Project Star Net

Tony Belding (
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 09:42:30 -0600

John K Clark <> wrote:

JKC> The basic idea has merit, I always thought the huge star ship
JKC> Enterprise was dumb because there is no point in hauling millions
JKC> of tons of matter around the galaxy when you can send the really
JKC> important part, information, much easier.

Well, Star Trek was created a long time ago. And besides, TV shows are
created for a mass audience. Their concepts usually lag years behind the SF

But yeah, if you take the laws of physics as we currently understand them, and
you work out the most efficient way to cross interstellar distances, this is
what you come up with. At least, I haven't heard any better ideas yet.

JKC> The seeds would be very small and if it's a Von Neumann self
JKC> replicateor you'd only need to make one.

I read a short story in which Earth was bombarded with such seeds. They were
microscopic, so they didn't have to really be aimed or guided. Instead the
aliens manufactured zillions of them and "sprayed" them toward our solar
system with some kind of accelerator. The idea being that if you launch
enough of them, there's a good chance one will land someplace viable where it
can grow. It's an interesting idea, but I don't know how practical it would

JKC> Even if they moved no faster than existing space probes (a very
JKC> unlikely possibility) there would be several in every star system in
JKC> the galaxy in just an instant of time, less than 50 million years. I
JKC> don't see any such probes in our galaxy and that's one reason I think
JKC> ET's are unlikely.

50 million years? That may be an "instant" in the cosmic scheme of things,
but I hope we can do much better! I once read an estimate that the whole
galaxy could be colonized in about 200,000 years using starships.

As for ETs being unlikely -- I tend to agree with your reasoning, but I would
prefer not to make a judgement on such skimpy information. There's a lot we
still don't know.

JKC> However, before any of this happens we will have achieved immortality
JKC> and mastered Nanotechnology, uploading and artificial intelligence, and
JKC> it will be a radically different world. I don't think an organization to
JKC> promote this idea could do much good, by the time it happens any ideas
JKC> we have now on the subject won't be of any use, it would be like Pikaia,
JKC> the first animal with a spinal cord that lived 570 million years ago
JKC> worrying about the year 2000 computer bug.

Hm... I dunno. I'll have to think about that. I do think the problems
related to the operation of the network itself should be straightforward.

Here's something else... The coming times will be marked with upheaval and
chaos. Already it seems like few people care about achieving greatness. Too
many want only safety, security, and lots of toys. It might be nice for
people to have some larger goal in the future to look forward to.

   Tony Belding