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Yesterday's "reality and physics problem" is today's engineering problem. The Romans would have had no idea how to engineer a craft capable of escaping earth's gravity, travelling the distance between the earth and the moon, surviving the vacuum of space, landing on the surface of the moon, and returning its human occupants back to earth unharmed. They would have called travel to the moon impossible.

What's impossible for one generation of mankind, is often routine for the next.



It takes thousands of gallons of fuel per person to reach earth's orbit, but cheaper rocket fuels and reusable rockets are likely to bring the cost of escaping earth's gravity down by many times in the coming decades. Once in earth's orbit, advances in electric/plasma motors could make travel, even to the outer reaches of he solar system, routine.

There is ample fuel on mars. All you need is water (Mars has plenty of frozen water at and beneath its surface) and a little bit of solar generated electricity and wham...hydrogen and HHO fuel. With a little knowledge of chemistry, even more powerful fuels could be made from the resources found on mars.



This isn't true...you're probably thinking of the moon which can reach temperatures of 253 degrees F (123 C) during the lunar day, or drop to 243 F (minus 153 C) during the lunar night.

Mars never gets that hot. The warmest it ever gets is about 70 deg. F (at the equator during the summer). The coldest it gets (at the poles, during the martian winter) is about negative 100 deg F.

The Mars Curiosity Rover has revealed that the surface temps on Mars are much more mild than expected. The rover has been recording daytime temps in the 40's F...during the late martian winter.

http://www.space.com/17828-mars-weather-curiosity-rover-discovery.html

It's perfectly plausible to build lightweight habitats capable of sustaining human life on Mars.



This just isn't true. Modern, efficient agricultural practices combined with genetically engineered crops could absolutely be grown on Mars without much trouble.



We wouldn't have to travel at anywhere near the speed of light to reach the nearest star systems within a human lifetime. We already know there is a roughly earth sized planet orbiting within Proxima Centauri's habitable zone some 4.5 light years away.

At 1/5 the speed of light (a speed that many experts believe is achievable), it would only take 20ish years to get to Proxima B. There are many G, K, and M class stars within 15 light years of earth. If we can get to 1/5 the speed of light, these star systems are all within the realm of possibility for human settlement.



The human species is, indeed, getting dumber (devolving as you call it) as a whole. This phenomenon is observed among all domesticated species.

Some segments of the population, however, ARE getting smarter. College educated women are causing a selection event within the upper 10% of human beings. Smart, college educated women are marrying smart, hyper-educated men (studies show college educated women would rather stay single than marry men who are not college educated). The average IQ's of these offspring are 20 to 30 points above average. The children of college educated women are, indeed, significantly smarter than the offspring of the working class. This has been happening since the 1960's. This demographic is rapidly becoming the intellectual powerhouse of the free world.

Also, given the sheer number of humans on earth today, there will always be more than enough individuals within the "smart fraction" to drive technological advancement indefinitely.
You need materials and atmosphere, and the right gravity and temperature/light cycles to make it work. And that's just the easy part.

You will never see a fuel source you can fit in your pocket for propulsion so no amount of fusion fantasys will work. You need matter to throw.

And one 1/5 of light is a nice one too. It's all easily imagined if you wave your hands in front of a rapt sci-fi audience and gaze skyward. Just what happens if you pass through a dust cloud at that speed?
 

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You need materials and atmosphere, and the right gravity and temperature/light cycles to make it work. And that's just the easy part.
There are materials (water, perchlorates, C02, hematite, etc)...and atmosphere on Mars (it's just much less dense than earth's atmosphere).

You will never see a fuel source you can fit in your pocket for propulsion so no amount of fusion fantasys (fantasies?) will work. You need matter to throw.
Obviously, there has to be a reaction mass, even for "electrically" powered spacecraft. I never said we would see a fuel source we could "fit in our pockets". That said, electric (ion, plasma, electrothermal, etc.) propoulsion methods use much less propellant than chemical rockets because they are capable of much, much higher exhaust speeds. They're many times more efficient than chemical fuels, and more than capable propelling a spacecraft to Mars, or anywhere else we want to go within our own solar system.

