Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ex Patria

A most extraordinary quiet fills the control room which also doubles as our family room on regular days. Window walls with stars in the distance barely illuminate the desk where I sit.

It's so quiet.  ... without a thought intruding to distract from the view.  It's mega light-years to that far horizon, if you can call it that.  The screens on my desk show deep space imagery, galaxies viewed close up with color enhanced clouds of gas and matter yet to be assimilated.

All that we can see, all that we can touch, all that we can detect by physical analysis and experiment, leaves us with just this incredibly incomplete view.  Millions and billions of stars and galaxies, ... and we're stalled at that point.  Everything we can see and touch is just 5% of what there is.  Dark matter and energy are the remaining 95%; that's 'dark' as in we know almost nothing about it.

The screens on my desk ...
For the moment, I'm comfortably relaxed and between tasks.  We're beginning transit.

Chapter I

My wife is in the kitchen, singing along to some theme song.  She does that for her weird sense of humor and makes me do it with her.  She's right, it's funny.

Making the transit between solar systems is more like squeezing watermelon seeds than launching space ships.  Fun stuff, basic physics, and entertaining if you're trying to stir things up a bit.

3... 2... 1... the yellow light flashes red, and boink, we're underway.

Interstellar transit turns out to be a sequence of space-time warping events; the Alcubierre warp bubble.  In the emerging theory of everything, we discovered a 'thumb-and-forefinger' kind of dimensional pressuring (transduction).  Squeeze and squirt became the solution to a variety of travel problems.

... you can see the scenery rushing by, sort of.
So, the transit between solar systems is quick and uninteresting if you're riding the seed.  It takes between six and seven seconds, start to finish, regardless of distances involved.  No physical sense of acceleration or motion, but you can see the scenery rushing by, sort of.  

The flashing red light tells us we're in 'the sequence' so nobody opens a door or something equally inappropriate.  Tick-tock-tick-ding, we've arrived.  Or was that the microwave with my wife's brussel sprouts?  I should pay closer attention. 

The waterworld of Angolares, a Portuguese eco project that is barely begun but already impressive.
She stops by the window; the view is breathtaking, as always.  We'll move lunch to the desk here so the beauty doesn't go to waste.  The adventure part of our lives is mostly her fault.  I'd probably be glad to settle in one place, but she's always been a little ... odd.  Why would anyone want to visit a planet with a population of twelve? 
(When my great, great granddad was a kid, humans went to the moon for the first time. High risk, expensive projects, and terrible energy waste. An elevator to the moon would have used about $3 worth of electricity, but the Apollo missions cost billions each. Access to inexpensive energy for space travel didn't happen until we stumbled on the top quark which turned out to be about six times bigger than the Higgs boson.  Switzerland's large Hadron Collider (LHC) began turning out results around 2015, and things went wild from there. Now just eighty years later, our tiny house is also an interstellar recreational vehicle. And it costs about $380 to make the trip between stellar systems, but energy prices are still going down.)
Sea life is getting started here; pelagics, finally, with fill-ins down the food chain including a sprawling array of microbiologics and plantlife. That's the wrap-up of phase I, and the chemistry looks good.  For now, the seas are incredibly clean, sparsely populated, and safe.  She wants to explore it a bit, and at reasonable depths this time, I hope.
Donald Trump's first presidency was probably the tipover point for what became a new-tech world exodus.  Government hogwash pretty much plateaued with the Trump Stump, and adventurous folks began taking the available exits.  Just a few folks at first, but it grew to a steady stream.  Semi-uncorrupted countries with low governance levels were the early expat destinations.  Denmark and Sweden were popular, as was Belize for awhile.  Asteroids were the first off-planet preference for base-camping, but the tiny-house/RV fad has pretty well taken hold, so when it came time for us to find a place to live, that was the easy choice.  And now, here we are in Angolares!  Okay, back to work. ~Arthur C. Clarke, IV, 2094