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Life Extension / Immortality and Space Travel

Posted by: whoa182 - Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:05 am
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Life Extension / Immortality and Space Travel 

When will we be able to achieve radical life extension
0-25 years 40%  40%  [ 6 ]
25-50 years 33%  33%  [ 5 ]
100+ years 27%  27%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 15

Life Extension / Immortality and Space Travel 
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Post Life Extension / Immortality and Space Travel   Posted on: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:05 am
I believe Life Extension / open ended life spans is really important to space travel.

I dont know how many research or keep up with emerging technologies on this forums. I also do not know how many are aware that we are at the verge of a Biotechnology revoloution and what this could mean. We do have the ability to Extend life of simple tissues, cells etc... In Mice to enable them to have a Life Span of around the equiv of around 170? Human Years. one of the life genes has been been identified as IGF1 and has a significant effect on life span.

If these types of therapies work in humans like they do in all animals tested, we could reach an average life span of around 120 years and maximum of 200+ years?. this would be sufficient to garantee open ended life spans, immortality.

Scientists think within the next 10 years we will be able to slow down ageing in mice and reverse it.

We also have the Nanotechnology revolution around the corner and it seems to have huge potential and this is the time when big thinkers like Ray Kurzweil thinks radical life extension will come about. The tools will be in place to repair cells continually in the body. We are also seeing therapies based off of nanotechnology starting clinical trials or entering the market to treat major diseases such as cancer.

Do you believe that life extension is neccessery for space travel? because of the huge distances and the amount of space to actually explore. Im currently doing everything I possibly can do slow down ageing and using all the best advice to stay healthy and minimize cell damage. Although I am only 20 years old, around about now is the time when the body starts declining.

I believe we are going to be in for very very very long life spans! :)



1. http://www.gen.cam.ac.uk/sens/AdGbio.htm
2. http://www.fantastic-voyage.net/
3. http://www.mprize.org/
4. http://www.imminst.org/


Last edited by whoa182 on Sun May 01, 2005 4:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Apr 24, 2005 9:20 am
This is exciting, but you should realise what it would mean if no one would die naturally. Sure, you will have the people who will refuse life-prolonging since they think it's unethical, but the world population will burst. Certainly in the west. Immortality doesn't mean you can't get killed. If you chop your head off, you're dead ;)

A few years ago, they found a genome which was for aging. If they could deactivate that genome the body would simply not end with regenarting cells. It simply turns off the life-cycle clock.

For Space this would be very handy off course, real warp drive or any other fast means of transportations are very far away and i dont think everybody wants to wait on earth. So in that case you could build the giant space-arcs as spacecities. If the population grows down here, we need a lot more room to build cities. There are a lot of regions on earth which are totally empty and need to be populated in order to have enough houses and so. That is probably the biggest problem which will come with immortality.

But i think a lot of greenpeace-a-like-freaks will try to stop this, prevent it all from happening. It will happen, but the questino will be when? And if you would know, i mean really know 100% certain, that you can get a injection or therapy in exactly 50 years or so you could live a s long as you want on any 'age' of your body, what would you do now? Would you live more healthy, be more carefull in your car and outdoors in general?


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Post    Posted on: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:53 am
Hello, Stefan,

the initial post was realted to space travel. So extensions of lifetime combined to significant colonization projects do not necessaryly lead to a burst - this simply depends on the ration between the two.

The problem with aging is the determined length of a special section of a chain. This length is reduced after each split of the cell. Latest when that length is zero the cell is dead. As long as this reduction isn't get rid of there wil be no endless life.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Apr 24, 2005 6:12 pm
It might be nice to live a little longer, say 150 or so, but it would be dependant on the level of health you could have. I wouldnt like to live a hundred years as a 70 or 80 year old. What about all those relatives as well, I dont think I could afford all the birthday presents. :)

I'm not sure you would find anyone to undertake a journey lasting 40 years, no matter what their life expectancy was. Where is the thrill of space exploration waiting 4 decades to get somewhere, hardly a challenge? It would send me mad with the boredom. Hibernation might work but by the time you got to your destination you would probably find mankind waiting for you as it had developed a much faster propulsion system while you were asleep.

