Generatoin E

camidon's picture

TO READ FURTHER, PLEAsE FIRST READ: TIME ENOUGH, NEVER ENOUGH TIME, submitted for 3/15/04 (yes, I know I'm stumping for my own submission!)

Generation E (evolution)

So here's an idea. I wrote this introductory "chapter--Time Enough, Never Enough Time" to begin my idea about a generation ship taking hundreds of thousands of years to cross the stellar voids, and in the process evolve to fit into their new world. This is what humanity started out doing as they traveled from Africa, to Europe, to Asia, to America. In th process, we formed our physical appearanes which are all vastly different. What if this is why it takes so long to cross the stars. What if we're suppose to use that time to adjust to a new, less hospitable world? Adjust to gravity, adjust to temperature, gas concentration, who knows what else? The starship would systematically adjust living conditions, one minute step at a time, over hundreds, even millions of years, all this time, still a blink in geologic/cosmic time.

Sine this story takes so much time, the book would only focus on a handful of generations, each chapter, really a series pf short stories progressing to the colonized.

Therefore, any number of people could collaborate on this idea. In fact, I think it would make the story even stronger by using different voices for each "chapter". All that would have to be done is to know the beginning and end product, and everything in between would be a slow, evolutionary change. Anyone want to try and write a short story in this context, or in other words, collaborate?

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Re:Generatoin E

This is a cool idea. It might also be interesting to have different authors write the different sections. The variation in styles and ideas may amplify the changes in humanity as the trip progresses.

Would you be interested in a different angle to the story? Perhaps a short story where the remains of such a ship are found beyond the orbit of Pluto?

DaveK's picture

Re:Generatoin E

Back in the late sixties the was a book - Naked Came the Stranger - in which each chapter was written by a different author. Look at - http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/stranger.html . What you're suggesting sounds like a theme anthology. I wonder if the whole concept - a theme anthology written by a writers workshop group would be enough of a hook to entice a publisher. If not, maybe we could get an editor to critique the stories, sort of - Here are the common errors begining writers make.

Joeg's idea could be a prolog which gives the idea to us or an epilog where we (humans) find the ship after it fails in transit to earth.

It would be interesting to work on. If the complete anthology doesn't sell then we each have our own short stories to peddle. We may need some kind of release from camidon for starting with his idea. Any lawyers out there?

camidon's picture

Hmm.... Lawyers...

Because I posted this idea on this board, I have no fear of my ideas being taken, nor do I particularly care about credit. If someone takes this idea, writes a fabulous story, great! I'll be glad to know I helped in the process. I think that means I wave my right to an attorney... But I do think you bring up a good point, Dave.

I would love to see some group members take this story idea, Generation E, and run with it, the more the better. So if either of you that has submitted a response to my first posting want to try your hands, please do. Joe, if you want to try your slant at the idea about finding the remains of a ship, please do.

I love the idea of an anthology. Within this group there are enough strong writers that we could do it. And even new writers, less experienced, could take a shot at a story, in fact I would encourage it. Then we as a group could help meld the less polished pieces into polished ones.

If there's enough interest, perhaps in a few weeks we can have a chat and set up some ground rules. I.E: where is the overarching plot of the anthology going? Where is the evolution going, what form is it taking? Then we could set aside a year for people to write a story in the anthology, then come back and see what we have. Not only do I think this is a cool idea, but I think there is strong literary scifi merit and a strong potential for publishing. If we could get this type of idea published... The exposure for those that contributed and the group as a whole would be fantastic.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

DaveK's picture

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

I was on vacation for two weeks so I had a change to do a bit of reading. I picked this up to see what a main stream technology novel was like and on a drive from New Mexico to Colorado my wife and I listened to the DaVinci Code on CD.

Two things about this book. Technically it seems wrong to me. I'm not a cyptologist but like most tech shows on TV is seems that he just uses tech terms to try to show a knowledge of the subject. And he has the cooling to a super computer break down so the computer melts down. The other major iratant is his chaptering. It seems totally random. One chapter is half a page long and ends in the middle of a conversation that continues in the next chapter. Chapter 111 if you want to check it out.

