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    Default Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    If we consider aliens arriving in the solar system, one thing we know about them is that they must be able to survive interstellar space for at least years, probably centuries and maybe even millenia. What would such beings need? minerals and gases, which are probably plentiful out in the Oort, not planets, they haven't lived on them for a long time, and not sunlight in huge quanties, they've survived without it quite adequately while travelling. Pluto would be too hot for them.

    I don't remember posting this before, but it's not a new thought, so I apologise if I'm repeating myself.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    If we consider aliens arriving in the solar system, one thing we know about them is that they must be able to survive interstellar space for at least years, probably centuries and maybe even millenia. What would such beings need? minerals and gases, which are probably plentiful out in the Oort, not planets, they haven't lived on them for a long time, and not sunlight in huge quanties, they've survived without it quite adequately while travelling. Pluto would be too hot for them.

    I don't remember posting this before, but it's not a new thought, so I apologise if I'm repeating myself.
    Are you conflating their hypothetical biology with the technology they use to survive? If not, are you assuming their culture would have forgotten how to survive or utilize resources (with the help of their technology) near a star?
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    I'm confused. How do aliens hanging out in the Oort cloud explain the Fermi paradox?
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    There is no Fermi Paradox. A paradox requires two confirmed facts that seemingly contradict each other.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mastikator View Post
    I'm confused. How do aliens hanging out in the Oort cloud explain the Fermi paradox?
    I think Halfeye means that they would have either adapted to travelling in ships or developed beyond needing planets, so wouldn't be interested in visiting planets with their huge gravity wells.

    So, the reason we don't see aliens (the crux of the Fermi Paradox) is because if they get as far as space travel, they start to live in a different environment, and our paths have little reason to cross.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    The thing is that both life and technology tend to require energy. Stars give off massive amounts of energy, and any sufficiently advanced alien society would be fools not to take advantage of that. The fermi paradox is less about why we don't see alien spaceships around (space is big and interstellar travel is expensive and risky even in the best of circumstances), it's why we can't point our telescopes at various regions of the sky and see surprisingly dim patches where aliens have set up their own dyson swarms to better capitalize on the local stars.

    Also, for whatever it's worth, biology directly adds a lot of dead weight that's unnecessary in space travel where mass is critically important, and doubly so given all the life support that's required to keep that biology going. Even assuming that we don't screw ourselves over a a society or a species through various political or environmental shenanigans, I'm skeptical of biological humans ever getting far away from earth. If "we" do wind up becoming an interplanetary or interstellar species, I expect that it'll be through advances in AI and having robots either leading the way or heading off on their own without us. Spacefaring aliens will most likely be similar. So if we ever do meet an alien spacecraft, the biology of the inhabitants won't really be a factor.

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    I expect that it'll be through advances in AI and having robots either leading the way or heading off on their own without us. Spacefaring aliens will most likely be similar. So if we ever do meet an alien spacecraft, the biology of the inhabitants won't really be a factor.
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    (I've thought similar before, and am reminded of both Rendezvous with Rama, and Anderson's The Voortrekkers.)
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Transformers was, truly, a work of prophecy. #PrimusWasRight



    (I've thought similar before, and am reminded of both Rendezvous with Rama, and Anderson's The Voortrekkers.)
    Also, from the other side of the coin, Diaspora by Greg Egan.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    The thing is that both life and technology tend to require energy. Stars give off massive amounts of energy, and any sufficiently advanced alien society would be fools not to take advantage of that. The fermi paradox is less about why we don't see alien spaceships around (space is big and interstellar travel is expensive and risky even in the best of circumstances), it's why we can't point our telescopes at various regions of the sky and see surprisingly dim patches where aliens have set up their own dyson swarms to better capitalize on the local stars.