IMO if you cant get somewhere in under a decade its probably best not to go.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Apr 24, 2005 6:50 pm
Andy Hill wrote:
IMO if you cant get somewhere in under a decade its probably best not to go.


Why? This is being said so often but why? I don't see any fast propulsion techniques in 50 years, so a 40 year trip is effective. A 40 year trip could be used to do massive scientific research and gaining experience. If it would be a giant ship, i'm sure there needs to be daily maintenance. Why would life in space have to be any different then here on earth? Are you gonna do nothing on earth for 40 years? Off course not, you would have your job, daily life, etc. etc. In my opinion, if you would build a large ship, you'll have work enough to do for its inhabitants. I dont think that will be a problem. Trust me, if NASA or any other agency needs any people, i'm the first to volounteer without hesitation.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 7:12 am
Given the actual situation Andy Hill isn't that wrong - there is huge difference between living 40 years down here at Earth and living 40 years within a star shop that is a prison cell in comparison to Earth: Here on Earth there is life in widest sense - within a star ship crossing the extremely dark, extremely cold and extremely wide interstellar space there only is life in narrowest sense.

The minds and the psychs at least need significant more evolution I suppose. informations about and understanding of technological, scientific, political, economical and cultural progress and advances have to be provided and taught and so on...



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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:08 am
It is not reasonable to ask people to commit themselves for such a long time, well in fact life if you're not going to bring them back and take 80 years.

I would love to experience space flight but I would not wish to spend my whole life in space cut off from everyone I know. Making new friends and interacting on a spaceship would not compensate for the family and friends I would leave behind.

There was opposition to extending crew times on the ISS to a year partly due to astronauts missing family and friends and being at the end of a radio link to the rest of humanity. If professional astronauts with years of training that had been specially selected for space travel had misgivings about a year in space, where do you think astronauts would be found to undertake a 40 year mission would come from? Saying you would do it without any knowledge of what it would actually be like is not proof that there are lots of people suitable for such a task. On the ISS there is at least a view of the Earth, going through deep space would be only the stars.

You cannot compare long term life on Earth to life in Space. On Earth you have the opportunity to change or do different things, in fact people are designed to be flexible. Someone working as a maintenance engineer on a spaceship would not have those options open to them, how could they do anything other than maintenance without a replacement who would have to be trained and agree to take over the maintenance tasks. You would need a huge pool of people to allow even a partial change. Even prisoners serving life would have more options open to them. Very few people on Earth do the same things for 40 years without change and those who do are not natural adventurers.

If we possessed the technology to produce huge space arks carrying thousands of people then we would also have much better propulsion technology so I dont think that this is a realistic scenario anyway.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:24 am
Hello, Andy Hill,

a solution for the family could be that at least some of the family accompany the astronauts going on that decades long mission.

This isn't meant as argument pro that journey - I only want to say that there might be developed concepts of much higher sophisticated level and horizons than imaginable today.

Another idea may be that the crew would be formed by volunteering singles only. And so on.

Before any manned mission would be sent to another star very much unmanned probes will be sent there to be able to evaluate if it will be interesting to send humans there. This unmanned exploration will be done up to a degree - perhaps - at which only one kind of manned mission would be reasonable: colonizing. This is one scenario I think - among several.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:45 am
If you send an unmanned probe it would take 40 years to get there and another 40 years for the data it sends to get back to earth, so assuming you didn't want to send a 2nd probe we are talking maybe 100 years in the future (it would probably take a couple of decades to construct an ark). I find it difficult to believe that we would not have developed something a little quicker in 100 years.

Having a singles only mission would create an unreal environment (although 40 years in space is not exactly natural), you would be asking these people to put their life on hold or form relationships with designated individuals. Also taking relatives means finding families whose members all want to go and who have skills that would be required. How many Robinson families would you need?

Colonisation would require a fairly large Gene pool which would be restricted by families and taking banks of frozen eggs and sperm along would create whole new issues. People would would not want to travel for 4 decades to settle another planet and then be asked to have someone elses child.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:04 am
All this shows the complexity of interstellar travels.