The story is good, the execution of it seems poor.

DaveK's picture

Oops, wrong topic

I posted my Digital Fortress review here by accident.

By while I'm here while on vacation I was thinking about this topic. Have other writing groups created a shared universe? Is there such a thing as a open source universe? I think other fan groups have created such a thing, in say, the Star Trek universe but that is obviously non-commercial.

For this to move on we need to define the universe more completly. We need the ship details: size, crew, speed, destination, cargo, trip details: time period, activity during the voyage, rate of change of crew, destination details: environment, technology: gene engineering, computer technology, what are the limits of AI's. We also need a history of problems so that we don't destroy half the crew in one time period and then ignore that in future periods.

We should schedule a chat on some off day to discuss this. Maybe e-mail the group to review what we have here and announce the chat.

camidon's picture

Big ole can of worms

In other words, Dave, as Mike said in his critique: "I opened a big ole can of worms" and now we'd have to sort through all them squigglers. Lordy oh lordy wouldn't that be a hell of a chat. I'm totally game. I'd love to see this idea progress.

PS: I think Eddy can repost your previous post in a different category.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

EmptyKube's picture

Generation E revisited

Hmmm...hmmm...hmmmm..

A large anthology of collected shorts on the topic of how humans evolve over the course of traveling between stars.

Lordy I love this idea. I have this story ofr a generation ship that I'd love to do, but since generation ships have been done all to hell it seems senseless to write. But if I modified it to fit the idea of evolution over time...hmmm...

To do this right, as I think Dave said, we would ned to flesh out guidelines. Rules that the overall universe adheres to. And since we are talking about spanning millenia, does the topic also include cultural evolution, technological evolution, or just biological evolution?
For my tastes, I can't see how any concept of future evolution can happen without a large smattering of technology and the melding of biology and machine/data.

Would the stories be stages? Say the book is broken down into sections:

Early era, mid era, late era.

What time periods would these eras cover?

CM I might just take you up on this idea:)

Mike

camidon's picture

Please do

By all means, Mike, Please do.

Of all my ideas, this is one I think has potential for greatness.

To do this, (whether individually or as a group) much planning would have to be done, and this would not be easy. This is why I'm not hoarding my idea. I think this idea is too big for one person. Well, maybe not for a grandmaster of science fiction, but for someone just starting out... Anyway, I think the more viewpoints, the better the end product. Also, if this becomes a collaborative effort from multiple SFWW members, I really could see great things happening for this group... a break out work....

Optimistic, yes. Nieve, maybe. But one never knows until one tries.

The Evolution would definately be biological, cultural, and technological. The only basic rule I have is: No creation of FTL drives as that is 100% not the point of the idea. The first few stories should be based on Today's technology and the rate and time we can currently travel in space.

I don't necessarily envision sections of this book, rather, each chapter is a short story, with its own small plot, new characters, and adjustments to the biological, evolutional, and technological progression. Timeline is vast: Millions of years. Not a few decades, not a few centuries, but millenia after millenia. A thousand generations could pass between each story. If we collaborated, we'd have to completely outline the book (but that's how I write anyway), so each person knew what section he/she was writing (with what cultural, evolution, tech, etc), but within the constraints of that section, the story could be anything.

To my knowledge, a generation ship has never been done like this. Time is a dirty word in science fiction, and I'm steadily beginning to think that's a big mistake. Time may be our greatest obstacle, but it also might be our greatest ally. We have to think geologically/astronomical, and not it terms of our blink of an eye lives.

If done correctly, I truly believe this could be a masterful idea.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

EmptyKube's picture

Re: Please do

[quote="camidon"]By all means, Mike, Please do.

Of all my ideas, this is one I think has potential for greatness.

To do this, (whether individually or as a group) much planning would have to be done, and this would not be easy. This is why I'm not hoarding my idea. I think this idea is too big for one person. Well, maybe not for a grandmaster of science fiction, but for someone just starting out... Anyway, I think the more viewpoints, the better the end product. Also, if this becomes a collaborative effort from multiple SFWW members, I really could see great things happening for this group... a break out work....

