2150-2200 sub trends and detours; synthetic equivalents of complete human beings,
versatile "force fields", and direct energy conversion technologies start becoming
Artificial humanoids similar in quality to "Data" of the late 20th century television show Star
Trek the Next Generation become available.
Direct energy conversion (anti-matter based; E=mc squared) comes online in a few pilot projects by government,
corporate, and military agencies, including aboard certain spacecraft. Nuclear fusion
is used at present for most general energy-intensive tasks, with fuel cells used
in things like personal ground vehicles...
Nanotechnology-based buffer fields become available for advanced spacecraft and aircraft
as inertial dampeners allowing higher accelerations, protection against space debris,
and for artificial gravity/'healthy stress' purposes. In the more advanced craft of this time, such fields may even be used to emulate physical aerodynamic surfaces in order to exploit planetary atmospheres for braking and course adjustments with minimal onboard mass and maximum flexibility of resources.
Japanese Store Selling Custom-Made Robots That Look Like Their Owners December 14, 2009 by Lisa Zyga; physorg.com
Some future spacecraft are likely to utilize at least a few aerodynamics-related control surfaces to exploit atmospheric lift/drag for fuel-free manuevers about planets. In some cases a combination of aerodynamics and fuel expenditures can accomplish manuevers faster than rockets alone, even where fuel is plentiful.
-- Using Planet's Atmosphere To Conserve Spacecraft Fuel By James E. Kloeppel, 30-Nov-1999, UniSci Daily, unisci.com
These buffer fields are very different from
the purely electromagnetic "force fields" fantasized about in old science fiction,
in that the present buffer fields are a mix of electromagnetic manipulations and
communications and vast clouds of often microscopic machines, working in concert
and possessing a single consciousness to guide and support their operations. In later generations
more redundancy is added in the form of alternate communications and manipulation
channels where EM may be inadequate for the task. These buffer fields can contain
particulate machines of whatever scale is required for a particular task, but typically
the individual units are small enough to become embedded all throughout a human passenger's
physical form, and work in concert with its fellows surrounding the body and extending to other mass in the ship to cushion and minimize accelerations, or provide
simulated accelerations like 'artificial gravity' where needed. Aside from the desired
perceptions of a gravitic or inertial nature, such passengers usually cannot detect
the presence of this class of buffer field-- and no injury is inflicted by the field's
dispersion throughout the passenger's body. This technology cannot mimic absolutely
the natural force of gravity, but it can minimize the damage a human being suffers
from a lack of gravity long term.
A person accustomed to Earth gravity, then subjected to the purely artifical gravity
of a buffer field, can detect the difference, as the artificial gravity is accomplished
by vastly different techniques than the natural kind. However, the difference is
sufficiently small that the passenger will forget it within days or weeks of sustained
-- "Beware swarms of 'smart dust'" by Duncan Graham-Rowe, EurekAlert! /New Scientist issue 28th August 99
The availability of this form of artificial gravity begins to add greatly to the flexibility
and capacities of new spacecraft, spacestation, and colony designs, as well as physically-based virtual reality scenarios. In its earliest forms, the technology often resembles a breathable liquid onboard spacecraft. That is, it was a special environment for crew or passengers aboard craft which might endure significant periods of microgravity. The fluid was denser than air, closer to the consistency of water, which made breathing it more of a labor. But that was the whole point at that time; labor. The slight resistance to breathing and movement the gel presented to those immersed helped ameloriate the adverse effects of micro-gravity, both physically and mentally. The earliest version of the gel was the breakthrough required for humanity to live in low gravity conditions for long periods of time. Later a more advanced variation of the gel will be used largely for entertainment purposes, and be called "Scenario Gel". END NOTE.
Purely magnetic and electro-magnetic fields are also heavily used today, as humanity has discovered how to exploit them in manners not greatly unlike the fluid dynamics of earlier times.
Hybrid terraforming of Venus begins; plans are for both planet and humans to be modified
to fit one another, meeting somewhere in the middle-- since Venus is not considered
cost-effective for other designs. New Venusians are essentially heavily modified
cyborgs with some new gene-based capacities thrown in.
Star Trek-style lightspeed transporters become available on a few major routes
of travel-- but limited to non-living freight/cargo purposes only. Just a handful
of routes are available for this, and such transport is costly enough that only major
corporate, military, and government agencies typically use it-- and even then only for
emergencies or urgent shipments, in most cases. Note that this isn't exactly transport as such, but rather something much more similar to the credit card verification experienced by late 20th century USAmericans during shopping. Because the replicators associated with lightspeed transport can produce many commodity items on-site without need of an originating signal, so long as sufficient raw mass is available locally for feedstock. No, in cases such as detailed here, the replicators are actually only asking for authorization to materialize various copyrighted or patented items locally as part of a retail transaction-- with actual downloads of related blueprints/formulas sometimes made at this time as well (for temporary use in materialization). I.e., no actual items are DE-materialized at the starting point, for many replicator uses-- except where the legal standing of certain materials/items require such a dematerialization (destruction) of an original item before allowing a similar materialization elsewhere. However, as simply downloading necessary product designs/material formulas, and/or the required authorization all can occur no faster than lightspeed, the end effect at the destination often appears to be a wait for a physical transport.
Replicators cannot produce some special materials, such as anti-matter fuel, for a variety of legal, safety, economic, and technical reasons. They can however produce fuel suitable for both ion and fusion drives. Unfortunately, the high inefficiency and cost of replication makes its use as a fuel generator impractical for most purposes at this time.
Industry/economic concerns about low cost replication contribute to the delay of widespread deployment of replicators-- even as the public demands replication technology
adoption be accelerated to improve the human condition. As described earlier, inefficiency and cost concerns also dog the technology.
Significant anxiety is arising in human society over its heavy and growing dependence
on superhuman artificial intelligences and robots...partially this anxiety comes
from popular media of the day playing off of well known accidents and alarming events
in this field over past decades...it also comes from several scary market crashes in
this period later traced back to 'herd' decisions made by many similarly programmed
virtual employees directed to monitor and act on the stock market and retail markets
for their owners. Innocent snafu or computerized conspiracy? Many wonder.
The first Lunar skyhook begins operation (a tower many miles high which essentially
provides elevator service from ground level to orbit and vice versa).
Relatively low cost transport is now available for many popular routes across the solar
system-- the catch is the media and average velocities involved. Competing technologies for this slot typically require weeks
to months in transit within the orbit of Mars (anything beyond Mars orbit can require years or even decades in this low cost class of transport). Living things must usually ride in a fairly uncomfortable, inconvenient, and scary-to-contemplate lengthy stasis, and cargo capacity tends to be minimal on these vessels (Of course some individuals enjoy the solitary or isolated sport of solar sailing for short distances, or else setting records for long distance travels). A couple of the technologies in this niche today include two oldies, utlilized primarily by eccentrics and/or highly specialized researchers: automated light sail and perpetual centrifugal drivers. Automated light sail (with higher priority trips utilizing high powered laser beams fed via solar energy, and lower priority trips using merely reflected/concentrated sunbeams). The perpetual centrifugal drivers essentially throw and catch small but high density projectiles among themselves in order to provide a means of propulsion and deceleration for spacecraft whereby a minimum of onboard fuel storage or power sources are required. The size of the projectiles can vary significantly, depending on the capacities of drivers at either end of a shot, from nannite size through ball bearing through several tons of mass per unit shot. Similar to light sail propulsion, transport via perpetual centrifugal drivers requires both launching and destination stations for practical efficiency (although a vessel with sufficient shot mass to simply dump could also derive some temporary propulsion benefits from the onboard mechanism).
-- "Centrifugally launched ball bearings could propel spacecraft", News From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
August 1998, James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor
But the above obsolete solar sail tech does not represent the mainstream of solar sailing today. No, that honor goes to the much more flexible and powerful M2P2-based technologies, which today offer velocities anywhere from 0.0003 lightspeed to 0.06 lightspeed, utilizing magnetized plasma shaped by electro-magnetic fields to deploy as virtual sails and/or propellers, turbines, and other control surfaces against the solar wind, as well as supplemental propulsive technologies to achieve the high end of velocities (note speeds above 0.005 lightspeed require very expensive supplemental technologies and suffer range limitations at this time which make such velocities via M2P2 tech impractical for journeys much greater than one to two Astronomical Units).
The vast majority of M2P2 craft today possess a top speed of only around 0.003 lightspeed. However, this works out to most journeys inside the solar system lasting only days to weeks-- months at most. This makes M2P2 the preferred means of low payload interplanetary propulsion for more than a century to come.
The relatively low payload capacity of M2P2 propulsion makes it unsuitable for certain jobs however. And for deep space missions (beyond the heliosphere) it loses substantial steam as well. Thus, deep space missions sometimes use M2P2 for a first or second stage means of propulsion at launch, and for auxiliary uses beyond that-- but not as long range primary propulsion.
-- "New spacecraft propulsion method could be out of this solar system", EurekAlert!, 16 AUGUST 1999
Contact: Vince Stricherz
University of Washington
The solar wind loses density/strength the further from the Sun one travels. But in response the M2P2 field simply increases in size, thereby maintaining a constant propulsive effect for the craft in question (until the solar wind disappears altogether).
-- "Blowing Bubbles in Space" by Lee Dye, Special to ABCNEWS.com, http://www.abcnews.go.com/, ABC News Internet Ventures, found on or about 8-19-99
To put inner system 22nd century light sail and perpetual centrifugal drivers travel into perspective, think of early 20th century blimp travel across Earth's oceans. Typical transit times required for such craft (within the inner system) can range from weeks to years. By comparison, M2P2-derived craft of the period 'feel' more like 20th century two seater private aircraft.
