The Economics of Interstellar Travel [Weekly Lecture]

The Economics of Interstellar Travel [Weekly Lecture] - The...

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The Economics of Interstellar Travel Introduction: This week, the course will cover: The properties of life. The possibilities of extraterrestrial life in our solar system. The types of stars that could have life bearing planets. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence. In this week's lecture, I would like to cover a topic, The Economics of Interstellar Travel, which is rarely, if at all, addressed but which pertains to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, the Fermi Paradox, i.e., “Where are they?”, and the existence of UFO's. Lecture: As described in the textbook, if there is an interstellar civilization, then it will colonize planets in all regions of our galaxy in a few million years. In this scenario, a civilization sends colonists to other star systems, and several hundred years later, after the technological infrastructure is rebuilt, the colonies send out colonists of their own to more distant stars. At reasonable starship speeds, this wave of colonization would cover the entire galaxy on a timescale short compared to the evolution of life on earth. To date, the SETI efforts have not detected any signals from such an interstellar civilization. Additionally, there are no 'obvious' signs that such a civilization has ever visited the earth. It is like visiting New York City and not seeing any people walking the streets. The SETI searches are neither complete nor exhaustive, so the absence of proof of existence is not yet proof of absence. Since the surface of the earth is geologically active, it is also easy to imagine scenarios in which the evidence of previous visits would be destroyed. Or perhaps the interstellar visitors were just extremely tidy and took all their trash and camping gear back home with them. While this is an Astronomy course, the disciplines of History and Economics might provide a more mundane answer to the question of “Where are they?”. Based on our own history, why have large numbers of people traveled great distances to new lands? 1.
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2010 for the course SCI 151 taught by Professor Jackson during the Fall '09 term at University of Phoenix.

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The Economics of Interstellar Travel [Weekly Lecture] - The...

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