.[/quote]

I think that this could be an amazing learning experience. An oportunity for whoever is involved to hone their skills and develop a solid understanding of their own abilities and limitations or lack thereof as writers. I've always maintained that every new writer needs at least one daunting task to sharpen their skills and learn from. This could be such a device for th collective group.

The FTL limitation is easy to work around, but what about multiple ship? Not just one sent out, but a steady stream of potential fodders. Each story could be about different types of evolution on different ships.

Mike

camidon's picture

Re:Generatoin E

Yep, FTL is easy to sidestep. Multiple ships could work great too. There's no reason NOT to use more than one ship, as certainly multiple ships would be sent out across the galaxy. However, my thought against this is: One ship provides an overarching plot. Ship leaves Earth, travels through space, things happen, humans evolove culturally, physically, biologically, emotionally, technologically, and any more "ally's" I've forgotten, then they reach the intended destination which brings the book full circle to an end.

This idea is so big, it really needs multiple books. The first book follows one ship from beginning to end. The second, could then "ship hop".
Gosh, so much potential. Ship success, ship disaster, alien contact (nothing Star Trexesque. Good solid "alien" aliens" Extrapolation of extreme earth environments--anoxic, sunless, underwater, under pressures, different temperatures.) Possibilities endless.

Gosh, what would happen if we then extrapolate this idea to colonizing other galaxies, not just our own. The time frame, billions of years, would just blow the minds of everyone. We just don't equate humans in these time frames.

I think we should go for it. I think a couple of us should gun our sciene fiction engines and put this idea into high gear. Any and all from SFWW can partipate, but first, a few of us should get together to have a chat and lay down the ground rules. Once we establish a base, we can email the entire group and see if anyone else is interested. From these posts, it looks like there's a least a few interested members.

Shall we set up a chat time?

Man, this would be hard, but I really think this has the potential for greatness. :twisted: We have to at least try.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

DaveK's picture

Re:Generatoin E

Actually, I think Mike's idea of multiple ships is a good one. Columbus, Magellan and I'm sure thers took multiple ships. It creates the potential for more conflict.

There are a few SF stories that encompass vast amounts of time. [i]Tau 0[/i], by Poul Anderson is about a ram ship that has an accident and can't slow down. It accelerates, suffering time dialation, until the universe passes from the big bang into the big crunch and then they survive until planets evolve again. [i]A World Out of Time[/i] by Niven is another ram ship story where the pilot comes back to earth after 3 million years. It does not take place on the ship. What is unique here IMHO is the self imposed genitic evolution on the ship during the trip. Even self modification to live in an alien environment has been done by [i]Outer Limits[/i]. I think the multiple ships would be rare if not unique.

I will donate my power source to the project. It is a micro black hole surronded by a spherical reflector. Micro black holes evaporate at a rate inversly proportional to their size. The energy comes out as photons with a thermal distribution corresponding to the temperature of the hole. It is esentially total conversion of matter to energy. To slow it down you add more mass. The nearly perfect mirror is needed to redirect the energy back into the hole so it doesn't explode. It could be used as the reaction engine by gathering the interstellar gases and expelling them at a high temperature. Sort of like a Bussard ram jet but with a different heat source. The draw back is that it is heavy, the mass does not provide and shielding, and it is unstable. Ignore it, it shrinks, more energy comes out and then it explodes. All in all a great power source for a SF story. I haven't done the math on this yet.

Where should we do the world building? In this forum? Do we need a dedicated top level topic? I can see so many different topics that we may need our own.Do we restrict access? We also need some guidelines. If someone creates a character can someone else kill him?

When do we chat? Almost any evening is good for me, given a few days notice.

camidon's picture

Chat

I with, Dave. Most any night will work for me to chat given advanced warning (and a reminder).

