[ExI] Interstellar Travel is really hard

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Jan 9 14:38:32 UTC 2022

On Sun, 9 Jan 2022 at 06:05, Rafal Smigrodzki via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
<big snip>
> ### As I said, just one group who likes to travel, out of thousands who like to navel-gaze, collapses this line of argument.
> It's just like when a bacterial culture in a small flask with 10e7 cells is exposed to antibiotic - even if 99.9999% are sensitive, you are guaranteed to have a thick broth of bacteria descended from the remaining 0.0001% filling the flask in a couple of days.
> Rafal
> _______________________________________________

Your example is correct for those circumstances, but I don't think it
can be applied to existential crises on planetary populations or
interstellar travel.
Looking back over millions of years it appears to us that an asteroid
wiped out the dinosaurs. But it wasn't really like that. The asteroid
set off a chain of disasters that gradually over many years reduced
numbers until survival became impossible.
For an interstellar ship traveling at 20% of lightspeed the journey
will be long, probably over 20 years just to the nearest star. A lot
can go wrong in 20 years. Cosmic ray damage, supplies running out,
machine breakdown, medical problems, etc.  Hitting a speck of dust at
that speed is problematic. And it won't be just one speck of dust and
some of the specks of dust might be small rocks.
Existential survival is not a one and done exercise. You have to
survive emergencies again and again.
That's what I mean when I say interstellar travel is really hard.


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