A million years

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EdgarJPublius
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Re: A million years

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:46 pm UTC

A solar sail is the best way I can see to do it with technology that's remotely possible today. Maybe if that whack 'EM-drive' thingy turns out to work as advertised.
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Eebster the Great
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Re: A million years

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:19 am UTC

Solar sails won't hold up over thousands let alone hundreds of thousands of years. But maybe after it achieved sufficient velocity, it could detach the sail and just float unpowered.

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Re: A million years

Postby sevenperforce » Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:58 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:I wonder if we could send the probe on an orbit that we could be sure would be stable for a million years. Orbits tend to be chaotic on long time scales, although I don't know if a million years really counts as "long" in that sense. Maybe we could find a stabilizing resonance for it or something.

I hear Neptune is nice this time of year epoch.

But sure, we can put a probe into an orbit that should remain stable for a million years. Doesn't necessarily solve the problem of the probe being able to communicate with Earth for a million years. The only thing I could think of would be to make the probe fairly large and coat it in something with an extraordinarily high albedo so that it would be visible from Earth simply due to the reflected sunlight...though distinguishing it from a comet would still be difficult. Perhaps if we made the probe a very large tetrahedron? Then it would at least be visible as a clearly artificial object. Though a million years of orbiting the Sun would probably degrade its surface to the point that the albedo would be all but lost.

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Re: A million years

Postby p1t1o » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:26 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Personally, I suspect that any probe we could send out on a million year mission now, would likely arrive at it's destination to find Humans already there.


Interesting point!

EdgarJPublius wrote:As far actually designing such a probe, trying to keep it powered continuously, even minimally, is probably not possible with current technology over the proposed timescale and through interstellar space. You'd have to make the probe so that it goes dormant in interstellar space, but wakes up again when it gets close enough to star to warm up the electronics and power the solar collectors.


Well, for this, you'd still need a minimal power supply to power the clock...

ucim wrote:Who has that kind of attention span (besides Phssthpok)?


I was going to say R. Daneel Olivaw, but when I looked it up, both he and Phssthpok only operated on timescales of a few tens of thousands of years...

Beavertails wrote:Part of the premise was that we could send the probe wherever we wanted. What if we sent it on a trajectory designed to orbit our own sun at some nominal distance that is less than 1LY. (The orbit can even potentially be extremely elliptical so that it passes w/in the Earth's orbit on every flyby.)

What would that mean for the fuel requirement / or the power needed to keep the probe warm enough and/or keep the communications array functional?

Would it be more feasible then?

No one said we HAD to send it towards Wolf 359 and back to check on Borg activity after all.


This would make it alot easier, essentially eliminating the power generation requirement, leaving only reliability and robustness as the challenge, which can simply be approached with large-scale, solid-state components. I'd have to say independence from its parent star/world/system is a requirement :(

A loop-shaped trajectory, however, might be appropriate.


Eebster the Great wrote:I wonder if we could send the probe on an orbit that we could be sure would be stable for a million years. Orbits tend to be chaotic on long time scales, although I don't know if a million years really counts as "long" in that sense. Maybe we could find a stabilizing resonance for it or something.


See Lyapunov time



Another idea: if you can provide enough propulsion (given scale is not a limitation, this may be trivial) then relativistic time-dilation may mean that the probe doesn't have to last through a million subjective years, shortening the lifespan requirement, perhaps significantly.

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Re: A million years

Postby speising » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:31 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:Another idea: if you can provide enough propulsion (given scale is not a limitation, this may be trivial) then relativistic time-dilation may mean that the probe doesn't have to last through a million subjective years, shortening the lifespan requirement, perhaps significantly.


But then it will be subjected to loads of ultra-hard radiation all of the time, which is probably worse.

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Re: A million years

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:43 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:As far actually designing such a probe, trying to keep it powered continuously, even minimally, is probably not possible with current technology over the proposed timescale and through interstellar space. You'd have to make the probe so that it goes dormant in interstellar space, but wakes up again when it gets close enough to star to warm up the electronics and power the solar collectors.


Well, for this, you'd still need a minimal power supply to power the clock...


No, it would just work off of solar collectors. When it's close enough to a star, the power flow from the collectors would kick the system on.
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Re: A million years

Postby sevenperforce » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:04 pm UTC

Good luck building a solar panel capable of providing useful current 999,975 years after its warranty expires.

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Re: A million years

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:32 pm UTC

solar collector != photovoltaics
Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

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Eebster the Great
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Re: A million years

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:50 am UTC

So by "solar collector" you mean "black surface"?

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sevenperforce
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Re: A million years

Postby sevenperforce » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:57 pm UTC

Would a "black surface" and a thermocouple be sufficiently simple and robust to serve the requisite purpose?

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Re: A million years

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:18 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:
ucim wrote:Who has that kind of attention span (besides Phssthpok)?


I was going to say R. Daneel Olivaw, but when I looked it up, both he and Phssthpok only operated on timescales of a few tens of thousands of years...

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Captain Jack Harkness
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Re: A million years

Postby BlackSails » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:47 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:I wonder if we could send the probe on an orbit that we could be sure would be stable for a million years. Orbits tend to be chaotic on long time scales, although I don't know if a million years really counts as "long" in that sense. Maybe we could find a stabilizing resonance for it or something.


Positions of planets cant be accurately predicted to more than a few tens of millions of years.

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Re: A million years

Postby Neil_Boekend » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:23 am UTC

I assume that that is because planets have high mass. A few tonne probe would be much more susceptible to the changes in gravity caused by those planets than other planets are.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
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Re: A million years

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:02 am UTC

I don't really see why the situation would be any different.

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Re: A million years

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:44 am UTC

Yeah, the probe follows the same curvature the planet does, and doesn't bring along the complications of its own influence on the surroundings. It should be no more or less erratic and actually simpler (trivially, I guess, n-1 bodies to keep track of) than the planet's path. We're intermittently imagining the probe acting like a probe, which means traveling independent of a solar system in a way that a planet, by definition, does not, but solar systems also follow the same curves, so....
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Neil_Boekend
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Re: A million years

Postby Neil_Boekend » Tue Aug 25, 2015 10:20 am UTC

Of course!
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

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Re: A million years

Postby p1t1o » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:54 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:
Eebster the Great wrote:I wonder if we could send the probe on an orbit that we could be sure would be stable for a million years. Orbits tend to be chaotic on long time scales, although I don't know if a million years really counts as "long" in that sense. Maybe we could find a stabilizing resonance for it or something.


Positions of planets cant be accurately predicted to more than a few tens of millions of years.


Not necessarily, as linked above.

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Re: A million years

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:57 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:Positions of planets cant be accurately predicted to more than a few tens of millions of years.

p1t1o wrote:Not necessarily, as linked above.

I suspect that you misread BlackSails's post, p1t1o. :)

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Re: A million years

Postby p1t1o » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:39 am UTC

Oh for the love of...

Guilty!

"Can", "Can't", what is the difference really?

Sorry Blacksails :oops:

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Re: A million years

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Aug 28, 2015 10:01 am UTC

You aren't the only guilty one of exactly that.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his


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