Fusion engines aren't a fantasy. The physics behind them are well established.

http://www.space.com/23084-mars-exploration-nuclear-fusion-rocket.html

I don't pretend to know how long it will take for any of these technologies to become completely operational (many have already been proven in labs), but, they will never become reality if we don't fund and develop them. This is why I'm an avid proponent of these ambitious missions. So many of the technologies we take for granted today were developed for and during NASA's Apollo missions. Our lives simply wouldn't be what they currently are had our country not expended the effort and the expense to pursue the "impossible" and impractical task of landing on the moon.

And one 1/5 of light is a nice one too. It's all easily imagined if you wave your hands in front of a rapt sci-fi audience and gaze skyward. Just what happens if you pass through a dust cloud at that speed?
Today's science fiction has a tendency to become tomorrows science reality.

I'm one of only a handful of professional scientists on this board. I understand better than most the technical and physical challenges associated with travelling at 1/5 the speed of light. Dealing with cosmic debris is only one of them.

We would know where these alleged "dust clouds" were before we ever sent a manned spacecraft into interstellar space at 1/5 the speed of light. The first voyages to our nearest galactic neighbors will be undertaken by very small probes that would detect or be destroyed by areas of cosmic dust/debris long before we sent a manned spacecraft. It's not like a manned mission would unexpectedly fly into a previously undetected cloud of dust. A sweeper craft would be sent out well ahead of any manned craft to clear the route for later missions.

You, and others like you, sound like the naysayers that proclaimed that cars were simply a novelty that would never replace horses. They had their reasons...cars couldn't easily navigate the narrow dirt roads that existed throughout America when the automobile was invented, and cars were far too expensive for the average person to ever own.

Those people didn't have the imagination to envision a system of paved roads, divided highways, and now our mega-freeways that allow cars to travel for great distances at very high speed. They couldn't imagine the advances in manufacturing that would allow any person with a reasonable income to own a car, either.

I may not live to see Mars colonized (at least to the degree that we want it to be), and I almost certainly won't live to see men visit Proxima Centauri, but, I have little doubt that someday both of these things will happen (provided our brightest minds continue to pay no attention to the pessimists and naysayers).
 

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There are materials (water, perchlorates, C02, hematite, etc)...and atmosphere on Mars (it's just much less dense than earth's atmosphere).



Obviously, there has to be a reaction mass, even for "electrically" powered spacecraft. I never said we would see a fuel source we could "fit in our pockets". That said, electric (ion, plasma, electrothermal, etc.) propoulsion methods use much less propellant than chemical rockets because they are capable of much, much higher exhaust speeds. They're many times more efficient than chemical fuels, and more than capable propelling a spacecraft to Mars, or anywhere else we want to go within our own solar system.

Fusion engines aren't a fantasy. The physics behind them are well established.

http://www.space.com/23084-mars-exploration-nuclear-fusion-rocket.html

I don't pretend to know how long it will take for any of these technologies to become completely operational (many have already been proven in labs), but, they will never become reality if we don't fund and develop them. This is why I'm an avid proponent of these ambitious missions. So many of the technologies we take for granted today were developed for and during NASA's Apollo missions. Our lives simply wouldn't be what they currently are had our country not expended the effort and the expense to pursue the "impossible" and impractical task of landing on the moon.



Today's science fiction has a tendency to become tomorrows science reality.

I'm one of only a handful of professional scientists on this board. I understand better than most the technical and physical challenges associated with travelling at 1/5 the speed of light. Dealing with cosmic debris is only one of them.

