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Thread: Why still there is no Alien contact ?

  1. #2491
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    My opinion is to not worry about slow bit rates. As long as the
    signal can be captured with a reasonable degree of reliability
    (so that you can almost always have a perfect copy after two
    or three transmissions), take as much time as you need. It
    almost certainly won't be received by the same people who
    launched the probe, anyway. They'll likely be long gone.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis

  2. #2492
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    It
    almost certainly won't be received by the same people who
    launched the probe, anyway. They'll likely be long gone.
    Depends on the speed of the probe and the distance to the target. A fast probe could, using some of the hypothetical propulsion methods, arrive within a human lifetime.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  3. #2493
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    I really think that there is no technological problem with detonating nuclear weapons in space. The problem is that most of the countries which have nuclear weapons would find nuclear weapons in space to be much more useful to threaten other nations.

    If the space ship is launched from the surface of the Earth using nuclear bombs, there will be EMP until the vessel is sufficiently high. The EMP will, however, be a fairly local effect, probably only significant within a few tens of kilometers from the vessel's ascent path. Even the Tsar Bomba's EMP probably did relatively little to anything other than transient interference with short-wave transmissions

    Incidentally, exploding nuclear bombs within the Earth's atmosphere was pretty much de rigueur until the atmospheric testing was banned. One of the reasons that the steel salvaged from ships sunk during and before the Second World War was valuable was because it was significantly less radioactive than the steel produced during the time of above-ground testing. It roughly doubled the background radiation level worldwide.

    So, yes, people did consider it: they saw that it was a Bad Idea, and then stopped. A lot of people thought stopping was a bad idea, but they were also the same people who had a vested interest in setting off bombs in the atmosphere, so their opinion is probably a bit biased.
    I'm saying that people have considered the dangers of launching a ship from the surface of the earth by using nuclear propulsion and decided against it because it's a really bad idea. Just like you just said. The Partial Test Ban Treaty is what killed the project. Every country who had the ability to make nuclear weapons was a signatory to the treaty, and it forbids nuclear explosions in space. Even if we wanted to do it now, we couldn't without breaking the treaty.

  4. #2494
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think the ban is primarily due to concern about weapon proliferation, so I think the treaty could perhaps be amended if people and governments could be convinced that this is just an efficient means of propulsion.
    Perhaps. I don't believe it. People have a tendency to go batty anytime someone mentions "nuclear"

  5. #2495
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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    Even if we wanted to do it now, we couldn't without breaking
    the treaty.
    You make it sound as if it is practically impossible to get out
    of a treaty or change its terms. Conditions change. Treaties
    become obsolete unless they change, too.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis

  6. #2496
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    You make it sound as if it is practically impossible to get out
    of a treaty or change its terms. Conditions change. Treaties
    become obsolete unless they change, too.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    No, I'm not making it sound like that. I'm making it sound like it's not a good idea to break a treaty that deals with nuclear warheads unless you have the other signatories to the treaty on board with you. We still have treaties in effect that are hundreds of years old that we continue to honor. If you just leave a treaty because you feel like it it makes your word as a nation useless in the future.

    So could this happen? Yes. The only thing I am saying is that the reason it isn't happening now and hasn't happened yet is because is it illegal.

  7. #2497
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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    No, I'm not making it sound like that. I'm making it sound
    like it's not a good idea to break a treaty that deals with
    nuclear warheads unless you have the other signatories to
    the treaty on board with you. We still have treaties in effect
    that are hundreds of years old that we continue to honor.
    If you just leave a treaty because you feel like it it makes
    your word as a nation useless in the future.
    You are making it sound as if it is practically impossible to
    get out of a treaty or change its terms, and you are making
    it sound silly. Goofy. Comical.

    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    So could this happen? Yes. The only thing I am saying is
    that the reason it isn't happening now and hasn't happened
    yet is because is it illegal.
    The reasons it isn't happening now and hasn't happened yet
    are not that putting nukes in Space is illegal, but that testing
    in the atmosphere is illegal (because it is considered likely to
    release large amounts of radioactive nucleides), and that high
    thrust, high specific impulse rockets are not a current priority.
    We can get along with chemical rockets for current needs.
    If it becomes cost-effective to develop nuclear propulsion
    somewhere other than in Earth's atmosphere, and such
    development is wanted, then it will be done. The law will
    be made to suit the needs, not the other way around.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis

  8. #2498
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    You are making it sound as if it is practically impossible to
    get out of a treaty or change its terms, and you are making
    it sound silly. Goofy. Comical.
    No I am not I have said, over and over again, including to you, just now, that I am saying the reason research funding for the project was initially cancelled, and the reason we aren't researching funding or doing it today is that we have a treaty making it illegal to explode weapons in space. Anything else you are getting from what I am saying is all you and has absolutely no basis in the reality of anything I said. A treaty isn't silly or comical. It's fine for you to think it is, but it's not.


