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Well warp travel is reality now. But by accident.


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I'm sorry to hear that your life has been miserable, and that it's caused you to view life as mostly misery.

 

I've worked hard, and been through a lot of hardships, but my life has never really been miserable. It's been a learning experience. And, even when times were tough, I always had friends and family.

 

Perhaps that's why I'm loyal my species and wish to see it survive.

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Being constantly offended doesn't mean you're right, it means you're too narcissistic to tolerate opinions different than your own.

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Most of the Universe (and this Solar System) is just barren rocks, I doubt Humans will hurt them all that much.  

 

I vote for the spread of Humans over the continued lifelessness of rocks x a trillion trillion.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Haijinx said:

Most of the Universe (and this Solar System) is just barren rocks

 

They might not be barren.  Try to impregnate one and tell us what happens.

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Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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3 minutes ago, Luminara said:

Try to impregnate one and tell us what happens.

 

A former cop and the mental imprint of a young woman steer the rock into Venus.

"... And I'd kill to get away; I'd die to make my own way.  And I'd lose to celebrate;  I'd win to see the good days.  And I'll never stop the fighting, so bring to me your worst.

I'll never stop believing that I could rule the world one day ..."

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15 minutes ago, Haijinx said:

Guess that will depend on the future extra-terrestrial phosphorus industry.

 

That's not the burning sensation you'd be able to cure with penicillin.  😱

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5 hours ago, Luminara said:

 

That's not the burning sensation you'd be able to cure with penicillin.  😱

Look, not all explorers try to impregnate everything. He's not Kirk, y'know. 

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I mean that is kind of what we want though.  To turn all the lifeless places green.  Or at least enough of them for our decendants.  

 

Whether that is terraforming, semi-terraforming, or the eventual construction of billions of O'Neil cylinders who can say? Perhaps all three.  

 

 

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TBH, I'd rather we didn't turn the one green place have lifeless to start with. 

 

Terraforming seems more practical than Dyson Shells or cylinders, or even large scale space stations, since you don't have to move millions of tons of mass into orbit (or, if you have fancy-schmancy energy-based replicator tech, spend power generating it.) 

 

But we might not need to. There are some very Earthlike planets starting to crop up now... if we can figure out how to take a trip out there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRAPPIST-1e

WAKE UP YA MISCREANTS AND MEDIOCRITIES!

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2 hours ago, ThaOGDreamWeaver said:

TBH, I'd rather we didn't turn the one green place have lifeless to start with. 

 

Terraforming seems more practical than Dyson Shells or cylinders, or even large scale space stations, since you don't have to move millions of tons of mass into orbit (or, if you have fancy-schmancy energy-based replicator tech, spend power generating it.) 

 

But we might not need to. There are some very Earthlike planets starting to crop up now... if we can figure out how to take a trip out there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRAPPIST-1e

 

The opposite probably.  Since to Terraform you need to move trillions of tons of water from the Kaiper belt.  

 

But you'd get most(all) of the mass for Space habitats from outside of Earth's gravity well.

 

 

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Still gonna argue for a moon rather than free building. Because while the raw mass is out there, it needs refining into steel, cables, chips - and you have to expend fuel to go fetch it. Plus playing pool with asteroids and comets isn't easy - bosmang kapawu of a 'roid hunter seems simultaneously the dullest and most dangerous beltalowda gig I can think of.

 

At least if you find a nice moon with a polar water supply (and potentially subterranean liquid lakes or oceans on the actual Moon), relatively stable geology, sources of power and light (the Moon has a liquid mantle, which could be accessible by drilling as little as 5km down - that's your uninterruptible power source right there), and which isn't regularly bathed by Spock-frying levels of radiation (sorry, Arthur C, Europa's not on the menu)...

 

...then you have a whole bunch of raw material in one place that you don't have to expend time and fuel to go fetch, room to spread out, and the convenience of gravity without a hefty gravity well.

 

Oh, and apologies to Elon, but Mars is for suckers. At least if you want to wake up with the same number of arms in the morning, though they'll be useful for sweeping layers of corrosive dust off your solar panels.