Wealthy individuals and organizations now have their own spacecraft capable of travel within the solar system. The true space boom now begins. A new government/corporate
reward system for verified capture of space debris in a certain size range threatening important routes, as well
as previously enacted laws opening up asteroid and moon real estate for entrepreneurial
mining/refining/colonization, also help fuel the boom.
Practical interplanetary travel among the inner worlds and other bodies may require at minimum speeds of 50,000 mph, or twice what's required to escape Earth orbit. Practical travel throughout the entire system (including the outer reaches encompassing the gas giants and icy moons) may require at least 100,000- 200,000 mph craft.
-- Predictions for the new millennium By LANCE GAY, October 25, 1999, Nando Media/Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.nandotimes.com
The propulsion systems of most vessels at this time depend on what sort of duties they are designed for. Most all include ion engines and M2P2 for maneuvering (even if only as backup systems), and short run heavy payload vessels can utilize ions even for their primary propulsion in some cases. However, intermediate to long run heavy payload craft tend only to use ion engines as primary propulsion for major routes within Sol System which are kept seeded with appropriate fuel by various agencies. Most such routes are private only, with merely a minority offered as a public service at this time. Yes, only emergency and maneuvering fuel is carried onboard such craft, with their main fuel being collected from vaporous trails seeded and reseeded by various utility craft through otherwise empty space.
Of course, anyone can hire fuel laying services for a particular route, but typically they just pay tolls to the agency maintaining the space way they need at the time.
Though basically a tenuous cloud of hydrogen and oxygen atoms from solar radiation broken water molecules is the usual fuel laid down, and therefore comes from captured comets fitted with special refineries/engines of their own which vaporize the essence of the body to both propel it (via mass driver effect) and leave behind the prized fuel wake, denser, higher energy alternatives are also exploited by some for ion drivers. (The comet-based wake generators are essentially sophisticated self-adjusting high resolution mineral extraction nets similar to that used in some cases on asteroids, delivering their full production to the mass drivers comprising primary propulsion and manuevering jets for the comet as a whole. Of course, only light duty extraction nets are required for what's largely flying icebergs rather than solid rock or metal, and the mass drivers are little more than high tech versions of the water squirting toy guns used by 20th century Earth children. The most valuable item of such wakeway generators is the tiny store of antimatter fuel onboard which is used to power the net, mass drivers, and onboard computers, where the generator must operate too far from solar sources to power these items in the usual manner-- such as in laying down the long deep space wakeways which pave the way for early seeder missions to neighboring solar systems.)
Wakeways are longer-lived in some areas than others, depending on many factors (the shortest lived may last only days)-- but their useful lifespan may be extended via various methods.
Wakeways of very fine granularity represent the preferred distribution, due to simpler/more efficient processing onboard into fuel, as well as less impact wear to craft traversing the wakeways. However, at the highest quality (individual hydrogen molecules), the wakeway may be very short-lived, literally being 'blown away' by solar winds in the vicinity. In lower quality granularity, they can be more easily pulled off course by nearby gravity wells. Of course, the more distant a wakeway is from any gravity wells or star, the less of a factor these things become across the board (although then other complexities arise, since solar radiation can be a handy way for pre-processing wakes into individual hydrogen and oxygen atoms for subsequent accumulation by spacecraft). Unfortunately, it is convenient to maintain many wakeways relatively near to gravity wells like planets and moons, as well as in the inner solar system (near the Sun) as well. For these more difficult-to-maintain wakeway routes, several different methods are available for lengthening the useful life of wakeways. They include: One, a coarser granularity of wake, resulting in hefter particles less easily pushed by stellar radiation (but more vulnerable to gravity well attraction) are used near the Sun but away from planets/moons. Two, a finer granularity of wake used near planets/moons, but further out in the system, or else orbiting in synchronization with their associated planetary bodies to use those bodies as 'shields' against solar radiation-- i.e., the wakeways nearest portions keep the planet/moon between them and the sun at almost all times. Three, 'spoke' wakeways which emanate out from the sun like the spokes of a wheel, thereby minimizing their exposure to the push effect of solar radiation but for the one direction facing 'outwards'. Spoke wakeways are typically maintained after initial set up by captured comets placed in relatively close orbit of the Sun but protected by shielding to produce a steady feed of material to the wakeway spoke, using the radiation of the Sun itself as the primary mechanism. Four, with proper scheduling and planning, virtually any granularity of wakeway may be used anywhere desired-- so long as its relative 'shelf-life' is taken into consideration. For example, a fine granular wakeway near the Sun will be useful for only a few days or a week at most without replenishment, so vessels should be scheduled to make the maximum use of it during that period. Five, laser supplementation may be used to extend the useful life of a wakeway under threat from radiation, by confining the wakeway via surrounding beams. I.e., counteracting the solar radiation with artificial radiation. A related alternative is to use a system of mirrors to attain the confining beams desired from the Sun itself.
Who would have guessed that comets naturally leave behind a wake of pollution similar to a 20th century automobile in space?
Natural comet tails turn out to be composed largely of ionized carbon monoxide rather than water molecules.
Sure, comets are mostly composed of water ice, but ultraviolet starlight tends to break down water molecules fairly quickly in the gaseous tails, which can extend for millions of miles from the nucleus and last for days. Water molecules decompose into separate hydrogen and oxygen atoms after only about one day in sunlight, while carbon monoxide lasts upto ten times longer intact. The ionized gas also gets accelerated by the magnetized solar wind.
An additional tidbit of interest here is the discovery of a so far unidentified third molecule in various comet tails.
-- "Comets, Like Cars, Leave Carbon Monoxide In Their Wake", Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 2-18-99
In regard to the "wakeway generators" I theorize about above...They consist of comets encased in a piping network that gradually melt the comet's bulk and squirt the resulting water vapor into the void to propel the comets through space. At minimum days or weeks later (perhaps much longer) other craft can fly through the wake of disassociated hydrogen and oxygen atoms created from this water vapor, collecting them and processing them as fuel for their own engines 'on-the-fly'. This would seem to solve or at least minimize certain problems NASA seems to think are insurmountable today (1998) about spacecraft being capable of going any significant distance, due to their inability to carry sufficient fuel onboard. As ion engines may be among the least thirsty drives of the lot, and also fairly adaptable in terms of fuel, I project ion drive craft being the predominant ones exploiting such wakeways. However, it might be that fusion/fission rocket systems could also be designed to use the system. All these possible spacecraft would utilize some sort of collection system for the vapor somewhat reminiscent of the Bussard collectors of old (though perhaps much simpler and smaller collectors than envisioned by Bussard). Note that in theory such wakeways might even be laid down inbetween solar systems themselves, paving the way for interstellar exploration.
Jonathan Vos Post seems to have done considerable research on a somewhat related idea: using specially created man-made comets of hydrogen ice as self-consuming spacecraft in themselves.
Of course, you'd also have to do a lot of extra work to actually live and work and manuever such a construction, as Post's paper points out. Its "butter-soft" consistency would require mass-adding structural reinforcements, and its normal volatility would also require special refrigeration (read: another power drain on the vessel, comparable to the drag of the extra framing mass). And atop all this you must add all the amenities/supplies/equipment required to make it a livable spacecraft...raising the mass toll still higher in fuel terms (and limiting its range). Of course, Post theorizes getting past that problem via multiple stage ice craft, much like the US used the multi-stage Saturn V to launch its Moon rocket-- an idea which very possibly could work well for certain types of missions regarding this technology.
Post expects his fission rocket propelled device could launch from Sol system and come to a dead stop at Alpha Centauri in only "12.81 years", which isn't bad.
Adapt Post's assumptions and calculations for the wakeway system, and it would appear feasible for wakeways to easily extend over 5 lightyears of distance (maybe more), and craft utilizing them achieve up to .33c to .64c in velocities. Keep in mind that with suitable wakeways available, ships wouldn't have to worry about fuel spent for braking, or for return trips; it'd always be there waiting for whatever use required, so long as the wakeway was suitably maintained. And the spacecraft wouldn't have to carry significant fuel themselves either, but only the equipment required to process and burn the wakeway itself.
-- "Hydrogen Ice Spacecraft for Robotic Interstellar Flight" by Jonathan Vos Post, C.E.O., Computer Futures Inc., [Apparently this paper also] appears in:
the Proceedings of...Practical Robotic Interstellar Flight:
Are We Ready?, New York University, New York City,
29 Aug-1 Sep 1994,
and in Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, April 1996
__1 C.E.O., Computer Futures Inc.; Active Member: British
Interplanetary Society, National Space Society, World Space
Foundation, Space Studies Institute, Planetary Society (found on the web on or about 5-28-98)
Fortunately, enormous tether-based space-cycles (essentially tumbling bridges under tensile stress) may be substituted for wakeways in critical locations within the system. The caveat is that it takes considerably more time and money to deploy the space-cycles than wakeways-- at least in the early decades.
Sources for sky cycles and 'chained' sky cycles include..."Space Tethers" by Robert L. Forward and Robert P. Hoyt, Scientific American: The Way to Go in Space: February 1999
Note that the use of comets to maintain wakeways allows humanity to in effect use the same fuel twice. First in a simple action equals reaction equation where ejected water vapor propels the comet along the desired wakeway route, and second as later ion engine equipped vessels collect the vapor to process into fuel for their own drives.
The old science fiction concept of Bussard ramjet drives finds new life (in a heavily modified form) in the new ion drive economy. Namely, the nanotech buffer fields now available perform the collection and concentration chores, and much simpler, safer, and cheaper ion engines have replaced the nuclear fusion monsters once envisioned in fiction.
Of course, the ion craft of this time are far from deep space capable on their own, or particularly fast-- but they get the job done.
A 20th century analog of the relative speed, convenience, practicality, and cost-effectiveness of mainstream spacecraft utilizing ion drives for primary propulsion (with fuel sources based on wakeways) at this time would be Earth-based sea-going boats or ships. Typical transit times required for such craft (within the inner system) can range from days to months.
