It will take or years for smaller colonies with rapid population growth rates to start pushing up into the 10 million population range, and might have the impulse and capability to colonize.
But it might take closer to years for a substantial number of the original colonies to have much motivation to colonize. The early goers, though, will have filled in the next layer of easy pickings. Here is where your FTL really matters - whether you can light off freely into the vastness to hunt for a suitable planet, or are constrained by a colonization sphere that is starting to grow again. But broadly speaking, it seems that secondary colonization couldn't be expected in any serious way until sometime well after , and perhaps not in a big way till sometime around I came from Deneb," she said.
It is quite different from the solar system. It is—organized.
Discoveries on the Colony Ship: Colony Ship Eschaton, Book 6 (Unabridged)
By the time the first ships reached Deneb, the mechanics of exploitation had become efficient. She swept her hand over the sky. The Third Expansion: between here and Sol, across six thousand light years—nothing but mankind, the fruit of a thousand years of world-building. And all of it linked by economics. Older systems like Deneb, their resources spent—even the solar system itself—are supported by a flow of goods and materials inward from the growing periphery of the Expansion. There are trade lanes spanning thousands of light years, lanes that never leave human territory, plied by vast schooners kilometers wide.
But now the Ghosts are in our way. The riches can continue to flow inward, into the mined-out systems, feeding a vast horde of humanity who have become more populous than the stars themselves. I understood some of this. The Third Expansion had reached all the way to the inner edge of our spiral arm of the galaxy.
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Now the first colony ships were attempting to make their way across the void to the next arm. Our arm, the Orion Arm, is really just a shingle, a short arc. For example, it contains a huge region of star-birth, one of the largest in the galaxy, immense clouds of gas and dust capable of producing millions of stars each. It was a prize indeed.
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When it appeared that our inexorable expansion was threatening not just their own mysterious projects but their home system, the Ghosts began, for the first time, to resist us. It was a devastatingly effective ploy. This was a war of colonization, of world-building. For a thousand years we had been spreading steadily from star to star, using the resources of one system to explore, terraform and populate the worlds of the next.
With too deep a break in that chain of exploitation, the enterprise broke down. There have already been wars, young Case: human fighting human, as the inner systems starve. All the Ghosts have to do is wait for us to destroy ourselves, and free them to continue their own rather more worthy projects. Jeru floated down before him. Growing up at Deneb, I saw the great schooners in the sky, bringing the interstellar riches that kept my people alive.
I was intelligent enough to see the logic of history—that we must maintain the Expansion, because there is no choice. And that is why I joined the armed forces, and later the Commission for Historical Truth. For I understood the dreadful truth which the Commission cradles. And that is why we must labor every day to maintain the unity and purpose of mankind.
For if we falter we die; as simple as that. It is a creed that binds uncounted trillions of human beings across thousands of light years. It is a creed that binds a humanity so diverse it appears to be undergoing speciation…Are you strong enough to defy such a creed now? Come, Academician. None of us chooses to be born in the middle of a war.
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We must all do our best for each other, for other human beings; what else is there? McInnes shows that an expanding sphere of colonization cannot expand fast enough to avoid complete societal collapse due to exponential population growth and increasing population density McInnes, Furthermore, after such a crash, the society may be so impoverished of resources that it is forever blocked from making a second attempt. If this theory is universally true of all civilizations, then it offers significant insight into the Fermi Paradox.
McInnes extends the intuitive notion of a constant expansion rate with a steadily increasing population density to a linear expansion rate which maintains constant population density. However, the expansion velocity must have some maximum speed limit. To generate an upper-bound for this theory, McInnes considers a maximum expansion velocity of 1.
Eventually, total societal collapse is inevitable.
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The only way to avoid catastrophe is to shift from exponential growth to logistic growth. Given a specified growth rate and an initial sphere of some specified size, one can calculate the size of the expanded sphere when the increasing expansion rate reaches the 1. McInnes calls this sphere the light cage. Out of curiosity, we ran the numbers for a more realistic maximum expansion velocity. If we assume a maximum flight speed of 0.
Interestingly, while a considerably slower expansion rate drastically reduces the cage, it only slightly decreases the time until the cage is hit. This follows naturally from exponential growth. To make matters worse,.
If we briefly consider a maximum expansion velocity of. Considering that there are only 52 stars within 15ly of Earth and none within 3ly! More crucially, 15ly probably lies within the single-voyage horizon, which implies that early waves of colonization may fill the cage all at once as opposed to diffusing radially. In other words, according to light cage theory, interstellar travel hardly provides any population relief at all, right from the beginning.
McInnes is careful to admit that his model is continuous and symmetrical. Admittedly, galactic colonization is loosely like an expanding sphere, but more precisely it is like traversal of a rooted tree a graph , where the root is the homeworld, vertices are solar systems, and labeled edges connect stars whose distances are below a maximum traversal threshold with the labels indicating interstellar distances and associated travel times.
In addition to the inherently discrete nature of this graph, the natural distribution of stars will impose notable asymmetries on the edge length and per-node degree branching factor. We agree, but in practicality, a tree of no more than 52 nodes probably far fewer , all of which have direct edges to the homeworld, no longer resembles a continuous sphere in even the weakest sense. A Monte Carlo simulation might help illuminate any interesting properties of the discrete model.
Assuming that the continuous model is apropos to the discussion, then we envisage two ways by which the model may not predict actual events. The first is admitted by McInnes, that populations may succeed in converting to logistic growth and therefore avoid the prescribed collapse. Given the calculation of a 15ly cage and the observation that it would saturate in a single emigration wave due to direct homeworld access, any hope of survival would depend on adopting logistic growth prior to interstellar colonization; any later would be too late to avoid disaster.
However, Earth appears to be following just such a course, leveling off its population growth in the 21st century, long before undertaking interstellar travel Haqq-Misra and Baum, Not only does this bode well for humanity, it suggests that other ETI civilizations can do the same If ETI are once again enabled to continue steady outward expansion, then the original questions underlying the paradox resurface.
He proposes the example of a civilization which permits exponential growth at its frontier but enforces logistic growth wherever resource limits are reached, i. He shows how such a civilization could achieve phenomenal rates of unbounded expansion, filling the galaxy in a few millions years. Considering that in section 3 we demonstrate some weaknesses of the percolation model, we likewise conclude that the proposed scenario stands relatively unchallenged.
Should it turn out to be reasonable, then the Fermi Paradox remains, well, paradoxical. Group, P. Project Daedalus : the final report on the BIS starship study.
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. Haqq-Misra, J. The sustainability solution to the fermi paradox.
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Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 62, 47— Matloff, G. Praxis Publishing Ltd. McInnes, C. The light cage limit to interstellar expansion. Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 55, — Colonization is fairly straightforwards given a shirt-sleeve habitable planet , though things can turn nasty if the new planets already have natives. Habitability is the measure of highest value in planet-hunting.
But should it be? Kepler and the other planet-finding missions have begun to bear fruit. We now know that most stars have planets, and that a surprising percentage will have Earth-sized worlds in their habitable zone—the region where things are not too hot and not too cold, where life can develop. Astronomers are justly fascinated by this region and what they can find there.