A probe sent to another star could be a probe that is levels higher sophisticated than the martian rovers - it would be levels higher sophisticated indeed I suppose because all required technologies will be advanced much further than today. Communication especially.

The level of sophistication of such a probe will allow for researches and reconnaisance within five years that required decades within our own solar system - the probe will use engines allowing much faster velocities than all achieved until now. It will use pulsed fusion engines as well as engines currently under development by NASA for reduction of time to Mars for manned martian missions.

The concepts of researching that extrasolar system will differ by far from the known interplanetary mission within ower own system. There will be no waiting time for data by the first probe before any launch of a following probe - the time between launches will be determined by achieving technological milestones for example. Data about the other system will be got and sent back to Earth beginning within the outer regions of ower own system and so on and so on...

This will be required because of the problems you are mentioning.

And you are right - much higher velocities will have to be achieved - but currently 0.12c seems to be the achievable maximum as far as I am informed (Ulrich Walter's book, NIAC's study of light sails). This means around 35 years to Alpha Centauri - the nearest star. And even c would require nearly ten years to Sirius where supposedly life is impossible, more than five years to Barnard's Star...



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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:38 am
Okay, achieving lightspeed, or anything near it, is cool, but you'll have to slow down also. And that takes an immense amount of energy also. So even when we have decent 0.5c speed builtup, you'll need to slow down as well and thats probably a bigger task then simply accelerate and accelerate. Since space is practicly frictionless, you'll need as much energy to speed up as you need to slow down. Off course you wouldnt need to slow down to zero, but comparing to lightspeed, it 's practicly zero.

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And what Ekkehard says, even with lightspeed its still a very very long journey with the exact same prblems as you have with a 40 year trip (okay a bit less, but still the practical problems). And i doubt very mucht that within 100 years we can get to lightspeed and ultimately passing that barrier. Even with lightspeed, it will be to long and to far away, and crossing the lightspeed barrier will take way longer then 100 years.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:34 am
I mentioned c only to point to the final unbreakable wall that bars further acceleration. My informations say that more than 0,1 - 0,14 c isn't reasonable because of the effects for humans: medical stresses of acceleration, dialation of time, communication to Earth and so on.

Concerning deceleration I will have have another look into Ulrich Walter's book because I don't know if he has been speaking about passing another star only or if he considers orbiting it too. In principle deceleration should be possible the same way as acceleration - the difference is that the vehicle would be approaching to the point where the micro-fusion-bombs are exploding.

But this seems to require different calculations of the time when to explode only - as I said, I don't know this moment, if that has been considered only. If that hasn't been done yet I could imagine that the reason simply is a doubling of the weight of propellent to be carried by the vehicle.

Please let's keep that aside here because it would be a topic for the Technology section and let's assume here that deceleration could be done the same way as acceleration - by a pulsed fusion engine. Possibly the doubling of the weight of propellent could be avoided if deceleration at the other star could be done ISRU-based - hydrogen of that system, atmospheric deceleration, using a light sail, the other star's gravitation and others more. Should be a thread in the Technology section.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 1:20 pm
I think it unlikely that we will achieve light speed in 100 years either but you never know.

I made an error in my earlier post when I said that data from a probe would take 40 years to get back to earth, radio waves would obviously travel at light speed and take 4 years to get here. I was actually thinking about sending samples back to Earth which would take 40 years. I mention samples on the basis that you would have to be pretty sure about what you would find at the other end and you would want to do everything you could before risking 100s or 1000s of people's lives in a space ark.

IMO I think it highly unlikely that mankind would send humans beyond the solar system for at least 200 years and maybe longer due to the travel times involved. As for colonising, there is Mars and possibly the Earth's Moon and others that will have human settlers on them before we go further afield. All of which will give us time to develop much better propulsion, I seriously doubt whether pulsed fusion would be used to send humans to the stars as it still takes to long and I would expect us to get faster than it can achieve in the next 50 years or so.

