Author Topic: Science mythology  (Read 1489 times)

Sriram

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Science mythology
« on: November 23, 2015, 06:43:14 AM »
Hi everyone,

A 18 year old nephew of mine was recently going all gaga about the Mars expeditions and seriously seemed to think that we will en masse colonize some other planet soon. He kept quoting news items about habitable stars in other stellar systems. He and many other youngsters seem to be quite taken in by all the Terminators, Interstellars, Star wars and other nonsensical sci fi movies.

I tried to tell him that colonizing other planets is not exactly as simple as it is made out to be. We still have plenty of unutilized space on earth such as Antarctica, Sahara, Siberia, Australia, Arabia, India  and many other places.....and no one seems to be able to make them habitable! Colonizing other planets ...more so in other stellar systems...is a nonsensical idea.   We have evolved on earth over millions of years and creating all these specific conditions elsewhere is nothing short of nonsense.

Gravity, atmospheric pressure, sunlight, oxygen, water, food, bacteria, ecological system and many other basic requirements are to be met to make a place habitable to humans.....let alone the distances to be covered to reach these places which could take anything like several hundreds of thousands of years, at current speeds.  Not to forget radiation hazards and so on.   

But he seemed unconvinced and seemed pretty sure that we will find a way to travel to and colonize  these distant planets sooner than later.

Are we creating a mythology in science that is far removed from reality and allowing youngsters to get all convinced that its all real?! Not healthy IMO.

The realities of space travel and the illusionary chances of finding and colonizing other planets should be brought out clearly to these youngsters. If we teach them that, they will at least learn to respect the earth and the environment rather than take an escapist view of running away somewhere else.
 
Just some thoughts.

Cheers.

Sriram


Bubbles

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2015, 07:03:08 AM »
Ah! I'm with your nephew Sriram.

It's like flying, man was inspired to fly, which at one point was just a silly dream.

Mankind isn't the flying type of animal.

I don't know if it's any more possible to cross vast distances, but if no one dreams, we won't get there.

We wouldn't have planes if the dream of flight wasn't kept alive.

Anyway look what Star Trek has inspired, things like flip up mobile phones and now they are looking into tractor beams.

🔮

I think we need to get into space to survive, we may be like a bacteria that grows takes over a small area  and destroys itself with its own pollution.

Your nephew may love this   ;) ( below)

http://mentalfloss.com/article/31876/12-star-trek-gadgets-now-exist
« Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 07:14:04 AM by Rose »

Floo

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2015, 08:43:32 AM »
As human ingenuity appears to know no bounds, I think it quite probable that one day, however far off, we may colonise other planets.
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BashfulAnthony

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2015, 02:11:51 PM »
As human ingenuity appears to know no bounds, I think it quite probable that one day, however far off, we may colonise other planets.

Don't know much science either, do you?  I'm no scientist, but your suggestion that it is "probable"  needs a little explaining.
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BeRational

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2015, 02:17:05 PM »
As human ingenuity appears to know no bounds, I think it quite probable that one day, however far off, we may colonise other planets.

I would agree if we are talking about Mars or the moons of Jupiter or Saturn.

Planets around other stars seem to be a big problem, simply due to the distances involved.
We have always managed to solve issues with travel around the Earth where we learned how to go faster to cut down travel time. In those days, we were just up against human ingenuity and engineering.
Travel to other stars, pits us against physics!

There is no warp drive, nor any realistic chance that there will be.
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Outrider

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2015, 02:48:42 PM »
 In theory, at least, we have the technology to build vessels that will carry viable numbers of people to other locations in the solar-system. We don't have a huge amount of experience in the area, so there will almost certainly be failures and accidents if and when we try, but it's technologically possible: financially I think it's a pipe dream at the moment.

Whilst we could begin to make the crudest adjustments to a planetary atmosphere, we don't know nearly enough about the ecology of any other planets to accurately predict what would happen, we'd need a lot more fact-finding missions than we've currently done. Landing a self-contained colony is far more viable, currently.

