Stranded On An Alien World

Stranded On An Alien World

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This episode is sponsored by Audible. We often see aliens crashing on Earth in scifi,   but what would it actually be like to be  stranded on some alien and hostile planet? So, welcome back to another Scifi Sunday here  on SFIA, where we relax a bit of our scientific   rigor from our normal Thursday episodes,  to explore concepts from science fiction   and see how realistic they are, or what the other  implications of such situations are. Today’s topic   was inspired by some of our recent episodes  on damaged spaceships and crashed saucers,   or being an alien refugee, and it made me ask what  I’d have done in that fictional alien’s case and   what a human should do if they crashed-landed  on, or were exiled to, some alien planet.  It was also partially inspired by our  look at Alien Impostors some months back,   which is actually the episode coming out  next as I write this, because I do the   videos a couple months after the scripts, and  I found myself asking how I would have acted   if I was the shape-changing entity we see  from the film The Thing, or the Xenomorphs   from Aliens, or the Predator from that franchise. The big question is always how the heck the alien   can even survive on the planet, different air,  different food, no knowledge of the environment,   all messed up from being on a world that  differs in so many ways, from gravity,   lighting and pressure, to all the plants  around it, that it probably feels like its   in a hallucination or a fever dream. Which it  might actually be too; an accident or crash can   cause injuries, and it might be disoriented  for neurological or chemical reasons,   not just by the weird environment’s shock value. Of course, in fiction, the default answer is that  

the creature is either from a parallel environment  or is just that tough, in body or mind, and maybe   any plotholes in the story where it acted dumbly  can be attributed to that unfamiliarity and   disorientation. Indeed when I thought about it,  that’s not a bad excuse, given that an invader   probably prefers to invade worlds a bit like  their own, and that anything evolved to be its own   world’s apex lifeform is probably pretty tough and  clever. Plus it might be some engineered lifeform,   like the Xenomorphs of the Alien Franchise,  or just really augmented as a life form.  We spend a lot of time on this channel talking  about space colonization and about transhumanism,   augmentation of the human mind and body, be it  cybernetic, genetic, or various other options   and combinations thereof. However, we often don’t  spend as much time thinking about combinations   thereof when it comes to settling space and being  an augmented transhuman or posthuman doing it.  

We tend to look from the basic human  perspective. And when you think on   it from that post-human perspective, finding  yourself crashed on some alien planet is not   necessarily a pathway to instant doom. As I’ve pointed out in other episodes,   if an alien ambassador shows-up, demanding to be  taken to our leader, shooting them is not just   dangerous because their civilization might want  some payback. It’s entirely likely that they,   personally, are so amped up on mental and  physical augmentation that they might be   entitled to their own comic book. If you shot  them, it's entirely possible their nanobot laden   blood might be oozing into the ground getting  ready to replicate and build some subterranean   manufactory that will burst forth ten thousand  war machines a month later. Or preemptively,  

their ship launched some self-replicators at  a crater on the moon or a few spare asteroids   as it was approaching, with orders to copy the  ambassador and give him an entourage of killbots.  We don’t really know how far things like  self-replicators can really go in terms of   productivity and speed or durability. In terms  of realism, nanobots would be like viruses,   ultra-fragile, but fast to reproduce and numerous,  and very specialized. So for today we will assume   that our person crashing might have access  to some very advanced technologies but not   quite that impressive. We’ll assume the person  or alien in question here isn’t regenerating   at Wolverine or Mr. Sinister levels and the ship  doesn't either and isn’t made out of adamantium,   even if it might be way tougher than steel. Afterall, if their repair capacity was that great,  

then the ship probably could fix itself while it  was crashing, and our stranded person or alien   could be a wrecked corpse impaled on their own  control console after they both slammed out   the front of this ship, and it would still have  them all put back together again in short order,   and ready to go, once it finished sweeping up  all your scattered and half-incinerated remains.   So even if it took a few hours, assuming you fell  to the ground in a remote place, you’re good to   go. And the same for any easily repaired damage  that’s basically the equivalent of a flat tire.  Also odds do favor you falling out in the  middle of nowhere, because even nowadays,   most of this planet is nowhere. Even ignoring  how much of this planet is water, or ice,  

half the planet’s population is packed into 1%  of its land, a lot of the remaining land isn’t   just rural but downright uninhabited, tundra  or desert or mountain, where it might be a   mile or more to any human-built anything,  let alone a person who was coincidentally   watching the sky when your ship meteored  in. And a crashing ship would tend to look   like a meteor and radar might not see it, or  just see it and tack a note on that X Return   at Y Time had Z vector in case anyone wants to  reference it against some meteorite they found.   There’s no joint service that investigates  meteors even in the US, let alone worldwide.  If your ship leaves some mile-wide swath  of fiery ruin in its wake through a forest,   yeah, you’ll be getting noticed pretty  quickly, and depending on the country,   the welcoming party might be arriving in the form  of helicopters and commandos. But even in cases   like that, I’d figure you’d still have several  minutes to get out and move somewhere else. 