    Also, for whatever it's worth, biology directly adds a lot of dead weight that's unnecessary in space travel where mass is critically important, and doubly so given all the life support that's required to keep that biology going. Even assuming that we don't screw ourselves over a a society or a species through various political or environmental shenanigans, I'm skeptical of biological humans ever getting far away from earth. If "we" do wind up becoming an interplanetary or interstellar species, I expect that it'll be through advances in AI and having robots either leading the way or heading off on their own without us. Spacefaring aliens will most likely be similar. So if we ever do meet an alien spacecraft, the biology of the inhabitants won't really be a factor.
    True, though part of the Fermi Paradox is 'why don't we see alien machines?' Sending automated craft to other stars should be comparatively simple, but we've observed no evidence of that either. In some sense this is a good thing - hegemonizing swarms are bad for literally everything else - but it is a bit weird.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anymage View Post
    Also, for whatever it's worth, biology directly adds a lot of dead weight that's unnecessary in space travel where mass is critically important, and doubly so given all the life support that's required to keep that biology going.
    One would assume that a civilization capable of travelling at a speed faster than light that makes 200 light year trips to a few weeks wouldn't be so much concerned with power generation or life support issues.

    How many rational people would be of the mindset to travel to the stars, and if they did a round trip, would come back to a world that's advanced 400 years, having their home nation potentially not exist, or be so different as to be unrecognizable, and be meeting their great-great-great-etc-grandchildren, if they even have a family remaining.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    One would assume that a civilization capable of travelling at a speed faster than light that makes 200 light year trips to a few weeks wouldn't be so much concerned with power generation or life support issues.
    Why are you bringing FTL travel into this? That seems quite outside the context of Fermi Paradox discussions.

    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    How many rational people would be of the mindset to travel to the stars, and if they did a round trip, would come back to a world that's advanced 400 years, having their home nation potentially not exist, or be so different as to be unrecognizable, and be meeting their great-great-great-etc-grandchildren, if they even have a family remaining.
    Those who rationally choose to take a one-way trip.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harnel View Post
    where is the atropal? and does it have a listed LA?

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by gomipile View Post
    Why are you bringing FTL travel into this? That seems quite outside the context of Fermi Paradox discussions.
    Indeed. The Fermi Paradox absolutely does not rely upon FTL or even Relativistic travel speeds. A big part of Fermi's point was that even if a spreading alien civilization has to crawl from star to star at 5-10% of c, it could still spread across the galaxy in a few million years.

    And while living organisms might have trouble with trips lasting in centuries, machines should be able to handle it just fine - many of our extant deep space probes have displayed unexpectedly long lifespans, attesting to the viability of such missions. A single properly designed Von Neumann Probe could easily spread to every star system in the galaxy. Certainly it is possible to imagine humanity programming just such a probe to search for alien life.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    I would say that the premise misses how life works; it expands to fill every space available rather than picking the best one. It is not a case of Oort cloud or inner planets, because life will pick both. When people decide to move to a home, the fact that it is hard to leave is not a concern, because it will be home. They will go down to the planets despite it being hard to get out because they have no need to come back out.

    The lack of energy out in the Oort cloud is a major hurdle. Protium fusion is absolutely required, and solar panels are just easier. If fusion is sorted then absolutely life in the Oort cloud is possible, and would probably happen, but it would be in addition to inner system life rather than instead of. It doesn't address the Fermi paradox at all.

    As for 'humans' surviving an interstellar trip, definitely possible. While freezing an adult is beyond us, there is no known limit for how long an embryo can stay frozen. With low radiation storage in a large enough block of ice; being born millions of years later might be possible with stuff we have now. The only tech we lack is an artificial womb, and we are not far off that. Energy demands are only really significant in the last phase of the trip, so a simple nuclear reactor would work for that, with starlight being enough for a computer to wake up occasionally on the trip (too cold for batteries, but capacitor banks would work fine). If there are repairs needed during the trip some people can be born early, do the required work, then live out their lives before it goes quiet for another 50,000 years till something breaks again.

    I don't see the point in designing purely mechanical Von Neumann probes, because humans are already a solution to most of the problem. A Von Neumann probe is life, and that already exists. We don't need to reinvent it. Infinitely reproducing and adaptable is not dead weight, it is the hard bit. Creating a machine to do it seems like a lot of work to engineer ourselves out of existence.

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    There is no Fermi Paradox. A paradox requires two confirmed facts that seemingly contradict each other.
    I've gotta agree with this. Not a paradox

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    There is no Fermi Paradox. A paradox requires two confirmed facts that seemingly contradict each other.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

    It's a name for a concept, it gets the message across.