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I like the moon too.  Its HUGE, its only 2 light seconds from earth and 4 days travel by rocket.  Perhaps 2 weeks by a Hohman cycler.  

 

It gets a lot more solar energy than Mars and its probably a lot easy to grow food in greenhouses there.  

 

You can send payloads off the moon using a glorified electric train set with a ramp at the end.  

 

But Isaac Arthur and those guys really think the Oneil cylinder is the way to go.  

 

But all those problems will be solved before you get to Interstellar Travel being an actual problem.   The Solar System will probably have more inhabitants than the Federation from Star Trek before we would even need to go to the star next door.   

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Haijinx said:

But Isaac Arthur and those guys really think the Oneil cylinder is the way to go.

Yeah, and in the long run he's probably right, but he's not talking about 2030. He's talking about 3030.

 

If we're talking about 2030 then we should be talking about the moon not an Oneil cylinder. If you're talking about 3030 then I'm out. I won't be around then.

 

And yeah, F Mars. It sounds neat, but the low gravity would be catastrophic for humans living there.

Men get arrested, Skulls get put down!

 

Being constantly offended doesn't mean you're right, it means you're too narcissistic to tolerate opinions different than your own.

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2 hours ago, PeregrineFalcon said:

Yeah, and in the long run he's probably right, but he's not talking about 2030. He's talking about 3030.

 

If we're talking about 2030 then we should be talking about the moon not an Oneil cylinder. If you're talking about 3030 then I'm out. I won't be around then.

 

And yeah, F Mars. It sounds neat, but the low gravity would be catastrophic for humans living there.

 

The gravity can be solved with spinning habitats even on moons and planets.  

 

At zero gravity a cylinder or a torus.  At partial gravity the torus is partly flattened.   

 

Of course humans may adapt to some reduced gravity.  Or they can be engineered for it.

 

Still I dont think even 2030 is realistic.  As a species we seem to currently lack the vision to leave our scarcity driven economies.  Eventually though we should get over the "here be dragons" mindset.

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While it would take generations to fully adapt to low gravity physically - again, The Expanse has a slightly realistic view of how prospective Martians and Belters would struggle under Earth-weight - training regimens, supplements and such keep existing space station inhabitants pretty healthy, and gravity flywheels have been a feature of SF for years. Scott and Mark Kelly were followed for a year, and showed few differences with one being in space and the other on Earth...

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-s-twins-study-results-published-in-science/

...except for the telomeres (a DNA strand's protective "handles" - could be gravity, could be radiation?) and their digestion and arteries, which is likely a result of the food. Space food isn't nearly as bad as it used to be, but it's still specialised, and - like airline food - wildly overseasoned to cope with how lower pressures affect your tastebuds.

 

So gravity we can adapt to. Radiation is always going to be a problem. The reason I don't wanna party on Mars is the place has no atmosphere: the magnetosphere isn't strong enough to stop it being stripped by solar wind, which also lets a whole mess of icky sticky nasty cosmic particles down to the surface that would normally bounce off prettily.

 

For comparison:

  • Our lovely home of Earth (that we should cherish and please stop ripping apart for dead dino farts and liquid tree remains) allows you ~2.4 microSieverts (mSv) a year.
    Easily tolerable. Moreso if you're a mad Californian: less if you're pale, interesting and Scottish like me, and take two weeks of careful tanning to turn white.
  • Mars: make that ~240 mSv a year. Big damn suntan. Survivable, but you'd want to minimise it, and it'd start playing merry hob with sensitive electronics.
  • The ISS: varies. Low end that's been recorded for a six-month tour was 50, high end - if you got caught on the edge of a flare - over 2,000. Even with care and shielding that starts active damage to soft tissues like corneas.
  • The Moon varies between 110 and 380 mSV a year. So if you've seen lots of big, heavy, igloo-like structures and underground chambers on the Moon in classic 60s/70s sci-fi, they had the right idea.

The other problem with the Moon and Mars is a little more prosaic: dust.

