From: Dani Eder (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 11:51:37 MST
--- Alan Grimes <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Uh whatever...
> I don't doubt that should my life procede as I would
> hope I would, at
> one point, undertake an interstelar journey.
> If it takes 100,000 years to move a space station
> ten lightyears, so be
Space propulsion is a field I have professional
Interstellar travel at those speeds should not ever
happen. Ignore the Singularity for a moment, and just
consider run of the mill technology improvement and
economic expansion at a rate of, say 3% per year.
Interstellar travel is mainly a problem of applying
sufficient energy, and Kinetic Energy goes as
KE = 0.5 mv^2. Therefore a 3% per year improvement
in available energy (from your economic expansion
and technology improvements), leads to a 1.5% per
year improvement in velocity. Up until your trip
time is 67 years, the annual improvement in speed
leads to an earlier arrival date. So waiting for
a faster ship gets you there sooner. Traveling
4.3 light years in 67 years is ~6% of the speed
of light. A good fusion rocket could achieve that.
This type of analysis can be generalized. If you
have a computer that is one human-equivalent in
power and takes 20 years to train the AI software
running on it, you are better off waiting a couple
of generations. 4.5 years later you will have 8x
speed machines that can learn in 2.5 years, and
6 years later you will have 16x machines that will
learn in 1.25 years.
In both cases, the optimal waiting time is until
the duration of the function (interstellar trip,
AI training, etc.) is the inverse of the annual
improvement in the function.
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