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18 Jan 2019 04:25

I'm guilty of editing late too, I hope you all refresh the page and reread what I posted, I added some material.

Oops, now it's on the previous page lol.
 
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18 Jan 2019 17:46

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post So space is filled with failed probes that were launched with uselessly low velocities?

Although I don't necessarily disagree with you here, it does seem to be a bit of a logical fallacy on your part to scoff at the alien probe hypothesis while accepting it's no less extreme natural origin. In light of our ignorance in some other details, this presumed knowledge is as dangerous as erroneous knowledge.

The defunct alien probe theory never states that space is filled with these things, and it is a straw-man counterargument to paint it as such. You are quite right however to point out the statistical absurdity of the first interstellar object we encounter being an alien craft, derelict or no. It goes against intuitive mathematical logic and is a fine example of when the aforementioned Principle of Mediocrity must be applied. 'Oumuamua is a single sample, thereby informing us that it must represent the majority of interstellar objects in space by virtue of it's physical characteristics. The door of absurdity swings both ways though when we consider a natural origin: it is equally as strange that the first interstellar object we discover contorted itself in such an extreme condition. The geophysical natural forces involved in making such geometry might be as rare as those that make life possible on planets. If natural, why such an odd shape? Does spatial flotsam 'need' to be a weird shape in order to escape it's solar-system or does interstellar travel warp it into that shape. Would this data impregnation approach to evaluation be committing a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy?

Regarding a natural origin or an artificial one, our lack of exact knowledge as to physical details is dangerous and it renders the Principle of Mediocrity moot. The Principle needs assured data on the one sample to make broader predictions on other categorical numerology, and this is something we don't have, despite what Spacetime tells us. Variations on a data theme or alternative explanations to phenomena represent real uncertainties in the validity of the data lauded. This is the key problem - 'Oumuamua does not help us determine the population density of interstellar debris. Previous predictions as to the density of interstellar objects did NOT predict the detection of 'Oumuamua at the time and distance it was. Using that same inaccurate data would tell us that tens of trillions of such objects are kicking around our Oort cloud - something that clearly isn't the case as such density would be easily detectable. What we need is another sample to verify against our one sample bias. With newer and more sensitive telescopes we might have that solution. if we discover another NEO with 'Oumuamua's characteristics - then great! They are clearly a strange category of objects or represent at least a categorically larger group in interstellar debris. Clearly the artificial origin hypothesis would be in error at that point, and some other natural strangeness is at work. If we discover another NEO without 'Oumuamua's characteristics, then the uncomfortable questions regarding the supposed eminence of the Principle of Mediocrity are raised again. If the other interstellar objects are more natural-looking, why is 'Oumuamua so unusual? It represents a crack in the scientific philosophy. But if we look and look and see nothing, and instead have to search a far larger and further field of space, again the question will loom high: why was the first object detected lie the way it was. A realization like that would be counter-intuitive to the Principle of Mediocrity. 
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18 Jan 2019 22:47

Stellarator wrote:
Source of the post Although I don't necessarily disagree with you here, it does seem to be a bit of a logical fallacy on your part to scoff at the alien probe hypothesis while accepting it's no less extreme natural origin.

Accepting a hypothesis requires that we test and isolate that hypothesis as the only working one, which we now cannot do, because it is too far away and we cannot catch up to it to get new observations.  We have to wait and hope for new objects to come by to get more data on their properties and numbers.

What I am doing is checking if this hypothesis satisfyingly resolves any oddities without introducing new ones.  If we propose that it is a failed probe, then this predicts that space is filled with similar objects, because our encounter with such slow object would then be by random chance so there must be a lot of them.  Maybe we were lucky.  But the motivation for proposing it was a probe targeted at us in the first place was to make it a non-random encounter to reduce the required number of similar objects filling space and make it seem less lucky.

Likewise, interpreted as a comet, current models don't predict there should be so many to make this a statistically likely encounter.  Maybe we were lucky.  Or perhaps there are more of them than we expected.  This wouldn't be too surprising since those models are very poorly constrained, and as PBS Space-time explained there are some fairly reasonable ways that the population could be greater.
 
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19 Jan 2019 01:36

A question- why did we never send out anything to examine this object to see what it was?  Was it just on very short notice and have we not the capabilities to send something out to examine it?  It seems science in this area is still at a very primitive state that we need years of planning and cant send a probe out at a moment's notice to examine unusual transitory objects like these up close.  It's been 60 years since the space program began, it's very disappointing that it's been advancing so slowly- and sometimes going backwards (since the 60s moon landings anyway)  :(

I dont think this object is from the Oort cloud or the Kuiper belt or anything like that, it's clearly from outside our solar system, we just dont know from where and what its origin is.  I think if the Principle of Mediocrity is true we should see more of these objects pass through but that we haven't before might just speak to the vastness of space rather than the Principle being wrong.


So it's possible we got lucky AND the Principle is true at the same time, while there may be many more of these objects out there, it's hard to imagine space being crowded with them, because space is so vast.  At the same time, we'd have great difficulty detecting objects like this until they actually enter our solar system.
 
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19 Jan 2019 02:37

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post But the motivation for proposing it was a probe targeted at us in the first place was to make it a non-random encounter to reduce the required number of similar objects filling space and make it seem less lucky.

Yes, the probe hypothesis does strike one as a rather quaint observation. But further to the point, to what degree did the distance required for us to detect it by the pan-STARS 1 telescope play into the statistical likelihood of detection and thereof extrapolated population?