We would know where these alleged "dust clouds" were before we ever sent a manned spacecraft into interstellar space at 1/5 the speed of light. The first voyages to our nearest galactic neighbors will be undertaken by very small probes that would detect or be destroyed by areas of cosmic dust/debris long before we sent a manned spacecraft. It's not like a manned mission would unexpectedly fly into a previously undetected cloud of dust. A sweeper craft would be sent out well ahead of any manned craft to clear the route for later missions.

You, and others like you, sound like the naysayers that proclaimed that cars were simply a novelty that would never replace horses. They had their reasons...cars couldn't easily navigate the narrow dirt roads that existed throughout America when the automobile was invented, and cars were far too expensive for the average person to ever own.

Those people didn't have the imagination to envision a system of paved roads, divided highways, and now our mega-freeways that allow cars to travel for great distances at very high speed. They couldn't imagine the advances in manufacturing that would allow any person with a reasonable income to own a car, either.

I may not live to see Mars colonized (at least to the degree that we want it to be), and I almost certainly won't live to see men visit Proxima Centauri, but, I have little doubt that someday both of these things will happen (provided our brightest minds continue to pay no attention to the pessimists and naysayers).
I'm not pessimistic. Maybe pragmatic and critical... The reason I referred to colonization and those speeds as fantasies (didn't bungle the spelling this time) is because they are. Maybe we'll get closer, and you are absolutely correct that fusion could be very viable. However it's the talk that it will be, and just a matter of time I take umbrage to. There are whole generations that still believe that a few scientists were able to create life in the lab. And mainly just through poor wording and extreme hyperbole. Just a short hop, right?

Now you tell me that theoretically we will be able to hit 1/5 the speed of light, but the example that is not built yet is good for 5 times the existing shuttle's speed. Well it doesn't take a whole heck of a lot of math to tell you that we need to take that not yet achieved speed and times it by about 1500 to hit that 1/5!

That's not a short stretch, not by a long shot. And the jump to fusion still has confinement limitations to overcome. Still using current technology leaves us at 1/7500th of 1/5th the speed of light through space.

And we can detect big dust clouds all day long, but what (theoretically) happens when we hit a piece of space pea gravel at 37 00 miles per second? Will it be fast enough to pass through without breaking the nuclear connection of colliding matter or will there be a dust cloud, made up of what used to be a ship? I have a guess, but that's about it.

There is also the hurdles of not having anything designed that will take that thrust, including the delicate bags of plasma inside.

Don't get me wrong, the drive to create the tech is great. Especially as it branches off to work in unrelated fields, but sometimes the pencil works just fine.
 

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I'm one of only a handful of professional scientists on this board. I understand better than most the technical and physical challenges associated with travelling at 1/5 the speed of light. Dealing with cosmic debris is only one of them.

We would know where these alleged "dust clouds" were before we ever sent a manned spacecraft into interstellar space at 1/5 the speed of light. The first voyages to our nearest galactic neighbors will be undertaken by very small probes that would detect or be destroyed by areas of cosmic dust/debris long before we sent a manned spacecraft. It's not like a manned mission would unexpectedly fly into a previously undetected cloud of dust. A sweeper craft would be sent out well ahead of any manned craft to clear the route for later missions.

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Uh... So we will send space plows to clear the star lanes? Or perhaps Reinforced Space Breakers that can grind up the debris ahead of our manned ships? You do realize that the space you travel through is not the same space that the sweeper craft is flying through, anymore than you can cross the same river twice? Which also conveniently forgets the 3 dimensional aspect of space. I knew I should have taken a left at Aldebaran.

Your stuff is grand sounding but it is hogwash. The fact you keep using the "they said it couldn't be done" as a argument is only proof that you lack any good argument.

You might use some scientific skepticism before you buy a ticket to mars.
 