I have problems dusting at the best of times, but it's never tried to eat its way through my clothing, my windows or walls. When I've worked... abroad, shall we say, there's a reason schmancy lasers and laptops don't have a place in extreme environments like deserts - sand gets everywhere - everywhere, trust me. The Apollo suits that went to the Moon are scarred and tattered from simply a few days exposure to the constant grinding of ultrafine silicate particles. But just when you're moving around. It doesn't come after you.

 

Now accelerate that dust to 70mph+ in dust storms that last for months, and you've got the Martian problem. Any equipment out in that is going to get sandblasted.

 

To follow up on Haijinx's post: I'm not being a negative Nelly or misanthropic McCoy about all this. It's all solvable.
But, with my practical head on - solve the easier stuff first.

Preferably starting with the politics and funding...

[blink]

...okay, I'll get to work on the energy shielding and matter-antimatter generation. Now where can I get some Dilithium and a couple of hydrospanners at this hour...

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I've heard before that we could use water as a solar radiation barrier, but IDK how practical that'd be.

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The reality is, we won't be flying around the galaxy in the Enterprise, we'll be going in hollowed out asteroids.

 

Our first generation or two of space dwellers will live in the Moon.  The Moon has much of what we'll need for our Solar System ships, things like titanium, silicon, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, things we don't want to rapidly deplete on our home planet by shooting them into space because it would be burning our bridge before crossing it.  We'd never make enough ships, or ships large enough, to transport the entire population, but we would be forced to, essentially, strip-mine most of the Earth for ship-building resources.  Acquiring those resources from the Moon is a much more attractive option, as it ensures the continuity of Earth, the quality of life for the people still on it and allows us to start at a convenient planetary body with lower gravity (thereby reducing associated costs).

 

Those Moon dwellers will spend their lives in subterranean complexes.  We're going to have to dig for some of the things we need.  Copper.  Silver.  Zinc.  Lithium.  Things desirable for electrical cabling and wiring, solar panels and batteries.  If we don't have power, we're not going anywhere, so we'll be digging.  And since we're digging, we might as well live in the tunnels we dug.  There wouldn't be any regolith in them.  The mass surrounding our miners would be more than sufficient to block all forms of ionizing radiation.  We can seal the surface-connecting sections of the complex with airlocks, fill the tunnels with breathable air, light and heat, and barring impact events, we're unlikely to experience any geological instability.  If something did happen to crack one of our tunnels, we'd have tons upon tons of tailings and slag to seal it up.

 

With an underground complex, we could also address the question of growing things.  And we will need to grow things, to keep our air breathable without relying on chemical processes or machinery; as well as the food we'll require; and we can turn the excess into useable and necessary products, such as plastics to insulate those cables and wires we'll be making.  Plants won't grow on the surface if they're bombarded by UV, and a dome thick enough to filter out UV would also refract and distort any sunlight passing through, so we're not going to see much success doing it that way.  Underground, we can provide them with grow lights, just like we do here on Earth, and they'll be much better protected in our warm, dry environment under the surface.  Those grow lights will be good for us, too, helping alleviate the claustrophobia of subterranean dwelling.

 

We'll still have to deal with the low gravity, but we'll adapt or create solutions (creating artificial gravity via Higgs field manipulation, for instance, when we learn how to do that).  And then, we'll move on to Mars.  Not because we really want a Martian colony, or because it will be an economically feasible next step, but to prove that what we learned in the Moon is applicable elsewhere.  We'll build another factory/colony underground on Mars, verify that we know what we're doing and then, then we can start looking at other stars as destinations.  By that point, we will have developed sufficient skill and knowledge in the fields of mining and tunnel construction in space, and as cool as it would be to build giant starships, we'll take the practical route of hollowing out asteroids.  We'll extract useful minerals and elements, create our living and operations areas on the go and supply ourselves with all of the repair material necessary, all in a single stroke, and then fit engines onto our self-sufficient, self-contained, radiation-proof flying rocks and cruise off into space.