As to killing off characters, my initial thought is this: If we're spanning such vast quantities of times, then no two stories would share the same characters , rather only the descendants from previous stories. (Though in thinking about this, I don't want to toss any constraints on the stories yet.) Once we set some basic ground rules, I'd be so curious to see what the first draft of stories would be like.

Below is a list of things to start thinking about.
1) Potential stars to colonize
2) Distance to said stars, and rate of ship speed, so that a time frame (in millions of years) can be established.
3) Type of craft (which Dave has given some potential insight.); also the innerworkings of the craft. Layout, design, food processing, quarters, recreation, etc.
4) Size of population on board. Intial composition.
5) Breaking the timeline into potential story units, and having one person focus on each section? Or two sections?
6)Evolutionary track/evolutionary succession

And a whole many more things I've not thought of at the moment.

This will be interstering to see if we can get it off the ground, and where we'll be in a year.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

EmptyKube's picture

Re:Generatoin E

I like the black hole power source. Also, if we tweak the technology, make it functional but faulty, we can get a leakage of high energy photons, or radiation, into the ship. This leakage can also account for mutation and help drive some evolutionary changes. Of course this is just a thought. CM, in your list of items to think about you forgot an important one. How will the ship be governed? Say you have a crew of five hundred. That's fine for a five year trip with a semi military hierarchy and a ship captain, but over millenia such social structures will break down.
What sort of political system does the ship carry? Will the descendants of the original crew feel loyal to the original goals of the mission? If the USA sends the ship out, will the fifteenth generation aboard ship even care what the USA was? Van Vogt touched on some of this kind of stuff in Rogue Ship, a classic sf novel. I think its equally important to think about such things.
Another thought regarding type of ship is why build one at all?
Take a large asteriod, cut off each end sort of like a potatoe, hollow it out,
build cities, parks, whatever along the inside walls, put airlocks on the sniped off ends, set the asteroid moving in a particular direction, and let it ramble across the stars.

Adds definite meaning to the term "slow boat."

Another potential power cource could be zero-point energy, or casimir effect energy. This is vaccum energy derived from the quantum fluctuations at plank length in spacetime. you could line the outside of the ship with casimir batteries or sheets of metal seperated by particle width spaces which would trap the fluctuations and allow you to channel them toward a collector.

But I do like the idea of using a micro black hole. My only question is how do you get one? Is it genrated or found? If found how do you "tame" it?
If generated, how and at what energy cost? This is important because it will substantially increase the cost of the overall project and effect any given party's willingness to participate in the whole venture.

Just a few random thoughts Laughing out loud

Mike

DaveK's picture

Re:Generatoin E

Before we push this too much further, can we get "Generation" spelled right it the topic list?

As to the origion of the black hole, I thought it would be manufactured. My first story idea had the black hole being made, going unstable and causing a big explosion. The energy cost to create one is enormous. Let's see. You get a lot of powerful lasers, point them at something to implode it--sounds like the plans for a fusion reactor. We change the target from a duterium pellet to some trans-uranic element that has to be created using some hugh particle accelerator. So if the ship loses its hole it is dead. Or another story topic.

Or they could be mined like Niven, from the asteroid belt. He had the holes being found because the mass of the asteroid was too high for its size. We can find them because the asteroid is too warm.

There is a web technology called - wiki. It is sort of like this forum but the users can edit the pages not just create new content like this forum. Would that be of use here? Would we be able to get and use it?

EmptyKube's picture

Re:Generatoin E

[quote="DaveK"]As to the origion of the black hole, I thought it would be manufactured. My first story idea had the black hole being made, going unstable and causing a big explosion. The energy cost to create one is enormous. Let's see. You get a lot of powerful lasers, point them at something to implode it--sounds like the plans for a fusion reactor. We change the target from a duterium pellet to some trans-uranic element that has to be created using some hugh particle accelerator. So if the ship loses its hole it is dead. Or another story topic.

Or they could be mined like Niven, from the asteroid belt. He had the holes being found because the mass of the asteroid was too high for its size. We can find them because the asteroid is too warm.