Transit to other stars, that's a different matter entirely. Generational ships are theoretically viable, but the systems design would be so colossal that I don't know anyone would feel confident signing off on it - you'd need to be sending dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of families, knowing that you were consigning the next ten or twenty generations to life in that limited, closed environment. Technically it's just about possible, financially I don't think anyone could do it, even if they wanted to. Morally, though, I'm not sure they should be allowed.

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Shaker

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2015, 02:51:57 PM »
In theory, at least, we have the technology to build vessels that will carry viable numbers of people to other locations in the solar-system. We don't have a huge amount of experience in the area, so there will almost certainly be failures and accidents if and when we try, but it's technologically possible: financially I think it's a pipe dream at the moment.
I've heard the same - I've heard people in the know say that the technology to get humans to Mars largely exists already, so the exercise of shifting people from point A to point B isn't the issue; what forbids it is the staggering cost and the little matter that at present it would be a suicide mission.
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BeRational

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2015, 02:53:16 PM »
In theory, at least, we have the technology to build vessels that will carry viable numbers of people to other locations in the solar-system. We don't have a huge amount of experience in the area, so there will almost certainly be failures and accidents if and when we try, but it's technologically possible: financially I think it's a pipe dream at the moment.

Whilst we could begin to make the crudest adjustments to a planetary atmosphere, we don't know nearly enough about the ecology of any other planets to accurately predict what would happen, we'd need a lot more fact-finding missions than we've currently done. Landing a self-contained colony is far more viable, currently.

Transit to other stars, that's a different matter entirely. Generational ships are theoretically viable, but the systems design would be so colossal that I don't know anyone would feel confident signing off on it - you'd need to be sending dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of families, knowing that you were consigning the next ten or twenty generations to life in that limited, closed environment. Technically it's just about possible, financially I don't think anyone could do it, even if they wanted to. Morally, though, I'm not sure they should be allowed.

O.

Agreed, as you are consigning the children to a life on a ship which they did not agree to.

How would you grow food, recycle water, create a suitable gravity in transit.

Who is going to remember what the idea was when they get there?
I see gullible people, everywhere!

Outrider

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2015, 03:00:19 PM »
Agreed, as you are consigning the children to a life on a ship which they did not agree to.

Precisely, and at extremely high risk given our lack of knowledge about what might happen in the intergalactic spaces.

Quote
How would you grow food, recycle water, create a suitable gravity in transit.

Water recycling is a relatively well-understood system. Growing food (and recycling water) would require some-sort of artificial lighting system - more pressing is creating a large enough, reliable enough, sufficiently durable power generator.

The most obvious danger would be leaks - once you're beyond the Oort cloud (or much sooner if you're not heading along the solar plane - you've no access to any more raw materials.

Gravity we can't manipulate, but we can simulate with centrifugal effects in a rotating habitation vessel - does leave lower-gravity areas of the equipment that would need to be worked on, but we're capable of doing that now for (relatively) short durations.

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Who is going to remember what the idea was when they get there?

That can be recorded in a durable form - who is going to compel people to abide by it, though, when they've been an isolated community for a few generations and no-one has any first-hand knowledge of Earth or its cultures?

O.
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Shaker

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2015, 03:01:06 PM »
Agreed, as you are consigning the children to a life on a ship which they did not agree to.
Substitute 'ship' with 'planet' and you can say the same of Earth already, though.
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Outrider

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2015, 03:03:58 PM »
Substitute 'ship' with 'planet' and you can say the same of Earth already, though.

If by consigning them you mean 'having' children, I suppose - not quite the same thing, given that we as a species didn't choose to be here on Earth, but we would be choosing to send them off.

Not a huge difference with extra-Terran colonies in the solar system, I suppose, I doubt it would be easy to create a colony with a regular bus-service back home.

O.
Universes are forever, not just for creation...

New Atheism - because, apparently, there's a use-by date on unanswered questions.

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BeRational

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2015, 03:08:05 PM »
Substitute 'ship' with 'planet' and you can say the same of Earth already, though.

I think the difference is that that is the default, and we evolved here.

I could see the people being institutionalized by the time they got there, and not want to leave the ship!

I think some people think we will progress to the point where travel to the stars will be like Star Trek.

I have less optimism that will happen.
I see gullible people, everywhere!