 

Sure, the rest of the intelligent life in the galaxy might look at us as space hoboes, but we're not going to space to impress them, we're going because we're explorers and adventurers, and arriving alive is more important than arriving in style, dead.

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I remember reading that someone had "proven" Warp Drive was theoretically possible within the Laws of Physics...

 

but that the solution required negative mass.

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There are some who think we will settle all the way out to the Oort cloud.  Living in comets and icy bodies. 

 

Then some adventurous souls will hop from our Oort Cloud to that of our nearest Neighbors.  Since the Oort cloud extends nearly half the way to the nearest star it becomes a much more plausible trip. 

 

=====

I think what people have trouble with is timescales.  They want to think of something happening in the next 30 years, or next 100 years, etc.  But that isn't based on anything except Space Opera.  It took around 80,000 years for modern Humans to comepletely migrate around this planet.  It may easily take another 80,000 to settle this Solar System.  It may take 800,000 to settle the nearest stars.  

 

Assuming it ever happens.  Based on current availible evidence no species in this galaxy has accomplished this yet.  At least not in the observable time/distance window.  So we would possibly be the first as long as we evade extinction.  

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7 hours ago, Haijinx said:

 

I personaly think Faster Than Light is one of those things that is thrown out there that discourages Space Development rather than encourages it.   "We can't go to other Earth Like Planets yet so we may as well wait."  

 

 

A light year is ~5,880,000,000,000 miles, and the closest star (Proxima Centauri) is more than four times that distance from Earth.  Using nearly light-speed travel, it would still take almost 4.5 years to reach it.

 

But we can't even do that, yet.  We could pack a few very young people into a ship, point them in the right direction and send them off, but they'd die of old age centuries before the ship reached that star.  We simply can't fly fast enough to make the journey in a reasonable time.  The Voyager 1 probe has been in continuous flight since September 5, 1977, is the most distant human-made object, and the fastest object we've sent out, and it only recently passed the heliopause boundary (the point at which pressure from the Sun's solar winds is too low to push back interstellar gases).  After ~45 years, it's still only about ~13,000,000,000 miles away from us, roughly 0.00225% of one light year's distance.

 

We can't do it with what we have now.  We just can't.

 

There are only three realistic possibilities for space exploration outside of our Solar System.  Light-speed/FTL travel, sleeper ships and generation ships.

 

The laws of physics won't permit us to travel at the speed of light, so we're investigating ways to sidestep those laws, such as the Alcubierre drive.  If we can prove the existence of the Higgs field and understand how it functions, we might develop a method of altering it to increase or reduce mass, which could also lead to light-speed or FTL ships.

 

Sleeper ships are out of our reach, for now, because we just don't know how to make that idea work.  How, exactly, do we make people go to sleep for several centuries, then wake them up, and not subject them to extreme aging throughout the process?  Right now, we can't.  There are some animals which undergo various forms of hibernation, and others which can survive sub-freezing temperatures without experiencing organ and tissue damage, but we don't understand how to adapt those to human bodies yet.

 

Generation ships offer the highest probability of success with the currently available technology, but they're not economically feasible (the expense of sending trillions of tons of mass into space would be greater than the combined GDP of all of the nations in the world), nor would they be environmentally viable (refer to my previous post, regarding the strip-mining of the planet).

 

Even confining our exploration to within the Solar System, we're looking at having people in ships for years.  Years.  Plural.  Sure, we can reach the moon in about 4 days, but beyond that, we're looking at long journeys.  Mars, the next closest body of interest, would be around 18 months round-trip, minimum, and that's not including the time spent in orbit or on the surface, doing what we went there to do (just going, then turning around and returning would be an enormous waste of resources).  That's a very long time to be in space, bombarded with ionizing radiation, living off of pre-packaged food, recycling water and air, enduring low or no gravity, etc., after having been blown into space by riding a column of explosives (which you hope won't simply detonate en masse during launch).  Every time we launch people into space, we have to (try to) conceive of every possible situation and account for it, and what we've learned from our limited experience is that we just can't foresee everything.  No-one had even imagined the Apollo 13 situation, for instance.  There was no strategy for dealing with the explosion of the oxygen tank, for the carbon monoxide build-up in the LEM, for the re-entry startup sequence with dead fuel cells on the CM...  What do we do if there's a situation when the ship is 11 months away from a return to Earth?  If someone has to perform an emergency procedure and requires communication with ground control, they're going to be dealing with communication delays of several minutes, so they won't be able to rely on ground control to assist them.