[/quote]

Niven's idea of finding black holes in asteriods was based an an early big bang idea that at the origin of the universe a whole bunch of microscopic black holes were created and dispersed around the universe. I think that this idea has been discredited. Sad

Still, there might be some other reason they exist. As to the idea of creating them see if this makes sense. (Mind you I'm only externalizing. I haven't researched this so it might not jive with real science.)
Matter and energy both warp spacetime. In a collapsing star the mass becomes some great, compressed into a tiny volume of spacetime that sometimes spacetime is knotted and twisted around enough to cause even light not to be able to escape the gravity field of the star. (Black hole)
Would focusing an extreme amount of energy of a very tiny volume of spacetime produce a similar effect? Circumventing the need for particle acceleraters and things to implode? You would still need some real high powered energy beams, maybe gamma ray lasers? You might still need a huge facility to produce the energy required.
Another thought, one I've only marginally followed is the development of sound black holes. These are created in laboratories using sound, and exhibit some of the qualities of traditional black holes. Don't know enough about them, but if we did, and they can be created cheaply and provide the power needed, maybe these would substitute.
Just some food for thought.

The web technology you mentioned seems interesting.

camidon's picture

Re:Generatoin E

This stuff is just too good!

Mike, can you chat some time? What time would work for you?

[quote]Where should we do the world building? In this forum? Do we need a dedicated top level topic? I can see so many different topics that we may need our own.Do we restrict access? We also need some guidelines. If someone creates a character can someone else kill him? [/quote]

We probably should start a whole new topic section, if possible, then make section brackets. Should we ask Eddy? Should we do it here?

You're right about the ship design, Mike. Even when one is trying to think out the box, one usally steps into another one somewhere. A hollowed out asteroid is just as possible as a ship. The only reason I was thinking ship was thinking if we use current technology...

Love the microblack hole idea. You guys are way more advanced in you stellar transport science than I am.

I'm curious. Either of you know the time it would take a current tech spaceship to fly to the nearest star? What would be the rates of a ship driven by microblack hole-tech?

This discussion is great.

Gosh I feel stupid about the "Generation" typo. :oops: I never even noticed it. Whoops. If NASA engineers can forget about metric-american conversions and crash a billion dollar probe into Mars, then I'm allowed the occasionaly typo.
Laughing out loud

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

DaveK's picture

Re:Generatoin E

We should see how much interest is generated before asking for our own top level topic. I've looked into my wiki idea some more. Here are some links:

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_23/b3886141.htm

http://www.twiki.org/

http://www.openwiki.com/

and here is an example you can play in:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sandbox

I think the problem with Niven's black hoes is that Stephen Hawking showed that they evaporate over time and explode at the end. They haven't lasted the 13 billion years since the big bang.

I had thought of using only lasers of some type. But matter is so much more concentrated that is is a good starting point. Then I remembered the inertial confinement fusion reactor idea and it seems like a natural way to start. In 50 plus years we may be seeing these fusion generators.

I haven't heard of sonic black holes. Are you thinking of sonic induced fusion? It doesn't involve black holes the fusion is induced by the collapse of bubbles in a fluid.

Chris came up with this list: [quote]
Below is a list of things to start thinking about.
1) Potential stars to colonize
2) Distance to said stars, and rate of ship speed, so that a time frame (in millions of years) can be established.
3) Type of craft (which Dave has given some potential insight.); also the innerworkings of the craft. Layout, design, food processing, quarters, recreation, etc.
4) Size of population on board. Intial composition.
5) Breaking the timeline into potential story units, and having one person focus on each section? Or two sections?
6)Evolutionary track/evolutionary succession
[/quote]

I would like to add to that the folowing:
7) Genetic engineering--how the evolution is accelerated and directed. Some political/religious issues here for the soft SF writers.
Cool Computer intelligences--yes or no. Easier to write if no. AI's are way too capable to play a minor part.
9) What is the environment at the destination? Sunlight, radiation, gravity, temperature, energy/food sources. atmosphere.
10) Why are they changing themselves instead of terraforming the planet? Indiginous life forms perhaps?
11) Why do they settle a planet instead of settle space?
12) How do they insure that advanving technology doesn't bypass them and settle the planet before they get there?
13) Who sponsers the trip? Rich old man? Government? Secret society doing it all in secret? Secret Federation of World Wanders. :roll:

Can we use this to get new members for SFWW? Maybe Anneliese can put it on the web page and/or the AOL journal. Come join SFWW in creating our own world.

