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GoatLord

Can we really disover it all?

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If humanity manages to travel to the stars and eventually becomes aware of all star systems and all planets and civilizations, what will be left is "God," that is, not the deity but rather the question marks still looming over our heads, such as the existence of parallel universes and whether there are a finite number of them, or whether there is even a perceivable edge to our own unvierse. Do you think it's possible to reach a point where we can answer those questions? Or is the universe simply so vast that there will ALWAYS be unanswered questions?

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GoatLord said:

Do you think it's possible to reach a point where we can answer those questions?


For those specific ones you asked, we would be definitively be able to trivially answer them if their backing theory is utterly discredited.

Otherwise, answering even one of them positively would trigger a near-infinite stream of new questions (but that can be done for almost everything). So there.

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Probably not. Our Universe is one of (possibly) infinite universes, and we'd have to figure out how to travel to other universes first if we even wanted to begin exploring them.

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Hell, we're having trouble just getting to fucking Mars. Sending a man to the moon took a few days, and most of the fuel was used just to escape Earth's velocity. Imagining taking that trip a couple thousand times to get to Mars. It seems so vast, even the seemingly small distances between planets. But there may come a time when even lightyears measure a trivial distance.

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It doesn't take 6000 days to get to Mars. It doesn't even take that long with those fuel-saving gravity-assist probes that slingshot themselves around the Earth a couple of times on the way.

Anyway, we can never definitively answer all the questions because we aren't big and omniscient enough to observe all the necessary variables. You don't just need universe-scale exploration for something like that: you also need universe-scale high-speed communication and data processing, which at the very least probably implies you need to suck up most of the resources of a universe to do it, and thus change the nature of the things you were trying to learn.

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Regarding the amount of time it takes to reach Mars, if there's no real friction or resistance in space, what is it that actually restricts the maximum velocity of a spacecraft?

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Whether it's Hell or Nirvana, I want to see it ALL. Can't wait. Just need to get my hands on a holographic portal.

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Can we really discover it all?


In short: no.

In long: nooooooooooooooooooooooo...

Sadly it's against human nature, the people with the ability to make it happen are more interested in controlling/destroying/fighting for what we already have/know about than discovering what we don't (unless it helps them achieve the former).

Hell, we're having trouble just getting to fucking Mars.


We only got to the moon so fast because there was 2 rival superpowers gunning for the achievement of getting there first, once that was over the motivation (and the funding) just disappeared. I reckon we'd be all over the solar system by now if the space race hadn't stopped at the moon, and the level of interest and investment in space exploration had carried on at the same pace.

(in 1958 we got the first man in space, 11 years later we got the first man on the moon, 42 years later we haven't gotten any further...go figure)

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DooMAD said:

Regarding the amount of time it takes to reach Mars, if there's no real friction or resistance in space, what is it that actually restricts the maximum velocity of a spacecraft?


c - the speed of light.

On a more practical level, you are restricted by the maximum amount of acceleration (and therefore deceleration) you will be able to impart to your spacecraft.

Assuming you want to reach Mars at a controllable speed and not overshoot it or stop way before reaching it, at most you can go full throttle until the middle of the Earth-Mars distance, and then you have to go full-reverse until you reach your destination for the remaining distance, so it all boils down to what acceleration/power your engines are able to deliver continuously. With more powerful engines, you'll be able to reach and stop from greater speeds, in due time. It's a bit like a drag race in that you must REALLY GIVE IT ALL when trying to beat your opponent, and then SLOW THE FUCK DOWN WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT with parachutes and all in order not to get plastered to a roadside wall.

Remember, there's no friction to slow you down if you don't "step on the gas", but you also don't get any "easy" way of braking like you do on Earth: you have to use the same engines for both tasks, so you can't postpone deceleration to the last moment. So if you just "step on the gas" until the middle of the way in order to obtain max speed, you will have to do the same to decelerate to zero speed by the time you complete the other half. No shortcuts here.

And unless a really cheap and efficient form of space propulsion is discovered, it will be the norm to trade longer travel times for propellant economy.

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Ignoring the practical problems of space travel, it's fundamentally impossible to really "discover it all." There's no evidence we could ever possibly encounter in our Universe that could disprove the theory that everything we experience is a figment of our imagination, or that we're just brains floating in vats, or in a computer simulation, or etc. Now, I'm not arguing in favour of any of those old ideas, just that... we can't really know what's out there.

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Am I alone in thinking it would be detrimental to the human spirit if there was nothing left to be discovered?

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DoomUK said:

Am I alone in thinking it would be detrimental to the human spirit if there was nothing left to be discovered?


*cough cough* Middle Ages *cough cough*

Those were a pretty stagnant situation (except for discoveries in warfare, of course) and the average peasant's/serf's life didn't change for centuries, as did their level of ignorance. Even then however, there were people who had it easy: feudal lords, nobles, etc.

So no, assuming that you're born on the right side of the tracks you can have a quite un-detrimental life even in the lowliest, shittiest scenario you can imagine, as there will always be someone "in charge" or "above" the rest.

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The Ultimate DooMer said:

(in 1958 we got the first man in space, 11 years later we got the first man on the moon, 42 years later we haven't gotten any further...go figure)


1958?!? Only if you count those spooky conspiracy theories about the Russians launching doomed cosmonauts with no prospect of recovery. (This would be somewhat plausible if missile tracking weren't already pretty good at the time). No, they launched Yuri Gagarin in 1961.

This of course means it was only nine years (slightly less) between that happening and men walking on the moon. I find it interesting the Soviet space program had enough issues that they never managed the feat at the time. Their designs for spacecraft to do it looked typically Russian, eg. spacewalking to get into their version of the LEM.

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Or is the universe simply so vast that there will ALWAYS be unanswered questions?

It isn't really a question of the "vastness of the universe" - questions like the existence of a god are inherently unfalsifiable and so can never be answered - unless evidence of such a thing was found, which seems unlikely.

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fraggle said:

It isn't really a question of the "vastness of the universe" - questions like the existence of a god are inherently unfalsifiable and so can never be answered - unless evidence of such a thing was found, which seems unlikely.


If you were paying attention, you'd note that I said, in reference to God, "not the deity but rather the question marks still looming over our heads, such as the existence of parallel universes and whether there are a finite number of them, or whether there is even a perceivable edge to our own unvierse."

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There is too much out there to learn, we will never know it all. We will learn the basic principles of how the universe works and even then we don't know for certain as the rules don't apply everywhere. We don't even know if black holes exist despite having a lot of evidence of their manipulation of the space and light around them. We have yet to even see (or at least publicly announce if you're a conspiracy theorist) alien life. We've been stuck within the orbit of the moon as a race and our technology has yet to really exceed our own system and reach the theorized Oort Cloud. The universe is far too vast for any race to comprehend, it is constantly changing, and what we see now is not what it appears in actuality.

[edit]
This is possibly the biggest post I have ever made on these forums, not counting my Xodus thread.

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Discovering it all sounds pretty damned impossible. Will we ever discover all there is to know about our own planet, let alone all this other stuff.

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Seems to me that we shouldn't underestimate the power of human intellect in spite of all the stupidity surrounding us. Each generation is terrible at predicting the future because we end up grossly overestimating certain technologies while grossly underestimating others. I think some very surprising and highly efficient technologies will emerge over the next several thousand years that allow us, over many billions of years, to explore the cosmos in its entirety. The universe will exist for so long that we would have more than enough time to explore it, but we would have to conquer light speed in order to do it, as the galaxies will move so far away from one another that eventually ours will be the only one left.

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