Thursday, April 19, 2007

Vision


For the entertainment of Darnell and others who dream about Space, here is technology that no human has seen. This slide was shown to a room full of physicists and not one figured out what it is. Like Kea's drawings, it may be too simple to understand. This could be the natural development of your planet, many decades from today.

Radial lines rise from the oceans, located over the centres of population and industry. Alpha is at longitude 100 West, over the Americas. Beta is at 140 East to serve Japan, Australia and East Asia. Gamma is at 80 East near the Indian subcontinent. Delta is at 20 East over Africa and Europe. By an amazing coincidence, the configuration resembles a peace symbol with Earth at its centre. Let us hope that it inspires humans to peaceful cooperation.

In the climax of Arthur Clarke's FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE, the dying hero envisions multiple Space Elevators connected by giant bridges 36,000 km over the Earth. That would securely brace the system against oscillations, making stability problems disappear. Once the radial lines are in place, connecting them with a Ring is a comparatively simple project. If Saturn and other gas giants can be decorated with Rings, why not Earth? The Ringworld can serve as an anchorage for giant rotating Space habitats. There is room for billions of people, with easy access to the resources of Space.

The nodes are also the best locations for singularity power. Power stations could beam energy to their respective regions of Earth. If Black Hole energy is not developed, this vision could alternately be powered by the Sun. The Ringworld could be dotted with solar power stations, an indirect way of tapping Black Hole energy. As seen in our redwood forest, life tends to seek the Sun as it grows skyward.

In the forest, the growth of trees builds an entire ecosystem. The redwoods create a habitat for creatures from insects to birds. Here the driving force is humanity, the only species capable of reaching Space. Like the redwoods, humans bring other life forms with them--plants, crops, fish, pets and nearly every other creature grown on Earth. The planet itself could someday return to a natural state. Earth would be Central Park and museum in the midst of a city.

We began the week in a redwood cathedral, observing how life naturally grows toward the sky. Nearly all humans dream about flying. The desire to reach Space may be as old as life on Earth. That life began deep underground, eventually moving to the oceans, to the land, and into the sky. Now a species has developed the ability to leave the planet completely. This simple picture shows a future in which all humans, along with other forms of Earth life, can someday reach the stars.

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12 Comments:

Blogger nige said...

"By an amazing coincidence, the configuration resembles a peace symbol with Earth at its centre."

Yes, it's the CND symbol, invented in by Gerald Holtom for the march of the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War from London to Aldermaston, Easter 1958.

CND was unfortunately debunked as being largely run by Moscow-funded 'World Peace Council' Soviet communists, by Paul Mercer's book, “Peace” of the dead: The Truth Behind the Nuclear Disarmers (London, 1986). The worst thing about the Soviet/CND 'peace offensive' attacking civil defence precautions by making false claims about the effects of nuclear weapons, and also the effect it had on Samuel Cohen's invention of the neutron bomb to stop wars and to stop reliance on high yield nuclear weapons, which can cause collateral damage to civilian areas nearby.

I think it's a good thing to have peace, but there are issues about how best to get there. (Simple disarmament was tried in Britain in the 1920s and 1930s, but it just encouraged enemy aggression.)

7:48 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

True, the appeal of peace is so great that front groups have used "peace movements" to get well-meaning people marching behind their banner.

9:15 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Louise, I thought you might enjoy this one:
His approach is built on the observation, noted as far back as the 1970s, that experts tend to cut to the chase. In their zeal to get to an answer, they make many little mistakes. (A recent study of work published in Nature and British Medical Journal, for example, found that 11 percent of papers had serious statistical errors.) Experts unknowingly fudge logic to square data with their hypotheses. Or they develop blind spots after years of working in isolation. They lose their ability to take a broader view. If all this is true, he says, think of how much big science is based on flawed intuition.
Wired.com

2:05 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Fascinating Carl, particularly the bit about astrophysicists approaching him to work on seemingly incompatible theories. Physics has been getting desperate lately. Grad school and physics do try to pigeon-hole someone into a narrow field. There is great value in working on your own.

3:52 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Louise,

The amazing thing is that the sociological method hasn't been applied to elementary particles despite the fact that the theory's been stuck in the mud for 25 years. I think this is largely because of the overly high confidence in the brilliance of the elementary particle physicists.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous mog said...

If you're going to build a ring-world, why bother with the elevator? A ring could hold more of everything than a planet and if you wanted to go into space from there you could just slip out the back door. Travelling by air against the spin would be interesting too.

Move everybody to the ring and keep the Earth as a park. You know it makes sense.

I don't think that I'd want a man-made ring that size anywhere near the Earth, though. Or even in the same orbit. Or even in an orbit that could decay into the Earth's.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Darnell Clayton said...

Hey Louise,

Thanks for the honorable mention!

I at first did not get the object (the peace sign was obvious, but I was wondering how would this have to do with anything regarding a space elevator).

It was only later on in the middle of your post that it all became evident that you were referring to the bridges from Clark's book.

In the movie's, I think I've seen something similar regarding the moon (an orbital "ring space station") in Starship Troopers, although an Earth sized one would be nice.

PS

What exactly do you mean by "black hole energy?" I usually think of black holes as something to avoid at all cost, although do you think it would be possible to harness the energy that they spit out?

6:19 PM  
Anonymous a quantum diaries survivor said...

Hi Louise,

Arthur C. Clarke was a real visionary... I remember a novel where a space ship was built as a cylinder rotating on its axis, providing gravity through centrifugal force to allow a population of its inner surface.
I had not heard of this one though.

Cheers,
T.

12:34 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Mog, with a super-strong materiel you could theoretically build a larger Ring outside the geosynchronous orbit that would have simulated gravity outward. like Larry Niven.

Darnell, a Black Hole converts nearly 50% of mass into energy. Nuclear fusion has efficency of 0.7%. If small singularities can be located in Space, they would be a truly revolutionary energy source. Like power satellites, only you need just one satellite without any solar panels.

Tommaso, that novel was RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA. It may have appeared before O'neill's first Space colony paper, but O'neill suffered a 5-year wait before Physics Today published his idea.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous buy viagra said...

Yeah what an amazing coincidence, that was the first thing I noticed when I saw the photo. Does it mean that astronomically speaking, we are in a hippie face of peace and love?

5:37 AM  
Anonymous generic viagra said...

I think this image is kind of unclear! I see like a little alligator in the center, but of course I know it is a product of my imagination

12:31 PM  
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10:04 AM  

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