    The reasons it isn't happening now and hasn't happened yet
    are not that putting nukes in Space is illegal, but that testing
    in the atmosphere is illegal (because it is considered likely to
    release large amounts of radioactive nucleides), and that high
    thrust, high specific impulse rockets are not a current priority.
    We can get along with chemical rockets for current needs.
    If it becomes cost-effective to develop nuclear propulsion
    somewhere other than in Earth's atmosphere, and such
    development is wanted, then it will be done. The law will
    be made to suit the needs, not the other way around.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    Exactly what I just said, Jeff. The problem is that the law is international and you can't just change it on a whim. Again, I have said NOTHING, do you understand "nothing"?, about what course this could take in the future. I am talking about the PAST and the PRESENT, in which there are laws preventing us from detonating nuclear weapons in space. Every single source about the Project Orion, including the NASA letter cancelling research funding, all say it was because of the Partial Test Ban Treaty. This isn't something I am just making up. If you have a source that says otherwise, show it.

  9. #2499
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    Perhaps you could design the nuclear "propellant" in such a way that the Orion spacecraft is a necessary "component" of the propellant. In other words it is Not a bomb and could not explode without "help" from Orion. Incomplete in some essential way so that it can be viewed only as a propellant and is not viable as a weapon. Not sure how..... Would that be a sufficient condition to comply with the treaty?

  10. #2500
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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    You are making it sound as if it is practically impossible to
    get out of a treaty or change its terms, and you are making
    it sound silly. Goofy. Comical.
    No I am not
    I'm afraid you are.

    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    I have said, over and over again, including to you, just now,
    that I am saying the reason research funding for the project
    was initially cancelled, and the reason we aren't researching
    funding or doing it today is that we have a treaty making it
    illegal to explode weapons in space.
    Yes, yes, yes. And I disagreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    Anything else you are getting from what I am saying is
    all you and has absolutely no basis in the reality of
    anything I said. A treaty isn't silly or comical. It's fine for
    you to think it is, but it's not.
    No, I didn't say that any of the treaties are silly or comical.
    I said that your explanations are making them sound silly
    and comical. You are making it sound as though once a
    treaty is agreed to, every party to it is trapped by it, and
    has to adhere to it forever, nomatter what else changes.
    Of course you didn't say it in such extreme terms, but that
    is how it comes across, and that is what I objected to.

    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    Exactly what I just said, Jeff. The problem is that the law
    is international and you can't just change it on a whim.
    Being international makes treaties more involved to change
    than national, state, or municipal laws, but not that much
    more involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    Again, I have said NOTHING, do you understand "nothing"?,
    about what course this could take in the future. I am talking
    about the PAST and the PRESENT, in which there are laws
    preventing us from detonating nuclear weapons in space.
    And I'm saying that that part of the law is not and has not
    been a critical impediment to developing nuclear propulsion
    for use in Space.

    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    Every single source about the Project Orion, including the
    NASA letter cancelling research funding, all say it was because
    of the Partial Test Ban Treaty.
    Yes. That I agree with completely. The ban on testing within
    the atmosphere is what lead to cessation of research, not the
    ban on nuclear weapons in Space.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis

  11. #2501
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    You are making it sound as if it is practically impossible to
    get out of a treaty or change its terms, and you are making
    it sound silly. Goofy. Comical.
    Jeff Root and primummobile,

    Both of you take it down a notch. Jeff, your posts are particularly inappropriate; you do not call another member's post goofy or silly.

    Frankly, this whole discussion about treaties is becoming a significant derail to a thread that should probably been closed a thousand posts before.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  12. #2502
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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    Perhaps. I don't believe it. People have a tendency to go batty anytime someone mentions "nuclear"
    I'd not be too thrilled if <insert least favorite country here> had a space craft loaded with nuclear bombs in orbit, even if they're claiming they're not going to be used as weapons. I don't think this is "batty." Pu238 RTGs or small-scale reactors are qualitatively different than an Orion-style space craft with a couple of thousand nuclear bombs.

    A very basic problem with amending a treaty of that sort is that no country which has nuclear weapons is completely trustworthy. There have always been, and there will always be people for whom "we're perfect, so we can shoot anybody we don't like" is a basic moral tenet.
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  13. #2503
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    I'd not be too thrilled if <insert least favorite country here> had a space craft loaded with nuclear bombs in orbit, even if they're claiming they're not going to be used as weapons. I don't think this is "batty." Pu238 RTGs or small-scale reactors are qualitatively different than an Orion-style space craft with a couple of thousand nuclear bombs.

    A very basic problem with amending a treaty of that sort is that no country which has nuclear weapons is completely trustworthy. There have always been, and there will always be people for whom "we're perfect, so we can shoot anybody we don't like" is a basic moral tenet.
    The point is that, no matter how reasonable and sensible something is, peoples' crazy switch gets flipped anytime "nuclear" comes up. Look at the way people freaked out about the Galileo probe. It wouldn't be any different today.

  14. #2504
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    I know what I'm about to say must have been hit on before but, if so, I feel the need to reiterate. Our galaxy is BIG! Very big. Each time I think I have a perspective on the size, I find that I am orders of magnitude wrong.