    Quote Originally Posted by gomipile View Post
    Are you conflating their hypothetical biology with the technology they use to survive? If not, are you assuming their culture would have forgotten how to survive or utilize resources (with the help of their technology) near a star?
    I am assuming they crossed interstellar space. I'm not that bothered whether it was their biology or technology that got them across. I'm not particularly interested in what other technology they may know of, if they want to come in-system they need to build the technology to survive here even if they do know of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by sihnfahl View Post
    One would assume that a civilization capable of travelling at a speed faster than light that makes 200 light year trips to a few weeks wouldn't be so much concerned with power generation or life support issues.
    FTL is magic, I'm not talking about magic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Rooster View Post
    I would say that the premise misses how life works; it expands to fill every space available rather than picking the best one. It is not a case of Oort cloud or inner planets, because life will pick both. When people decide to move to a home, the fact that it is hard to leave is not a concern, because it will be home. They will go down to the planets despite it being hard to get out because they have no need to come back out.
    Life typically moves to environments it's already adapted to, rather than adapt to closer environments.

    The lack of energy out in the Oort cloud is a major hurdle. Protium fusion is absolutely required, and solar panels are just easier. If fusion is sorted then absolutely life in the Oort cloud is possible, and would probably happen, but it would be in addition to inner system life rather than instead of. It doesn't address the Fermi paradox at all.
    I am talking about aliens that have arrived. When they left they might well have expanded out into their own star's Oort equivalent before setting off, but when they arrive, they must be adapted technologically or biologically to survive in deep space.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    I am talking about aliens that have arrived. When they left they might well have expanded out into their own star's Oort equivalent before setting off, but when they arrive, they must be adapted technologically or biologically to survive in deep space.
    'Deep space' isn't really any different from just 'space' in terms of overall conditions. Voyager 1 has gone from just outside Earth's atmosphere to as close as we can get to 'outside the solar system' over the course of several decades and while it's instruments note changes in conditions, they haven't been enough to seriously impact it in any way. Moving from the interstellar medium all the way down to awfully close to a large star imposes no significant changes whatsoever.

    Additionally it is not necessary for potential interstellar travelers to adapt to deep space at all. Assuming interstellar travel rates averaging 5% or so, which is well within projections of what various nuclear rocket designs could achieve, even a relatively lengthy journey of 10 ly (it would be a fairly isolated star that was this far apart from any neighbor) would take only 200 years. That's perfectly achievable for a machine, but also potentially within reach for a living organism granted either some form of cryogenics or just life extension technologies - after all, you could stuff a young greenland shark in such a rocket and it would merely be middle-aged upon arrival. There's also the generation ship possibility - 3-4 generations in such a scenario isn't unmanageable.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox
    Life typically moves to environments it's already adapted to, rather than adapt to closer environments.
    Tell that to the first fish that lived on land!

    I don't know where you got that belief from, but it is completely wrong. Over the relevant timescales life adapts to any available environment. You might argue that evolved spread of life differs from rational* decision making by sentient lifeforms, and it is true that humans have a stronger tendency to war over the best environments, but there have always been those who opt for less favourable territory that is less contested. There has never been a total migration out of somewhere that survival is possible, even if not easiest. In fact the opposite is true, we have seen mass migrations every time new territory has been opened even if the territory has been massively inhospitable (looking at you Australia).

    * The evolved strategy is actually pretty rational, with the biggest problem being lack of long term planning. In contrast, people tend to be less accepting of 'good enough', if they believe some other people have it better. Our awareness and rationality pushes us to more selfish strategies, which are globally less effective, so in a sense less rational. To a large extent even people follow their evolved behaviours though (instincts), rather than making cerebral decisions.

    Seconding the point about interstellar space being fairly similar to inner system space, but I think it should be made clear that interstellar is strictly harder, due to the energy scarcity. I think you are underestimating how important energy is to the whole process. A closed system is not strictly possible, but a system where only energy goes in and out is absolutely possible, and not that hard. Energy is the bottleneck. If anything you would expect them to move all the resources of the Oort cloud in towards the energy source, and if there were going somewhere new to exploit the resources from close to the star outward. Just because they can survive in a low energy state in deep space does not mean that this is easiest for them.

    For reference, consider that an EUV semiconductor machine processes a few kg of silicon (basically sand) an hour, and requires almost a MW to run. If you turning an asteroid into computers you are going to run out of energy long before you run out of silicon. It is simply not feasible to do that sort of industry in the Oort cloud.