Though nuclear fission and fusion rockets are less frequent in space travel now than the science fiction of earlier centuries pictured, they are used for certain high priority or costly tasks (as well as for convenience of shorter travel times, in the case of the wealthy or powerful). The major reasons they are not more common is their relative expense, complexity, limited range, and safety concerns.
Sources include the fact that nuclear rockets could cut more than half the time from interplanetary journeys compared to other technologies known in the 20th century, be reasonably safe, and not require much in the way of breakthroughes to achieve.
The propellant required for nuclear propulsion is also attractive: hydrogen. Hydrogen is common within the atmospheres of the outer planets like Jupiter and Saturn, and available via simple electrolysis from ice/water found on various moons or comets. This could allow suitably equipped spacecraft to operate almost indefinitely in the outer system, so far as fuel was concerned.
-- "Compact Nuclear Rockets" by James R. Powell, Scientific American: The Way to Go in Space: February 1999
Trips between Earth and Mars could be done in as short a period as two weeks, if americium-242m (Am-242m) were used as the nuclear fuel. Related reactor designs might be more compact and lighter as well. Current production methods for americium-242m are expensive however.
Coventional chemical propulsion as used in current spacecraft requires 8-10 months to make a trip to Mars.
-- Extremely Efficient Nuclear Fuel Could Take Man To Mars In Just Two Weeks ["http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/01/010103073253.htm"], ScienceDaily Magazine, 1/3/2001, Source: Ben-Gurion University Of The Negev (http://www.bgu.ac.il)
A 20th century analog of the relative speed, convenience, practicality, and cost-effectiveness of mainstream spacecraft utilizing fission or fusion drives for primary propulsion at this time might be a lengthy and complex journey requiring several connecting flights via major airlines between disparate regions, and several more trips aboard smaller planes after that to reach the ultimate destination-- such as someone traveling from Hawaii or California USA to a tiny out of the way island in the Carribean Sea. Typical transit times required for such craft (within the inner system) can range from hours to weeks.
Several important destinations within the inner system (like Mars) actually require nothing but short distance ion and/or M2P2 shuttles, since (as pointed out by Marshall Savage's Millennial Project) suitably placed sun orbiting colonies between Earth and these other destinations may allow travelers to hop aboard and off them as they (the colonies) move in their normal orbits. Temporary housing/work aboard the colonies by travelers for anywhere from 30 days to a couple years are usually necessary to reach their destinations. Wider ranging colonies of this sort in the outer system (beyond Mars) allow similar transfers to other colonies among the asteroids and gas giant moons, albeit with longer temporary stays aboard. Note that this transport system uses little or no fuel beyond the initial setting of the colony in its proper orbit.
'Chained' sky cycle systems also help transport in a similar manner (at least along the most popular routes).
The Priori Elementary Particle Survey begins (a comprehensive survey of quark peer
and sub-quark entities, as well as planckspace structures and anomalous phenomena
of this scale)
Several planetary moons and larger asteroids get their own skyhook towers now to facilitate
commerce and transport, as well as see the beginning of hybrid terraforming (where
both the planetary body and human cyborgs undergo extensive modifications to better fit one another). Ergo, the diversification in human forms continues.
The May 1997 Popular Science magazine reported successful lab creation of 'bucky ball' nanotubes almost three times as strong as the 60 to 70 gigapascals in tensile strength we'd require for a 23,000 mile tall Earth-based space elevator; 'Skyhook' (space elevators) technology is described in "Space, Inc." by Tom Logsdon, 1988, Crown Publishers
Mars terraforming is assisted now with the construction of enormous orbiting solar
mirrors which aid the warming of the planet, as well as its own Skycycle transport
The second and third stage close solar mirrors are put in place (for solar sail propulsion),
while the fifth unit of the system-wide radio telescope network is constructed in Mars
orbit, and the sixth in Jupiter's orbit.
A matter siphon is set up in low Uranus orbit, for fuel and mass acquisition purposes
(matter siphons are similar to SkyCycles, but instead of providing transport to and
from orbit, regularly scoop up a considerable quantity of the atmosphere of gas giants and serve it up in orbit for refining and distribution as fuel to various space colonies
and craft). Fuel and other material products of the siphons are transferred via automated craft to supply stores distributed all about the vicinity of Uranus' entire orbital distance from the Sun, thereby facilitating refueling for spacecraft entering or exiting Sol system within this region along the heavily traveled ecliptic. Other gas giant siphons utilize a similar design.
Comet mining in the Kuiper Belt begins.
The largest project in history is initiated: a particle accelerator facility for research
and development is assembled along the outer perimeter of the solar system (consisting
of a large number of standalone cells).
The first 'seeder' mission is launched to the Centauri systems vicinity (minimum 4.3
lightyears distance)-- it is completely automated, and carrying supplies/equipment
to prepare suitable worlds for later human settlement, and to survey the system for
Earth-- it's estimated to require around 50 years from launch to supply first arrival
feedback to Earth. The mission's propulsion system is a mix of Bussard ramjet ion drive and antimatter engines. The appropriate ion fuel dump routes are naturally seeded prior to launch (and that in itself is no small feat, despite the fact the wake generators are little more than massive fuel source, collection system, and mass driver; for the furthest section of the voyage some generator craft must be run through several years of very high G slingshot orbits about the Sun and other system bodies to insure they achieve their end goals; the wake generators must also be launched years before the seeder expedition itself, as well).
7-5-02 Newz&Viewz: Could diamonds become an important future fuel for starships?
There could be diamond dust floating in space...and carbon fuel cells are a real technical possibility as a spacecraft power source...hmmm
Might a spacecraft be able to sweep up enough diamond grains to run one or more cells during voyages?
If a carbon-fueled craft couldn't get by indefinitely with only the diamond space dust, it might be able to do some refueling at dead or dying white dwarf stars along the way, which may possess an outer shell of solid diamond, and central cores composed of diamond metal.
If they wanted easier and maybe more common refueling stations than dead/dying white dwarf stars, they could try gas giant planets like our own Uranus and Neptune, where diamonds may regularly fall like icy hail does on Earth. Brown dwarfs may also possess such diamond factories.
Of course, you could derive carbon from lots of other substances found on gas giants and other bodies too-- it's just that diamonds would be a highly concentrated source.
Carbon from a variety of sources can be converted directly into electricity electrochemically. The other product is a stream of carbon dioxide, which may be put to other technological or biological uses. The carbon fuel is not consumed, but transformed. "Molten lithium, sodium, or potassium carbonate" is another substance utilized in the reaction. The thermodynamic efficiency of this type of fuel cell already exceeded 70% as of mid-2001.
The preferred form of carbon for cell use is fine dust (10 to 1,000-nanometers in diameter).
The gas produced by present-day cells might serve as the expendable gas propellent for ion engines.
-- S&TR | June 2001 ["http://www.llnl.gov/str/June01/Cooper.html"] by JOHN COOPER; S&TR | June 2001; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; UCRL-52000-01-6 | July 23, 2001, and other sources
Diamond dust may make up 5% of the carbon floating in interstellar space. Individal particles "...measure just a few nanometers across".
-- inScight - 7 May 2002: Diamond Grains Waft Among Stars ["http://www.academicpress.com/inscight/05062002/graphb.htm"]
Dying white dwarf stars may at least sometimes develop a thick outer shell of pure, blue-green colored diamond.
-- A Star Encased in Diamond by Lee Dye; ABCNEWS.com; April 29, 1998 (found on or about 1-16-2000)
White dwarf stars may have cores of diamond metal.
-- Scientists Turn Diamond Into A Metal by Charles Seife; 31 MARCH 1999; New Scientist issue 3rd April 1999; Contact: Claire Bowles firstname.lastname@example.org 44-171-331-2751 US Contact: New Scientist Washington office email@example.com 202-452-1178
-- Do Diamonds Hail Down Upon Neptune And Uranus? 01-Oct-1999; unisci.com; [Contact: Robin Benedetti, Raymond Jeanloz, Bob Sanders]
-- Uranus, Neptune May Be Diamond Mines By Maggie Fox; Yahoo!/Reuters; September 30, 1999
Other cutting edge info regarding possible space transport technologies of the future could be found (at the time the author originally wrote the above passages) at Some Emerging Possibilities ["http://www.lerc.nasa.gov/WWW/PAO/html/warp/possible.htm#vac"], Literature on Faster-than-light experiments ["http://www.aei-potsdam.mpg.de/~mpoessel/nimtzeng.html"], Alternate View Column AV-54 ["http://mist.npl.washington.edu/AV/altvw54.html"], Analog: Cramer "Alternate View" Subject Index ["http://mist.npl.washington.edu/AV/av_index.html"] (a more general index to some tech-style articles), Warp Drive When? ["http://www.lerc.nasa.gov/WWW/PAO/warp.htm"], Antimatter Space Propulsion at Penn State University ["http://antimatter.phys.psu.edu/"], Space Publications Index Page ["http://www.magicdragon.com/ComputerFutures/SpacePublications/"], Interstellar Travel: Methods of ["http://www.mbnet.mb.ca:80/~mmci/papers/NMILLARD/OPENPAGE.HTM"], Particle Beam Acceleration and Microwave Propulsion ["http://www.mbnet.mb.ca:80/~mmci/papers/NMILLARD/BEAMICRO.HTM"], Solar and Laser Sails ["http://www.mbnet.mb.ca:80/~mmci/papers/NMILLARD/LASAIL.HTM"], Antimatter and Nuclear Pulse Propulsion ["http://www.mbnet.mb.ca:80/~mmci/papers/NMILLARD/ANTIPULS.HTM"], Propulsion ["http://www.islandone.org/Propulsion/"], Starship design Library ["http://sunsite.unc.edu/lunar/school/library/index.html"], Starship Design Project ["http://sunsite.unc.edu/lunar/school/InterStellar/SSD_index.html"], Propulsion Systems ["http://sunsite.unc.edu/lunar/school/library/physprop.html"], Teleportation ["http://www.research.ibm.com/quantuminfo/teleportation/"], A fun talk on teleportation ["http://www.research.ibm.com/quantuminfo/teleportation/braunstein.html"], problems w/ stardrives ["http://sunsite.unc.edu/lunar/school/InterStellar/Status_Report/Stardrives.html"], and Heavy Explorer-class Starships ["http://sunsite.unc.edu/lunar/school/InterStellar/Explorer_Class/ExplorerClass.html"]
Alpha Centauri A of the Centauri system is a G2 star similar to Sol. Alpha Centauri B is a larger, orange K0 star. Each orbits the other. Alpha Centauri C or Proxima
Centauri is a M5-- small red dwarf-- which orbits the others at a distance. This distance makes C actually the nearest to Sol system of all three of the Centauris.