    I sometimes try to imagine what it felt like to turn on the first radio telescope for the very first time. I'd be thinking, "What a game changer this is! Encyclopedia Galactica? Yes please."

    The point I'm trying to make is that, given many of the scenarios probably listed above, there is absolutely no reason why our not detecting alien civilizations should surprise us, even if there are millions of them out there.

    That doesn't mean we give up or stop trying to detect them in new and innovative ways.

    As far as visitation goes, I am a nutty believer in all that cooky stuff; from Roswell to Phoenix lights, but even so, as a believer, I STILL want extraordinary proof. I get that aliens have problems with hi-res images of trailer parks for some unknown reason, so must come closer...I mean CLOSER, lol. And also, as an alien, I think I'd have to do a few traffic stops along lonely dark backroads to do sobriety checks, maybe our alien breathalyzer probes could be upgraded so we don't need to apply them analy anymore, but hey, we do what we gotta...
    Last edited by Hypmotoad; 2015-Mar-02 at 09:36 PM.

  15. #2505
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypmotoad View Post
    I know what I'm about to say must have been hit on before but, if so, I feel the need to reiterate. Our galaxy is BIG! Very big. Each time I think I have a perspective on the size, I find that I am orders of magnitude wrong.
    And that's assuming that there's more than one sapient lifeform per galaxy! As I said before, the universe is frakkin' HUGE.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  16. #2506
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    Quote Originally Posted by primummobile View Post
    The point is that, no matter how reasonable and sensible something is, peoples' crazy switch gets flipped anytime "nuclear" comes up. Look at the way people freaked out about the Galileo probe. It wouldn't be any different today.
    Will you please stop using expression like "crazy switch" when talking about people who don't share your obsession with everything "nuclear" ! You could use a "cool down" switch yourself , dude , this whole Orion idea is completely preposterous and if you don't believe me ask 99,99 % of the literate population !

  17. #2507
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    Quote Originally Posted by galacsi View Post
    Will you please stop using expression like "crazy switch" when talking about people who don't share your obsession with everything "nuclear" ! You could use a "cool down" switch yourself , dude , this whole Orion idea is completely preposterous and if you don't believe me ask 99,99 % of the literate population !
    "Crazy" means that people get fired up about it, sometimes more so than what is justified. It doesn't mean they are literally crazy. It's a figure of speech.

    Nowhere near that many people think that nuclear pulse propulsion is preposterous. You have no idea what it is. You still think we are talking about blowing up nuclear bombs in the atmosphere, despite reading all the posts to the contrary.

    I have no "obsession" with "everything nuclear". Your idea that I do from a few posts is laughable. I didn't even bring this up. I got involved to explain that nuclear EMPs don't happen in space, and then you chimed in complaining about nuclear EMPs on a spacecraft after I and Isaac had explained they were impossible.
    Last edited by primummobile; 2015-Mar-03 at 10:19 AM.

  18. #2508
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    International law is much more analogous to agreements between crime bosses than statutory or contract law: those have an external enforcement agency, and are applicable even if you don't want them to be. Of course, corruption or government favoritism may make equitable enforcement of laws impossible. This is part of the reason for things like the French Revolution.

    Of course, if one country puts nuclear bombs in space, every other one becomes entitled: that's not an orbital battle station, it's a pulsed-nuclear propelled spacecraft, just like the one you just put up. And, since you won't permit inspection and oversight, I won't, either.
    Last edited by swampyankee; 2015-Mar-03 at 10:53 AM.
    Information about American English usage here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  19. #2509
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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    International law is much more analogous to agreements between crime bosses than statutory or contract law: those have an external enforcement agency, and are applicable even if you don't want them to be. Of course, corruption or government favoritism may make equitable enforcement of laws impossible. This is part of the reason for things like the French Revolution.

    Of course, if one country puts nuclear bombs in space, every other one becomes entitled: that's not an orbital battle station, it's a pulsed-nuclear propelled spacecraft, just like the one you just put up. And, since you won't permit inspection and oversight, I won't, either.
    I think the main stumbling block for getting out of an agreement isn't the lack of enforcement, it's the ability to enter into future agreements. Other than that, I agree mostly with what you've said.

    For me, there isn't much to fear about an orbiting space station equipped with nuclear bombs. It would never be capable of taking out another nation's retaliatory capability, and the warheads aren't any more deadly than those on an ICBM or launched from a submarine.

    I do think, however, that there would be a big difference between building an nuclear pulse spacecraft and an building and orbiting nuclear warhead launch platform. I would hope we could tell the difference without much trouble.

  20. #2510
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    OK, we're done.

    I have no clue as how a thread on Alien Contact became a debate on international law and nuclear pulse rockets, but it doesn't seem well connected. I have to think that after five years, 84 pages, and over 2500 posts, everything that can be said on this topic has been said. If the aliens contact us with information about their lack of contact, please start a new thread. If you wish to debate treaties and nuclear rockets, and can keep inappropriate politics out of it, please start a thread in an appropriate forum (like Space Exploration).

    If you have a good argument as to why this thread should be reopened, Report this post and make your case.
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