EmptyKube's picture

Re:Generatoin E

Chatting is a bit hard to schedule right now. Working in retail my shifts fluctuate. Can anyone do this upcoming Sunday, about 7pm? otherwise, I think if we have a chat on mOnday night (regula SFWW chat?) I should be able to make it. Ask Eddy, ask anyone who wants to participate.
I would like to include AI's because I think humanity's future will be closely linked with its technology. As for who should sponsor the trip, I think the cost is too prohibitive for anything short of national interests.
Dave...as i said, I don't know enough about sonic black holes. I'll look into them more. I've read snippets from scientific papers i don't pretend to understand, and need a good source for, ummm, translating the technotalk. This might not be what we want, but its interested me. i promise not to get lost in research and disappear again.
BTW...anyone need a good source for facts about European heresies, mary magdalene, the Templars, and Christ...email me:)
Got to do something with two months worth of fact binging!
Also, if we use a hollowed out asteriod, we should all do some research on O'neil habitats (gerard k o'neil). They are probably the next best thing to a hollowed asteriod.

EmptyKube's picture

Re:Generatoin E

[quote="camidon"]This stuff is just too good!

I'm curious. Either of you know the time it would take a current tech spaceship to fly to the nearest star? What would be the rates of a ship driven by microblack hole-tech?

[/quote]

Here is an article I found that might help some.

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast11apr_1m.htm

BTW...sorry about all the typos in my last post. I seem to have been in too much of a hurry.

DaveK's picture

Re:Generatoin E

Maybe we should wait til Monday's chat to schedule our own. Right now only you, Chris and I seem to be in this thread.

You're right, there is such a thing as sonic black holes. And optical black holes too. They are simulations of real gravity black holes. The optical black hole traps the light so it might be a way to concentrate the energy enough to start a real black hole. I would still start with an imploding sphere of matter.

That web site is good. I'll have to look at it more.

I like AI's. I think they will happen. But what limits their intelligence? If they are super intelligent why don't they solve all the problems and then there is no conflict for a story. Niven had to postulate that AI's go catatonic after a while. They get so engrosed in their own simulated worlds that they stop communicating with the real world. We could always use Star Trek type computers. Able to simulate a lot and able to answer questions but still needing a human to initiate anythng. If you could come up with some reason why AI's can't be too much smarter than humans regardless of the hardware technology that would be great.

camidon's picture

I can do that

I can do that: Sunday at 7:00pm EDT which is 5:00pm MDT. Dave?

I'm also writing a note for the Monday chat.

Good article, Mike.

Here's one more serious problem, the worst one, in my mind, we have to overcome. How do the colonists choose a planet/system? Some kind of probes? For the evolutionary theory of a generational ship to work, we need to know the beginning (us today) and where/what we want the colonists to "evolove" into (parameters of that planet, gravity, temperature, time, etc).

Also, how different would they become? With multiple ships, Human evolution would diverge drastically (another cool idea, predicting divergent Human evolution).

I think we'll need to set a fixed "launch date", some year in the the not too distant future, and then plan with the technology (that we, of course, create/speculate) available at that specific time.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

EmptyKube's picture

Re:Generatoin E

[quote]Here's one more serious problem, the worst one, in my mind, we have to overcome. How do the colonists choose a planet/system? Some kind of probes? For the evolutionary theory of a generational ship to work, we need to know the beginning (us today) and where/what we want the colonists to "evolove" into (parameters of that planet, gravity, temperature, time, etc).
[/quote]

Logically, they can't ever know the destination conditions unless you change the over all time frame. Its imposible because no one has seen the destination yet. Unless you send out probes first which find a planet, record its environs and send the data back to Earth, you can't possibly know what to expect. Doing that however will add huge chunks of time onto the concept because you have to allow travel time for the probes, return time for the data, time to process, digest, undersatnd and then plan the mission. So on and so forth. My opinion, if you want to start this with current technology you will have to add an element of "fantastic." Some way for the mission planners to know information and locations of planets hundreds of lightyears away.

