Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Futures

Although I concluded the previous post by imagining that the international interactions of Terrestrial history might be followed by something like the interstellar interactions of Poul Anderson's Technic History, I really think that the future history of Anderson's Genesis is much more plausible: post-human intelligences spreading at sub-light speeds through a mostly lifeless galaxy - or maybe through a galaxy where, although organic life is common, everything else - multi-cellularity, consciousness, intelligence, civilization and technology - is rare. All that life requires is energized complex molecules changing randomly until one of them becomes self-replicating. Everything else requires a great deal more.

However, here is a paradox. If a writer of fiction imagines space travellers crossing an immense distance, like to the galactic centre or to another galaxy, but confines his account of those remote regions to what is known about them at the time of writing, then he is definitely wrong. Merely by travelling that far, explorers will learn considerably more than is known at present. As yet, not a single living molecule has been detected off Earth - but extrasolar planets are being detected all the time whereas none were known to exist when I read about the universe in the 1960s. More will be learned but none of it will be anything like what has been imagined.

3 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    Fascinating, thought provoking, and skillfully written tho GENESIS is, I'm not entranced by the theme Anderson developed in that book of artificially created post human AI's traveling thru a mostly lifeless galaxy by STL means. I far prefer the scenarios seen in his HARVEST OF STARS books.

    Yes!!! Every year astronomers are discovering more and more planets! I so much hope that someone finds unequivocally plain evidence of life existing on another planet SOON.

    Sean

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  2. Sadly, it appears that the planets that are in the Goldilocks zone around TRAPPIST-1 are incapable of supporting life. More here:
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/23/trappist1_planetsclimate_model_suggests_no_life/
    Such a pity.

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    Replies
    1. Kaor, Ketlan!

      Yes, I agree, most planets found so far are not likely to be capable of supporting life of any kind. BUT, we are still only at the beginning of this investigation, and the methods we currently have seem to be capable of detecting only the planets least likely to have like. Also, think of the sheer NUMBERS of stars and planets in our galaxy alone. Even a statistically small percentage of stars having planets with live still works out to millions of stars/planets.

      So, I'm not giving up hope of either life being found on other worlds or that some of those planets can be colonized by human beings. To say nothing, of course, of how we need to start merely with our Solar System!

      Sean

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