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    There's also the generation ship possibility - 3-4 generations in such a scenario isn't unmanageable.
    A generation ship seems to me like an excercise in futility. Barring very dire circumstances* why would anyone go on a trip where they know they'll never reach their destination? And why should the next generation care what the first generation had going on?

    *(ie. ones where the point isn't to get anywhere in particular but the flee the place you were at)
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2022-08-16 at 11:15 AM.

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    A generation ship seems to me like an excercise in futility. Barring very dire circumstances* why would anyone go on a trip where they know they'll never reach their destination? And why should the next generation care what the first generation had going on?

    *(ie. ones where the point isn't to get anywhere in particular but the flee the place you were at)
    Hope?

    I mean, sure, it's going to be foolproof, by any means, but if you set out saying "We're going to travel for five generations and then land in a new world", you might design your training plans around that idea. You develop your culture to emphasize and promote the idea of where you're going. You release new information about your future generation's home as you gather it (you can learn a lot more from 1ly than you can at 10ly), to keep people excited.

    You'll have people who aren't on board, but you can keep going like that for a long time.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    If we consider aliens arriving in the solar system, one thing we know about them is that they must be able to survive interstellar space for at least years, probably centuries and maybe even millenia. What would such beings need? minerals and gases, which are probably plentiful out in the Oort, not planets, they haven't lived on them for a long time, and not sunlight in huge quanties, they've survived without it quite adequately while travelling. Pluto would be too hot for them.

    I don't remember posting this before, but it's not a new thought, so I apologise if I'm repeating myself.
    Density of space in the Oort cloud is still quite sparse. We can see exoplanets from time to time, a massive habitation in the Oort Cloud would likely be visible.

    Additionally, there is very little reason to remain so distant from the sun. There is not much mass and not much energy to be had there. The asteroid belt is far more logical if one posits a simple desire to collect mass and power.

    Pluto isn't "too hot" in any meaningful sense. Any spaceship capable of interstellar travel must have quite good thermal management and insulation capacity. Pluto receives extremely little light, with an average temperature of -387F, far too cold to plausibly maintain any kind of life.

    So, the Oort cloud doesn't really offer anything new to resolve the Fermi Paradox. Heck, even if, for some reason, aliens did need to avoid all light whatsoever, dark exoplanets and astroids exist, they don't need to even go to the oort cloud or similar, or to leave deep space. It's a strange postulate, because energy consumption is universal to all life we know of, but if they feared it, why come to the Oort and stop?

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Rooster View Post
    Tell that to the first fish that lived on land!
    The first fish to live on land was adapted to live on land before it moved.

    I don't know where you got that belief from, but it is completely wrong. Over the relevant timescales life adapts to any available environment. You might argue that evolved spread of life differs from rational* decision making by sentient lifeforms, and it is true that humans have a stronger tendency to war over the best environments, but there have always been those who opt for less favourable territory that is less contested. There has never been a total migration out of somewhere that survival is possible, even if not easiest. In fact the opposite is true, we have seen mass migrations every time new territory has been opened even if the territory has been massively inhospitable (looking at you Australia).
    The mass migration to Australia was largely convicts sent as an alternative to prison. Fish stlii mostly migrate within water (freshwater eels sometimes cross land while it's raining). If there is empty territory to which they are adapted where they can sense it, most species move into that rather than adapt to a different biome.

    Seconding the point about interstellar space being fairly similar to inner system space, but I think it should be made clear that interstellar is strictly harder, due to the energy scarcity. I think you are underestimating how important energy is to the whole process. A closed system is not strictly possible, but a system where only energy goes in and out is absolutely possible, and not that hard. Energy is the bottleneck. If anything you would expect them to move all the resources of the Oort cloud in towards the energy source, and if there were going somewhere new to exploit the resources from close to the star outward. Just because they can survive in a low energy state in deep space does not mean that this is easiest for them.

