Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What is Expected of a Colony Planet?

There are two reasons for probing the question in the title. One is that some of the categories of alien civilization, zero, the ones, and two, will create colonies on other habitable planets, and they do this with some intention in mind. This creates some expectations for the colony planet, and establishes something like a relationship between the two. Understanding this may help us understand alien thinking, and perhaps the foundational question of this blog: Where are all those aliens?

The second reason is that, just maybe, we are a colony of another planet. Instead of congratulating ourselves over and over about rising up from primordial slime and shooting for the stars, maybe it is the case that we didn’t really do that. Somebody came by and gave us a jump-start to get over a Great Filter, which had stopped us cold. If that is the case, perhaps we owe something to the founders. Perhaps we owe them nothing. Perhaps they don’t even exist anymore, making gratitude rather moot.

Recall with a sweet spot planet, the time for colonization to be wrapped up is simply the travel time between the origin star and the destination star, plus a millennium or a few millennia for some modifications of the planet, plus some time to establish the colony, which might be a millennia to have the first small city done. The colonists certainly have good records of what was done by the origin planet citizens in order to make over their planet and start it off in the direction of becoming a full-fledged inhabited colony world. They obtained their knowledge, their supplies, and their seeds from the origin planet. Their memes are derived from the origin planet. If distances were not too far, there could even be slow communication between the origin planet and the destination planet. They set out with the same goals as the origin planet had for sending them out. They were to clone the home world. This is the goal that alien civilizations of category 0 and 1a would have, as a result of the memes which are the foundation elements of their policies.

Planets in the penumbra, those which are not sweet spot worlds, but which can be modified to become one, given a more substantial amount of geo-engineering, would fall under the same expectations. Times for colonization would be considerably longer, but once done, there would be no reason to modify the design for the civilization that will reside on it. Home world is the paradigm, to the extent possible. It is not to be copied, city for city, but the basic principles that governed the design of cities, other infrastructure, exterior areas, and the biome would be the same.

Alien civilizations of category 0 and 1a differ in the desire of the population, as expressed in the memes, to maintain the same genetic plan on the colony as on the home planet. Category 1a is willing to accept habitation on planets further out in the penumbra than category 0, as they make modifications genetically to inhabit the new planet.

The originating planet would expect the colony to copy the home world, and not to fall victim to any peril that might affect a colony. Undoubtedly there are some perils that are germane especially to colonies, and these are worth exploring in this blog. But the expectations of the home world for these categories is to copy and clone the home world; the colonists would expect to do the same.

The story is completely different with category 1b. The meme, or guiding rules, of the alien civilization sound almost minor, but the elaboration of it toward a grand strategy for colonization leads to a complete difference. Category 1b believes that life is a treasure, and they want to spread it to other planets, for various reasons, such as to preserve life. The former two categories believe more in intelligent life, and for category 0, their own genetic form of intelligent life. In other words, category 1b draws the circle of what is valued around much more than 1a or 0. The aliens of category 1b fully understand that only a star traveling civilization can spread life, and understand that in order to perform their self-chosen mission, they may have to have clone worlds which will have the same mission. Thus, they would have a dual mission, on sweet spot worlds, and maybe for a distance into the penumbra worlds, set up colony worlds which would partner with them in preserving life in the galaxy and even in the universe.

Aside from creating partner worlds, for the purpose of preserving life, Category 1b seeks to seed planets that do not have life, and to bypass Great Filters for planets which do have some limited life. Their persepective is of the time scale of the galaxy. Seeding a planet accomplishes nothing in a short scale, and perhaps little over a million years. Over a hundred million years, the planet may develop the beginnings of life. The alien civilization of category 1b may understand that their civilization may not last long enough to see the next stage of their seeding trials, but using the knowledge they have of the relevant areas of science, they can predict the probability of success, and also determine how best to perform the seeding.

Category 1b does not restrict itself to the penumbra worlds, but would choose to seed life wherever it can grow and prosper. The observational results of having a galaxy with category 1b civilizations would be quite different than one with the other categories. Worlds where there should be no life may have it. Biosignatures on planets which would not by themselves originate life would have it as a result of seeding by a category 1b. In this blog, we refer to worlds which can originate life as solo worlds. To the extent that we can determine which worlds are solo worlds, as opposed to which worlds have life on them, we can surmise if there are or were an alien civilization of category 1b taking deliberate actions to spread life.

Category 1b home world clones would have the same expectations laid on them as the former two categories, namely, get your world developed ASAP. But category 1b has a further requirement: start helping us with the Grand Life Propagation Project. For seeded worlds, there is little expectation that anything would happen fast enough for there to be any relevant expectations. The home world would expect to see success of their seeding program, but only via their own observations would they know this. They might hope and expect that seeded worlds will develop the same meme as themselves, as they would know their own pathway to the meme.

Incidentally, category 1b civilizations would have a consequence of their chosen star travel meme and that would be to continue their civilization for as long as possible, but long meaning long in galaxy time, not planetary time. Whether that is possible or not remains to be explored.

Alien civilizations of category 2 are similar in actions to those of category 0, and differ only in quantity of colonies. Category 2 wants to continue having a home world, and when theirs is threatened by some peril, they need to emigrate, gradually, to a sweet spot planet with close to the attributes of their own. Then they stop traveling though interstellar space.

What we don’t have a handle on is the likelihood of the different categories emerging in the earliest days of the Milky Way galaxy. Nor do we understand yet if Great Filters will operate, and to what extent. In more detail, there will be solo worlds elsewhere in the Milky Way, unless some Great Filter has eliminated all of them except us. These solo worlds can move through the evolutionary sequence, and perhaps become plateau planets of some level. Those which pass through all the hurdles to become star-travel-capable will have made some choices as to what they will do relative to the exo-planets both near and far, and this choice is referred to in this blog as their meme component relative to space travel. If the first civilization to emerge from the evolutionary and developmental sequence of stages is a civilization of category 1b, they will start seeding the planets and even satellites as much as they can afford to do. If it is of category 0 or 1a, they will start populating planets with intelligent life. Category 2 just moves their home around.

It should be clear to all readers that we are not a colony of a category 0, 1a, or 2 alien civilization. It should also be clear that we may be a colony of an alien civilization of category 1b. It is therefore incumbent on us to try and figure out if there would be any, by exploring more details of how alien civilizations would develop their memes on the way to asymptotic technology and star travel. We could be on a solo planet, but if we are a category 1b colony, or rather a seeding experiment, this would imply two things. One is that category 1b has memes that made sense to a civilization far more advanced and thoughtful than we are, and perhaps we should think about adopting them. The second is that we have a mission.

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