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Uh... So we will send space plows to clear the star lanes? Or perhaps Reinforced Space Breakers that can grind up the debris ahead of our manned ships? You do realize that the space you travel through is not the same space that the sweeper craft is flying through, anymore than you can cross the same river twice? Which also conveniently forgets the 3 dimensional aspect of space. I knew I should have taken a left at Aldebaran.
Actually, space is nothing like a river. The earth moves relative to other objects within the solar system, the galaxy, and the larger cosmos, but, the movement of objects within space isn't uni-directional like a river. And, unlike a river, the movement of objects in space is highly predictable. We know precisely where Mars, Proxima Centauri, the Cats Eye Nebula, and even many of the large earth crossing asteroids will be relative to earth thousands of years into the future. The same will be true of any "dust clouds" we discover between earth and Alpha Centauri B or Barnards Star.

While you mock the idea of sending a craft ahead of a manned spacecraft on interstellar missions to take the majority of the micro-impacts, this is precisely what NASA scientists have proposed.

Your stuff is grand sounding but it is hogwash. The fact you keep using the "they said it couldn't be done" as a argument is only proof that you lack any good argument.
It's clearly not hogwash. Your pessimism is hogwash. My optimism is based in known physics and current technological trends. Given our rate of advancement, there's no reason to believe we won't one day realize the dream of interstellar space travel and the colonization of other worlds. There's no reason whatsoever to believe that we are forever bound to this world.

You might use some scientific skepticism before you buy a ticket to mars.
When did I say I was planning to go to Mars?

I'm always skeptical, but, given the current rate of technological advancement, I see no reason for pessimism.

In scarcely more than a century, mankind has gone from living in the dark and relying on wood or coal to heat our houses, to living in well lit cities heated by electricity or natural gas. We've gone from horse and buggy to electric cars with a ranges of over 200 miles. We've gone from tall ships to jet powered jumbo jets. For crying out loud...we (humanity) went from sputnik to the moon landings in 12 years. Our progress has been astonishing.

In my lifetime I've watched technology transform our lives. I've watched our computing capabilities double every two years since the early 1970's.

I've watched battery energy density quadruple in my lifetime, and recent advancements in battery chemistry (re: Zn Air, Li S, and Li Air battery systems) are likely to make energy densities triple, even quadruple again in the next decade.

I've watched nuclear fusion go from a theoretical pipe dream, to something we've achieved in the lab, to something that shows promise of being commercially viable (produces more energy than is required to generate the magnetic containment fields, etc.) due to very recent advancements in superconducting electromagnetic coils.

We've gone from "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you", to the iPhone 9 in a relative blink of an eye.

I think optimism regarding mankind's future beyond this planet, and even beyond our solar system is perfectly justified.

Again, I'm not saying there aren't significant technological challenges standing between us and our ambitions, but I don't see these challenges as insurmountable. I'm glad our policy makers and our brightest minds are less short sighted than people like you.
 

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Actually, space is nothing like a river. The earth moves relative to other objects within the solar system, the galaxy, and the larger cosmos, but, the movement of objects within space isn't uni-directional like a river. And, unlike a river, the movement of objects in space is highly predictable. We know precisely where Mars, Proxima Centauri, the Cats Eye Nebula, and even many of the large earth crossing asteroids will be relative to earth thousands of years into the future. The same will be true of any "dust clouds" we discover between earth and Alpha Centauri B or Barnards Star.

While you mock the idea of sending a craft ahead of a manned spacecraft on interstellar missions to take the majority of the micro-impacts, this is precisely what NASA scientists have proposed.



It's clearly not hogwash. Your pessimism is hogwash. My optimism is based in known physics and current technological trends. Given our rate of advancement, there's no reason to believe we won't one day realize the dream of interstellar space travel and the colonization of other worlds. There's no reason whatsoever to believe that we are forever bound to this world.



When did I say I was planning to go to Mars?

I'm always skeptical, but, given the current rate of technological advancement, I see no reason for pessimism.