What if we introduce the discovery of an alien wreck somewhere in the currently reachable solar system (Earth, moon, nearby asteriods, Mars, et) with immense data storage regarding the species own colonial or survey efforts. Such a discover might just spark enough interest to inspire putting together missions to some of the worlds, and detailed planning to attempt to adjust the crew's biology to fit the destination environs.

Sunday night, 7pm is fine then. I'll be at the SFChat site. If anyone can make it great. If not, we wait till Monday night.

camidon's picture

Alien Wreck

An Alien wreck.

I like the idea.

Probes would add a lot of time, and although I don't think that's necessarily bad, it does hinder the concept a little. It just depends how much time we're willing to span.

I also like the idea that finding such a wreck would "jumpstart" the colonization movement. As current trends suggest, space is not a high priority (I don't believe a word of our current president's "Mars" hoopla. It's all smoke and mirrors). We're still too busy killing each other to look into the cosmos.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

DaveK's picture

Re:Generatoin E

I'm not too worried about our knowledge of the target system. In a few years the planis to have space baesd systems that can detect earth planets around nearby stars. In a hundred years I would imagne that we will have mapped the systems within a hundred light years. If we want to send out probes they can be flyby so they accelerate the entire journey. That cuts the trip time down by a lot. Slowing down at the destination would be difficult but not impossible.

Why go to the star? Either some physical property, such as the star shows evidance of being a wormhole to another star or "dimension" or there is evidence of life, either intelligent or not. Or is the population or political pressure in the Sol system too great? Is pure exploration good enough? If so why not send probes?

When they go why do the colonists change themselves? Wouldn't it be easier to live in space? Maybe they geneticly engineer themselves to be space inhabitants.

Re:Generatoin E

I agree that there needs to be some sort of driving factor...whether a geological/environmental crisis on Earth, the discovery of alien artifacts, or a political/religious movement that the planet won't tolerate, there needs to be a darned good reason for people to agree to a thousand- or more-generation space voyage.
I'm also wondering about how the prospective colonists would deal with finding/probing suitable worlds, and whether, by the time the ship reaches its target world, it will still be suitable. Imagine a spaceship setting out for Earth based on data it received back in the Jurassic period, and arriving at the K/T boundary--a far different environment than earlier probes led the colonists to expect.
Or perhaps they have to figure out a way to live on asteroids/gas giants. There would be some serious evolutionary weirdness... Cool

Pohl's Law: A sufficiently advanced form of technology is indistinguishable from magic. Programmer's Corollary: A sufficiently rigged demo is indistinguishable from magic.

EmptyKube's picture

Re:Generatoin E

[quote]I'm not too worried about our knowledge of the target system. In a few years the planis to have space baesd systems that can detect earth planets around nearby stars. In a hundred years I would imagne that we will have mapped the systems within a hundred light years. If we want to send out probes they can be flyby so they accelerate the entire journey. [/quote]

Dave..what worries me is that the time involved is hundreds to thousands of years. If the premise is that the ships are used to guide evolution toward being able to adapt on a given planet, you need to know the conditions. Being able to spot an earthlike wolrd from lightyears away and map it isn't the same as knowing what conditions there are. We might be able to do spectral analasys of the atmosphere, and make guesses about temperature given the world's proximity to its sun, but thta's not the same as knowing what the dirt feels like, what the plants do, what's rain like, et. To change a species biology to suit a world you need some very detailed info. Since FTL is out, sending probes to do flybys will take an amazingly long time. If say we find a suitable wolrd around say Deneb, deneb is like 2000 light years away. at the speeds we can muster now any probe would take millenia to get there, teh to transmit the information gatrhered back would take another two thousand years!
Say we find a suitable world around proxima centuri. A probe from here could take several hundred years to geth there. The signal would only take anothe 4 years back, but who would still care after a few centuries of waiting? To me, if evolving toward a specific world is the goal, the you need detailed info on the world, or we modify the missions as merely experiments in evolution only.