Hibernation might be used for small exploration parties that travel for a couple of years but anything longer would be pointless until we can go faster. The best bet would be to send robotic probes to distant planets but these would have to be much more complex than can currently be manufactured to make it worth it, so it will be a while before that happens either.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 1:45 pm
Colonizing another solar system is an academic discussion for a while. But there is a reason that may force us to do so or to die - the colapse and following extreme expansion of the sun 5 billions years in the future. There perhaps is another more nearby reason too - the habitable zone around the sun the Earth is orbiting in is said to be reduced permanently and to disappear in around 500 milion years.

Too far in the very very late future for us but reasons. Another reason could be a supernova in our neighbourhood or the entry into a star birth region with its extreme radiation.

You are right concerning the samples - but even concerning these samples the concept might be changed compared to all concepts known today. There can be a fleet of probes - one launched each five or ten years equipped by the best available new technologies and equipments. Each probe may include 100 sub-probes - micro- and nanosats.

The smaple return vehicle may be multi-purpose and a half of them may begin colleting samples after data-based decisions have been sent when the first probe arrived at the distant system and sent back data.

I am only thinking about it - I have no intention to prove something or argue pro manned interstelar travels.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Apr 25, 2005 5:34 pm
The distances and places to go in the universe are immense. If it takes 20 years to travel to a star then we wouldnt just want to spend a few months there. It would probably be Years. Even with suspended animation, them years still add up. So its sensible to have an open ended life span ( where you can still die, but of accidents and things of that nature )

As a human, you live day by day, year by year. If you feel good this year then you will probably not like to die. If you feel good next year and the year after then the same will apply. You dont live a 100 or a 1000 earth years all at once. Also Extending frail life span is just not practical because of all the risks that come with it. Therefore with the rejuvanation therapies, you will be able to stay physically and mentally active and in good health like a 20 year old.

For any of us here on these forums in the year 2005 we are probably going to have to rely on life extension technologies to enable us to see our dreams of intersteller space travel and colonization of the galaxy etc..

being bored

Definitly a big problem. Although it probably can be overcome. We will probably have a number of technologies in place by the time long space travel takes place. True Virtual reality, this will have a massive impact for space travellers. It will help them go to any world they want and they might spend the majority of time in virtual worlds. Computer technology and reverse engineering of the brain is likely to enable us to create complex systems.

Also look at the biotec sector, we have many drugs coming out already that can help the the brain stay healthy for longer. We will have mind altering drugs that are safe and far more effective in the near future.

Nueral implants etc.. Again, a field that is advancing nicely because many areas of science are merging. These could enhance our intelligence greatly. As we become more intelligent there are more ' fun ' things we can do. Here is a 20 minute audio mp3 you should listen to, please..


Heres some points from the talk

How much fun is there in the universe?
What is the relation of available fun to intelligence?
What kind of emotional architecture is necessary to have fun?
Will eternal life be boring?
Will we ever run out of fun?


read: http://yudkowsky.net/essays/funtheory.html or

A Theory of Fun
A talk given by Eliezer Yudkowsky, lead researcher with the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, June 28, 2003 at the Transvision Conference.

Hi Quality - http://ftp.radio4all.net/pub/archive/09 ... y80mhz.mp3

Low Quality -

http://ftp.radio4all.net/pub/archive/09 ... y24mhz.mp3

He starts talking after 1 min 20 seconds..

When we do enter a time with massive colonization . Humans are likely to have some pretty impressive technology and as things are going now. We could say that most are not going to be fully human, human and machine will likely merge. Also its likely that many genetic enhancements will be made to humans. Gene therapy is going a bit slower than people hoped. But its likely to be huge in the next 10-20 years.

You shouldnt assume that we are going to be the same as we are today when we do go to the stars. We are already at the beginning of a transhuman / post human era. The transition is already happening on a small scale.

1. http://www.singinst.org/ - Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
2. http://www.changesurfer.com/ - jamues hughes
3. http://www.transhumanism.org/index.php/WTA/index/ - World Transhumanist Association
4.. www.kurzweilai.net Emerging technologies of the 21st century


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