buzz here with a question

Say hello!!
buzz
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Post by buzz »

To introduce myself, I am buzz. I'm 20 years old, going to public university (fully paid tuition) in the southwest US. I am independent in the sense that I pay for all expenses in my life (other than tuition which I would argue I earned) and have been since age 18.
I plan to graduate at age 22 and 'retire' in Jacob's sense of the word by age 32. I'm a spendthrift and spend 10k annually which I estimate will double the typical ERE regime.
I am of the mindset that the Internet is the single most important and influential resource/asset in the history of mankind (food, water, and shelter aside) and I am the perfect model: since age 16 I have been "plugged in" and the internet has shaped my beliefs, habits, ideals, and most importantly spending habits. I was a very active member of a collecting (hoarding) community for quite some time, and have since reformed my ways. At the time I thought of my acquisitions as investments, and so I may be of help to anyone still stuck with this problem. This history leads me to a strong hesitation towards the stock market.
I also believe the world as we know it is unsustainable at the current rate of consumption, and will collapse within my life time. The only solution is reform (impossible) or colonization of one or more offworld planets. Call me crazy, but I intend to be on the first citizen colony shuttle available. This is my motivation for ERE. Such a ticket is not likely to come cheap (and won't be able to be purchased on credit!)
As for my question, I just wanted to hear opinions from like-minded individuals. It's hard to find anyone open-minded, thus I find myself turning to the Internet. How long can Earth last? What will it take to be able to live in space? Any ideas on how I can help expedite this breakthrough?
The human race has always overcome obstacles and come up with solutions in times of need. Modern medicine, the Internet, structural design, transportation - breakthroughs are all around us, we are truly capable of anything if we try hard enough.


NYC ERE
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Post by NYC ERE »

Welcome Buzz! That is the most original reason for ERE I've read. Funnily enough, I recently listened to the audio podcast of this talk by Martin Rees, a cosmologist/astrophysicist, which covers the prospects for planet colonization in our lifetime. To sum up, the odds are very low.
Doesn't mean you shouldn't pursue ERE, though! :)


AlexOliver
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Post by AlexOliver »

"I also believe the world as we know it is unsustainable at the current rate of consumption, and will collapse within my life time. The only solution is reform (impossible) or colonization of one or more offworld planets."
How could a collapsed economy and civilization be able to colonize space? If the economy collapsed your investments would disappear.


JohnnyH
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Post by JohnnyH »

"I am of the mindset that the Internet is the single most important and influential resource/asset in the history of mankind..."

I'm in 100% agreement, without the internet I'd be one dumb sumbitch...
A: space colonization.

Q: What is very likely the only reason I'd agree to formal military service? :)
Who knows what the thresholds, time limits, carrying capacities really are? Smart experts have been preaching doom nonstop for hundreds or thousands of years. IE: Malthus.
I think we can get the environmental degradation under control once some fertility rates come into line... I'm more worried about increasingly tyrannical governments than anything else right now.
Used to have a professor that said "The Earth will survive, we won't." No doubt eventually a big enough rock will hit the earth to kill all humans. We better get some people off before then.
I'm curious to hear Jacob's thoughts as he's a schooled expert.


buzz
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Post by buzz »

>>How could a collapsed economy and civilization be able to colonize space? If the economy collapsed your investments would disappear.
Colonization would occur before collapse; otherwise we are surely doomed. I see it as the final measure. But only the few will actually get there. The others are left on earth.
Just my theory :)


jacob
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Post by jacob »

Figure 7 billion people. If we're not there yet, we're close---within a year or two. Figure 2% population growth annually. Calculate how many people that is per year.

Assume a big interplanetary shuttle could be built that would take as many people as a big airliner. Calculate the number of shuttle launches per year.
It's in the millions [of annual launches]
The only off world planet available is Mars.
I'd suggest getting into commercial space flight/tourism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_tourism
A lot could be done if the world turned its defense budgets onto space instead.


buzz
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Post by buzz »

The number of actual colonists would no doubt be a miniscule fraction of the population. One would likely have to prove that they would be an asset and would contribute to colony development.
>>A lot could be done if the world turned its defense budgets onto space instead.
This is very true, and very sad.


jacob
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Post by jacob »

What we currently have is a lot of countries (colonies) that are doing exactly that. They are fighting each other over resources to maintain their particular choice of lifestyles.
Overall, it would be easier to establish such a colony on earth in a remote territory.
Have you heard about seasteading?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasteading


buzz
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Post by buzz »