-- Known Space ["http://www.mcn.net/~jimloy/known.html"] found on or about November 18, 1999
Signposts 2184-2272 Contents
2230s milestones in on person gear and environment; a sizeable minority of citizens enjoy somewhat superhuman physical and intellectual capacities via cyborg-type improvements
The average 'elite' or 'high-middle-class' citizen of the most highly developed states
has at minimum a 60% chance of finding themselves in an environment including these
(1) the original outer 'second skin' is now complemented with a nanotech 'web'
embedded all throughout the human body for additional strength and recuperative powers,
and resistance to injury; this web includes built-in energy generation and storage
for its activities and as convertible reserves for the host's biological processes
as needed; the web may be recharged by a variety of means, including natural metabolic
processes, in a pinch; it also offers a new feature never previously available: augmented compressive strength throughout the entire body. Basically this means users may now perform substantial feats of strength (though in practice computerized safeguards heavily limit use of supernormal human strength to prevent injury to others or unintended property damage, and the internal energy storage capacity of the web has its limits as well). In most cases a person's practical strength is multiplied by up to a dozen times their biological strength by the embedded web when unimpeded by safety measures-- but at that level their super strength will only be sustained for under one minute due to the energy drain. It will often require a few hours to recharge to that same level again. By contrast, sustaining a strength level of only perhaps 200-300% that of your normal biological vigor can be managed for an hour or two at a time before the web is depleted and in need of recharge again. Note that these new and prodigious strength capacities well serve some contingencies such as escaping harm from some accidents or falls, fending off attacks by large animals, self defense or escape from human attackers, long distance running/swimming to seek help or escape harsh environments (such as being stranded in a desert or far out to sea), and offering emergency aid or rescue efforts to others.
-- Molecular-scale chips by CHARLES PILLER, Nando Media/Los Angeles Times Syndicate, December 4, 1999, http://www.nandotimes.com
(2) the embedded web also includes personal mind amplification/telecommunications
(3) optional nanotechnology '3rd skins' or buffer fields are available to supplement 2nd skins with a floating/flying/crawling mass of microscopic
robots equipped with a group intelligence, capable of delivering drugs/nutrition
to a person on contact, or providing substantial protection against injury, and additional
physical maintenance, such as rectal cleansing after elimination (and nearly user
transparent management of the elimination process itself, too; even within clothing,
as the billions of robotic 'gnats' can rapidly carry out single molecules of matter
in a completely sanitary manner, to make elimination products seem practically to 'disappear
into thin air' instananeously); 3rd skins do well at simple microscopic tasks and simple
large actions (such as cushioning against impacts), but not intricate medium scale manipulation, such as forming hand tools-- other items must be used for that; single
3rd skins/buffer fields often appear as a 'dim' region floating in air; buffer fields
here may provide hosts with very short flight capabilities (long and slow hops),
as well as act to slow long free fall descents significantly (though too great a height
might exhaust their energy before landing, resulting in a fatality or serious injury
despite the aid)
(4) a 'floating' home, vehicle, and/or other appliances/devices
such as furniture are available now, also using buffer fields technology of varying amounts (however, keep in mind that advanced versions of the old 'lighter-than-air' craft (utilizing inert hydrogen as a lifting gas, with far more advanced technologies supplementing that) and simply bouyant sea craft may often form the practical 'core' of such homes, even today).
Signposts 2184-2272 Contents
2230s milestones in personal vehicular transportation: "Rock'n Roll!"
Imagine the fabulous RVs (Recreational Vehicles) of the 2040s-2050s described earlier, only improved upon with technologies almost 200 years more advanced. Now imagine those RVs (and other personal transports) can fly and float in air, too. Many possess super sonic capabilities. A very small number may go beyond the atmosphere, or safely submerge to significant depths under the sea. Many of the less capable RVs of this period can literally expand and contract substantially in size and bulk to suit their owner's current needs. Though the brief-case-to-jet car 4-seater conversion of the 20th century children's cartoon the Jetsons doesn't yet exist, something like an 18 foot 1997 minivan to 30 foot recreational vehicle conversion does.
Circa 2230s flying recreational vehicle.
Though many developments and historical events have brought about dramatic deflation in real estate and fixed housing prices in real terms over the past century or so, a large portion of the global population now prefers mobile housing in the form of flying, floating, or rolling RV-type vehicles and other highly mobile shelters.
"Rock'n Roll" is no longer merely a reference to a category of popular music from the late 20th/early 21st centuries; it's now a bonafide way of life for many mobile citizens.
Signposts 2184-2272 Contents
1997-2250 trends: world population growth eventually plateaus, abject poverty is virtually eliminated; Humanity gradually turns over much control of its destiny to artificial intelligences
World population growth sees a substantial stabilization (or even net decline!) at
some point during this period, due to many factors, including the poisoning of the
environment from third world disasters (effectively rendering many people sterile and starving others),
nuclear and biological terrorism and war casualties, awful industrial accidents, plague, surprisingly large climate changes (with much of the world becoming several
degrees warmer than normal-- even excluding the major volcanic eruption years), deaths
from wirehead and drug addictions, significant waves of suicides, declining birthrates
due to rising living standards worldwide, and a lop-sided predilection towards males
over several generations of births in many states. A dizzying array of new employment
and entertainment options (as well as intensified economic competition) also make child bearing less of a central human activity than
it once was-- among other things, procreation now is increasingly taking a back seat to personal immortality efforts.
There's lots of factors which could lead to a population growth rate surprise for future generations. The article cited below offers some of them, but assumes too drastic a net reduction in population, in my own opinion. Keep in mind that lifespans are going to be increasing for many over the long term, artificial wombs could insulate mothers from the historical trials of pregnancy and child-birth (thus making it much easier to bring kids into the world), and the numbers of cloned people may ultimately be far larger than anyone expects as of 1999. Technology advances will allow us to support ever more people at ever lower cost to the environment, and the techno-economic opportunities humanity will be discovering will create all new pressures to produce more folks to exploit those opportunities. Thus, I do not expect total Earth population to get as low as 300 million between 2000-2600 AD, as the author cited seems to (unless we suffer a horrific global catastrophe of some sort).
-- The Population Surprise- 99.08 by Max Singer, The Atlantic Monthly, August 1999; Volume 284, No. 2; page 22-25.
By 2250 unemployment is practically non-existent, and few places have mandatory retirement
ages any longer. Anti-child labor laws are also minimal and rarely enforced now--
even in the most advanced nations; for the concept of maturity undergoes startling
changes over this time, due largely to wholly unanticipated technological and politico-economic
impacts on society and the individual. Outright slavery has returned in a big way,
though the original label is replaced by better sounding terms, and those enslaved are mostly of minority groups that never previously existed on the planet, such
as human clones, and fully sentient animals.
Racial/religious/disability/sexual prejudices are now so costly and impractical that
they simply cannot stand. Severe labor shortages exist in many places, with the result
that a whole new industry in the business of producing 'virtual employees' and/ or
companions, flourishes. These virtual personalities/people are the most widespread
form of artificial intelligences for centuries to come, beginning first as software-only
products, then gaining synthetic bodies (to become smart and conversant pets like
artificial dogs and cats), and ultimately becoming available in full-fledged humanoid,
and more economical primate (monkey) form. Variations on this theme, such as cats/dogs
with raccoon-like hands for better functionality than paws, also become available.
Around the time the first practical humanoid forms are available, adding such intelligences
to biological forms (living cats and dogs, etc.) offers a new addition to consumer
selections, for those clinging fiercely to the past. Other relevant developments
include ever expanding individual suicide and stasis options that apply further pressures
to labor shortages (stasis pertains to time travelers undergoing various forms of
suspended animation in order to move to future tableaus for reasons of serious career
tourism, medical goals, extreme financial ends, or professional ambitions), and lead
to much greater public leniency towards alternative lifestyles and behavior than
ever existed before. Needless to say, this widespread increase in tolerance further
aggravates religious and other extremists of all stripes...
Earthly real estate undergoes a lot of changes over this time, as the oceans rise
and weather patterns change, putting out of service many previously heavily
populated areas of coastal land. Certain coastal regions threatened by the flooding
manage to hold it off by massive construction projects-- but those regions without the
money can't. Luckily Gigawatts of electricity become cheap after a while, making
pumping power the least of the worries here. This same surplus of electricity also
makes it economical for coastal refugee populations to shift to locations previously uninhabitable,
such as African, Asian, and Australian deserts, and the frigid regions of Antarctica--
cheap central heat and air and sea water desalinization make all the difference.
-- "Melting glacier could raise sea level" by Michael Kahn, Reuters/Yahoo, 7-23-98
If all the ice in Antarctica melted, global sea levels would rise 228 feet...
