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Let's say in the year 2000 we launch a ship to some distant part of the galaxy. If the ship travels with a constant 1 g acceleration for like 28 years (accelerating halfway then decelerating), then we can reach as far as Andromeda. The catch being that people of Earth have experienced some millions of years while you and your crew only experienced 28.

It's not currently feasible to communicate faster than the speed of light, and I think this generates some really fun issues. Mainly, that we would have trouble passing resources or information in either direction.

  • Not all "societies" in space will have the same technology
  • We really can't have the same government or even abide the same laws
  • We may also see other events in the cosmos in different orders, as relative simultaneity kicks in.

With all these issues, why would we even try to communicate or cooperate? Are there any special ways we can help each other that closer societies like England and France could not?

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    $\begingroup$ Simplest answer would be: why the expletive not? $\endgroup$ – Renan Aug 17 '18 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ Who says the mission planners assume there will be? The ship for an intergalactic voyage is going to be large, and chock full of the people and equipment needed when they arrive. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Aug 17 '18 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn Exactly. Maybe I should word it differently. I mean to ask that with so much against us communicating, is there a reason to do it? Something I'm looking past. $\endgroup$ – Qfwfq Aug 17 '18 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ "in the year 2000"... it's 2018 now. Which makes me remember older Conan O'Brien's comedy sketches... $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 17 '18 at 17:07
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    $\begingroup$ Curiousity. Why do people still read Homer & Shakespeare? $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Aug 17 '18 at 17:13
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Of course there will be a number of reasons to communicate, even if dialogue is practically impossible.

  1. Curiosity. The crew would be very interested in what is happening back home. After picking enough speed, they will be getting a whole season of a new TV show in just one night. Earth, on the other hand, would be interested in ship's progress, like we are intersected in "Voyager" expeditions, even if they were launched before many of us were born.
  2. Scientific advances. The crew can benefit form new inventions and discoveries made back home. "Your food pyramid is all wrong! Change your diet at once and give your doctors a permanent vacation!"
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Honestly, this is a really cool question. I'm a little bummed by the negative feedback. It makes sense to want to communicate, but the hurdles are so huge that it makes for some really interesting problems. I guess the question is, 'is there a compelling reason to invest massive resources in communication over very long (intergalactic) distances?' Trading tech/info is probably it. You wouldn't really need to trade resources over intergalactic distances (what do they have that you don't?). One more option would be coordination against a mutual threat. Maybe one isolated civilization gets militarized and ideologically fundamentalist and starts rampaging across the universe. The issues with technology stagnating in transit due to relativistic effects makes this scenario so interesting. Makes me think of Forever War.

ANSWER - It's worth investing massive resources to communicate with other isolated/very distant civilizations in order to:

  1. Trading tech and info as the isolated civilizations evolve on divergent paths
  2. Coordinate with others to fight intergalactic wars

Otherwise no, it's just not all that feasible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you think I should reframe or re word the question? I'm biased, of course, but I was surprised by the negativity, as well. $\endgroup$ – Qfwfq Aug 20 '18 at 17:22
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By the time your ship has arrived in Andromeda, 28 million years has elapsed on Earth. This is a long time.

In that time humans on Earth may have become superHuman - they may have evolved with a gap such that chimpanzees are in Andromeda and humans are on Earth, or more. We might have valuable knowledge and advances to impart to our ancestors.

Or - there might be unspecified future dangers that were experienced on Earth - so called 'Great Filters'. The likelihood of surviving these is almost zero, if there is a solution this could be transmitted to your ancestors in Andromeda to prevent them making the same mistake.

Or - it could just be a Beacon yelling 'Stay Out of the Milky Way you ancient apes - this is our territory now'. It's much better to announce your intention than to try to guess what they might do.

Or - by then we might be aliens. And we would view other civilisations like aliens. 28 million years we might be completely different. Just as good then to communicate as if it was a 'first contact' situation.

Or - We could have become 'digital humans', existing in a virtual world by then. What we transmit is not just communication with our older ancient ancestors, but actually our 'selves'. We could then appear in Andromeda in cloned form.

PS: You're right - often using 'real physics' instead of made-up FTL etc. makes stories much more enriching. I tried to read a novel the other day and couldn't get past the first few pages, there were too many unrealistic assumptions made I just couldn't believe the world enough.

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It's a parallel considerantion... but I'm wondering that the messages sent each way would have different frequencies, right? In one way, bits would be received really fast; and the other way, information bits would be very spaced, right? Or not?

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  • $\begingroup$ Exactly! If Earth moves the same speed and direction as our new home, we'll have a normal conversation. However let's say the new plant and Earth move quickly apart: then the light of the signal will be redshifted meaning they'll be stretched in frequency and spaced out. $\endgroup$ – Qfwfq Aug 21 '18 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking in the aspect that if in Earth it has passed millions of years but to the travellers it has passed a few years, then the messages from Earth of millions of years will arrive compressed in a couple of travellers years. And in the other way, from the travellers, they would be received very spaced out on Earth. But I'm not sure, I'm just asking... does it make sense? $\endgroup$ – João Otero Aug 22 '18 at 2:11
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I think the answer is simple. Survival; persistence of the human race.

Existing on only 1 planet in 1 solar system leaves us vulnerable to any number of cosmic events that could extinct us.

If we become an interstellar, or better yet intergalactic, species then we virtually guarantee our continued existence.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm all for spreading our seed across the universe, but after spreading why would we talk to Earth? What about? $\endgroup$ – Qfwfq Aug 22 '18 at 15:54

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