Tuesday , January 26 2021

The interstellar arch – "human savior" problems

"The planet is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live forever in the cradle," Konstantin Ciolkovsky wrote at the beginning of the 20th century. Now, scientists are increasingly saying that people will have to turn late or leave the Earth and go in search of new homes.

© Joe Bergeson
© Joe Bergeson

Don't sleep!

In science fiction books, crews of an interstellar spacecraft are usually in anabolic condition during the journey. Convenient: a long journey goes straight away. However, when looking at the more realistic situation, there are problems. What will happen to a spacecraft during the flight year? Will it be able to repair itself and, if necessary, rebuild whether security systems will be able to consider all risk factors and avoid obstacles? And what will happen if anabolic equipment fails passengers, as in the movie Travelers, whose heroes began to wake up 90 years earlier than expected? How will invaluable scientific data be given to humanity if experiments are left during their journey and only sleep?

Similar issues may have forced people to think about traveling over the verge without having to sleep. One can use the "shift mode": say a few astronauts wake up each year and watch a spaceship. A year later they are replaced by others. And if the humanity will not find a way to cause deep sleep – anabolic – before the start of the journey? After all, only the earliest experiments are happening so far.

Discussions of this kind have led to "generation ships" projects. It's much slower than the speed of light on the interstellar spacecraft. A ship of such a fly should fly for thousands of years. During this time, the colonists will grow old and die, descendants will live in their places – and this scenario will be followed until they reach the destination.

One of the most famous generations of spacecraft projects was based on Orion. This explosion (a nuclear stimulus ship) was created in the mid-20th century in the United States. It had to be accelerated by nuclear explosions near the end of the spacecraft. Some explosive products hit the tail of the spacecraft, where the huge plate absorbs the effect energy and passes it through the shock absorber. The Orion Starship Energy Limited project scope is impressive: the spacecraft has a diameter of 20 kilometers. According to the developers, until the nearest star system Centauri Alpha, a ship of this kind would be taken in 1330 years. Basically, a small space city would be a spacecraft. However, NASA chose cheaper projects and the ship Orion continued in theory.

But if everything were different, could we send the first settlers to the space now? Unfortunately, no. The Concept of the Ship Generation solves many flight problems in the theoretical long space – and creates new ones. Let's look at the difficulties that generations of generations can face and what to keep in mind when traveling to distant stars.

Staration Energy Limited Orion © NASA
Staration Energy Limited Orion © NASA

Where to fly?

Space colonization advocates can be divided into two groups: Mars creation plans, and they are convinced that the new Earth can only be found alongside other stars. Exoplanet researchers confirm that it is possible to find life bodies suitable for life outside the Solar System, although this is not easy.

To make the move successful, it is important that the planet is as close to the Earth as possible. Low water and liquid water is needed. The star that the planet rotates must be as quiet as possible – the frequent and intense flashes of the star cause severe temperature spikes. The flow of particles emitted by an electron from a star can damage the atmosphere of the planet, and in the long term, gaseous vagina and total blow. The sun system seems to have happened to Mercury.

The area around the star, the existence of liquid water, is called a life zone. This is a kind of "average latitude" of the planet system. Here, the planets are far from the star, getting enough energy to keep the water falling. However, they are not too close to where the water can evaporate. According to a fairy tale about a girl of three bears at home, this space is called "The Golden Wing Zone". Although there was no beast at home, he decided to die a little and tested the three beds at home: one bed – too hard, the other – too soft, and the third only. You seem to have to look at all the planets and choose the right one. Unfortunately, not every planet in the life zone is suitable for us: they may contain liquid water, but all other conditions for the Earth can be completely inappropriate.

In the summer of 2016, astrophysicists from the European Southern Observatory announced the discovery of the nearest extrapolation on Earth. It turns around Centauri Proxima, the star closest to the Solar System, and is now called Centauri Proxima b. According to scientists, she flies in her luminous area and can contain liquid water. No known climate model contradicts this. But Proxima Centauri b is called a new home early. It 's much closer to its star than the Earth of the Sun, and neighborhood effects of such can be unpredictable.

