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Old 19th March 2008, 10:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

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Sorry, AcesHigh - it's Time AND resources AND desire.
truth, but resources apparently are not that scarce, since Louis Wu himself can take a space yatch and explore some places.

the question is why such exploration hasnt been done by governments and other human entities? Or probes? Is Known Space a kinda of "dark ages" of the future where humanity has lost desire to explore?


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You can have all the time in the world(sic), but if the resources you need to travel from place to place are limited, you're not going to be able to visit that many places. And you can have lots of resources, but if very few people want to use (or can afford to use) them going to other worlds, it isn't going to happen.
maybe not the colonizing, but the exploration wouldnt be so hard. As I said, intelligent robotic probes could be exploring and expanding Known Space at a very fast rate.


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As to the short travel times you mention, that's fine if all you want to do is get as far from Earth as possible; but does exploration really happen that way?

I guess so. Thats what NASA does. Explore the solar system with probes that take 15 years to reach pluto. How much ground could you cover with hyperspace probes of the Known Space age?
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Old 19th March 2008, 10:54 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

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And don't forget, Wunderland, We Made It and Jinx were all settled by slowboat, taking centuries to reach their destinations. The hyperdrive has only been in humanity's hands for a few centuries, and ships to take them were all military at the outset, and incredibly expensive for a while afterward.
Since I didnt know the whole story of Known Space, thats something I was hoping someone would explain.


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No, I think the point Niven's making is that the people who go extragalactic have no real concept of the sheer scale of interstellar space.

its immense I know. As I said in the post that never appeared, in a 50ly ray around Earth there are over 1400 star systems and 2000 stars, albeit they are mostly dim red dwarfs.
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Old 19th March 2008, 11:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

Mankind's been expanding at sub-light speeds for many generations, sending out Bussard ramjet propelled probes to investigate possible systems, and colonising ships to any suuitable planets (and at least one asteroid belt which, since a largish proportion of astronauts are belters rather than flatlanders should suit them quite well)

During this expansion they ran into the Kzinzi, an agressive, lion like culture that had got into space by enslaving the more advanced race that discovered them ( they'd never have been able to co-operate enough on the research to make it on their own.)

During this war the outsiders (that's the cold, photoelectric ones) sold the secret of the hyperdrive to humanity, not to the kzinzi, Victory for humans, pick up the pieces, take over a number of races enslaved by the kzinzi. A generation – a long generation, with boosterspice – of consolidation, and they're starting to explore again. They know ( the leaders know) that the core of the galaxy is exploding, and in a hundred thousand years or so they're going to have to move on, but they can afford to procrastinate a little, and the ARM ( the police force) has as a principal duty to eleminate all inventions with the potential for massive damage(which means almost everything; who can judge all the potential of an idea?) so technical development is slow.

But an awful lot of the "known space" stories (including of course "Ringworld") are wholy or partially set outside known space.
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Old 17th February 2009, 12:52 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

The war definetly slowed expansion.

Related to that is the idea that for many generations humanity was protected by a Human-Protector known as the Brennan Monster. Apparently during that time humanity became quite passive and risk adverse. Not that he urge to explore and colonize disappeared, just that an ever smaller percentage of the population were interested (remember flatland phobia?).

The hyperdrive was originally a military secret, great lengths were taken to keep it out of Kzin hands (as shown in a couple of Man-Kzin War stories).

Don't forget that Known Space and Human Space were two different things. Known Space was the area where humans had at least some knowledge through exploration or contact with another sentient species. Human Space was a smaller are colonized by Humans.
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Old 17th February 2009, 01:10 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

Maybe it's just economics. Most of the ocean floor hasn't been explored, and most of the Earth's core hasn't been explored, and the reason is that it's too expensive - humans have better things to do with their money, like buy nuclear weapons.