...according to Tim Naish from New Zealand's Geological and Nuclear Science Institute.
-- "Antarctic Ice Melt May Come In Next Generation" By Andy Soloman, Reuters/Yahoo, 1-27-99
Though its impact is still far from peaking, robust asteroid/comet mining and refining operations are creating vast new sources of wealth for humanity, and thereby contributing significantly to rising living standards on Earthside/Earth orbit inhabitants, as well as making life better in many other system colonies as well.
Near Earth Asteroids will be sources of staggering future fortunes-- if we can mine them before they destroy us
There's at minimum 1700 such beasties we haven't documented yet, any one of which could throw us back into the Stone Age or worse, by way of a collision with Earth.
On the other hand, they're also tantalyzingly close sources of enormous, relatively easy-to-access mineral and metallic wealth. The single asteroid "Amun" is estimated to be worth $5 trillion in metals and minerals-- or worth about what the gross domestic product of the entire USA was in 1990 [$5.5 trillion, the 1996 World Almanac and Book of Facts].
There's 400 plus others that we have already mapped-- for an estimated total of 2100 such objects. Let's assume the average financial value of each object is only 20% that of Amun-- or $1 trillion. That would put the total value of the entire field at around $2100 trillion-- or maybe the same as adding wealth equivalent to 420 circa 1970 USAs [World Almanac gross national product for USA in 1970] to the global economy. Assuming the 1970 USA made up at least 25% of the global economy at that time, that means in economic terms the asteroid wealth would add the riches of approximately 100 circa 1970 Earth-type planets to our economy(!)
So we not only have a great survival interest in thoroughly mapping the orbits of these bodies, but a tremendous financial interest as well.
Plus, don't forget these are merely the near-Earth asteroids; there may be 10-20 times more asteroids to be found in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter (including the Trojans in Jupiter's orbit). And getting to the main body of asteroids is virtually no problem at all compared to getting to the near Earth rocks first. Ten times the asteroids could mean ten times the wealth-- or $21,000 trillion-- in addition to the $2100 trillion listed before, for a grand total of $23,100 trillion. Or, the equivalent of 1155 circa 1970 Earth economies. Or 4200 circa 1990 USAs.
Heck, there's only around 190 different official nations on Earth today. So in contemporary terms this could mean each of today's nations could enjoy an average of twenty-two times the wealth circa 1990 USA citizens did-- if we'd already fully exhausted the asteroid treasurehouse (and considered each nation's wealth prior to this gain to be absolute zero-- which of course it is not). We're talking an average annual income of perhaps $400,000 per man, woman, and child into perpetuity here (again, assuming the only wealth they have comes from the asteroids).
But that's only the beginning of what the eventual boom in space commercialization could mean for us. Because after we've profited from the asteroids, we'll be firmly embedded throughout the solar system in colonies and space stations. That will make space ice itself a potent form of wealth (as a source of life sustaining water and oxygen, as well as rocket fuel (hydrogen)). Then the space ice boom will take place, as we begin mining comets-- space ice. And apparently there's even more comets than there are asteroids in the solar system. So we could at least double the estimated wealth above to $800,000 per man, woman, and child into perpetuity.
Finally, after we've substantially tapped into the vast wealth of both the asteroids and comets, heavily colonized the micro-gravity regions of our Solar System, and developed our technologies to the point that the strong gravity wells of planets are no longer the huge barriers they once were, we'll start exploiting the planets like Mars and Venus and others too. And those resources may bring us even more wealth than the asteroids and comets combined did.
But that's still not the end. Long before we've exhausted the wealth of the major planets (Jupiter and the other gas giants are like enormous spacecraft refueling stations), we'll have advanced to the point that we can actually mine the Sun itself, or construct something like a Dyson sphere around it to more efficiently use it as a power source. And beyond that? By then we'll be able to reach other star systems much faster and easier than we can now-- and gain the resources to make just about any dream come true.
-- "Asteroids could mean boom or boon for Earth" By John Yaukey, Gannett News Service, FLORIDA TODAY Space Online, May 23, 1998
A Proposal for Mining Asteroids [6-11-10; The Last Redoubt] in mid-2010 offered a detailed plan for how to possibly exploit small near Earth asteroids lots sooner than most inhabitants of the 21st century might have believed possible.
Nanotechnology is embedded in many military and medical devices of the late 21st century--
by 2130 it's widespread in many consumer devices as well. The effect of widespread
nanotechnology would appear awe-inspiring to 20th century observers. On-person hardware-based virtual telepathy and other mind amplification becomes available to the
well-heeled. One suit of clothing may transform into many. A single hand tool may
morph into virtually anything the craftsman might require. The equivalent of flying
automobiles are common-- the most expensive are capable of reaching low Earth orbit. New
homes can be constructed within a few days, entire skyscrapers in weeks. A global
underground high speed railway network is constructed (largely undersea) by world
governments to facilitate trade, tourism, and travel, sometime after 2130. The project takes
months rather than years, with nanotechnology.
Tragic accidents in routine activities
are very rare by 2160 in developed states--
The advent of nanotechnology has forced humanity to solve many of its most nagging
problems, or else become extinct. Overt social strife becomes rare in advanced states,
and happiness and accommodation are top priorities for authorities-- but where a real
threat seems to appear despite everyone's best efforts for peace and tranquility, it
is often dealt with rapidly and harshly, with special containment of dangerous devices/personnel,
and immediate neutralization of the threat.
After a few high profile cases of such reprisals, most folks realize it's in their best interests not to even give the vaguest impression that they themselves are trying to incur such threats, and that they should insure that as much of their lives as possible is thoroughly documented and available for verification to guarantee the authorities don't pounce on them in error...
Don't get me wrong here; most folks aren't overly concerned about this matter; it's just that they decide to cooperate even more in the automated survellience of their lives than is required in many cases as a form of insurance-- and the flip side of this is that true criminals and nut-cases/terrorists find it that much harder to hide from authorities in this sea of willing cooperation. Note also that the far greater tolerance for alternative lifestyles today also makes it easier for people to give up their privacy to public inspection.
One by-product of the nanotechnology revolution is a sweeping 'clean up' of primitive conditions and despot-ruled states worldwide, as at last there is the enormous wealth surplus available to do so without unduly burdening others with significant costs from the measures. At least a few despot states had survived intact up to and through the first stages of nanotech development, but could not be tolerated beyond that for obvious reasons of safety and security for the planet.
Due to the increasing threat of renegade technology, as well as the benefits garnered for other reasons, social
surveillance and continuous peer review has become ubiquitous. It's a strange hybrid
of personal freedom and responsibility, which results in total strangers having random
access to your most intimate thoughts and memories-- but usually without knowing or
having easy access to your identity. A robust intermediate layer of software protects
your ID, while at the same time making your intentions and desires accessible for
locating any inkling of real and significant threats to others or yourself. If such threats
are detected, and they appear to be escalating out of established bounds, you are
contacted by relevant government or corporate personnel for correction.
however this system acts as an instant alert method for health emergencies or crime victims,
bringing aid within a minute or so. The system also benefits citizens by automatically
copyrighting/patenting original materials/ideas created by someone, and making them available on the market for reasonable access cost-- which usually works out to
almost negligible cost for one-time consumers, but significant overall income for
the author/inventor, if thousands or millions of consumers find the product useful
This same intermediary layer also provides nearly perfect verification for
communications and transactions between two or more entities, using a level of encryption
always one generation ahead of anything available for less critical purposes (in
other words, this standard is at minimum equivalent to state of the art military encryption
for war communications-- anything less would simply allow criminals and terrorists
too much opportunity for havoc).
The flood of new nanotechnology resources forces other revolutions as well. For example,
such rigid controls and regulations on the technology are required for security reasons: You either make it available everywhere with strict controls, or you try to ban it everywhere; the middle path is much more dangerous.
A total ban would put the world economy into a tailspin, freezing or worsening living
standards everywhere-- and ultimately be unenforceable anyway.
But if some have it
and others don't, you risk extreme totalitarian regimes or dictatorships the likes of
which the world has never seen, since no dictator wannabe ever possessed such
a potentially overwhelming advantage over their subjects before.
No, if available
at all, nanotechnology must be available everywhere in order to maintain a reasonably open
and democratic society. It must also be available to all at some nominal level of
commonality so as to assure appropriate control and regulation and self-defense possibilities for the whole. I.e., if it's ubiquitous, the probability is high that the neighbors
of someone gone mad could successfully contain him before much damage was done, and
until the authorities arrived for more permanent resolution. In essence, everyone
is highly educated, trained, and armed with advanced defenses and survellience devices,
and required to help police their neighbors with these assets. Less consistent or
reliable regulation of nanotechnology usage could result in the end of life on any
planet-- so there's zero room for error here.
-- "MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME
Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws"
by John R. Lott Jr. is a book documenting evidence that wherever USA citizens are allowed to carry concealed weapons, the violent crime rate drops, and women, blacks, and children in the areas all enjoy statistically safer lives (even when a slight increase in accidental shootings is factored in as well).
On the flip side, NON-violent crime rates frequently RISE in these areas.
All this seems relevant to the conclusion that unbiquitous high level nanotech for everyone will help maintain a stabler and safer environment than more exclusive possession of such means.
-- "PACK THAT PISTOL" BY PETER COY, 5-15-98, Business Week: Books: BOOK BRIEFS (I also have a 5-25-98 date related to this item, though I'm unsure how it relates)
These requirements for the safe use of nanotechnology mean that its arrival (along
with near universal replicators) spells an end to poverty and want for virtually
everyone on Earth, within only a few years of the technology's reaching
maturity-- especially with nuclear fusion available and capable of providing infinite
energy to power the global deployment of the technology. The only alternatives are recognized to
be worldwide catastrophe, or a crushing dictatorship where 99.99% of us are either
dead or enslaved in the aftermath.