In scarcely more than a century, mankind has gone from living in the dark and relying on wood or coal to heat our houses, to living in well lit cities heated by electricity or natural gas. We've gone from horse and buggy to electric cars with a ranges of over 200 miles. We've gone from tall ships to jet powered jumbo jets. For crying out loud...we (humanity) went from sputnik to the moon landings in 12 years. Our progress has been astonishing.

In my lifetime I've watched technology transform our lives. I've watched our computing capabilities double every two years since the early 1970's.

I've watched battery energy density quadruple in my lifetime, and recent advancements in battery chemistry (re: Zn Air, Li S, and Li Air battery systems) are likely to make energy densities triple, even quadruple again in the next decade.

I've watched nuclear fusion go from a theoretical pipe dream, to something we've achieved in the lab, to something that shows promise of being commercially viable (produces more energy than is required to generate the magnetic containment fields, etc.) due to very recent advancements in superconducting electromagnetic coils.

We've gone from "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you", to the iPhone 9 in a relative blink of an eye.

I think optimism regarding mankind's future beyond this planet, and even beyond our solar system is perfectly justified.

Again, I'm not saying there aren't significant technological challenges standing between us and our ambitions, but I don't see these challenges as insurmountable. I'm glad our policy makers and our brightest minds are less short sighted than people like you.
More hogwash. Verbose and filled with misleading notions. Where did you get the unscientific notion about how rivers flow? Or for that matter the fact you still forget space has 3 dimensions and that possible travel would not be in the same plane. Heck even aircraft do not travel the exact same path and your idea of sweeping out ahead of you objects would fail to account for that.

Once again you resort to 'they said it couldn't be done" argument. All the blather about things that have happened in your life time is simply a more subtle use of this logical fallacy. Take for instance your notion that there is a rate of trend to advances. Such use of statistical projection based on what you think are advances has no meaning.

I am not glad that our policy makers throw away tax payer money on elaborate deceptions based on fantasy thinking even if there is subsidiary benefits. Bit like building fantastic cathedrals to god that previous generations involved themselves in. Pretty to look at but not really solving anything major. Public work projects at best.
 

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The main problem with the talks about scientific advancement, is the assumptions laid out. 6 decades later we're not that far ahead of where we were when Buzz and Neil were headed to the moon.

We've learned a lot since, but we should fully expect that there is a point that we may not be able to progress past. Not that we shouldn't try; but let's not cheapen science by pretending that we're the Jetsons. Just give it a couple years.
 

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I'm not pessimistic. Maybe pragmatic and critical... The reason I referred to colonization and those speeds as fantasies (didn't bungle the spelling this time) is because they are.
I don't typically consider something a "fantasy" when said thing is based in sound physics and science. If we did that, then we would have had to call the atomic bomb a "fantasy" until it was actually detonated. We would have had to call the moon landing a "fantasy" until Neil Armstrong actually stepped out of the his lander and onto the lunar surface. We would have had to call nuclear fusion a fantasy until we had actually achieved it in the laboratory. Obviously, we didn't call those things "fantasies" because they weren't fantasies. They were simply as of yet untried scientific, technological, and engineering experiments based in very real science (yes, I consider the the first moon landing an experiment because much of the tech invented for that mission was unproven).

When a scientist (or a group of scientists) believes they can accelerate something to 1/5 the speed of light, and they present the physics and engineering data that make them think it's possible, I would never consider that a "fantasy". I (and every other scientist I know) would use the word "theoretical" instead. You intentionally try to disparage theoretical ideas by calling them fantasy. No idea that is based in known physics and sound science should be called "fantasy".

Maybe we'll get closer, and you are absolutely correct that fusion could be very viable. However it's the talk that it will be, and just a matter of time I take umbrage to.
I think it IS just a matter of time. Most scientists that study fusion believe it's a matter of time as well. Fusion is already happening in dozens of labs around the world. As we continue to find ways to create stronger magnetic fields with less energy, the closer we get to fusion reality.

