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Author Topic: What will space look like in the future?  (Read 3188 times)

Nick Mulder

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What will space look like in the future?
« on: 08/05/2010 23:30:02 »
Nick Mulder asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hello,

Basically: I'd like to know what space will look like to an observer in the far far future...

I guess there are different theories as to the ultimate fate of the universe - heat death, big crunch, island universe/horizons etc...

Also as to where you are, and where you are looking would affect the view...

Assuming the universe is survivable (in a space ship/whatever)  would we need eyes tuned for different wavelengths ? (At least to make it interesting ?)

large scope I guess - go with whatever is interesting !

As a child I liked space illustrations like those of Chris Foss - http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb5/kinonishi/Book Covers and Design/Chris Foss/foss_farewellfantasticvenus.jpg

taking the red shift quite literally ?

;)

Kind regards,
Nick Mulder (NZ)

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 08/05/2010 23:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline bobj14

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What will space look like in the future?
« Reply #1 on: 12/01/2011 17:21:03 »
In billions of years when entropy finally wins out over gravity, the universe will be a uniform sea of beige.
 

Offline CliffordK

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What will space look like in the future?
« Reply #2 on: 12/01/2011 21:25:48 »
http://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb5/kinonishi/Book Covers and Design/Chris Foss/foss_farewellfantasticvenus.jpg



Since you have spaces in the URL, you need to use the hyperlink (or IMG) button for it to come out right.

I see that Chris Foss is a Sci-Fi illustrator.
http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=won&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=Chris+Foss+Illustrations&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1828&bih=989

The illustration above looks like a space elevator...  wonderful concept.  Although it requires a very long tether which presents some extraordinary engineering challenges.  A working design would require a large tethered asteroid to provide lift...  and would likely have some taper in the cable....  The strength/density ratios preclude most known engineering materials.  There may also be some inherent dangers from catastrophic failure... so it may not ever be built.

I have no doubt that humans will eventually choose to colonize the planets and moons of the solar system in the future.  Yet, travelling from one location to another will still present extreme challenges.  We may need to transport bulk resources, for example some people believe that Venus is short of Hydrogen (which Jupiter has an abundant supply of).  And, 3He may be the power source of the future, and may be mined at Jupiter, or somewhere away from Earth.  Or, perhaps harvested directly from the solar winds.  In this case, we'd likely have very very large drone ships for the transport.  The other thing that will likely be transported will be organics (not necessarily human).  However, improved genetics may provide methods to transport the "essence" of a plant or animal using data transmission without transporting the actual matter.

Personally I don't foresee the ability to travel faster than the speed of light, or to do arbitrary manipulations in the fabric of space to allow travelling faster than the speed of light.  Thus, interstellar travel times will likely be in the hundreds or thousands of years, and only allow travel to the closest stars. 

At least early artificial-G will likely be done with rotating disks, or two contra-rotating disks.

Acceleration & deceleration will be extreme problems and challenges.  I foresee at least probes being sent with a circular moon-based or space-based accelerators.

As far as weaponizing space.  Hopefully humans will be able to work out some of our difference before travelling to space.  However, there will be clashes over actual trade value, and resources.  Sending a colony ship to an "inhabited" stellar system would be a wonderful goal to expand our realm of knowledge, however, the extreme time and distances involved will necessarily cause a desire/requirement to stay... and more resource challenges.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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What will space look like in the future?
« Reply #3 on: 12/01/2011 23:23:41 »
Bobj is wrong!  Gravity always wins out over entropy and the final state of our universe will be very cold with just black holes hoovering up the few remaining atoms and lowly evaporating with long wavelength radio waves and just the ocsional brief and small flash as one finally evaporates.  This will take many orders of magnitude more time than the 13 billion years that the universe has been around already say at least 10e50 times!

As for clifford  without a space elevator it will never be possible for a significant number of people to escape earth's gravity and even with one in synchronous orbit the extra velocity to escape still requires a lot of extra energy.  so the vast majority of the earth's population will always be confined to the earth's gravitational well.
 

Offline Geezer

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What will space look like in the future?
« Reply #4 on: 13/01/2011 00:29:19 »
Bobj is wrong!  Gravity always wins out over entropy and the final state of our universe will be very cold with just black holes hoovering up the few remaining atoms and lowly evaporating with long wavelength radio waves and just the ocsional brief and small flash as one finally evaporates.  This will take many orders of magnitude more time than the 13 billion years that the universe has been around already say at least 10e50 times!

SS, why is that any different from what Bobj said? When the black holes evaporate, hasn't entropy won?
 

Offline CliffordK

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What will space look like in the future?
« Reply #5 on: 13/01/2011 00:38:10 »
As for clifford  without a space elevator it will never be possible for a significant number of people to escape earth's gravity and even with one in synchronous orbit the extra velocity to escape still requires a lot of extra energy.  so the vast majority of the earth's population will always be confined to the earth's gravitational well.

True,

I don't see any mass migrations like we had across the oceans in the past...  which was probably only a tiny fraction of our population a couple of centuries ago.

Nor will it be easy for people to just go on holiday to Jupiter.

As far as the space elevator.  I suppose it would be double-ended.  So, not only could you climb up to a geosynchronous orbit, but you could continue climbing at which point it would start to accelerate you to a speed/distance that would be adequate to throw you out of orbit, or nearly so.  So, ideally, after construction, the counterweight would be the extension of the elevator itself.

Will we choose to continue to use atmospheric braking whenever possible?  Even if travelling to Callisto, skimming Jupiter as part of the trip?  That means that the deceleration component of any space craft would have to be at least as robust as the acceleration component.  Heavy shielding would also help with micro-meteorites which will likely present major safety risks.

As we only have one "Goldilocks" planet in our solar system, each alien world would likely be quite different.  

Some like Titan would make the Russian Winters look like child's play.  Whether or not it could support a breathable atmosphere at −180 °C, it may not be able to support the atmosphere if the moon was warmed up.  Life would likely be limited to indoor structures.  Mirrors and solar concentrators would be vital.  

Venus could be colonized with either cloud cities, or huge space mirrors...  or both.  I'm voting for the space mirrors which could theoretically allow terraforming the planet.  

Our moon will likley be important for observatories, space mining, and etc.  Polar regions may be colonized first.  The lunar night might be alleviated with space mirrors.  It may be vital for the early construction of things like a space elevator, but perhaps it would also be made obsolete by such a device.
 

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What will space look like in the future?
« Reply #5 on: 13/01/2011 00:38:10 »

 

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