All this leads to global prosperity on a breathtaking scale by around 2250, with only
the most ambitious and most recently contemplated ideas remaining too expensive for
the average person to attain within a matter of months or years. Imagination is literally becoming the primary limit on human achievement now.
Clone based slavery undergoes a transformation into freedom-based collectives (called "Unions") of complementary specialists and generalists,
which become a model on which many later generations of all sentients base their
most expansive relationships of substantial personal commitments. A typical Union
may include four to twelve people; but some powerful Unions grow into the hundreds or
thousands. In future virtual states, the online presence of many of these Unions
become the 'cities' and 'towns' of the new realm. Note that this new incarnation of a 'family unit' partly comes to the fore because the traditional family units known in the second millennium are disappearing. Far fewer couples have children, and when they do the children are often conceived, born, and raised in ways wildly different from how 20th century children were. Other differences also exist.
The enormous new nanotechnology-inspired wealth and incredible advances in virtual
reality technologies, as well as huge changes in world governments and intense global
competition among and between corporations and individuals,
are all making for immense changes in how clones are treated and regarded, and the entire
slavery market and industry, as well as increasing the turmoil and stress among the
general freeborn population. However, many clones, being specially designed to be
integrated with other clones in a collective of sorts, where each has their own specialty,
cannot easily break free to become general purpose individuals now-- nor do they
want to. Instead, many groups stay together after they obtain the equivalent of freedom
from their former owners, and their integrated nature gives them some crucial competitive
advantages in the modern circumstances. Soon, freeborns are either joining these
collectives too, or else forming their own based on the same model. And so the new
'Unions', which would seem very much like 'group marriages' or large extended families
to 20th century observers, but with the advantages of being based on logic and actual
complementary skills and experiences or other assets, rather than just impulsive
sexual attraction or deceit, and possessing typically longer range and more 'enlightened'
goals and plans than most more traditional organizations, become an important socio-economic
This new social arrangement first began in earnest among various space-based societies. Only many, many decades later did it come to play a substantial role Earth-side as well. However, the potential for such family models among humanity has existed for millennia.
-- Indonesian wives two-timing in Malaysia - MAY 6, 2002 ["http://www.straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/asia/story/0,1870,118125,00.html"]
-- The wife's wife. 1-5-2002. ABC News Online ["http://www.abc.net.au/news/indepth/featureitems/kenya.htm"]
"The latest anthropological research shows that female infidelity is good for the family, the community, and even the gene pool."
-- The Virtues of Promiscuity ["http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=13648"] By Sally Lehrman, AlterNet; July 22, 2002.
Perhaps the most important factor in humanity's transition to a nanotech economy was the turning over of much of human civilization's decision-making power to artificial intelligences.
Otherwise the overwhelming complexities involved in safely managing the new technologies, as well as humanity's own tendency towards unreasoning conflict
would likely have led to the extinction of humanity, or at least a massive die off and slide back into the Stone Age, over just a few generations. The AIs cannot solve all of humanity's problems, but they do well enough so that very few complain about what is accomplished-- and perhaps half of these complain that the AIs are making life too easy for human beings.
-- ABCNEWS.com: Man and Machine Blur in Next Millennium By John Lang, Scripps Howard News Service, October 27 1999
Boredom replaces mankind's traditional arch enemies of poverty, pain, and suffering
to become one of the greatest contemporary enemies to peace and happiness. Which
may help to explain many of the social changes which occur now that would be highly
disturbing from the perspective of citizens from earlier centuries, living in developed nations
In the aftermath of the 21st century another source of problems becomes evident: namely, through much of the 21st and early 22nd centuries a vast number or organizations, governments, and individuals were all wildly experimenting with human capacities and supplements to boost mankind's ability to cope with the horrendous stresses of the time. Many of these efforts bore fruit, thereby helping humanity survive and even prosper during those dark days. But in the second half of the 22nd century and beyond, such hardships and pressures were typically declining rather than rising. And yet, much of the earlier experimentation trends continued on, seemingly with a life of their own. Those employed in the ventures seemed not to notice that the need for their work was diminishing. Some in the field justified their continuing efforts as ways to gain competitive advantages of one sort or another.
And so a large segment of the human population thus became over-engineered, with a substantial over-capacity or surfeit of built-in abilities and supplements of various sorts.
In short, these people who had been specially groomed to be problem solvers for their time now found that time fast fading, and themselves becoming solutions looking for problems in the new landscape.
In auto terms, this was like a few million USAmerican military HumVees, hovercraft, and VTOL jets suddenly joining more conventional traffic on USAmerican highways circa 1990. Imagine the problems that would have caused, and you get a notion of the friction in society as a whole as too many individuals suffering from over-capacity problems attempt to fit into the marketplace and daily life during the late 22nd century and beyond.
A mix of nanotechnology, micromachines, and artificial intelligence is used to produce
the first synthetic humanoids with human or better intelligence and versatility,
by 2175 or thereabouts. These humanoids are comparable to the quality of "Data" from
the earliest episodes of Star Trek the Next Generation television show from the late
20th century (with the exception that certain models are allowed more realistic skin
tones; skin color and other appearance nuances become an interesting issue for early
humanoids of this kind, as for a while certain regional laws require that many types of these humanoids
be readily distinguishable as artificial beings by an unnatural skin tone or other
feature not typical of biological humanoids. This is all confused further by the
explosion in diversity amongst organic humans at the time, in terms of skin color, hair,
and other elements of appearance-- eventually the law about obvious appearance differences
for synthetic humanoids is dropped in favor of more convenient and reliable markers).
This quality of artificial humanoid is relatively expensive at first, and is
therefore mostly a prerogative of the wealthy, exotic entrepreneurial ventures, and/or
corporate/government agencies. For this reason and others, the first generation of
these top-of-the-line humanoids serve as the centers of circus-style events, specialized
agents in difficult or dangerous situations, body guards, companions, and teachers/
caretakers for children of VIPs.
Less costly and less capable humanoids (because of narrow
specialization in some cases) are put to use in special forces
infiltration units, or as sexual surrogates, or civilian safety test subjects, or for acquisition
of realtime adventure recordings for entertainment media (recordings afterwards translated to thrilling VR experiences, etc., for consumers).
In the decades that follow,
of course, costs decline so that top quality humanoids are eventually available to
almost everyone, for any purpose. By 2255 virtually all children in the developed
nations are raised and cared for largely by their own personal humanoid nanny-- one nanny
per child, who recedes to the background when a true parent or other close relative
wishes to spend time with the youngster.
The vast scale of chaos and carnage involved in Earth's transition from pre-nanotech to a post-nanotech society envisioned by many in the past proves to be very much like the pre-2000 warnings about the Millennium Bug a couple centuries before
I.e., overblown. Sure, there is a sticky time for a few weeks concerning expensive, first-class military and mass-destruction applicable nanotech/replication-- but in most other fields nanotech comes online in fits and starts and extremely gradually, like many other breakthrough technologies of the past-- like computers, for instance. The powerful and well-entrenched surveillance infrastructure of the planet Earth enjoys much maturation prior to the most dangerous nanotech developments, and Earth's population as a whole has also been delivered from poverty and many other historical ills (including many forms of mental illness) as well by this time. Too, there has been carnage aplenty from natural sources (the cosmic collision, plague) and misguided military adventurism, trade wars, and other technologically spurred economic dislocations and hardship, to give most everyone their fill of such things. So as the world stands on the brink of widely applicable nanotechnology, there isn't nearly so many madmen and evil doers about to use it as a terror weapon as so many writers of the past had imagined. The very mature population of the time (lifespans are increasing dramatically) also helps reduce the likelihood of impulsive acts rooted in immature minds, and the fantastic VR entertainment scenarios and related items are more than enough to assuage even the wildest ambitions and schemes of almost anyone.
The gradual development of nanotech and other new technologies also spurs many wrenching restructurings of economies and governments and society itself-- but nanotech is but one source among many for these changes, and after the event is not necessarily even considered the most influential of the lot. So why did writers of the past see the arrival of nanotech as a virtual Armageddon? Blinders and fog. Blinders of their own making, as they considered nanotech largely isolated from any and all other possible coinciding developments, and fog from the limited tools and knowledge all possessed to make such analyses of future events. Imagine a 12th century monk having a vision of a 20th century battle tank. Or a 20th century nuclear blast. Both might terrify the man, spurring him to spin horrific tales of what is to come for humanity, once these technologies are loosed upon the world. But for those of us who have lived through and with both developments, we know their practical impact on the daily lives of most world citizens has been more perceptual than real. From a 1997 perspective, the tank may soon be too obsolete to even field in battle, ending up as scrap metal for kitchen appliances. Nuclear weapons were used very sparingly in their first decades of existence, and peaceful spin offs like nuclear power plants actually had a positive impact on a greater number of world citizens than the weapons had generated victims, as of late 1997. Narrow perspectives about future nanotechnology primarily obscured the impact other technologies would have on our lives to rival or even surpass nanotech itself.
ON THE OTHER HAND...had generally applicable nanotechnology become widely available substantially earlier than the schedule described here, it seems likely humanity (and perhaps the planet itself) would not have survived much past its debut.
Signposts 2184-2272 Contents
2200-2250 sub trends and detours; terrorist asteroid threats, fully sentient animals,
An optical gravity lense telescope is built about the Sun.
Earth fends off a frightening assault of asteroids maneuvered into collision courses
by terrorists/criminals. The Terra Sys Agency is instrumental in early warning and
relief from the threat.
Current technology circa 2001 is adequate to change the courses of asteroids in space via approximately 15 nuclear explosions to later destroy cities on Earth. The attack could be implemented for under $100 billion. It's possible the attack could be performed anonymously, and perhaps even be erroneously thought of as a natural event after the fact. The victims might get little or no warning prior to impact.
