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Thread: Gamma Ray Burst Threat

  1. #1
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    Originally from Taiwan

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    Gamma Ray Burst Threat

    There are a couple of threats coming from space which can destroy all human beings. There are objects such as meteors and asteroids which travel through space. The smaller versions when they survive their descent and fall to Earth can wipe out a city. The larger ones can wipe out species like the dinosaurs when they impact with Earth. Fortunately the large dangerous asteroids are being spotted to see if they will collide with Earth. If necessary their direction could be changed by using for example missiles or bombs so that they go in a other direction.

    There is another serious more massive threat to human beings on Earth and life in whole areas of the milkyway. That is the Gamma Ray Burst. It occurs less often then giant meteorites but it can destroy life in a big part of a milkyway even when it's a thousands light years away.
    This article explains how humans could survive such a huge deadly thread from space.

    Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) Threat:

    A large scale gamma ray burst would leave half the earth totally devoid of life. We'll explore the impact of such a burst, plans to monitor such events, and possible scenarios to avoid such a large scale catastrophe.

    Why should Immortalist worry about them?
    Researchers have suggested that one or more mass extinctions during the past few hundred million years might have been triggered by supernovae, and that it might happen again.

    The flash of heat and light might flash-burn anything not in the shade, heating the atmosphere would cause big winds. The air would be much hotter for weeks, as hot as an oven depending on the distance. This would affect the other side of the Earth eventually.

    But there is no consensus on whether gamma ray bursts are actually linked to supernovae, and there's even less agreement over how dangerous they might be.

    Still, NASA scientists acknowledge the threat, describing it this way on a GRB informational Web page:

    A gamma ray burst originating in our neck of the Milky Way, within a thousand light-years or so, could lead to mass extinction on Earth. Gamma rays interacting in the Earth's atmosphere would burn away the ozone layer, allowing deadly ultraviolet radiation to penetrate through the atmosphere. The influx of radiation would lead to widespread cancer and other diseases.

    Another worry are so-called hypernovae, which are related to mysterious gamma-ray bursts in deep space. Astronomers believe these are similar to supernovae but that a beam of concentrated energy, emanating along the star's axis of rotation, happens to be pointed at Earth.

    Though the new study did not look into the hypernovae hazard, Gehrels said it's likely for one aimed at Earth to occur once every couple of hundred million years somewhere in our galaxy, most of the time at a very large distance from our planet, however.

    The first GRB's were discovered by accident, in 1967 by U.S. satellites deployed to monitor possible violations of the nuclear test ban treaty.

    Where do GRB's come from?
    Nearly a year ago, two separate studies firmly linked GRBs to exploding stars called supernovae. But one thing has continued to puzzle astronomers: The bursts seem to come in two distinct varieties, those lasting less than two seconds and those lasting longer.

    A new study of 1,972 bursts on file (collected by NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, which was de-orbited in 2000) supports the growing consensus that the short bursts come from dramatic mergers of black holes or other massive objects, like neutron stars. Computer modeling of these mergers suggests tremendous radiation would be unleashed as matter is squashed between the colliding objects. Mergers occur on a far greater scale when two galaxies meet up, their central, super massive black holes eventually falling together.

    The longer bursts, according to the new study, appear to originate from the biggest supernovae, explosions of stars that are more than 30 times the mass of our Sun. Such explosions leave some material behind, which collapses back into what's known as a stellar black hole, theory holds. These dense objects pack the mass of several suns into a region no bigger than a city.

    ImmInst members put their collective heads together to discuss the possibility of GRB's and potential survival solutions. The following are in order of preference, 1. being most preferred.

    Two ideas predominated - Prediction and Protection. Both are equally important, however, if we're unable to find success at prediction, we may have to resort to total protection alternatives.

    As suggested by Kenneth Sills, if we can successfully model the probabilities and examine real time examples in the cosmos, we should be able to predict when and where a gamma ray burst will come from.

    Apr 2003 Related Article:
    Supernova Warning: First Ever Accurate Forecast of Exploding Star

    Idea: The Fermi paradox may be explained by GRB.
    If life is wiped out every few million years by GRB's this may explain why we've yet to see other intelligent creatures in the universe.

    Protection: Assuming we can't predict a blast:

    1. Harden the Ionosphere
    This solution is held as the most viable, especially in the short run. Since our atmosphere already shields us from harmful rays, we'd be scaling up the effectiveness by enhancing the existing natural system.

    What is the ionosphere: 'that part of the upper atmosphere where free electrons occur in sufficient density to have an appreciable influence on the propagation of radio frequency electromagnetic waves' ( )

    The ionosphere can be excited by simple radio waves. HAARP is already undertaking such projects to 'excite' the ionosphere.

    2. Preempt The Burst Source
    This solution would require advanced technology, and an intrepid spirit, but in theory we may be able to send probes out to hunt down and neutralize or push the GRB source away from our solar system.

    3. Dyson Shielding
    This would involve a huge project, however, it may prove to be a viable option if nanotech allows for easy manufacture of large scale protective barriers around the solar system. The idea involves creating a shield, which would serve the inverse purpose of the original idea proposed by Dyson called the Dyson Sphere. A Dyson Shield would wrap around the solar system providing a layer of protection against gamma ray bursts. It may prove more viable to create a Dyson Shield Cloud out of a Gamma Ray Absorbent Material, preferably 'smart' nano-enhanced material.

    4. Upload to Safer Substrate
    This is a transhumanist solution what would require advanced technology to upload our selves onto a possibly networked system with redundant architecture.

    Assuming we're able to predict a GRB's:

    6. Light Speed Escape Pods
    A difficult proposition to say the least, but worth noting. If we're able to have some lead time, say more than a few minutes, and if we've developed space ships with the ability of traveling near the speed of light, we may be able to outrun the strongest portion of the blast, allowing the distance to provide the shield

    7. Move to Opposite side of Earth
    This would be a short term solution. The viability is here now for implementation, however, the future well being of the whole earth after the GRB may make this option mute.

    8. Live Under Ocean/Ground
    Self explanatory and similar scenario to #7. But if we already have uploading capabilities, this may be a way to add protection.

    Members came away from the discussion with the shared understand that gamma ray burst do present a real and dangerous threat to life. However, with improved detection and better modeling and predictability, we can prepare. The threat may not be as high on the list of immediate concerns because of the long interval between possible strikes, however, it's never to early to start thinking about possible solutions.
    isa Republic of Taiwan

    Freedom for Taiwan

  2. #2
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