EmptyKube's picture

Re:Generatoin E

[quote]Imagine a spaceship setting out for Earth based on data it received back in the Jurassic period, and arriving at the K/T boundary--a far different environment than earlier probes led the colonists to expect.
Or perhaps they have to figure out a way to live on asteroids/gas giants. There would be some serious evolutionary weirdness...
[/quote]

Exactly. The time frames are enormous. What we find out about a world now is what it was like in the past. the time of voyage would add even more "past". if a ship set out for earth based on today's environment, what will it find if it takes two million years to get here??

Understanding the vastness of space will be a big hurtle to overcome for this idea.

DaveK's picture

Re:Generatoin E

My interpretation of this idea is that it is like "Open Source Software", linux in particular. A core group or person creates the "kernel" and many other people add applications on to it. The kernel is the basic history and time line of the universe. It restrains the universe so that all stories written in/for it are consistent with each other. An example of this is whether FTL travel is allowed. But any slower than light technology is allowed. If you want to allow continuous one gravity acceleration you have to provide the power and the reaction mass.

As you can tell this will be hard to coordinate so we may need a system of controlling inventions. Other constrains will have to be placed on the politics, earth environment, alien contact, etc. But the rule should be

camidon's picture

Re:Generatoin E

[quote]Understanding the vastness of space will be a big hurtle to overcome for this idea.[/quote]

This is both the inspiration and the challenge of this idea.

[quote]What we find out about a world now is what it was like in the past. [/quote]

Perhaps one thing that could be done, is the continuous sending of probes, and the resulting feedback is more or less, a steady stream of data. In this manner, the ship could constantly update its evolutionary parameters. As a ship came closer and closer to its destination, the spectrum of possibility would steadily diminish, and the evolution parameters (slow alteration of the ship environment) would be more and more permanent.

So, when a probe is sent out/initial astronomical projections are set, the crew begins slowly evolving as the ship's environment changes based on the first info received. However, if a new probe is sent out every year, then once the first probe reaches the planet, there would be constant feedback from every subsequent probe. As each probe learned new informatin, a ship would respond by tweaking its evolution to account for the new info.

[quote]if a ship set out for earth based on today's environment, what will it find if it takes two million years to get here[/quote]
We're still not thinking large enough, and we wind up caught in our Human time sense. Even two million years is still a blink in the eye in terms of a geologic sense. The shape of our current world has looked basically the same (with the present continental positions and climatic regions intact) for the past 65 MYA. The last major planetary difference was about 245MYA during the reign of Pangea, the supercontinent. Sure, there's been change, ice ages, sea level rising and falling, rivers changing, etc, but the overall core of the world, the "cratons" of the continent, has remained the same for hundreds of millions of years.

If you toss in a supernova, and it wipes out the intended destination (story idea anyone?), then I might be worried.

Also, I would love to see someone try to envision Humans adapting to living in a gas giant. I love the concept. It's so seemingly impossible, and contradicts everything about our puny little skin and bones we call our bodies.

As Mike said, this is exciting.

----

Life is a lot like caving: Most of the time you grope around in the dark.

Re:Generatoin E

[quote]There is a web technology called - wiki. It is sort of like this forum but the users can edit the pages not just create new content like this forum. Would that be of use here? Would we be able to get and use it?[/quote]

I've downloaded some Wiki software. It is going to take me a bit of time to set it up, but it appears do-able.

-anneliese

DaveK's picture

Re:Generatoin E

Great. Which one did you pick? Are you going to link it from the SFWW home page or this forum? If from the home page I would suggest some kind of login system. .htaccess if nothing else.

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