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Old 05-03-2013, 05:36 AM
JKellyMap's Avatar
JKellyMap is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 9,710
That sucks. Deep down I always knew this to be true, but I appreciate your detailed but very readable reasoning.

In your opinion (anyone can chime in), how does this shape your attitude toward interstellar communication? It's looking like that, at least, might happen... 50 years between messages (let's say) brings its own challenges, but less insurmountable. But what will it mean to talk to "folks" we know we can never meet? I guess a bit like friends or family members who live on either side of an uncrossable border, but who can exchange letters (surely this has happened in human history, probably somewhere right now) -- writ large.

More likely still is that we will detect life forms on some exoplanet, and know soon after that they're not "intelligent" in any way. We'll be able to say something like, "90% probability it's pondscum, 10% probability it's more like a slime mold," and that's it. We'll never be able to get close enough to know more.

Or -- does removing the human body from your scenarios help things at all? That is, might we be able to send a vehicle to said exoplanet and have it return to earth with a stlll-living sample of said pondscum?

Last edited by JKellyMap; 05-03-2013 at 05:37 AM.