In early 2017, seven exoplanets were found rotating around the red dwarf TRAPPIST-1 in the Aquarius precedent. The size of all planets is similar to Earth. Hypothetically, liquid water can exist on all seven planets, but it is probably on the planets of TRAPPIST-1e, f, and g. Astrophysicists believe that new telescopes, in Chile, have started to build a European Large Telescope in 2014 – they will be able to accurately show if these planets have water.

Most importantly, even the closest exoplanet is very far away. Until its 4.24 light years – the current cosmic plane would fly for tens of thousands of years, and the planet TRAPPIST-1 – ten times more. Technologies are evolving, but space distances seem unlimited. As a result, projects such as generations of spacecraft are reconsidered over and over again.

Machinery of the future

But maybe it would be possible to overcome those distances faster? It is clear that the possibilities of the existing space equipment are not good, but there is a constant search for new roads. One of the most striking projects is the sun sails (photon). They use light pressure on the surface of the mirror. In the solar system, mood can use sunlight, and such technology already exists. In 2010, Japan launched the IKAROS machine. Intertidal Kite Craft Accelerated by Radiation from the Sun). She has a square fun of 14 meters, which includes four petals. They have solar cells. IKAROS had to reveal the sun sails and push them to push. With this task, the machine worked perfectly.

However, the wind pressure in the Sun is relatively low, so you will have to look for other sources to get out of our system. There are projects that cut laser devices of this type. Solar sails have undeniable benefits: they do not need to be stimulated and the spacecraft driven by them can be quite light. However, there is not enough resource for launching an interstellar yacht for humanity. You'll need powerful and accurate lasers or you'll have to look for a different solution to this problem.

Another promising engine is ionic. His working body is an ionized inert gas (argon, xenon) or mercury. The ionizing material of an electric field can be accelerated to a very high speed. The system "pulls" positive ions out of the material and throws it into the space, creating a jet push. Ionic machines used at Hayabusa (in 2010, it brought Itokawa soil asteroid samples) and Dawn (released in 2007 to Vest and Cerer) for probes.

An engine of this type achieves a relatively high stimulus and low fuel consumption. The disadvantage of modern ion machines is a very low push, so a motor of such would not be able to start from the Earth, and it would have to be built outside of our planet.

Another interesting concept is the interstellar Bussardo engine. A spacecraft with such a machine holds interstellar material (mainly hydrogen) with a powerful "thumper" of a powerful magnetic field. The diameter should have thousands or even tens of thousands of kilometers in diameter. The hydrogen collected is used in a thermonuclear rocket motor. This will make the ship independent of the fuel being transported.

Unfortunately, this engine also has a number of technical constraints. Its maximum speed would not be very high, as each hydrogen atom caught reduces the boat's stimulus and can only be compensated by low speed (~ 0.1 c). To avoid this restriction, maximum use should be made of atoms holdings.

Spacecraft Association

How many people could enter an interstellar expedition? Expert evaluations vary greatly, despite the fact that most of them have been optimistic about hundreds of trips, not thousands of years. John Moore, an anthropologist at the University of Florida in 2002, assumed a stable population of 200 years would be enough for a small village population of around 160 people. Strict “social engineering”, as it would not be needed in anti-utopias, would mean our usual family on a space colony basis. Everyone would have about 10 suitable partners for a wedding.

Even nowadays, when the choice seems endless, most people do not have long-term partners. However, in small populations such as this there is a risk of decline in genetic diversity. It can reduce and gradually and unexpectedly – for example, if a dangerous infection, the journey would face a "bottle effect neck" when the population suddenly falls and then improves it easily t . Genofondo is poor and affects the descendants of the disaster survivors. In the animal world, this effect has affected the genetic diversity of cheetahs – it is thought that only a few individuals once lived. The species has come to prominence on the brink of extinction, there are now around 7,000 individuals in wildlife all over the world. Because of their long cohesive cross, they are less resistant to disease, and in the wild, most young people die in the first year.

Another threat to the colonists is the "fundamental effect". It arises when a small number of species occupy a new territory. They don't keep the gene pool of the whole population, and they can also face the problem of genetic decline.

Cameron Smith's Anthropologist from Portland State University was calculated in 2013 that would need tens of thousands to deal with these problems during a 150 year journey. It estimates that there is a stable population of around 40,000 people, of which at least 23,500 are fertile. Anyway, the colony may be smaller if it has a large embryo bank.