 

We can plan for a wide range of situations, but we can't plan for everything, nor can we send everything to deal with every potential scenario.  And we've lost enough brave men and women to haste and poor planning.  Sending people into space just to die won't be of much use.  Corpses are terrible explorers.  They can't record observations.  They can't perform experiments.  They can't collect samples.  All we can learn from corpses is what we did wrong.  So we're taking it slowly.  We're crawling, because we fell down, got our boo-boos and learned that we're not good at walking yet.  We're not walking on Mars yet because we can't provide a reasonable assurance that the people we send will still be alive when they reach Mars, or when (if) they return.

 

There are also places where we simply cannot send humans.  Not because of the distance, the time it would take to go there, but because they're so hostile to us that they're impossible to explore in person.  The temperatures and pressures of the Venusian and Jovian atmospheres, along with other considerations, such as the composition of Venus' atmosphere and Jupiter's radiation belts, take them off of the list of candidates for human exploration.  Probes are the only way we can explore many places in the Solar System.

 

It was only (relatively) recently that we learned there are living organisms which can thrive in conditions previously thought to be inimical to all life.  Entire ecosystems living around black smokers on the ocean floor, utterly independent from photosynthesis!  Extremophile bacteria living in salt, and rock, and acids and alkalis, even exposure to gamma, X-ray and UV radiation which should kill them, environments which we can't survive without protective equipment!  Even without leaving this planet, we're discovering relevant, important information which will aid us in future space endeavors.  Exogeology, exobiology, applications of particle physics and quantum theory to space exploration, fusion power... in the last 50 years, research fields have been created and developed due primarily or exclusively to interest in space exploration, areas of critical importance to our future in space.  Our fascination with space never waned, it grew, but what we learned in the second half of the 20th century taught us that we need to learn more, and in more diverse fields, to build a better scientific platform on which to engineer our space programs.

 

We haven't stopped trying.  Every nation capable of putting a probe into space has done so, and continues to do so, and the nations without space programs are working toward building them.  We have cooperative programs between nations, building and launching probes and sharing data.  China wants to send people back to the Moon before this decade ends.  NASA's Artemis program, which is a combined effort from several nations' space agencies, is still funded and progressing toward a return to the Moon by 2025.  Despite all of the obstacles thrown into our path by governments run by bureaucrats and politicians, the wars, the uneasy tensions between various nations, the secrecy inherent in patents and state interests, the dreamers and thinkers are still pushing forward with human space exploration.  Including us, the ordinary, average citizens of the world, who won't stop asking, "When?", who can't stop looking up at the sky and feeling that breathless anticipation, who haven't stopped dreaming of the wonders awaiting us in space.

 

We haven't given up.  We're not waiting, we're limited to making do with what's available.  Every probe we send into space, to Mars, to the Moon, to a comet, to an asteroid, to Pluto, every mission helps us, even if they're not as exciting as building a Moon base or colonizing Mars.  Every time we discover something new about this planet, it gives some knowledge we can apply to other celestial bodies.  Every experiment in particle physics, quantum theory, fusion technology, nuclear isotopes, chemistry, biology, metallurgy and other sciences bring us a little closer to the stars.  We're learning more about the Solar System, we're testing different propulsion methods, we're confirming hypotheses, we're discovering things we didn't know, we're conducting experiments, we're learning and growing and developing a better global space program, one which will take us into the galaxy, some day.  We're much closer than we were 50 years ago, and advancing constantly.  We will get there, in due time.

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3 hours ago, Luminara said:

There are only three realistic possibilities for space exploration outside of our Solar System.  Light-speed/FTL travel, sleeper ships and generation ships.