The same may be true for Known Space - humans are too busy fighting the Kzin to worry about exploring the final frontier.
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Old 17th February 2009, 02:04 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

Dont forget that humanity has been tinkered with by the puppeteers. Incredible risk is inherent in space exploration and colonization, and most of humanity is risk averse. Alos humanity is limited in expansion power by the tech that the Outsiders and General Products sell them. In the later stories I think that the only reasons that humanity expanded at all was because of the wars with the Kzin, and those wars were won because the Puppeteers messed with the Kzin too. Those pressures to maintain the status quo by the Puppeteers are pretty considerable too.

In short, its not really technology that is holding humanity back. Its a mind set and the fact that the psychological needs have been redefined, and those that humans have are satisfied by aliens who don't want us to expand.
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Old 13th March 2009, 12:27 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

Certainly possible.

I've always wondered if the heart of the ARM isn't a human Protector. Certainly humanity has the ability to create one as shown in the MKW stories relating to Operation Cherubim.

A human Protector has a serious influence on human history, as shown by Jack Brennan's escapades!
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Old 6th February 2011, 08:46 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

I'm of the viewpoint that Brennan would not have left humanity's survival in the hands of luck--he didn't even know for sure that he would make it to Wunderland/Home. Either Brennan thought another human Protector would be more dangerous to humanity than the Pak were, or else he had contingency plans to create more Protectors, or else he was stupidly arrogant.

We know that Protectors are not stupid, but they can be arrogant (Brennan not looking for the fleet for decades since the probability was too low). Still, either he or Roy should have peeled off at least one childless Protector as insurance against unforeseen problems. And after all, the Kzin have lost all the wars and almost all desire to fight humans... that's as good as an ice asteroid in my book.

-Max
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Old 1st March 2011, 08:31 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

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the question is why such exploration hasnt been done by governments and other human entities? Or probes? Is Known Space a kinda of "dark ages" of the future where humanity has lost desire to explore?
I think the desire was not so much lost as taken away. In this universe everyone is subject brain modifications if they are not "normal", and the goverment is afraid of running into more aliens like the kzin.
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Old 21st January 2013, 12:45 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

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haha, yes,

well, according to this site
www atlasoftheuniverse.com/20lys html
www atlasoftheuniverse.com/50lys html



there are 83 star systems in a radius of 20 ly from Earth (40 ly diameter) and 1400 star systems in a radius of 50 ly from Earth (100ly diameter), but most of these are red dwarfs.


Its obviously a lot. But the problem with the small diamter of known space, is the fact that they DO HAVE HYPERDRIVE. Even if slow.


The area COLONIZED by mankind should be small of course. But the KNOWN space, area EXPLORED, not by simpletons, but by the Earth military and traders should be much larger than only a few weeks of travel from Earth.


A more plausible scenario, with hiperdrive similar to that of Known Space, would be some 60 light years diameter sphere with colonized star systems (not all, some of them... some on the very border of the sphere...) but known space being at least some 250 ly in diameter and constantly being expanded, by several reconessaince craft from the military and also automatic probes.

Traders following right behind, opening new routes with any civ encountered there.
By the way, Hi! (My second post. )

Why no automatic probes? Well, one reason is that the mass-sensor (needed for safe hyperdrive travel, because of possible unmapped gravitational wells en route) is a psionic device; it needs a mind to operate it. A biological mind at that, although sapient AI is not a part of Niven's universe anyway and such an AI might qualify.
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Old 1st November 2013, 06:06 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Known Space; why so small??

I thought Known Space, by Louis Wu's time, was 200 Light years across. That's a *lot* of stars and planets to map.

I would think there would be more colonies, but then, what would be the impetus? There's still so much space on Wunderland, We Made It, Jinx, Down, Plateau, Canyon, Silveryes, Gummidgy...

In any event, there are plenty of Known Space stories that take place in exotic locations. Beta Lyrae... the Trinoc world... Known Space is huge. It's just that the Galaxy is bigger.
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