The Wait Calculation: The Broader Consequences of the Minimum Time from Now to Interstellar Destinations and its Significance to the Space Economy

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A. Kennedy (2013), JBIS, 66, 96-109

Refcode: 2013.66.96
Keywords: Wait calculation, interstellar departures, space economy, biosphere, Icarus, investment

Abstract:
This paper summarises the wait calculation [1] of interstellar voyagers which finds the minimum time to destination given exponential growth in the rate of travel available to a civilisation. The minimum time obliges stellar system colonisers to consider departure times a significant risk factor in their voyages since a departure then to a destination will beat a departure made at any other time before or after. Generalised conclusions will be drawn about the significant impact that departures to interstellar destinations before, at, or after the minimum time will have on the economic potential of missions and on the inevitability of competition between them. There will be no international law operating in interstellar space and an ability to escape predatory actions en route, or at the destination, can only be done by precise calculations of departure times. Social and economic forces affecting the factors in the growth equation are discussed with reference to the probability of accelerating growth reaching the technological Singularity and strengthening the growth incentive trap. Islamic banking practices are discussed as a credible alternative to compounding interest bearing paper for funding the space economy in the long term and for supporting stakeholder investment in such long term mission development. The paper considers the essential free productivity of the Earth's biosphere and the capital accumulations made possible by land productivity are essential components to a viable long term space economy and that research into re-creating the costless productivity of the biosphere at a destination will determine both the mission's ultimate success and provide means of returns for stakeholders during the long build up. Conclusions of these arguments suggest that the Icarus project should ignore a robotic interstellar mission concept and develop a manned colonising mission from now.

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