    For reference, consider that an EUV semiconductor machine processes a few kg of silicon (basically sand) an hour, and requires almost a MW to run. If you turning an asteroid into computers you are going to run out of energy long before you run out of silicon. It is simply not feasible to do that sort of industry in the Oort cloud.
    There is a lot of matter (mostly hydrogen), in the Oort, that's why it is called a cloud, mainly in the form of snowballs (comets).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    Density of space in the Oort cloud is still quite sparse. We can see exoplanets from time to time, a massive habitation in the Oort Cloud would likely be visible.
    There are no natural objects out there the size of Saturn or bigger, because they have looked for the IR signature and not found it. These beings would have very good insulation, or be very cold.

    Additionally, there is very little reason to remain so distant from the sun. There is not much mass and not much energy to be had there. The asteroid belt is far more logical if one posits a simple desire to collect mass and power.
    It is a lot sparser, but there is a Huge volume. The Oort contains 99.9% or more of the space in the solar system, if you count it as part of the solar system, which I would suggest we ought to since it moves with the sun and depends on the sun.

    Pluto isn't "too hot" in any meaningful sense. Any spaceship capable of interstellar travel must have quite good thermal management and insulation capacity. Pluto receives extremely little light, with an average temperature of -387F, far too cold to plausibly maintain any kind of life.
    44 Kelvin isn't much, but it's more than further out, and the gravity well is significant.

    So, the Oort cloud doesn't really offer anything new to resolve the Fermi Paradox. Heck, even if, for some reason, aliens did need to avoid all light whatsoever, dark exoplanets and astroids exist, they don't need to even go to the oort cloud or similar, or to leave deep space. It's a strange postulate, because energy consumption is universal to all life we know of, but if they feared it, why come to the Oort and stop?
    You seem to still be thinking of this from the point of view of moving out to the Oort from inside the inner system, the aliens I'm talking about would be coming in to it from the outside.

    Why come to the Oort and stop indeed, they might well refuel there and go onward, I am thinking about any who stayed, but they might well move on.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2022-08-16 at 03:23 PM.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    A generation ship seems to me like an excercise in futility. Barring very dire circumstances* why would anyone go on a trip where they know they'll never reach their destination? And why should the next generation care what the first generation had going on?

    *(ie. ones where the point isn't to get anywhere in particular but the flee the place you were at)
    A generation is ~20-25 years. If you planned a generation ship journey to Alpha Centauri and managed to average 0.05c, you'd make the trip in 86 years. That means small children who departed would arrive as venerable elders, but continuity of living memory would be preserved throughout. With relatively modest life extension technologies - ex. pushing the average life expectancy out to 110-120 years, you could manage a journey of 5-6 light years. That's probably enough for galaxy-wide spread. If you could increase speed up to 0.1c 10ly journeys would be easily manageable, and that's definitely enough to colonize the galaxy.

    There is a lot of hydrogen in the Oort, that's why it is called a cloud, mostly in the form of snowballs (comets).
    The average comet in the Oort Cloud is ~1 AU from its nearest neighbor. The concentration of resources out there is extremely low.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    A generation is ~20-25 years. If you planned a generation ship journey to Alpha Centauri and managed to average 0.05c, you'd make the trip in 86 years. That means small children who departed would arrive as venerable elders, but continuity of living memory would be preserved throughout. With relatively modest life extension technologies - ex. pushing the average life expectancy out to 110-120 years, you could manage a journey of 5-6 light years. That's probably enough for galaxy-wide spread. If you could increase speed up to 0.1c 10ly journeys would be easily manageable, and that's definitely enough to colonize the galaxy.
    I mostly agree with this, I don't claim to have checked the figures.

    The average comet in the Oort Cloud is ~1 AU from its nearest neighbor.
    Citation needed.

    The concentration of resources out there is extremely low.
    The energy requirements to get to those resources, if you have the time, are equally low.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2022-08-16 at 03:30 PM.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    Citation needed.
    NASA's Oort Cloud In Depth page tells us:
    Objects in the cloud do not lie in a shared orbital plane.
    The inner edge may be as far as 5,000 AU from the sun.
    The outer edge may be as close as 10,000 AU from the sun.
    The cloud may contain hundreds of billions or trillions of icy bodies.

    Assume the Oort cloud is a spherical shell centered on the sun, 5,000-10,000 AU from it. Volume of a spherical shell is volume of the outer sphere minus volume of the inner sphere:
    (4/3 * pi * (10,000)^3) - (4/3 * pi * (5,000)^3) cubic AU.

