predictions if wave passed here

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 11:23:00 MDT

Prediction if wave passed here: not observable, since no
survivors. The universe looks dead because we're alive. Or, rather,
the other way round.

Seriously, with our current level of technology the fastest
colonization mechanism would be by launching a very small seed (<<100
kg, probably requiring NEMS level of tech) driven by carbon truss
cloth sail powered by a phased array of microwave generators made from
a disassembled asteroid on a circumstellar orbit. You do the math, but
I reckon the resources of a cubic mile boulder would be more than
sufficient. You should be able to achieve a few gee acceleration using
this technology, and the radiator is fully reusable and
recycleable. (This is what we monkeys in the year 2000 *think* is
optimal with currently known technology).

Because you can't get the microwave spot to focus very well on large
distances, you would use a large number of seeds, lest one gets lost
in transit due to head-on collision. Braking is accomplished by
ejecting a brake sail, which gets accelerated, while deccelerating the
main probe sail. Or you could use a little antimatter assisted fusion,
or whatever.

Such seeds will travel very close to c (braking will probably take
most time), and take negligeable amounts of time to replicate. Days,
maybe weeks. These are the pioneers, and they will not consume a lot
of resources. But pioneers stay. And they will adapt. Plus being
followed by waves of successor species. Right now we're in the
hatching phase, which is very brief in relation to the time it took
Earth to breed us, so we're extremely unlikely to see a pioneer front
sweeping through the local neighbourhood. Lucky we, the first egg to
hatch in the local basket. Unlucky the others, who will never get a
chance to hatch.

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