And you might be able to move really fast. I mean,  if you survived a crash like that, it's possible   your crash system was good enough that you’re  uninjured, or at least that a vehicle on your   ship was, your high-tech personal shuttle, rover,  dunebuggy, or hoverbike, or that you survived it   because you are a pretty tough post-human. So,  maybe you can run fast, or maybe you just dished   up 32 flavors of buttkicking on the welcome party. But, assuming you didn’t stumble out of your ship   armored and armed to the teeth with megaweapons,  and decided you needed to abandon your ship,   you’re going to be limited to what you’ve  got on you, and what you can forage from the   electronics and hardware stores to fix your  ship, build a new one, or build a signaling   device. This of course assumes there are any  hardware stores, and that you can fix anything.  So I thought we would contemplate a few different  cases here. We have four different people   from four different hypothetical future human  civilizations, Martin, Athena, Turok, and Noonien. 

Martin is an anthropologist exploring a  planet designated 6319, with intelligent   life and civilization, and not too far  from achieving spaceflight themselves.  Athena is a fleet officer whose  ship was patrolling a remote system,   when it got damaged and she had  to abandon ship in a drop pod,   and landed at daybreak on a planet BSG-2004, with  intelligent life, but little to no technology.  Turok is the warden of Planet Tal’Set  with alien life, but not intelligent   and sapient life. He maintained the  quarantine of it from his space station,   but crashed on that planet after the station  blew up while he was returning from a survey. 

Noonien is an augmented human who is stranded  on Ceti Alpha, a barren and lifeless world.  Congratulations to everyone who got  all those references and easter eggs,   though for those who did, we’re not holding  much to the specific characters beyond that.  Now, in Martin’s case, his people had found a  planet, 6319, inhabited by aliens who weren’t   all that dissimilar to them in basic appearance,  and like every alien world we’d found in the   galaxy with intelligent primitive life on  it, we slapped a quarantine down banning   anyone from going there, even to study,  because so many early attempts failed at   doing that well. Tampering always occurred..  But he’s an anthropologist, so he and some   others decided they would check it out anyway. Martin was selected for both his skill in the  

field and his willingness to die if necessary  to prevent either tampering with the planet,   or exposing his secret allies. He had to agree  to extensive cosmetic surgery, and by pooling   their resources, they were able to get a small and  decently stealthy spaceship. Though their great   achievement was getting a sympathetic officer  of the fleet stationed there for quarantine,   who was able to take the detection grid offline  for a while for maintenance while Martin snuck in. 

He was almost done with his mission of several  decades and was ready to leave, but that officer   in the fleet had long since rotated out and they  weren’t so sure that stealthy ship would be up for   the task, especially as it hadn’t had the best  maintenance over the decades and he guessed the   fleet might have had some upgrades. So he decided  to try to mimic one of the new aircraft the people   of 6319 had recently invented to disguise his  atmospheric ascent from the fleet’s interest,   but one of the radar stations of 6319 - who  amusingly also call their planet Earth in   their local language - spotted him, and one  of their fighters shot his spacecraft down.  Martin is surprised they could do that, but  figures they must have hit some vital ship   component whose backup wasn’t working anymore,  after decades of skilled but limited maintenance   by himself. It can’t make the speed to get to  space and isn’t going to stay in flight much   longer, but he’s able to glide the ship down  near one of the many hideouts and bolt holes   he stayed at around the planet for some  weeks or months at a time in his studies,   just a cave really but out of the way. The ship is badly damaged, possibly beyond repair,   as is his transmitter, a powerful laser which can  be used once a local year at an exact moment, to   send a very brief pulse of data, with the help of  gravitational lensing, to a very distant satellite   around another star that his allies own and can  then transmit it on to them. He estimates that if  

