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Thread: Is it possible for humans to out live our sun?

  1. #31
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    I wonder if there is enough for that homework project yet? Clearly living quarters on the moon or Mars would not help so we envision an orbiting space station which grows and eventually is self sufficient enough to leave orbit and go adventuring. Normal human life depends fundamentally on solar power so to outlive the sun needs either a younger star or an alternative power source. The current model is that some stars go supernova and spread the elements required for other stars and planets to form, That process could go on longer than our sun and provide energy either directly as stars or nuclear power. The elephant in the room of that argument is what we mean or expect from humans in any comparable time frame. Will we improve ourselves? Will we live longer lives? Or will we go the other way or split up into new species? These ideas have been aired in this thread. If put as a probability question, I guess I would assign a very low probability to remaining human that long.
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    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  2. #32
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    If we stay local, the Sun will leave a pretty corpse... a White Dwarf. Those stay hot and bright for a long time. So it could be possible to re-colonize the inner system even after the death of Sol, using the White Dwarf as an energy supply.

    And if we ever invent working fusion power sources, we could perhaps harvest rogue bodies and do without stars at all.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  3. #33
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    According to this video we can get to Alpha Centauri using current technology anywhere from 44 to 90 years:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzZGPCyrpSU

    Basically carry enough nuclear weapons to detonate behind the spacecraft at a steady rate to ride the shock wave until 10% the speed of light is reached.
    Last edited by Exposed; 2018-Dec-06 at 06:20 PM.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exposed View Post
    According to this video we can get to Alpha Centauri using current technology anywhere from 44 to 90 years:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzZGPCyrpSU

    Basically carry enough nuclear weapons to detonate behind the spacecraft at a steady rate to ride the shock wave until 10% the speed of light is reached.
    I didn't watch the video, but that's the essence of an Orion Drive. Basically, you fire pellets of nuclear material out the back, then use a laser to fission them. The explosion pushes on a "pusher plate" - basically a plate on a colossal spring to even out the blasts.

  5. #35
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    On the likelihood of human descendants still being alive in billions of years, an issue with the Fermi Paradox, the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence and high probability estimates for the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations, is that intelligence may be unstable, so planets may often achieve intelligence but then collapse. The question for humans is whether we can cross the threshold to stable global civilization, as a basis to then continue to evolve into the long term.

  6. #36
    We're talking billions of years in the future, many times longer than multicellular animals have existed. I think any answer to this question is necessarily highly speculative.

    Currently, any person who ventures beyond the atmosphere does so at enormous cost, and requiring incredible amounts of support from the ground. Surviving beyond the extinction of our star is vastly beyond our current capabilities, but who knows what might be possible a few billion years from now. If we asked people three thousand years ago what would be possible today, I don't think their answers would be very accurate. That might be the case even if we asked people only a hundred years ago.

    The typical lifespan of a mammalian species is measured in a small number of millions of years, so if people are even still around at that time, they'll have outlasted most mammalian species by a factor of a thousand or more.

  7. #37
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    Two things cross my mind;

    First of all, the Sun will still exist after it leaves the Main Sequence in five billion years time; first it will become a red giant, then a white dwarf, then cool down to become a hypothetical black dwarf (there are no black dwarfs anywhere in the universe yet, according to current theories).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_dwarf

    Secondly, it seems likely to me that we will fairly soon develop the technology to record and store DNA and other biological information in data form. I think that this means that human biological details could potentially be stored in data form for an arbitrarily long time, and maybe recreated at a distant time in the future by our distant descendants. Just as some people today would love to recreate dinosaurs, maybe the (non-human) inhabitants of the distant future might decide to recreate humans as a hobby, or for entertainment purposes, or for some other reason. Could they still recreate humans at some point after the Sun has stopped shining by internal fusion? I think they probably could. A few billion years of data-storage seems unlikely, but maybe not outrageous.

    But if we have to wait until the carbon/oxygen corpse of our post-Main Sequence sun cools down and/or evaporates, that would require a spectacularly efficient form of data storage over trillions of years in order to recreate anything resembling a human being.

  8. #38
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    Another potential scenario, humans might someday be capable of inventing an interstellar drive able to reach a high fraction of c for long periods. If that occurs, a generation or sleeper vessel undergoing extreme time dilation could someday return from another galaxy with a current or near-term iteration of humans aboard.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  9. #39
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    Voyager will outlive the Sun--so there's that.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    Two things cross my mind;

    First of all, the Sun will still exist after it leaves the Main Sequence in five billion years time; first it will become a red giant, then a white dwarf, then cool down to become a hypothetical black dwarf (there are no black dwarfs anywhere in the universe yet, according to current theories).
    That's actually an interesting point. Part of the answer depends on what you mean by "outlive." I think the OP and everybody has assumed the meaning was "until the sun leaves the main sequence," but in reality the sun will continue to exist much much after that.
    As above, so below

  11. #41
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    I thought about, if advanced enough and viable maybe our descendants will have the ability to move the earth into a higher orbit.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    I thought about, if advanced enough and viable maybe our descendants will have the ability to move the earth into a higher orbit.
    Over very long periods, yes, the gravity tug concept could move planets. But if we could maintain a project over the time needed to do so, much longer than our history or any civilization, it would mean we truly have evolved beyond human!
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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