There are whole generations that still believe that a few scientists were able to create life in the lab. And mainly just through poor wording and extreme hyperbole. Just a short hop, right?
Scientists have never claimed to be able to create self-replicating life forms in the lab. I've never met another scientist that claims they're anywhere near to being able to do this. We've successfully created organic materials and amino acids from inorganic materials in the lab, but, that's as close as we've gotten. And frankly, creating life from scratch in the lab isn't a huge priority to the scientific community.

Now you tell me that theoretically we will be able to hit 1/5 the speed of light, but the example that is not built yet is good for 5 times the existing shuttle's speed. Well it doesn't take a whole heck of a lot of math to tell you that we need to take that not yet achieved speed and times it by about 1500 to hit that 1/5!
I'm not pretending this wouldn't be a quantum leap in our technical abilities. However, I don't think it's fair to try to compare the speed of a craft (the space shuttle) that was never designed to leave earth's orbit, to one that would potentially be designed to achieve travel to other stars in our galactic neighborhood. Admittedly, we're probably many, many years away from possessing the technology necessary to send anything besides micro-craft to our nearest galactic neighbors. That doesn't mean we should stop striving for these abilities. The more aggressively we pursue this tech, the sooner we will possess it.

And we can detect big dust clouds all day long, but what (theoretically) happens when we hit a piece of space pea gravel at 37 00 miles per second? Will it be fast enough to pass through without breaking the nuclear connection of colliding matter or will there be a dust cloud, made up of what used to be a ship? I have a guess, but that's about it.
Again, this is just one of the problems that NASA and other groups are considering. If past innovators listened to the voices that claimed something was impossible, or beyond our abilities as a species, we would have never achieved things like manned flight, or nuclear fission. We would have never defeated small pox, or polio. We would have never crossed the ocean to the new world, and we would have never crossed the void of space to land on the moon. Hell, we would have never even attempted to build a lightening rod, because, after all, it was "god's right to strike a building with lightening if he chose to do so".

As a scientist, I never shut down discussion about any idea...I simply say "show me the science, the physics, the evidence that makes you believe your idea has merit". I take seriously EVERY idea that is based in known physical laws. I even take ideas seriously that AREN'T based in known physical laws (such as the EM Drive, or LENR) when experimentation and observation seem to show that the idea has merit (the jury is still very much out in the case of the EM Drive and LENR).

Don't get me wrong, the drive to create the tech is great. Especially as it branches off to work in unrelated fields, but sometimes the pencil works just fine.
Sure, the pencil works just fine...but we would have never had cars, or airplanes, or TV's, or the internet, or smartphones, or any number of other revolutionary technologies of the last century had we been content with pencils, and telegraphs, and horses, and wind powered sailing vessels. We have these things because people like the Wright Brothers, and Philo Farnsworth, and Wernher Von Braun didn't listen to people like you.
 

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Sure, the pencil works just fine...but we would have never had cars, or airplanes, or TV's, or the internet, or smartphones, or any number of other revolutionary technologies of the last century had we been content with pencils, and telegraphs, and horses, and wind powered sailing vessels. We have these things because people like the Wright Brothers, and Philo Farnsworth, and Wernher Von Braun didn't listen to people like you.
I give up. Setting up a strawman and batting it down as you do here makes for impossible debate.

Warp speed Mr. Sulu. Take us out of here. :cool:
 

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More hogwash. Verbose and filled with misleading notions. Where did you get the unscientific notion about how rivers flow? Or for that matter the fact you still forget space has 3 dimensions and that possible travel would not be in the same plane. Heck even aircraft do not travel the exact same path and your idea of sweeping out ahead of you objects would fail to account for that.
Nobody has forgotten that space is 3 dimensional. And there's no reason whatsoever that a manned craft couldn't follow in the wake of an unmanned craft designed to take the impact of small particles in three dimensional space. This isn't a new idea and has been thrown around by astrophysicists and engineers for some time.