Shaker

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2015, 03:12:56 PM »
I think some people think we will progress to the point where travel to the stars will be like Star Trek.

I have less optimism that will happen.
That's the trouble with soft science fiction - it's not constrained by the dull, boring stuff such as the laws of physics, reality, etc.

Still: on a long enough time scale ...
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Gonnagle

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2015, 03:16:25 PM »
Dear Bashers,

Quote
Don't know much science either, do you?  I'm no scientist, but your suggestion that it is "probable"  needs a little explaining.

Floo is only telling us what God said.

Genesis 11:6

And I think it is happening again, internet add to that the fact that science/scientists are beginning to actually share knowledge.

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BashfulAnthony

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2015, 03:55:18 PM »
Dear Bashers,

Floo is only telling us what God said.

Genesis 11:6

And I think it is happening again, internet add to that the fact that science/scientists are beginning to actually share knowledge.

Gonnagle.

Gonners,

I know Floo will be conversant with that verse, since she knows the Bible so well.  However, she might think about the context it is in, and that it is from Genesis:  you know what I think about that!

BA.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

It is my commandment that you love one another."

Floo

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2015, 04:05:43 PM »
Dear Bashers,

Floo is only telling us what God said.

Genesis 11:6

And I think it is happening again, internet add to that the fact that science/scientists are beginning to actually share knowledge.

Gonnagle.

"If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.


As I said human ingenuity appears to know no bounds, and must have been obvious to the very human author of that verse even all those many millennia ago.

Of course it isn't possible for us to reach planets which might be compatible to humans with our present technology, but who knows what we might achieve in the future. A few hundred years ago people would probably have thought human aviation of any sort impossible, let alone a moon landing.
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Sriram

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2015, 04:29:04 PM »

Hi everyone,

The last moon landing was 43 years ago. We still don't know what the heck to do there. Mars is no better in terms of its habitability. It has only 40% of the sunlight we get here. It has virtually no atmosphere, no water and no eco system relevant to us. 

And still most people like to believe that somehow, sometime, we will do something..and manage to go and live there and even in other stellar systems... travelling for hundreds of thousands of years!!

This is why I called it a myth!  Something we love to believe in...in spite of all evidence to the contrary!

Cheers.

Sriram




BeRational

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2015, 04:32:56 PM »
Hi everyone,

The last moon landing was 43 years ago. We still don't know what the heck to do there. Mars is no better in terms of its habitability. It has only 40% of the sunlight we get here. It has virtually no atmosphere, no water and no eco system relevant to us. 

And still most people like to believe that somehow, sometime, we will do something..and manage to go and live there and even in other stellar systems... travelling for hundreds of thousands of years!!

This is why I called it a myth!  Something we love to believe in...in spite of all evidence to the contrary!

Cheers.

Sriram

Not sure about the water, I think it is now thought it has quite a bit of water, just like the moon
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Outrider

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2015, 04:38:14 PM »
The last moon landing was 43 years ago. We still don't know what the heck to do there. Mars is no better in terms of its habitability. It has only 40% of the sunlight we get here. It has virtually no atmosphere, no water and no eco system relevant to us.

We have a number of things we could do from the moon, not least of which is use it as a staging post for trips further. What we don't have at the moment is a pressing need or surplus of resources to force or allow the opportunity.

Quote
And still most people like to believe that somehow, sometime, we will do something..and manage to go and live there and even in other stellar systems... travelling for hundreds of thousands of years!!

Some time we probably will - there's an awful lot of time left before humanity runs out, in all likelihood, and humanity has a tendency to want to do things sometimes just because it can be done and no-one has done it before.

Quote
This is why I called it a myth!  Something we love to believe in...in spite of all evidence to the contrary!

I'd see it as a pipe-dream - something that's possible, in theory, but not immediately likely. As opposed to a myth, which is something that was claimed to have happened but the overwhelming majority of people realised never actually did.

I can see what you're saying, to an extent, but given that people are already working on the plans, that we have the technology to do it, and some people appear to have the will and desire, I'm not sure how you can be so dismissive. Whether it will be as immediately productive as the Apollo Programme was - or indeed whether it will be productive at all - I'd agree is highly questionable, but the people looking to do it aren't looking to do it for a long-term goal, but just to prove that it can be done.

