.

/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

nebularain
2002-Aug-09, 06:19 AM
Sometimes you feel like a nut;
sometimes you don't....

Anne Elk
2002-Aug-12, 10:19 PM
...that dinosaurs were very small at one end, very big in the middle, and very small at the other end.

Hey wait! that is MY Theory..


A. Elk (Miss)

Kizarvexis
2002-Aug-13, 01:02 AM
Cloudy, how is it ethically right to enter a biosphere that we have never entered before (so thus we are not part of its evolutionary scheme) and tottaly screw with the life there.

Because it is us vs them.

Survival of the fittest.

We get them before they get us.

Take it because we can.

(Grins, showing pointy canine teeth.)

Kizarvexis
Sorry, my inner carnivore got the better of me. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Bozola
2002-Aug-13, 02:47 PM
...except that "survival of the fittest" doesn't mean red tooth and claw. It refers to reproductive success. You're better off with beige polyester jumpsuits with extrawide lapels and a dozen or so medallions than a sharp pair of teeth.

Hot'cha!

Umm. As it has been pointed out, the likelihood of a compatible biochemistry is low; either alien life will be non-interacting or completely poisonous. Even if panspermata is correct, and the solar neighborhood uses similar biochemistries, we're still pretty specialized buggers; as it is, there's very few diseases we can get from birds, for example. While this does give odd to Captain Kirk that he won't contract a case of virulent space gonorrhea, it means that he's less likely to encounter licentiously appealing aliens, and besides, beastiality is still a crime in most countries.


The real problem with alien life is best understood by what happened to Austrailia when the English brought over european species. Species don't have to eat each other to be dangerous; they just need to vie for the same basic resources - water, sunlight, and/or minerals. Alien (introduced) species don't have natural checks and balances, so their populations explode. You think dandilions are bad? Image an alien lichen that does nothing but reproduce quickly (it evolved in a tough environment where it was selected to respond quickly to resources) and grows on anything where there is sunlight. Buildings and houses would be covered in it, worse still, so would plants. The crap would be smothering our crops in a short time. No more corn chips for you!

Ethics, smethics. Foreign ecologies are DANGEROUS.

traztx
2002-Aug-13, 03:10 PM
On 2002-08-13 10:47, Bozola wrote:
Image an alien lichen that does nothing but reproduce quickly (it evolved in a tough environment where it was selected to respond quickly to resources) and grows on anything where there is sunlight. Buildings and houses would be covered in it, worse still, so would plants. The crap would be smothering our crops in a short time. No more corn chips for you!


Interesting point. We see widely varying rates in life on Earth.

Imagine arriving on a planet with wonderful technology all over it, invented by an intelligent species who move and think as slowly as plants. To them, we would seem like a blur. And we'd be wandering around thinking "gee, I wonder who built all these machines to take care of these stupid plants?".

Now imagine we meet someone who is so fast that we seem as slow as a plant...