    For a low estimate, we can safely round pi down to 3 and group things to get:
    4 * ((10,000)^3 - (5,000)^3) cubic AU.

    Then it's just calculator work:
    4 * (1,000,000,000,000 - 125,000,000,000)
    4 * (875,000,000,000)
    3,500,000,000,000

    So the Oort cloud covers more than 3.5 trillion cubic AU. With the high estimate for number of objects being "trillions", it seems likely that the average density of objects is less than 1 object per cubic AU.

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    There is a lot of matter (mostly hydrogen), in the Oort, that's why it is called a cloud, mainly in the form of snowballs (comets).
    The average distance between two comets in the Oort cloud is further than the distance from the Sun to Saturn.

    It is not matter dense, and is not a very good place to go to collect matter.

    There are no natural objects out there the size of Saturn or bigger, because they have looked for the IR signature and not found it. These beings would have very good insulation, or be very cold.
    You misunderstand, I'm not saying we would have necessarily found aliens in the Oort cloud. It is big, and our ability to study space is intrinsically limited.

    I'm saying that for your postulated goal of matter collection, the Oort cloud is an extremely bad place to go to accomplish that. As a result, your narrative does not make sense.

    It is a lot sparser, but there is a Huge volume. The Oort contains 99.9% or more of the space in the solar system, if you count it as part of the solar system, which I would suggest we ought to since it moves with the sun and depends on the sun.
    That is a point against it. There is a lot of gold in the ocean, but it is highly distributed. When you go mining gold, you go where it is concentrated, not a vast area where it is sparse.

    This is true of all life. You find life clustered where energy, nutrients, etc are available. Life is far more rare where necessary things are sparse.

    44 Kelvin isn't much, but it's more than further out, and the gravity well is significant.
    Any spaceship capable of interstellar travel is not going to be bothered by the conditions around Pluto. They are not all that different from interstellar space, and any interstellar spaceship that has travelled here successfully is obviously just fine with that.

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Hope?

    I mean, sure, it's going to be foolproof, by any means, but if you set out saying "We're going to travel for five generations and then land in a new world", you might design your training plans around that idea. You develop your culture to emphasize and promote the idea of where you're going. You release new information about your future generation's home as you gather it (you can learn a lot more from 1ly than you can at 10ly), to keep people excited.
    To what end?

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    And good luck keeping a society on track for 5 generations, particularly in the negative-sum economy and flat population of a generation ship. Modern social structures does not arise, and probably can't survive, in those conditions.
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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    It would basically be like sealing yourself up in one of the vaults from Fallout, but with all the problems of space travel layered on top of it. I can't see anyone doing that unless there's either a world ending disaster, or they're in a cult. And if the trip's not run by a cult to begin with, it probably will be by the time the voyage ends, as Warty Goblin correctly pointed out, those conditions aren't really compatible with a healthy society.

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    And good luck keeping a society on track for 5 generations, particularly in the negative-sum economy and flat population of a generation ship. Modern social structures does not arise, and probably can't survive, in those conditions.
    You could gain in information. It's possible that intellectual labor will be positive-sum. For instance, writing a book or making a play or the like, all of which can be recorded for later and added to the sum total of knowledge.

    While this technically breaks the negative sum economy problem, I don't know that it's sufficient for long generations. If you spend five generations or more all becoming writers and actors, what happens when you get to the far side, and other things are needed again?

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    Default Re: Aliens in the Oort? one possible explanation of the Fermi paradox.

    Press gangs and conscript militaries happened. Australia happened. Hostile architecture and other measures to deter the homeless are things. Mars One fell apart, but thousands of people signed up for what they were explicitly told was a one way trip. People of means with a comfortable lifestyle are unlikely to uproot everything to go to a new place, but there are reasons ranging from wanderlust to not having a comfortable lifestyle to being under duress to being literally kidnapped. Once you're on the generation ship with just a bunch of other people, no backup and the cold void of space around you, a society will develop just because you don't really have other options.

    I still hold that machine probes are a lot more likely than generation ships. But in addition to those with incorrigible wanderlust, some people might be pressured onto the ship as a way for a society to exile malcontents and undesirables while trying to put a good optics spin on the whole deal.

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