O.
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Sriram

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2015, 06:12:56 AM »
Hi everyone,

We humans seem to need some sort of an escape from our complicated and sometimes humdrum existence all the time. We wait for Messiahs to save us, we look for avatars to help us, we wait for Rapture to take us away....and we now wait to go to some other planet on a space ship.

Needless to say, all of these are false hopes doomed to remain unrealized.

We have a need to explore and seek alternative living spaces as a part of our survival mechanism. A need to 'escape' in other words.  It is an automatic instinctive response to any crisis in our immediate environment. All organisms do that.  This does not mean that we will always be successful in finding suitable alternatives.

Imagining that we will someday escape to some other world may make us feel relieved but is not necessarily true.

Given our extremely complex environmental dependence....the idea of colonizing other planets is nothing short of absurd....regardless of what we may perceive as our past achievements in this area.

Cheers.

Sriram 





 

torridon

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2015, 08:06:50 AM »
I don't see 'exploring' as being the same as 'escaping'. As a species we are curious, precocious, adaptive, inventive and I don't see an end to those characteristics coming any time soon; so our explorations will continue on all fronts, its in our nature. In terms of planetary exploration, there are no conceptual ceilings limiting us, just challenges to face and overcome, and that's what we do.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 08:09:21 AM by torridon »

Sriram

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2015, 09:08:47 AM »


Exploring is a part of the instinct to search for alternative living spaces. It is a basic instinct for survival. The British for example were great explorers because they knew their land was small.

By exploring outer space we are only following our instinct for survival. But that does not mean much more than that. Nothing to do with what we can actually do.

Colonizing other planets is another matter altogether. Let people make the Sahara or even Siberia more habitable for starters and then we can think of colonizing Mars and beyond! 

My point is that we just love to believe such fantastic things even though there is significant evidence against it. That's what makes it a myth. And science is full of such mythology in recent times.

The more the Muslims and Asians and others migrate to America the more the movies about alien invasions and moving to outer space!

Outrider

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2015, 09:30:13 AM »
Exploring is a part of the instinct to search for alternative living spaces. It is a basic instinct for survival. The British for example were great explorers because they knew their land was small.

By exploring outer space we are only following our instinct for survival. But that does not mean much more than that. Nothing to do with what we can actually do.

That we go at all doesn't. What we are actively planning is directly linked to what we can do - the people doing this planning are the best in their field, they're experts, and they have an understanding of what they, and the technologies the wield, are currently capable of.

Quote
Colonizing other planets is another matter altogether. Let people make the Sahara or even Siberia more habitable for starters and then we can think of colonizing Mars and beyond!

Ironic, given that you seen to think 'colonising' the Sahara would be an easier technological challenge than colonising another planet. On another planet you don't need to try to constrain your environmental impact, because there is no-one else to suffer any ill-effects. You change the way the Sahara or Siberia (both of which are already sparsely populated, by the way) behave, you have a knock on impact on other regions around them.

Quote
My point is that we just love to believe such fantastic things even though there is significant evidence against it. That's what makes it a myth. And science is full of such mythology in recent times.

It's not a myth - there are significant challenges, but those challenges are not insurmountable. Terraforming an entire planet in a controllable fashion is not, currently, within our capacity, but building durable isolated habitations in hostile environments is entirely possible.

Quote
The more the Muslims and Asians and others migrate to America the more the movies about alien invasions and moving to outer space!

And the fewer pirates the higher the global temperature! The more money the US spends on science research the more suicides there are from hanging, suffocation and strangulation..

http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

O.
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Gonnagle

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2015, 12:05:25 PM »
Dear Sriram,

Necessity is the mother of all inventions, we don't see a real need to "boldly go", and if we do finally start to treat this planet with respect, maybe we won't need to.

Here's an idea, stop ploughing money into weapons of mass destruction and give it to the scientists, although given man's nature, we would probably turn the next innovation into an even bigger weapon :(

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Re: Science mythology
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2015, 12:32:24 PM »
A 18 year old nephew of mine was.....

rather than take an escapist view of running away somewhere else.

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