Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Star trek criteria

19.02.2002


Interstellar travellers should be "motivated, tolerant and nice".


Star trekking: space voyagers should be one big family.
© Startrek.com



One hundred and sixty fertile, motivated, English speakers could make it to distant stars, researchers have worked out. But generations down the line, returning voyagers may speak an alien tongue.

Travel to planets orbiting other stars will soon be technically possible, the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in Boston heard last week. But the 200-year odyssey will require a certain kind of crew.


Sci-fi teams of frozen humans and cyborgs "didn’t seem likely to make it", anthropologist John Moore of the University of Florida in Gainsville told the meeting. Families, he reckons, are a better basis for long-term travel.

Moore has worked out the smallest group that could maintain a crew over 8-10 generations. Each person must have a choice of ten possible partners, his population simulation calculates. If women had children late in life, the crew could drop to 80.

Language of intergalactic love

Prospective couples should woo in English, said linguist Sarah Thomason of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Global politics would probably dictate a multinational mix, but the current international language is the most obvious choice for conversation.

But if the journey takes 500 years, home and ship "won’t be able to talk to each other", Thomason predicts. Down-to-Earth words like ’horse’ and ’truck’ would have no meaning on board, and the slang of interstellar adolescents would diverge from Earth-speak. The crew would have to be beamed language lessons, Thomason said.

Temperament is also critical. "You want motivated, tolerant, nice people," said Moore. This should ensure future generations don’t lose interest in the mission and head for the nearest hospitable asteroid belt. Whether the band would actually get on would be more a matter of luck, the researchers conceded.

The exercise is not science fiction, explained space scientist Geoffrey Landis of the NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland. Several ways to reach other solar systems have been proposed in recent years. These include using a laser beam projected from Earth to push a vast space sail. Such a ship might travel at 30,000 kilometres per second - around a tenth of light speed.

"There’s actually been some testing done," revealed Landis: "Ultimately, this is going to happen." No one is taking crew applications yet, however.

HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Computer model predicts how fracturing metallic glass releases energy at the atomic level
20.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht What happens when we heat the atomic lattice of a magnet all of a sudden?
18.07.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>