Once again you resort to 'they said it couldn't be done" argument. All the blather about things that have happened in your life time is simply a more subtle use of this logical fallacy.
This isn't logical fallacy at all. The idea that people have accomplished what many (most) claimed were impossible is central to this discussion. You say certain things are impossible, I say there is no reason to believe that they are (impossible) based on current technological trends and the fact that people have achieved "the impossible" in the past.

We're discussing possible future technologies. The best predictor of future events is past and current trends. If computing capabilities double every year for nearly a half century, it makes sense to anticipate that trend will continue until the limits of the technologies driving that trend are reached.

Take for instance your notion that there is a rate of trend to advances. Such use of statistical projection based on what you think are advances has no meaning.
Of course they have meaning. You're apparently the only person on the planet that believes that Moore's law has not been highly predictive with regards to computing capabilities. Tech trends like Moore's law have been highly predictive of our technological growth.

I am not glad that our policy makers throw away tax payer money on elaborate deceptions based on fantasy thinking even if there is subsidiary benefits. Bit like building fantastic cathedrals to god that previous generations involved themselves in. Pretty to look at but not really solving anything major. Public work projects at best.
What a moronic comparison. Our space missions have resulted in the most rapid technological progress in mankind's history. Technologies that you rely on every day to maintain your standard of living. Many of the technologies you're using to engage in this debate were derived from tech invented for the Apollo missions. Cathedrals built to an imaginary god have done nothing for mankind.

Public works projects at best? I'm literally laughing at the stupidity of this comment right now. Jesus I hope most people are smarter than this.
 

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Nobody has forgotten that space is 3 dimensional. And there's no reason whatsoever that a manned craft couldn't follow in the wake of an unmanned craft designed to take the impact of small particles in three dimensional space. This isn't a new idea and has been thrown around by astrophysicists and engineers for some time.

snip.
Wake?

There would not be a wake. Only the particles that were directly impacted by the space plow would be cleared. The displaced cloud particles would have a very very small probability of impacting any other particles -- assuming of course that they were not instantly transformed into energy due to the high impact speeds.

The passage of space plow and its fleeting gravity field would cause the cloud to move toward the cleared path.

I think we are back to using the fault-prone deflector dish.
 

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Belief that the impossible today can be accomplished tomorrow must be supported with solutions to challenges, not simply the basis of the beliefs.
 

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I don't typically consider something a "fantasy" when said thing is based in sound physics and science. If we did that, then we would have had to call the atomic bomb a "fantasy" until it was actually detonated. We would have had to call the moon landing a "fantasy" until Neil Armstrong actually stepped out of the his lander and onto the lunar surface. We would have had to call nuclear fusion a fantasy until we had actually achieved it in the laboratory. Obviously, we didn't call those things "fantasies" because they weren't fantasies. They were simply as of yet untried scientific, technological, and engineering experiments based in very real science (yes, I consider the the first moon landing an experiment because much of the tech invented for that mission was unproven).

When a scientist (or a group of scientists) believes they can accelerate something to 1/5 the speed of light, and they present the physics and engineering data that make them think it's possible, I would never consider that a "fantasy". I (and every other scientist I know) would use the word "theoretical" instead. You intentionally try to disparage theoretical ideas by calling them fantasy. No idea that is based in known physics and sound science should be called "fantasy".



I think it IS just a matter of time. Most scientists that study fusion believe it's a matter of time as well. Fusion is already happening in dozens of labs around the world. As we continue to find ways to create stronger magnetic fields with less energy, the closer we get to fusion reality.



Scientists have never claimed to be able to create self-replicating life forms in the lab. I've never met another scientist that claims they're anywhere near to being able to do this. We've successfully created organic materials and amino acids from inorganic materials in the lab, but, that's as close as we've gotten. And frankly, creating life from scratch in the lab isn't a huge priority to the scientific community.