I would still like to read of some theoretical models that attempt an explanation of 'Oumuamua's bizarre shape (whether or not it is cigar-shaped or pancaked). The closest analog I heard of was a spallation impact. To explore this thought, if 'Oumuamua is natural, the statistical improbability problem still arises due to it's unusual shape, especially if other interstellar objects discovered have a more expected potato-shape. The asteroid 2015 BZ509 discovered in 2015 orbiting Jupiter could be an illuminating example, if indeed it is of interstellar origin. 

Watsisname wrote:
Source of the post What I am doing is checking if this hypothesis satisfyingly resolves any oddities without introducing new ones.

Occam's Razor.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post A question- why did we never send out anything to examine this object to see what it was?  Was it just on very short notice and have we not the capabilities to send something out to examine it?

'Oumuamua was moving at roughly 315,000 kilometres per hour (196,000 miles per hour) when it approached Earth, and is now traveling at 138,000 kilometres per hour (85,700 miles per hour) away from us. The New Horizons space probe launched by NASA in 2006 had a peak speed in it's Earth/Sun escape trajectory of 57,936 kilometers per hour (36,000 miles per hour) and is the fastest spacecraft on record to be sent into the outer solar-system. So yes, 'Oumuamua is a bit out of our reach currently - but some future designs might be able to catch up with it - there is a proposed mission called Project Lyra that wants to examine 'Oumuamua via powered flybys between the sun and Jupiter.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I dont think this object is from the Oort cloud or the Kuiper belt or anything like that, it's clearly from outside our solar system, we just dont know from where and what its origin is.

It's status as a interstellar object was never in question, really. We do know that it had come from the gravitational well of Vega some 600,000 years ago, but beyond that it could have come from almost anywhere in the galaxy.

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post it's hard to imagine space being crowded with them, because space is so vast.

This does bring to mind the notion of von Neumann probes, though 'Oumuamua does not match the expected criteria for such a craft. Certainly an alien civilization with sufficient automation could pump out a great number of probes and potentially fill the galaxy with them within many hundreds of thousands or millions of years.
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19 Jan 2019 02:49

I find what you said about its odd shape fascinating- did that arise out of natural selection, that it had to be that shape to make it all the way over here?  We'll only answer that if we find more of these objects.  And perhaps these objects are just as rare as life on other planets!  I hope our detection methods improve- they might need to anyway, imagine if one of these objects was on a collision course with Earth!

Wait, so all hope is not lost and the object will still be close enough for Project Lyra to examine it?  Would that happen within the next 10 years?
 
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19 Jan 2019 03:15

The hardest part about getting something to it -- and getting meaningful data back -- is that if we send something there in a reasonable time then it will be very hard to slow down once it gets there.

'Oumuamua is (we think) less than 1 km across, so getting data from a high speed flyby is even more challenging than Ultima Thule was for New Horizons.  In the dim light that far from the Sun, long exposure times would be necessary, but the object would zip past so quickly that it'd be hard to capture any detail before it shrinks to just another dot in the background again.  Although it could be argued that almost any new data could be very useful for understanding it better, even if we don't manage an image with more than a few pixels resolution.
 
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19 Jan 2019 05:29

What I wouldn't give for a Star Trek type tractor beam right now..... (is that scientifically feasible in the future)?
 
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29 Jan 2019 00:55

I found this episode of SFIA to be interesting:

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29 Jan 2019 05:13

this article you found is also excellent

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6122 ... lien-life/
 
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30 Jan 2019 00:23

A-L-E-X wrote:
this article you found is also excellent

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/6122 ... lien-life/

It's the most concise of its kind I've read, and honestly reflects the advances in the field of SETI (or present lack thereof).
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31 Jan 2019 05:04

and also puts what we can and cant do in its proper perspective by showing us the magnitude of the problems we face!
 
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13 Feb 2019 18:08

A-L-E-X wrote:
Source of the post I can think of several benefits to this, to combine the best properties of each into one common being that has a lifespan long enough to explore the entire universe and perhaps one day even outlast it (either by causing the universe to rebang in the far future, journeying to other universes or creating our own universes to explore ourselves.)

That's the ultimate transhumanist goal - and a worthy one at that :). I'm not entirely sure if we can travel to other universes with the knowledge of technology and science that we currently have - but who knows what scientific breakthroughs an ASI could make. Probably of a magnitude that we cannot even grasp or would even think of. They would solve the "Unknown unknowns" in science - whereas we can only solve "Known unknowns". 
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13 Feb 2019 19:58

I think it is very likely for civilizations to either wipe themselves out or to spread, peak, and then turn themselves off.


If we think about this problem rationally we run to an issue, eventually you will know all you can know and cannot know anymore.  An ASI is the kind of intelligence we can expect out of this, but the same applies to humans.  We all want to control our emotions better, to dictate our thoughts better, to think better, to have better memory, and its that constant chasing that drives you to extinction. 

There will come a point where you outsmart the biological notions of fulfillment and happiness and see there is no purpose to life, and especially if heat death cannot be stopped and you can't go to other universes, then you come to the logical conclusion

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13 Feb 2019 22:02

Yep - if certain civilizations did achieve a kind of immortality that is obvious to astronomical observations, then we'd have seen them by now. The old Fermi Paradox. Current knowledge of the cosmos suggests that a) civilizations don't last long enough to make much of an artificial impact on the galaxy to eventually be observed by us in our relative timeframe and b) if high technological 'ascension' does occur, it has little effect on anything we could detect. The ultimate fate of ASI-type entities might be suicide... as countless sci-fi books explore.
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