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Author Topic: Sci-fi getting complicated?  (Read 72 times)

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Online Spear80Topic starter

Sci-fi getting complicated?
« on: May 20, 2018, 05:40:15 PM »
So i'm still on my sci-fi trip, reading watching, whatever i can get my hands on and something struck me the other day. Shit is getting complicated. Don't you agree?

In the old days of Sci-fi stories, you arrived on a planet, you could essentially pitch a tent near a watersource, check for anything of sufficient size to eat you within it, and you were golden. You could breath Martian and Venus air, one was colder than the other. Both potentially inhabited. (depending on the quality of the writing, by little green men or amazones) I think i recall stories where the Moon had air.

TV-shows like Star trek, did a lot of handwaving around the subject, most missions led to near earth worlds. (probably because of budget) With near human aliens living there, usually speaking accented english. Later ST shows introduced harsher worlds, but the air usually was breathable.

But then we started learning actuall stuff, and shit got real. Not every world is readymade for human life. Even in the potential habitable world zones imagined around certain stars. Keeping to Sol, Mars is cold and we can't breathe there. Venus is hot, and those vapors are not oxygen. You could probably put up domes and live there, more or less happily, just dont expect to take breath of fresh air outside of them.

So Authors/ eggheads came up with Terraforming, basically make a world livable by giving it breathable air, somehow.

Which would actually only be a start!. You'd have to introduce earthlike plantlife and the bugs that keep it alive. Pushing out the extra terrestial stuff, because that space lettuce, might fill the same niche in the realm of plantlife. But because a human didn't evolve eating it and doesn't have the ability to properly synthesize it into the nutrients we need, we could eat it all we want and still starve. Or end up unable to relief bodily waste. (for instance) So we have to bring our own ecosystem. And implement from the nutrients in the ground on up. Even on worlds with near Earth atmospheres

Gravity, we evolved in Earth gravity, i've read authors suggesting, that an increase, might make pregnancies more difficult, for mother and child.

Allergies, what if you find a perfectly earthlike world, you open your helmet, take a good breath, only to find out because it's not our pollen, we're allergic to it to the point of allergic shock. (this author was slightly better than a fanfic author, on a story writing site but what if?)

And that was just some of the ways shit got real, i haven't even started on how travelling between the stars was as easy as going from point A to B because of a special faster than light engine working very much like a rocket. But then FTL couldn't be a thing because of time dilation, time passing differently aboard the ship than on Earth, making a round trip, less feasable.

So authors/ brainiacs came up with warp-drive, jump-drive, hyperdrive, Slower than light drive, i probably missed more than a few. Some of these are point to point, others have actuall speeds or even speedlimits. Some are actually scientific theories, others not. All of them breaking the rules of theorized nature.

And then there is warfare, whether alien on human, or we continue to amuse ourselves by killing our own, in the older stories, we'd shoot lasers at each other, but weaponized lasers don't work as they were then portrayed, (pieuw pieuw) It apparently takes time for a laser to do damage and burn through. We'd throw nukes at each other like they were handgrenades, on the ground. Or as missile warheads in space. Then some authors came up with "bomb pumped lasers". (energie from the nuclear explosion goes through a lens zapping the target) They threw in shields. electronic countermeasures, point defense, kinetic bombardment, each and all adding its own level of complication to the story.


Don't get me wrong, it's not bad thing. I like it when an author takes, something the eggheads have come up with, and takes it just a little bit further. Gives it his or her own realism in his universe. And off course each and everything mentioned above, is pretty much still theory. Or can be argued being a theory only lasers are real thing, just not as imagined back in the day. And i do get a giggle about the (now) sillyness of those old stories.

Offline midnightblack

Re: Sci-fi getting complicated?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2018, 11:21:46 PM »
I think this could turn out into a very academic conversation.  ::)

Quote
Gravity, we evolved in Earth gravity, i've read authors suggesting, that an increase, might make pregnancies more difficult, for mother and child.

To my knowledge, the current huge problem here is actually a decrease in gravity. Spending a long of time in micro-gravity (as during space-travel) is extremely hazardous to the human body, as it leads to the breakdown of bone and muscular tissue. I've read recently on the possibility of micro-gravity implying that your brain floats around inside the skull and knocks against it as you drift around, especially in the area of the frontal lobe. This could potentially lead to you turning into a gibbering idiot as the flight goes on. The only currently conceivable way to try and go about it involves Einstein's equivalence principle. You need an acceleration to simulate Earth's gravity field, and one possible way to do that would imply a ring-like, rotating ship, as was shown in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, I think it's more likely we will resort to robots for exploring/harvesting the Solar System, at least for the short and mid-term future. 

Quote
But then FTL couldn't be a thing because of time dilation, time passing differently aboard the ship than on Earth, making a round trip, less feasable.

