Energy sources is a priority

Energy sources is a priority

Postby SANEAlex » Tue May 27, 2014 6:55 pm

IMHO Energy is the lowest common denominator of a technological civilisation but a holistic approach is I think better in most situations for complex problems so if i were prepared for the event I would have

A good energy source
A good easily accessible electronic library
A good 3D printer
A genetic seedbank of some kind including an artificial womb system if available by the time we can do interstellar launches(which i think is quite likely)

And concentrate on replicating on the four things above along with increasing the population as someone suggested in another thread to be able to do so.

If crash landing so bad that tech knackered but plant with breathable air and edible food(may be possible if panspermia correct even just at the amino acid level)

I would concentrate on energy when not gathering food.

One possible quick reboot find river with gold nuggets beat gold flat make parabolic mirror out of wood (make rope out of plant fibres and use pendulum with rough rock to "sand" basic parabola) cover with gold leaf and use that as an initial energy concentrator if the planet not too cloudy.
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Re: Energy sources is a priority

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sat May 31, 2014 1:49 pm

I agree that finding a good, easily usable source of energy would be a priority. Wood comes to mind - it would (sorry!!!) be useful for many things e.g. housing, boat building, paper making (The Knowledge p 207), methanol production (used as a fuel and solvent), weapons for hunting (bows, arrows, spears) and handles for tools. So our landing party would need to include carpenters and others skilled in the use of wood and, of course, we would need to make sure that our new home planet had forests aplenty.

As to electronic devices - I think we have to look at something simpler. Any such device we take with us will not last long and it will take many years to reach the stage where we can reproduce them. Materials required include; silicon, germanium and copper. Finding the ores, extracting the elements and producing transistors and integrated circuits requires a range of skills, geologists, metallurgists, production engineers and electronic engineers. As mentioned above we would need to ascertain if the raw materials existed on the destination planet.

As to seedbanks - absolutely necessary but would the soil composition, for example, of our target exoplanet be suitable for plants native to Earth? Now we need not only farmers and gardeners but agronomists as well.

Location of the first settlements and transport become key. As early man progressed across Europe the seas and rivers were important highways (not the barriers as many tend to see them today). As man did then, putting down roots at river estuaries is something interplanetary settlers might well emulate (don't build on flood plains though or on top of cliffs likely to erode). Sources of raw materials would also dictate where we would set up home although, as did early Europeans, transport by river and sea over distances of several hundreds of miles should be possible. Along with all the other skills we would need meteorologists and oceanographers to understand weather and ocean currents.

But what can we determine about a prospective new home from our present one? Orbital characteristics we can do, atmospheres if the ESA Echo spacecraft becomes a reality but determining planetary geology from afar is way beyond our capabilities at present. We may be able to determine more from a spacecraft orbiting the prospective new home and certainly from landers as is being done on Mars but communicating such data back to Earth over such vast distances is not something we can do at present.

The more one digs into this the more one comes to understand how difficult such an undertaking would be. Unless you believe in UFOs it is no wonder we haven't been paid a visit by an extraterrestrial civilisation. Putting a positive spin on this exercise it is not until the requirements and challenges they pose are defined that you can hope to seek solutions to them.

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Re: Energy sources is a priority

Postby BillF » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:49 pm

Dr. Dartnell well articulates wood's immense use as a resource. Before I'm going to cut down trees, I am going to have two things with me. First a rocket stove to dramatically limit the amount of biochar needed. I want a Stirling engine, and, as the Dr. points out, a wonderfully useful alternator with some deep cycle batteries. This engine will be heated by either the stove, or a parabolic dish. Seriously couldn't we fit in a television dish and some BoPET (mylar) into the cargo hold?
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