Space in the basement, space in the desert

Of course, all these questions will remain at the level of theoretical considerations for a long time. With existing technology, sending people to nearby star systems will fail, and will continue for a long time. However, there is promising research that can bring the cosmic future closer to has been happening for decades.

One of the most famous experiments of this type is the creation of closed ecosystems. Generations of spacecraft passengers will spend thousands of years in it, so the colony has to be fully equipped: no support can be expected. Such experience will be useful for creating a new planet. Closed systems development projects began in the 1970s, soon after the man had landed on the moon.

The Soviet Union built the BIOS-3 in 1965-1972. In the basement of the Institute of Biophysics Krasnoyarsk, scientists have installed a 14 × 9 × 2.5m airtight space and ~ 315m³ to share our four sections. The cabin and equipment of the crew had only one of them, with the rest of the chamber-phytotron plants and the ability of the algae. Species special, such as a variety of dwarf wheat specially developed with a short stem. BIOS-3 performed 10 experiments, the longest lasting 180 days. Participants successfully created a closed gas and water use system. They provided 80% of the food.

In the early 1990s, perhaps the most famous closed circuit design experiment was Biosfera-2. In Arizona, a complex of several buildings and a conservatory was built at 1.5ha. Several natural areas were modeled inside: tropical forests, savanna, mangroves, and even ocean. There were about 3,000 plant and animal species living in the Biosphere-2. The project team consisted of eight people, equally male and female. They supervised the water and air circulation technique, farmed and performed various tests.

The first phase of the trial lasted two years. During the year, colonists managed to reconcile the growth of products: in the first few months people felt hungry through the time. They then adapted to the new diet and many of the participants had better health outcomes after the experiment, such as lowering blood pressure. The biggest problem has been the reduction in oxygen levels. Jane Pointer, taking part in the project, recalls:

The level of oxygen is thought to have started to decrease as the Biosphere-2 microorganisms multiply more than expected. It happened the same as insects. It was not possible to eradicate them by poison: it could have damaged the balance of the artificial biosphere. Finally, the project organizers had to make the data forgery: the missing oxygen was injected into the system. When the fraud came out, the participants of the experiment were criticized. However, the level of oxygen continued to fall, despite gas supplies from the outside, so only the first two years after the start, the first phase of the project came to an end. It was acknowledged that the experiment had failed. However, the value of such experiments should not be underestimated. First of all, they reveal a large number of calculations of "submerged stones, helping to create more realistic models.

Secondly, these projects are a reminder of the fact that colonization is not just enough for powerful machinery. For those who never want to go to other planets, humanity will need a wide range of knowledge and skills.

Rebellion on board?

The millennium tour still highlights many challenges. Some of the problems are associated with the environment, such as the harmful effects of cosmic radiation. It can promote the development of cancer, damage the bone marrow, the immune system. That is why, when it comes to traveling in space, it is necessary to defend yourself. You will need many parameters to predict the radiation environment forecasting system. The main task is to determine the level of harm to health and to monitor the balance. The settlers will inevitably have to take risks, and to the spacecraft builders, think about how to accommodate security elements on a space ship without sacrificing useful cargo.

What is strange, however, is that moral and ethical difficulties do not pose less danger. People who have dedicated themselves to the space, are convinced that they need to settle on other planets. But will their descendants be able to maintain such faith and will they want it? And what if the "intermediate" times are represented by being locked in a high-tech space prison? Ethics will have to find solutions, otherwise you will not be able to avoid problems.

The results are unpredictable: from pessimism and indifference to open conflict. In a confined space, misunderstandings between parents and children, or ideological disputes, would be disastrous. This is confirmed by the history of the same Biosphere-2. When it became apparent that the level of oxygen was inevitably falling, the experimenters split into two groups. Some wanted to get out of the Biosphere immediately, while others wanted to complete the project at any cost. The conflict is said to be so hard that many former participants of the experiment are still not talking. And they spent two years in a closed system!

So, so far, the humanity is at the beginning of the way to the stars. Much research will still be done to create viable self-contained space colonies and reliable interstellar space shipping projects.


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