2015 - Aurora

Discuss the novel Aurora

I've been reading Aurora (great book!) but have not finished yet.I'm trying to get a pitur ein my head of what Ship's configuration is.

The author describes the ship as two rings of twelve cylinders each, and each cylinder is 4km long. The twelve cylinders meet at 30 degree angles, with locks between them that are "canted at 15 degrees each". So each ring is (as later explicitly described) "a dodecagon". 

Does the author anywhere in the story talk about the uneven apparent gravity this produces?

Standing at the end of any biome, a citizen will find that a plumb bob will not point perpendicular to the ground - it will point 15 degrees off "down". This means that a citizen will find every biome they walk into to be a steep hill with 15 degree grade. It also means (and this is a big problem) everything *else* - including soil and any standing water - will slide down this hill and pool at the bottom/ends of each biome.

Indeed, I don't recall a description either way. In my mental image the biomes are straight cylinders, and I "solved" the gravity issue by imagining that within the biomes the "ground" that partially fills the space is arranged in such a manner as to have a curved surface. The "ground" doesn't need to be adjacent to the outer wall of the cylinder, the ship could be carrying some amount of dirt and "underground" water and indeed there are also mentions of mountains, so the ground is not level. 

I'm trying to build up a picture of what Ship really looks like from the author's description in the book. It doesn't quite match the picture on the cover, (The author describes each ring as comprised of 12 cylinders whereas The picture shows a continuous ring.)

Each cylinder is 4km long and 1km in diameter. My question is: Are the cylinders straight (like a hot dog) or are they curved around the Ship's radius (like a banana or a sausage link)?

The description says that "the tunnels are canted at fifteen degree angles to the biomes at each end" - which suggests the biomes are straight. 

The problem with biomes that are straight is that the apparent direction of gravity will not be straight up. It will vary from perpendicular at the centre of the biomes to 7.5 degrees off-vertical at each end, so that can't be right. It also means any free-standing water will flow down a very steep 7.5 degree slope to each end, and then pool there.

What am I missing?

 

For a nice review of Aurora, see

https://starfarersf.nicepage.io/

Since the quantum computer is smart enough to narrate the story, it is probably smart enough to raise children. It would be advantageous to just freeze sperm and eggs and then combine them when reaching Tau Ceti instead of having people trapped in a ship for that long. The rest of the life support could be frozen, or could just be allowed to live for the duration of the trip. 

Good day dear sir(s), 

I read your article in Scientific American here: 

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-will-it-take-for-humans-...

May I suggest a different approach: 

Humans need not migrate themselves to colonize the Milky Way. The could migrate life, in the fom of microbes, engineered to survive in an environment. What if we could place microbes on Venus that can survive its temperature, and reproduce ?  And then let nature take over, and evolve these bacteria into something more complex, perhaps altering the atmosphere and creating animal life in the process ? Im not saying that "building" such microbes will be easy, but I certainly believe it to be easier and more feasible than moving ourselves into the universe using spaceship arcs. 

I think microbes is the correct way to continue. The reason it is not popular, is because it will take about one billion years for the Venus microbe to evolve into intelligent life, and that is the best case scenario. And none of us is ready to wait that long! 

So perhaps it is our vanity that prohibits us from colonizing space ? We want immediate results so that the people involved in the program get the credit while they are alive. I do not think that interstellar travel will work at such small scales. 

Thank you for your time to read this, I would be interested in a response at dim DOT tripakis At gmail dot com. 

Hi,

Aurora (German ed.) contains many "interesting words" like "Wahrscheinlichkeitsblindheit" (e: blindness for probability?) or "Ankerheuristik" (e: anchoring heuristic) which I searched for.

The combination of both (in german) yields in just 1 (!) hit: Dean Buonomano: Brain Bugs.

I assume, Kim read it?

Yours,

Michael

P.S.: I enjoyed "Aurora" very much - it IS a thrilling novel, serios & inspiring with many facts...

However "ligjht" a treatment R's article in Scientific American, "What Will It Take for Humans to Colonize the Milky Way?"  may be, I am distressed that he isn't writing instead on what it will take for us earthlings to survive on this rapidly-warming planet beyone the end of this         century.  Similarly for most of the other larg-ish species with whom we share the Earth. The exponential release of methane in the arctic and the exponential rise in temperatures, especially in the Arctic, have collaborated to produce run-away warming-- as we have seen in the past (nearly-) three years of unprecedented record global temperature averages. It is happening NOW.  Does anyone else think of the flashback scenes in David Bowie's film, "The Man Who Fell To Earth"-- a man in search of a still-habitable planet, as his own has been cooked?  Could Robinson's colonizers survive a multi-generational voyage on an interstellar vessel-- seems not worth a thought as we watch our own "spaceship Earth" crashing, ecologically   (For those who have not been following the problem of Artctic methane releases, google  (1) methane from the melting tundra, (2) the dissociation of methane hydrates underwater- particuylarly on the Siberian shelf, and (3)b, burps" or plumes of pure methane released beneath the seas as the thinning hydrates are no longer strong enough to continue capping off seams of this gas beneath the comtinental shelf.  And/or watch a few of the youtube talks by Prof. Guy McPherson on the subject.)

Brilliant as usual, but possibly overly pessimistic? Human interstellar travel seems highly unlikely given our self destructive instincts but a world ship is not technically impossible as KSR shows us. The idea that alien worlds with life would kill life from elsewhere is interesting. I think it's more likely that since evolution would have proceeded separately we wouldn't make a good host for alien prion like diseases or other single celled organisms and viruses. Getting to a habitable planet will be the hard part. Unlikely as it seems since we haven't even managed to get back to the moon in the last 40 years I think humans will eventually achieve the goal if we get through the next 100 years or so.

I just finished a painting that was inspired by the book Aurora. I just wanted to share it with folks who read the book. Any suggestions where I can upload the image? It's not for sale or anything like that, I just want to share it.

Hi everybody!
I was recently reading the Aurora book (which, by the way, is AMAZING), and it was mentioning pretty early on that the ship in Aurora is 12 magnitudes smaller than Earth. Since it is hard for the human mind to fully conceptualize the size of our world, I was trying to use Google to figure out how small, exactly, is 12 magnitudes smaller than Earth. I couldnt find anything useful online, so I was wondering if somebody here could help me out with some comparison (My research lead me to believe that 12 magnitudes smaller than earth is the size of bacteria, which it awfully small for a inter-solar space ship).
Thanks! (btw thanks to Science Friday for recommending this book!)

Surface would be more relevant than volume in our case.

The Earths surface is roughly 4*pi*r^2=5.1e8 km2

I remember each biome be about 4 km long and 500 m wide, thats 2 km2
Times 24 biomes, 48 km2

Thats about 7 orders of magnitude.
Hm.

[quote=Naseem]Hi everybody!
I was recently reading the Aurora book (which, by the way, is AMAZING), and it was mentioning pretty early on that the ship in Aurora is 12 magnitudes smaller than Earth. Since it is hard for the human mind to fully conceptualize the size of our world, I was trying to use Google to figure out how small, exactly, is 12 magnitudes smaller than Earth. I couldnt find anything useful online, so I was wondering if somebody here could help me out with some comparison (My research lead me to believe that 12 magnitudes smaller than earth is the size of bacteria, which it awfully small for a inter-solar space ship).
Thanks! (btw thanks to Science Friday for recommending this book!)[/quote]
Lets look at it by volume.

The volume of the earth is 1.08*10^12 km. So I guess 12 orders of magnitude smaller would leave a volume of 1.08 km. That still seems a small for so many people but in bacteria sized.

Alan

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