The culprit here isn't really time dilation. What time dilation implies is that moving clocks tick slower than stationary ones, and the effect is reciprocal (i.e. for an observer present in the space ship, the Earthbound clocks will tick behind). This is just a consequence of the velocity of light in vacuum being the same in all reference frames, which in itself is just a particular example of the laws of physics being invariant to your choice of observation point. The problem is that traveling from anywhere to anywhere, even in relativistic conditions, takes an unreasonable amount of time, and transporting human beings safely for that duration is an extremely complicated problem. You are talking about prolonged exposure to micro-gravity (already discussed), cosmic radiation that is so powerful it penetrates pretty much any kind of shielding save for some humongous water tanks or lead walls that would prohibit your ship from flying in the first place, a complex life support system (that can fail in so many ways), storing supplies and so on. The closest known star is about 50 light-years away, so good luck with sending a colony ship able to survive the hazards of the Cosmos for several generations. Meanwhile, Europe still faces difficulties in landing probes on Mars. <.<

Just a few years ago, relativity theory was extended beyond the speed of light in a very simple and straightforward way. Unfortunately, this extension has remained a mathematical gimmick with little physical weight. It looks pretty nice, but it doesn't present a way to be tested and furthermore suggests that the faster than light sector is actually off-limits if you are in the slower one, so it's pretty much a no-go theory. Meanwhile, boosting anything heavier than a uranium nucleus to relativistic velocities in the real world remains a far-out dream.

These and many other things have actually made me gradually lose interest in science fiction that involves space travel. It's an excruciating problem and there isn't really a believable way around it. And assuming that you somehow make it alive and well to the end of the journey and land in a habitable new world, there's literally so much stuff that could outright kill you on your first breath that it's hardly worth discussing seriously. The future of space-exploration will involve machines (or creepy cyborgs), and it begs the question if machines capable of colonizing new worlds located light-years away have any need for baggage in the form of curious, but ultimately flawed creatures. I'm afraid that as lofty an ideal as is reaching for the stars, grasping them would require one to relinquish humanity.

Offline wander

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Re: Sci-fi getting complicated?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2018, 02:36:37 AM »
War of the Worlds had the aliens die as they didn't develop our immune system against our bacteria like we did if you wanna add another one. ;)

Gravity's interesting, as atop of the ring build to spin and cause artificial gravity (spin too fast though and that'll wreck humans, so it has to be large and I believe off the top of my head and memory it's like 3rpm we can take), I know in realistic sizes, we could probably get a gravity the same as Luna. Bigger rings and top speeds brings better gravity.

Also, there's other Gs to consider, like thrust. Inertia and thrust actually. As a ship moves forward, Gs are created within the ship pushing toward the tail where the thrusters would be located. In take-off part of being an astronaut is being able to take higher Gs, like a fighter pilot can. So you need to deal with escape velocity Gs for the small amount of time before exiting Earth. Then we're talking about ship speed to go elsewhere, 1G is a fair speed in thrust, 9.81m/s2, though you'll wanna go faster to reach, like Mars, in a decent time. Also thrust takes up your fuel, which is why there's accel and deccel (lack of real traction in space means using half your fuel to deccelerate back down or the ship will just smash right into where you plan to go, it's basically hitting the brakes for as long as you accelerated at the start), space travel usually takes so long with us as we'd have a drift period where as we don't lose the speed accelerated due to lack of traction as mentioned, we can just stop and drift at the optimal speed for the majority of the journey, saving what little fuel the rocket has and then leaving the rest to deccelerate back to a stop (put more simply than manouvring the ship to land would be). Inertia I'll probably leave for a future post.

So yeah, the faster you get to light speed, the more time dilation happens, where as mentioned above, time in the ship moves slower than outside time. I think if you wanted to go interstellar, it'd be a one-way trip realistically and the astronauts would need psyche exams to realise if they did go back home, the people they know, the world they knew would have aged way further than them. Their children who were tiny upon leaving could well be elderly or more likely long dead when they return.

I read a manga years ago called 2001 Nights, it's a hard scifi and looks into the oddities of space travel that would actually happen. The one method used in the earlier chapters to reach and colonise another world was sending a ship out with ice at the front to protect it from acceleration and other hijinks space can give and it was filled with sperm and egg samples (as it was so far away that even with time dilation etc, you'd have to go generational ship, where the crew has kids to take over as the original crew aged and died. Genepools diluting due to small crews and tech limitations are another thing, so the sperm and egg solution makes sense). When the ship would reach it's destination, robotics would inseminate the eggs and teach the newborn colonists based on databases of Earth's history to create the new colony then shuttle them down to the world when all was ready to go down there.

Simplified a lot, though for sure will chat more on this, as this is my jam. ^___^

Oh, also last I checked, the nearest Earth-similar worlds to us were theorised to be orbiting Tau Ceti, which is 12 Light Years away. Proxima Centauri is 4 LY away, though it seems the planet thought we could jet to there is a lava world. Tau Ceti became the locale for my wander worlds setting based on that.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 02:38:56 AM by wander »

Online Sain

Re: Sci-fi getting complicated?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2018, 05:02:47 AM »
You should check out Isaac Arthur who does consultation for video games and other scifi projects to back up their science. He has some great informative videos about how things could work in the framework of our current understanding of the universe.

The modern "realistic" scifi might at parts lack the breath of fantasy that old space adventures had, but in a way I think it's still really awesome when there are authors who are ready to kick it up a notch and meticulously apply physics to everything. I think both are enjoyable in their own way ;D


Offline wander

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Re: Sci-fi getting complicated?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2018, 11:47:38 AM »
For sure, I adored the late '50s and '60s Green Lantern comics, I have a love for pulp every now and then. I actually was still reading Green Lantern until recently, only reason I dropped the series was money budgeting.

The Martian is a good scifi that is very hard and still really super interesting to watch. :)