Only on a cursory level. It seems expensive.
And when our air is unbreathable, you're as well off as everyone else unless you find a way to sprout gills.


jacob
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Post by jacob »

It's not nearly as expensive as launching into orbit. Surviving in a completely isolated system has not been solved yet. But maybe we should...
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... gliese-581


buzz
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Post by buzz »

Are you taking back your stance on Mars being the only option?
I just need to live in Orson Scott Card's universe and get on a shuttle, travel a few lightyears, then return to earth once humans have got their act together again, and withdraw my savings that have been sitting in an auto-renewing 5% CD for the past 1000 years :)


Matthew
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Post by Matthew »

@ buzz
From "Toy Story"? I like it.
I also think it might be easier to make an isolated biodome on Earth, but everyone needs to have a goal!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelow_Aerospace
Maybe you could work on one of the new space hotels being designed? It wouldn't be a permanent solution, but a start.


jacob
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Post by jacob »

Twenty light years is HUGE. We've barely cleared the solar system with one vehicle and that was launched 30+ years ago. Going to Mars is routine; landing without crashing, not so much ;-)
Currently, the primary problem is extended life-support. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2


Marius
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Post by Marius »

I say we have at least three options if Earth becomes too harsh a place to live:
- Space migration. Doesn't need to be available for the whole planet's population from the start. In the beginning it would probably only be for the richest and cost would probably decrease over time so more and more people could participate.

If the trip would take a very long time, people could maybe be put in suspended animation during transport. This would be more efficient than having several successive generations live in a spaceship that have never known life on earth and need to be fed, schooled, entertained, etc. on board.
- Time travel. Very improbable, but that doesn't make it impossible.
- Sending the least useful part of humanity off into space, so those who remain behind can have a better life. In Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy this was the solution chosen by the leaders of the planet Golgafrincham. The useless third of the population (consisting of hairdressers, tired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, management consultants, telephone sanitisers and the like) were packed into the B-Ark, one of three giant Ark spaceships, and told that everyone else would follow shortly in the other two. The other two thirds of the population, of course, did not follow and "led full, rich and happy lives until they were all suddenly wiped out by a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone".


buzz
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Post by buzz »

Interesting theories, Marius. I don't know about "suspended animation" The body would still require sustenance even if put into a virtual coma. If we ever do get to lightspeed, this wouldn't be a problem. That would probably have to happen before any realistic colonization efforts anyway.


buzz
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Post by buzz »

IT'S HAPPENING!
http://applicants.mars-one.com/
Who's coming with me?

10 years to launch and on my current schedule, I should make it to ERE with a year to spare.


McTrex
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Post by McTrex »

Erm...why would you need to be ERE to go to Mars? What would you spend money on there?


anomie
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Post by anomie »

Thanks for the invitation, but I plan on sticking around till 2040 and uploading my brain to the internet ...
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/scien ... 92555.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_uploading
:)


JamesR
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Post by JamesR »

I'm of the opinion that it would be better to colonize asteroids than planets in the early stage of space colonization.
The advantages of asteroid colonization is numerous. First and foremost, you stay out of the huge gravity holes of existing planets, so you don't need nearly as much fuel to get back out to space at any time. This frees you to easily access the vast abundant resources floating around in asteroids and meteors. And they are vast. Mining would be significantly easier, and micro-gravity will make all sorts of new technology possible. There would be a massive growth in technology.
It would also be far easier to achieve earth-normal gravity on or near asteroids by using centrifugal/centripetal force. There's many ways to achieve that. For example, you could spin the entire asteroid, make sure it doesn't fall apart, and then go inside it, and hollow it out. The centripetal force would keep your feet on the "ceiling", as it would be pulling you outwards. Another method could involve a train track around the narrow part of the asteroid, the "cars" would go fast enough to create the outward force.
Also, we have NEAs (Near Earth Asteroids), they fall in a loop between near earth and back to the asteroid belt. They could be harnessed as shuttles to get many people out to the asteroid belt. All we would need to do is fly people up to meet the NEAs, colonize those, wait a few years to get out to the asteroid belt, and then migrate to the belt. The same NEAs would go back to earth and would be ready for more people.


buzz
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Post by buzz »

Erm...why would you need to be ERE to go to Mars? What would you spend money on there?
Even if I have no need for money once I'm there, tickets will not be free. I am going to have to make a serious case that I am THE most eligible candidate for the trip, mentally, physically, and financially.


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