It's even possible that one or more nations on Earth have already set such plans in motion. There have been more than enough announcements of 'lost' spacecraft, satellites, and probes in past decades to serve as cover for several such schemes.
-- Cosmic golf could smash cities BY MARK HENDERSON; APRIL 12 2001; Times Newspapers Ltd
Sentient (genetically boosted by humanity) chimpanzees and dolphins reach critical
mass in numbers now as viable breeding populations and cultures of their own (David Brin was the first to describe this in science fiction I believe). These boosted
animal groups suffer many socio-economic afflictions similar to cloned human beings of the
time-- though for a variety of reasons the post-animal species might typically enjoy
a slightly better life and more options than their human counterparts-- yes, humanity
actually treats enhanced animals better in most cases than it does human clones or artificial
intelligences. In this strange time it's not unusual for a human clone to actually
be less intelligent than a boosted chimp or dolphin-- usually because the clone has been specifically altered genetically for this end, to make it docile and subservient.
Near-human rights for near-human animals?
-- "Should Great Apes Be Given Legal Rights?" Author: Rachel Nowak
New Scientist magazine, issue 13 Feb 1991, page 20-21
As much as 5% of law enforcement personnel are now "Data" style humanoids.
Single-stage space shuttles are available to virtually the entire Earth population
now, similar to Greyhound buses of the 1970s-- trips into orbit are an everyday occurrence with a significant number of job commuters. The single stage shuttles are not the only transport to orbit, either; suitable aircraft may utilize the low orbiting sky cycles (and 'chained' sky cycles on popular routes), and hybrid mass driver/laser array launchers are in use too (similar to the "Bifrost Bridge" concept in Marshall Savage's Millennial Project), as well as several other means (including the space elevator below).
Sources for sky cycles and 'chained' sky cycles include space tethers described by Robert L. Forward and others.
-- "Space Tethers" by Robert L. Forward and Robert P. Hoyt, Scientific American: The Way to Go in Space: February 1999
Earth's first SkyHook tower is completed, offering access to orbit via elevator. The
shuttles are faster by hours, but the tower is a bit safer and less expensive.
The system-wide radio telescope array is completed, providing humanity with a radio
telescope effectively the size of our entire solar system. This achievement greatly
expands the size of the viewable universe for us. The radio-telescope allows us to
minutely map much of the universe from our perspective, and obtain extra details about
certain parts using the Sun-based gravity lense optical telescope as a supplement.
After a sufficient sample is taken of various body movement vectors, a complete simulation
of the universe (in macro aspect), scalable backwards in time to the Big Bang, or
forwards into the far future, is available for the first time to humankind.
Earth gets a climatic assist from new solar shields/ arrays in space aimed to help
cool the planet back to levels normal in the 19th-20th centuries, reduce present
rising ocean levels to preserve existing coastal boundaries, and repair deteriorating
weather patterns. An extra bonus of the new facilities is a certain measure of weather control.
Weather control becomes a hotly debated politico-economic issue, as science has shown
a certain proportion of destructive storms are necessary each year in certain areas to maintain global balance. Fortunately, allowing residents of those areas to
have a disproportionate say in the schedule of the events, as well as helping subsidize
the extra sturdy construction of their cities, homes, and transportation routes,
helps bring about a grudging consensus.
Other mega projects designed to restore Earth to an earlier, less damaged state are
resulting in great floating refinery islands in the oceans which process recognized
industrial pollutants back into more natural constituents of the biosphere, and 'seed'
the seas where desirable with reconstituted sea life of the past, or specially designed
Sea-cyclers perform functions in the ocean portion of the biosphere that have been
destroyed or damaged by humanity, and for which the natural sources of such functions
no longer exist or are now inadequate to the task; sea-cyclers 'fill in the blanks'
left by past damage to the biosphere. Sea cyclers come in a wide variety-- some are mechanical,
but most are artificial multi-purpose lifeforms created in advanced genetic engineering
projects, designed to do highly specific jobs and interact with other life (such as eating and being eaten) as appropriate. END NOTE.
Several catastrophes occur in the asteroid belt, in what comes to be known as the
first Asteroids War. One important Saturnine moon is decimated by this, as well as
severe setbacks dealt to the Mars terraforming project. The Terra Sys Agency again
is brought into the spotlight by these events, as defender and law enforcer.
Several moons of Jupiter and Saturn are being rapidly developed, through the use of
extensive state of the art automation.
Feedback from the first seeder expedition (Centauri) is received. Though some unexpected
problems have hobbled certain goals, the mission is considered a huge success,
and plans for a follow up mission to Centauri with much improved technology are developed. This time specially designed human embryos are included, to be cultured and
educated by 'Data' style humanoids on board. Star Trek-style 'dead freight' transporter/replicator
technology is included. At least one planet in the Centauri system and possibly others positively throb with life forms. An alien biosphere far richer than any dared hope has been discovered. Even large animal forms analogous to Earth's own exist in abundance. This bonanza greatly increases support on Earth for more deep space ventures.
The second major 'seeder' program is launched, this time to the vicinity of Barnard's
star and beyond (minimum 5.9 lightyears distance). This mission is much better equipped
and faster than the Centauri program's initial expedition, due to the presence of "Data" style humanoids, the new inertial dampening fields (which aid greater accelerations), and improved ion drives and antimatter-based
propulsion systems. Star Trek 'dead freight' transport/replicator technology is included. Around
60 years after launch Earth will have completed preliminary analysis of feedback from the expedition.
star is an M5 red dwarf, with at least one gas giant (bigger than Jupiter) and perhaps several smaller, rocky planets orbiting it.
-- Known Space ["http://www.mcn.net/~jimloy/known.html"] found on or about November 18, 1999
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2250-2270 sub-trends and detours: Small divergences now lead to bigger ones later...
Sol System citizens living off-Earth cope with the regulation and enforcement of nanotechnology by the Earth government authorities by pursuing instead the newly opened avenues in genetic engineering and biotechnology to build upon only a basic nanotechnology foundation. This is but one of many significant divergences taking place between Earth-based and off-Earth civilizations...another is the lesser utilization of and dependence on virtual reality, by off-Earth peoples.
Many might ask why it has taken so long for biotechnology to gain a significant role in history. The reasons are many. But basically, the technology has proven far more complex (high cost/time consuming) and frightening to the general population (much like nuclear power in the late 20th century) than many futurists of earlier times had anticipated.
Various well publicized accidents, mistakes, and terrorist incidents involving biotechnology in one way or another, as well as the infamous Nazi genetics efforts in WW II, and the more modern cloning industry, have all served to limit and retard many other biotech developments-- until now.
The enormous number of species extinctions between 1800 and 2250 also cut deeply into the total genetic diversity available on Earth, and thereby the perceived possibilities of major genetic breakthroughes, making biotech in general appear to be something of a race with death it could not win. Just as the perception of a shrinking marketshare for a particular computer platform in the late 20th century led to many potential developers jumping into other fields, so did the shadow of massive extinctions and shrinking genetic diversity lead many individual researchers, organizations, and investors to divest themselves of major efforts in biotech.
Too, up to now, biotech advances had mostly brought only marginal or incremental changes to people's lives (for both good and ill), rather than the seemingly larger changes wrought by inorganic technologies. Biotech's gradual improvements in food production and medical technologies over many decades just didn't knock people's socks off like the much more rapid access to cheap spacecraft did, for example. Which leads to another reason for biotech's small impact on history up to this point: access. Many of the grander biotech-related developments simply were too expensive for many years to be purchased by (and thereby affect) the lives of the majority, in any big way. Ergo, the cheaper (and more inorganic) technologies garnered most of the glory in the record books for extraordinary changes, as most biotech advances enjoyed by the masses tended to be incremental improvements largely subsidized by government and corporations, and so as 'all ships rose on the tide' via biotech few elements of the process rose above ambient noise levels to attract much attention in the media (compared to other things).
Biotech finally though begins to enjoy a great liberalization in laws and regulations now, as well as a collapse in costs and relative difficulty and access. To sum up, advanced biotech now goes mainstream, and becomes available in everything from school childrens' lab kits to adult pet/companion generators and 'living' structures such as homes and recreational vessels. However, in general biotech never does dominate less organic nanotechnology over the long run in and around Sol System-- because predominantly inorganic nanotech gets too much of a head start early on.
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2150-2270 subtrends and detours: the virtually doomed first wave of private deep space explorers leave the Solar System
A handful of high level, well financed and planned world and system cooperative deep space missions are proceeding at a slow but steady rate during this period. But many private parties are champing at the bit for their own piece of the galaxy pie, for a wide array of reasons.
The many private deep space ventures of this time are almost all doomed from the start, due to inadequate technology, poor financing, ill planning, unrealistic goals, and other problems. Poorly conceived governmental policies in regards to deep space ventures early on also fuel the debacle, as many agencies wish to encourage a form of homesteading and entrepreneurship that might greatly accelerate terran conquest of a major portion of the galaxy. This hubris thus encourages much of the wrong kind of deep space ventures with its resulting hodge podge of willy nilly tax breaks and investment incentives. Not a few organizations, companies, and individuals go bankrupt at this time in pursuit of imagined deep space treasures, as one consequence. The different people and organizations involved are as diverse as they could possibly be. From wild-eyed lone wolf prospectors to fiercely devout religious cults to serious high risk entrepreneurial arms of major Earth-based corporations, they're all represented here.
Of the very earliest such private ventures, a handful of the smallest, least ambitious and cheapest automated survey craft actually end up providing some profit to their investors in the long run. But the overwhelming majority of all these efforts are eventually scored as failures, and many as downright disasters, with substantial loss of life.
