beowulf in space

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Fri Apr 25 10:14:30 EDT 2003

On Thu, 24 Apr 2003, Jim Ahia wrote:

> So the radiation concerns with rad-hardened computer equipment are not
> as much of a problem once clear of the Van Allen Radiation Belt?  How

>From what I've read, the main concern is solar activity.  The sun can
relatively suddenly decide to spew significantly higher levels of
radiation our way.  When this happens it least appears that space can be
quite dangerous, and it can actually mess up the ionosphere and
radiotransmission all the way down here.  We lack an adequate baseline
for proper measurement and comparison or prediction, but it wouldn't
horribly surprise me if at least some events get to the point where
radiation levels on the surface reach mutogenetic levels.  An
"interesting" possibility that might explain the relatively sudden
emergence of new species, for example.

However, the ones we've seen are enough to confirm the potential risk.

> I am not speaking about the exploration missions by NASA, but rather
> the much-farther-down-the-road commercial mining interests that will
> want to build a foundry on the moon and a spacedock in earth orbit prior
> to the big colonization push into our solar system.  I believe it is
> going to happen someday, because we already know that eventually our sun
> will go nova and earth will be no longer habitable.  Sooner or later
> mankind, if it is to survive, will need to undergo some kind of diaspora
> and migrate out into space.  

Ah, a far thinking person, I see.  Time to start planning for the big
implosion already?

Mankind will not survive.  Whatever it is that is around when the sun
goes nova (if anything) will resemble man as man resembles small furry
rodents, at least if they are our descendants.  The event isn't due for
a rather long time;-)


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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