I'm not pretending this wouldn't be a quantum leap in our technical abilities. However, I don't think it's fair to try to compare the speed of a craft (the space shuttle) that was never designed to leave earth's orbit, to one that would potentially be designed to achieve travel to other stars in our galactic neighborhood. Admittedly, we're probably many, many years away from possessing the technology necessary to send anything besides micro-craft to our nearest galactic neighbors. That doesn't mean we should stop striving for these abilities. The more aggressively we pursue this tech, the sooner we will possess it.



Again, this is just one of the problems that NASA and other groups are considering. If past innovators listened to the voices that claimed something was impossible, or beyond our abilities as a species, we would have never achieved things like manned flight, or nuclear fission. We would have never defeated small pox, or polio. We would have never crossed the ocean to the new world, and we would have never crossed the void of space to land on the moon. Hell, we would have never even attempted to build a lightening rod, because, after all, it was "god's right to strike a building with lightening if he chose to do so".

As a scientist, I never shut down discussion about any idea...I simply say "show me the science, the physics, the evidence that makes you believe your idea has merit". I take seriously EVERY idea that is based in known physical laws. I even take ideas seriously that AREN'T based in known physical laws (such as the EM Drive, or LENR) when experimentation and observation seem to show that the idea has merit (the jury is still very much out in the case of the EM Drive and LENR).



Sure, the pencil works just fine...but we would have never had cars, or airplanes, or TV's, or the internet, or smartphones, or any number of other revolutionary technologies of the last century had we been content with pencils, and telegraphs, and horses, and wind powered sailing vessels. We have these things because people like the Wright Brothers, and Philo Farnsworth, and Wernher Von Braun didn't listen to people like you.
You can dispense with the ad hominem attacks. I was never one of "those people". And there is a big difference between disbelief and going for it anyway, and a closed mind. A healthy amount of scepticism is a good thing; and those that I communicate with telepathically agree with me, and really have a much more in depth understanding of it than I do.

Now hold on there; I have a pretty good idea what on what you're about to say. And just because you can't understand it, does not make it impossible. Why just a short century ago we were relying on miles of wire and a binary code to send long distance messages. Look at how far we've come.

My last statement on the pencil was just a thinly veiled jab, at the piles of money spent on the highly successful space pen. What makes you think that there was not an equally important amount of knowledge gained, in dry architecture when temples and churches were built long ago? At least for the time?

You keep on saying, "I think, or believe". Everybody does, and beliefs are hardly an accurate barometer of truth. Not everyone gets it right like DaVinci when he predicted air travel. It's that very arrogance that have turned half the world ignorant.

For years doctors have given poor dietary advice. And incorrect medical advice. Every organ that they didn't understand wasn't needed.

The attack on reality and truth started before the monkey trials, and a whole hominid family was born from a tooth. If you remember the history, you know it was a pig's tooth. Almost every scientist according to various media sources has weighed in on climate change. Of course propped up by supposition, whether right or wrong. They all say that one day we'll communicate which other worlds. Yet we haven't seen that, we don't know but no one admits what is unknown, is unknown. Us saying "we will, in the future" is a faith based statement. And maybe we will, but maybe we won't.

I should hope, no scientists in your circle have made the statement that they replicated life. Firstly, because it's exponentially more complicated than let on, and secondly, those guys are probably in their hundreds. I still hear, and have debated on the formation of left handed amino acids.

In short; theory leads to discovery, and to be frank, it needs someplace to start. But I have no misapprehension that every theory is turned into reality.
Wake?

There would not be a wake. Only the particles that were directly impacted by the space plow would be cleared. The displaced cloud particles would have a very very small probability of impacting any other particles -- assuming of course that they were not instantly transformed into energy due to the high impact speeds.

The passage of space plow and its fleeting gravity field would cause the cloud to move toward the cleared path.

I think we are back to using the fault-prone deflector dish.
Good point.
 
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