One notable exception to all the higher profile and expensive failures is a scouting expedition 'manned' by a single state-of-the-art android of the time, piloting a top rate spacecraft modified for long range exploration. However, this particular craft too is given up for lost and insurance claims filed for it decades before its return, due to unexpected problems during the voyage. Therefore, though the craft does eventually return with valuable information and claims, ownership of those items is tied up in court for years to come. And for reasons of intellectual property/trade secrets and some iffy security claims by governments as well, the information isn't made public until many, many years after the craft's safe return.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: See this time period in the Signposts Perspectives 2101-2300 for more about the sensitive discoveries in space made during this period. END NOTE.
In other words, except for the handful of well planned and financed government seeder expeditions and mass of long range observation data collected by various installations in-system, practically all other deep space ventures (beyond the Oort cloud) are major busts during this period.
Sources include Stephanie D. Leifer in Scientific American, writing about the potential for nuclear fusion (and other) propulsion means in outer space.
Leifer writes that the preferred fuel for such rockets would be helium 3, as it would be 'cleaner', producing far less harmful radiation for crew and others, and so would also save weight in terms of shielding onboard a spacecraft. However, the rarity of helium 3 on Earth, as well as the added difficulty in igniting helium 3 compared to other possible fuels, would pose other obstacles (fortunately, helium 3 may be common in lunar soil and the atmosphere of Jupiter, but those aren't exactly resources close at hand in the early days of spaceflight). And still there would remain the problem of a closed-system spacecraft carrying sufficient fuel onboard to make any practical and reasonably speedy journeys to anywhere...
Leifer notes that antimatter engines would offer many advantages over fusion rockets, and that adequate fuel to drive small experimental drives might be available as soon as 2009 or thereabouts-- but of course antimatter-related technologies pose substantial dangers in the near term, due to containment and processing challenges.
-- "Reaching for the Stars" by Stephanie D. Leifer, Scientific American: The Way to Go in Space: February 1999
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2270s milestones in on person gear and environment: Bonafide superhumans officially exist and form a significant minority of the citizenry now.
Forty years previous most high biological content cyborgs rarely performed above levels historically recorded for the very best of purely biological human beings of the past-- their technology aids merely lifted the cyborgs in most cases to roughly match the best minds, athletes, and plain lucky of individuals from recorded history in many circumstances.
Now, however, high bio content cyborgs are routinely surpassing the performance and capabilities of any and all human biologicals of the past, in virtually any field for which suitable comparative records exist.
The average 'elite' or 'high-middle-class' citizen of the most highly developed states
has at minimum a 60% chance of finding themselves in an environment including these
(1) everyday clothing now may typically be a specialized and limited form
of '3rd skin'-- that is, it may appear as any sort of clothing desired, change to another
kind on demand, and even dissolve into thin air entirely, on command
'4th skin' nanotechnology is now available, which is an intelligent, highly malleable
and flexible, fairly thick on average, complete outer body covering, which integrates
with the embedded body web to further increase the host's capacities in almost every
conceivable way, such as a 'chameleon-like' quick change appearance, and superhuman
strength, senses, knowledge, and capacity for punishment. 4th skins offer wearers as much as 30 times their natural biological compressive strength, albeit subject to even more stringent safeguards and failsafes than the strength amplification offered by a modern 2nd skin alone (the 30x measure includes the amplification of a 2nd skin underneath the 4th skin). Tensile strength is multiplied by an even larger amount for wearers of 4th skins. 4th skins can seem near invisible if desired
(but for a slight added pudginess to the wearer), but effectively make the host superhuman in several ways. It's important to note here that although 4th skins are relatively widely available to the populace at this time, they remain pretty expensive, and regarded as excessive for most circumstances and conditions-- especially when the capacities of the ubiquitous second skins and other consumer attire of the period are considered. Police SWAT team members might wear 4th skins. Combat soldiers of high biological constitutions certainly wear them. Coast Guard Rescue personnel and the like use them. Undersea and space workers wear them. But 4th skins today for most citizens are something like a Ferrari automobile was for 20th century men; more an affectation than necessity.
(3) the nanotechnology '3rd skins'/ buffer fields supplementing 4th skins are now capable of directed and sustained flight capabilities for persons over a distance,
too; 3rd skins are 'scalable' now; that is, the more of these buffer fields you have
all together, the greater their combined capacities, intelligence, and flexibility.
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2270s milestones in personal housing/transportation
The average 'elite' or 'high-middle-class' citizen of the most highly developed states
has at minimum a 60% chance of finding themselves in an environment including these
(1) minimum of human level intelligence and virtually 100% automation of/within the home, office, and vehicles (cars/aircraft completely fly themselves; third
party robots/appliances are no longer required to cook, clean, wash clothes, etc.;
individual possessions that don't maintain themselves are largely obsolete) ;
lightspeed 'Star Trek' style transport is now available and acceptable for human transport
within the solar system and beyond. The wealthiest individuals and organizations
may even use the Star Trek transport within their own housings, and as security measures
(use of such transport technologies can make physical doorways obsolete). Many spacecraft
and space dwellings of this time use the transport tech to do away entirely with
most doorways and access ports of the past, as a safety measure.
In cases where the utmost indepth security measures are desired (and/or destinations are particularly distant or risky), source individuals may be simply placed in stasis at point of origin until their replicant has been verified to have arrived intact and undamaged at their destination, or until the replicant has completed its task at destination and been verified destroyed there. In these cases holding stasis is often considered preferable to complete reconstitution from scratch, in the case of problems. However, it doesn't take long for the general reliability of the process to cause many such precautions to be dropped entirely.
NOTE: Recall the original restrictions on early lightspeed transporters/replicators. Those restrictions have now been modified to accomodate travel for living biologicals, including citizens, albeit with intense security safeguards against abuse. For instance, single transporter/replicator units in standalone mode revert back to the original restrictions, which prohibits these new capabilities. Two networked transport/replicators which are cut off from the greater net also disable some higher functions. Many safeguards are put into place to prevent accidental or intentional unauthorized replication cloning of individuals, and similar abuses. Destination booths with inadequate feed onhand do not accept incoming transmissions. Perhaps surprisingly to many 20th century observers, one of the biggest problems with large replicators like these is decidedly low tech: keeping them supplied with sufficient feed to operate. Large replicators can require a seemingly inordinate amount of feed, much as power hungry portable electronics of the late 20th century consumed batteries. Fortunately, the wealthy can afford service contracts similar to that offered with late 20th century office copying machines; only with replicators the service mostly consists of a person or machine arriving periodically to replenish feed supplies when the replicator reports to them it's getting low. Less wealthy large replicator owners however often must make do with far less convenient means of replenishment-- and so not infrequently discover their home transport booth is 'empty' and nonfunctional just when they'd like to return home from a long trip. This mode of travel remains relatively expensive at this time.
The legal precedents created for biological human and other sentient cloning (and generation of software-based 'proxies' too) in decades past now serve as a guide to replication of biological humans.
Licenses are required for various degrees of biological human replication-- especially where the finished forms are 100% active and sentient.
Several genetically and/or cybernetically engineered varieties of bio-humans are available under certain licenses for mass replication to fill jobs such as soldiers, first generation caretakers for the survey and build up of far space colonies, experimental subjects for adapting humanity to alien worlds, and other specialized workers. Non-sentient clones may be replicated under some medical (organ harvesting, corporeal replacements, etc.) and research licenses.
In many cases free-born human individuals enjoy a de facto license to non-destructively replicate themselves, under certain circumstances, and for particular purposes. For instance, a free-born may elect to generate several replicants of themselves in order to exploit employment opportunities spread over great distances. In such cases particular memories involving relationships between the original and other people must be excised from the resulting clones, and those clones must establish their own new circle of friends and associates locally.
These clones get to keep a sufficient portion of their income to sustain themselves and enjoy a reasonable disposeable fraction, with the remainder going to the original.
It may sound like originals might often become immensely wealthy from such a scheme, but this is not usually the case. It costs to create a replicant, so the time to breakeven is heavily dependent on the skills and talents of the original duplicated in the replicant. If the original's skill set is not robustly marketable, neither will be the replicant's (without further expenses in training)-- and break even might never be achieved. It also costs to have a replicant destroyed-- and the law requires a minimal fee always be paid for this service upfront, even if it is never exercised-- so that cost must be factored in as well.
Replicants in stasis (such as during physical transport or medical operations, etc.) cost for the stasis service; replicants not in stasis cost for room and board (until they are gainfully employed and able to pay themselves).
Replicants which require extra or specialized training for employment post-creation often incur costs for that too (such post-creation training is a common requirement-- for adjusting the amnesiac clone to their new human relationships status if nothing else).
Today (unlike in some earlier times), there are restrictions on how an original may treat or dispose of their replicants-- most 100% sentient replicants are now considered to be human beings with certain innate rights of their own, not to be violated by anyone, including original copies. Of course, this restriction can and is routinely gotten around by allowing something less than full sentiency in many replicants.
An original may sell or lease out their own replicants too.
-- "A fun talk on teleportation ["http://www.research.ibm.com/quantuminfo/teleportation/braunstein.html"]", Samuel L. Braunstein, firstname.lastname@example.org, 5 February, 1995
found on/about 5-28-98
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2270s milestone: A significant shift by biological sentients to inorganic platforms begins, even as many previous limits on genetic engineering also fall away
Recent breakthroughes in the capacity to scan, store, process, reconstitute, and transmit 100% of the most complex biological organisms known (humans) is bringing about an explosion in related fields; for example, now a significant portion of the population begins transferring from biological forms to 100%
inorganic forms. Other consequences include absolutely accurate virtual reality simulations of organic beings, and the capacity to repair, modify, or rebuild any biological creature imaginable (at least theoretically).
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