3
$\begingroup$

Assuming a sci-fi style nebula, like the thick clouds seen in Star Trek, extending several light years and hosting star systems inside, one of which gave rise to intelligent life up to current human intelligence level.

The homeworld of that lifeform has a few natural satellites that are small asteroids captured eons ago. Big enough to be seen as moving lights in the sky, not big enough to be able to discern any feature, other planets of their system are hardly able to be seen due to the luminosity and colors of the nebula. The nebula is a thick flesh-colored cloud of gas.

Would that civilization have any incentive to go out into space and why?

EDIT: Please do not comment about how unrealistic that kind of nebula is and the problems it would create would it exist in real life. That is not the question I am asking and you will notice the lack of a 'hard-science' tag. Thank you very much.

$\endgroup$
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ sorry just reminds me of hitchhikers.wikia.com/wiki/Krikkit $\endgroup$ – Ummdustry Oct 6 '18 at 22:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Such a thick cloud of gas would generate enough "friction" to make any sort of stable orbit impossible... Either space is a better vacuum that the best vacuum we can make in a laboratory, or else forget about planets orbiting around stars. Just saying. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 6 '18 at 22:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Gas that thick would be the outer atmosphere of a protostar, not strictly part of the stellar nursery nebula any more. Not where you want to leave a planet for very long. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Oct 7 '18 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ Star Trek is TV, not science. A densie nebula runs about 10,000 particles ber cubic centimeter, which is a pretty darned good vacuum. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Oct 7 '18 at 4:12
  • $\begingroup$ The book Dragon's Egg evokes the sad story of one such species, who never realized that there was a wider universe beyond their star system (from the inside, the cloud looks black). It ends badly. $\endgroup$ – Eth Jan 8 at 12:48
6
$\begingroup$

We didn't really have much incentive to start space travel, besides war-driven purposes. We have trouble even nowadays convincing the public the value of space travel. We tend to do things that aren't easily explicable with logic, like exploration.
Perhaps the people of your story share the same basic human characteristics as us. They realize the implications of Newtonian mechanics in that a bomb can be deployed in the motherland and land in the enemy's on the other side of the world. Perhaps they're just as curious as we are (and would be) about the shifting phantasm gas clouds and the irregular sporadic points of lights in the skies.

$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

Communications satellites are still totally valid, and therefore plausible. Once in low orbit, resource acquisition seems a reasonable goal.

Outside intervention, a la Krikkit, is always a great plot device. Not all electromagnetic signals would be filtered, perhaps inciting curiosity about their origin.

And there's always some jackass that wants to see how far they can go.

Just some suggestions.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

I think answer to this can be found by drawing parallels to the Human civilisation. What drove captain Cook and Columbus to fabled lands. Novelty , inspiration and the status that come with being a pioneer. These quests were definitely helped by the technological development of that time. You build boats, then you are going to take it downstream and see how far you go. You build a ship then you are going to check out what the middle of the sea looks like. You build a rocket and the inevitable ensues.

I would argue that any species that has advanced enough to build tools and be civilised , gave it enough chances to spread itself around the planet through exploration , thus de risking itself from extinction due to localised environmental issues.

I would argue any advanced species would naturally take to the stars as inevitable outcome of their novelty seeking and risk taking nature , without which they would have gotten this far.

There are examples in science where species caused their inevitable decline and death through laziness

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180810091542.htm

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I would hazard that nearly all voyages of discovery that have been financed by nation states or for profit corporations in human history have been financed with a aim to make profit (directly or through advancing regional power and locating new raw materials). A side effect of the virus like feature of humanity to multiply in excess of the local resources until an external limit is imposed followed by the greed and ambition of individuals that just have to have more. $\endgroup$ – KalleMP May 16 at 5:02
1
$\begingroup$

A similar story has been written (a mini epic really over many generations) that has a civilisation living inside space that was doomed to become uninhabitable due to excessive cosmic junk in the vicinity.

Scientists in your Nebula Planet may correctly surmise that conditions will change too fast for the species to evolve or survive and decide on a global multi generational migration plan.

The book in question is John Brunner's Crucible of time and is one of his less dystopian books and I very much enjoyed each reading of it.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

They would leave their nebula for the same reasons human civilizations left their spawn points: curiosity and desire for natural resources. For example, say some scientist built a spaceship because he wanted to see what was really out there. Then, the spaceship finds an entire planet made of diamonds and gold. Naturally, the planet sets up a mining colony there and the rest is galactic history...

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Upvoted for 'spawn points'. XD I need to play some more Civ now... $\endgroup$ – Sava Jan 9 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ Finding a planet made of gold or diamond (assuming there is any reasonable way to mine a few ship loads of it) would make the materials close to worthless as their price is in large measure only a result of their speculative value due to hoarders in a scarcity environment. If the planet was made of platinum or some other rare metal that had pressing uses and limited supply on the home planet in their current era it might be a valid point. $\endgroup$ – KalleMP May 16 at 4:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.