 

This is the root of the problem I was describing I think.  I wonder if its a case of looking out over the horizon instead of doing the work that is already in sight.  

 

The idea of near term Mars settlements seem to be the same, just on a lesser scale. 

 

We have the technology now to start Resource Utilization in Space, but I think we find that boring.  Even though that is what it really would take to migrate off Earth.  

 

For example.  Lets say we wanted a Mars Colony.  What we want to do is launch a bunch of rockets from the Earth's surface and travel there.  That's stupid.  We should be launching rockets from the Moon to get to Mars.  Same goes for a manned Mars mission really.  The SpaceX plan is almost ridiculous.  Mars Direct only slightly less so.  But at least Zubrin has done some homework.  

 

Interstellar travel is basically the same thing.  Once you have developed the Solar System it is a lot easier to get to the next Star System.  Or you know we can hope for Magitech Warp Drives.  

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55 minutes ago, Haijinx said:

This is the root of the problem I was describing I think.  I wonder if its a case of looking out over the horizon instead of doing the work that is already in sight.

 

Essentially, yes.  Everyone associated with space exploration realizes that it's a matter of taking it one step at a time.  A former NASA administrator once stated that going to Mars meant going back to the Moon, and going back to the Moon meant privatizing low Earth orbit.  But that's not what politicians and mass media can sell to the public, because it's not sexy, and it's not what the public wants to hear, because it's not sci-fi.  That's what people want.  The Enterprise.  The Millennium Falcon.  Battlestar Galactica.  The Apollo LEMs weren't sexy, they weren't sci-fi, they weren't sleek.  They were effective, but not "cool" (except to nerds (me!  me!)).  So there are always the problems of funding, waxing and waning public interest and convincing capitalist corporations to participate.

 

The Challenger and Colombia losses exacerbated the problems, as did the cost overruns and overly long construction of the ISS.  The Hubble telescope has done a lot to grab public attention, but it's also frustrated a lot of people.  They see those glorious images and want to go there in person, right now, not eventually, not in a slow rocket, but in their personal space yachts or on space cruise liners.

 

So yeah, it's a horizon problem.  I believe the Artemis program and the Chinese Moon landing program will bring our attention back to what's in front of us, though.  It won't be jaunting around in the Horsehead Nebula in a brainship, but it will be a nibble at what's to come, and the billions of us who were born just a little too late to watch the Apollo missions on television are starving for that.  Sexy or not, being able to watch people land on the Moon, seeing people go back, witnessing the construction of the first Moon base... that will grab attention.

 

I'm all tingly now, just thinking about it.

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20 hours ago, Haijinx said:

Assuming it ever happens.  Based on current availible evidence no species in this galaxy has accomplished this yet.  At least not in the observable time/distance window. 

 

I've always thought the Fermi Paradox skipped the point that the universe is very old, and that our entire civilisation has evolved in the blink of its eye. So regardless of where a civilisation arises or whether they achieve FTL, they have to exist in the same time period we do for us to make contact. We could be walking on the scattered bones of long-dead alien explorers and never know. Hawking held a "Welcome Time Travellers" party with free booze, and nobody showed, though I think this was just a way of getting the faculty to pay for his bar tab.

 

There's also the possibility that they've already been here looking for intelligent life, stopped by for a quick chat with the whales and then wandered off.

WAKE UP YA MISCREANTS AND MEDIOCRITIES!

Look out for me as: Miss Dream Weaver (Corr-Psi/Emp), Ranger Emily (Blaster-AR/Dev/Mun), Dr Amy Weaver MD (Corr-DP/Emp/Power), Dr Regan Sprungler (Sentinel-Beam/Ninja), Agatha Heterodyne (MM-Robots/Devices), Powerstar Gold (Blapper-Energy/Energy/Elec/Chaos/Puns), HarveyTWonderhamster (Tank-Rad/Titan) Elsa Van Arendelle (Domi-Ice/Ice/Showtunes)

 

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