The Noah Project

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Tom Kalbfus
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The Noah Project

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:38 am

Here is a possible Traveller scenario in a non-OTU campaign, basically it involves hitching a ride with a Kuiper Belt Object, and using its resources to build a home for future humans as it visits Earth in the distant future.
One such finding is our discovery of a minor planet in the outer solar system: 2013 SY99. This small, icy world has an orbit so distant that it takes 20,000 years for one long, looping passage. We found SY99 with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope as part of the Outer Solar System Origins Survey. SY99’s great distance means it travels very slowly across the sky. Our measurements of its motion show that its orbit is a very stretched ellipse, with the closest approach to the sun at 50 times that between the Earth and the sun (a distance of 50 “astronomical units”).

The new minor planet loops even further out than previously discovered dwarf planets such as Sedna and 2013 VP113. The long axis of its orbital ellipse is 730 astronomical units. Our observations with other telescopes show that SY99 is a small, reddish world, some 250 kilometres in diameter, or about the size of Wales in the UK.

This entry gives more detail:
According to astronomers Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin, the discovery of 2013 SY99 provides additional evidence for the existence of Planet Nine, but Michele Bannister, one of the astronomers who reported the discovery of this object, counters that it travels an orbit that is almost within the plane of the Solar System, rather than being tilted at high angles, as might be expected if it were being shepherded by a Planet Nine.[1][8]

Its existence was announced in 2016, but the observations were kept private until 2017. It was listed at the Minor Planet Center and the JPL SBDB on 6 April 2017[6] with a 3 year observation arc and an epoch 2017 heliocentric orbital period of 17,600 years.[5] But barycentric orbital solutions are more stable for objects on multi-thousand year orbits. The barycentric orbital period is 19,700 years.[2][n 1]

It is estimated to be about 250 km in diameter and moderately red in color.[4] In 2052 it will be roughly 20.3 AU from Neptune. It will come to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) around 2055 when it will be 50 AU from the Sun.[5]
So 2013 SY99 will come closest to the Sun in 2055 at around 50 AU, the question then becomes, can we get there by 2055? That is 38 years from now. We sent a probe to Pluto, which is only a little closer than this object at perihelion. It would be interesting to send a probe to this object, it is helpful that this object is aligned with the plane of the Solar System, that means we could possibly use Jupiter to provide an orbital boost to get there. Be nice if we can send an orbiter or a lander as well.
2013 SY99 (also known as uo3L91) is a Kuiper belt object (KBO) discovered by the Outer Solar System Origins Survey using the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope in September 2013. This object orbits the Sun between 50 and 1,430 AU (7.5 and 213.9 billion km), and has a barycentric orbital period of nearly 20,000 years.[2][3][1] It has the largest semi-major axes yet detected for an orbit with a perihelion beyond the zone of strong influence of Neptune (q > 38), exceeding the semi-major axes of Sedna, 2012 VP113 and 2010 GB174.[7] 2013 SY99 has the third highest perihelion of any known extreme TransNeptunian Objects, behind that of the only two known sednoids, Sedna (76 AU), and 2012 VP113 (80 AU).
It has a barycentric orbit of 19,700 years, There are certain uses that might be put to this object, that I was thinking of, for one thing, it can be considered a kind of generation starship, its close approach date is 2055, and there is a chance I might still be alive then, I'll be 88 years old if I'm still around, I don't think I can wait till 2096, and SY99 has been way out there, practically in interstellar space! It has a nearly 19,700 orbit period, which means its next scheduled appearance will be in the year 21755 AD or thereabouts. With a diameter of 250 miles, it is obviously a very massive object, I think we do have the technology to send probe there, and we don't have to wait til 2055 necessarily, and after 2055 it won't be too late to visit it, it moves very slowly. One interesting question is will we be able to send a colony ship there before it leaves our vicinity. I think we are looking at a travel time to get there of around 10 years with current technology, but getting there at 2055 might be more convenient. We could send a probe in the next few years if we desire and allow for 35 years for the probe to get there when the object reaches perihelion, or we can send a faster probe that can get there sooner, but a slow probe would be easiest to slow into orbit around this object, faster probes would require more fuel. A bit of AI technology would be convenient. Imagine if we could equip this object as a sleeper/colony ship piloted by an AI computer, maybe having multiple AI computers running it. If we launched this thing in 2045, it could be there by 2055 in time for its closest approach. 2045 is 28 years from now, 28 years of further advancement in computer technology, we have the technology to freeze or otherwise store human egg cells, maybe we'll develop artificial womb technology in time for this mission, the AIs would then raise this generation of human children as the mission ends in time o colonize the Earth in the year 21755 AD, the Earth is an Earth like planet, there is a good chance that it will support human life in 21755 AD, whatever global warming problems it has will probably be over by then, the question is will there still be humans on that planet when SY99 returns to the outer Solar System? We don't really know, but if humans have wiped themselves out or evolved into something different, this could mark a new beginning for the human race with settlement on the surface of this future Earth.

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