he can get his transmitter working again, then he  can signal his distress, and that in as little as   fifty years they might be able to receive that  message, come up with a way to help, and get   it here. Alternatively, he can try to repair his  spaceship. He believes he has vital information on   the people of 6319 that is well worth risking  his life to get to the academic community,   and while he has a modest if condescending  fondness for the locals, he does not want to   spend the remaining centuries of his life here. So what are his options? Well first, he is nigh   immortal in an aging sense. He wouldn’t  survive being blown-up or machinegunned,  

but he’d probably recover without treatment from  any wound that wasn't instantly lethal, and he’s   basically disease-proof. He doesn’t have any magic  technology on him though. Just a few implants   designed to help with the recording and storing  of data, none of which are necessarily much more   advanced than a smartphone without internet, and  those are all designed to burn themselves out if   he dies or signals it, so that he doesn’t break  his species’ prime directive. He is very smart   and technical too, but he hasn’t got endless  diagrams of high-tech devices in his head, or a   sonic screwdriver or any other widget the people  of 6319 could use to back-engineer tech off of.   His spaceship has lots of tech of course, but even  that is kept to a minimum, and it has all sorts   of tamper safeguards, including outright blowing  itself up, some of which he is unable to turn off.  He has more options than those that might  first come to mind though. To begin with,  

he could signal the fleet easily  enough. They will come and get him,   he thinks. They might just drop a small fake  asteroid on his position to blow him up, but   what he knows of the protocols are that they would  want to get their hands on him to interrogate him   to find out what he’s done on this unauthorized  expedition, who it was with, who his allies were,   and where bits of their technology might be lying  around this primitive planet. That’s not the end   of the world, he will go to jail for a long  time, but it's no gulag - hopefully anyway;   he’s been out of touch for over a century,  so things might have changed - and they won’t   spitefully destroy his data. His people  are curious by nature, they just follow a   prime directive, illegally acquired data is  not destroyed and indeed he isn’t the first   person to have done an illegal anthropology trip  and then semi-anonymously published the results.  His next option is just to keep at what he’s  already been doing, until this civilization   becomes spacefaring themselves and no longer comes  under the protection of the Prime Directive. He  

expects that the alterations to him which  make him incredibly long-lived and durable,   will hold up for many centuries, but he believes  with sufficient time he could build a cryo-unit   to go into stasis for a couple decades at  a time and check conditions. One thing his   ship isn’t lacking is a library of old TV  shows and films, and he has watched a lot   of the stranded alien or time traveler ones from  obvious personal sympathies with the characters.  So he knows of Star Trek and how often they have  been back in time or around some primitive world   and had to talk about abandoning ship and living  out the remainder of their lives among the people   of that time, as got suggested in Star Trek:  First Contact, when they’re back in time,   fighting the borg before humanity discovers warp  travel. He wonders why they didn’t just tear out   a few replicator units and have an agreed upon  rendezvous point where they could manufacture   stasis pods set for one day after they left  their own time. Or even cobble together simple   freezer pods to hide in a camouflaged cave and  a beacon designed to go off on a chosen time   and date to come rescue and restore them. He can try to fix his ship, he is very  

knowledgeable of the culture after all, and does  look like one of them. He is still an alien to   them so often comes off a bit weird in manner and  tone, but he could probably pass for eccentric.   He knows he would need a lot of money to fix  his ship, the damage and repairs are going to   require too complex a supply chain, or way too  expensive of custom and highly precise work,   even if he limits it to bits and pieces  that aren’t functioning super-tech,   and does those parts on his own. He has a lot  of ways to get rich, the most tempting being  

to pick a technology he knows they’re going to  invent sooner than later and running with that.  Being a tech billionaire that’s eccentric wouldn’t  be surprising but would tend to draw official   interest in his background, and he believes the  6319-ers Air Force suspects they shot down an   alien craft, or an enemy nation’s prototype, and  might be hunting for him. A tech billionaire who   keeps coming up with new tech might trip  a mental alarm fingering him as an alien   visitor. On the other hand, the vast majority of  technology isn’t invented by a future billionaire,   he doesn’t have to introduce semi-conductors  or the internet. A relatively mundane widget   that’s very useful for flight might easily let  him run a profitable factory with a connection   to aerospace that would conceal a lot of his  weirder and secretive buys as merely a company   experimenting and trying to keep their R&D quiet. But it could be even more mundane. The most   important invention of 1962 is usually considered  to be the communications satellite, but the   invention of the cordless electric drill the year  before in 1961 was a very big deal, and someone   who also already knew what tool innovations of  that sort were popular among his people of that   era could rapidly dominate that market, or simply  be content to be a millionaire many times over,   and with no one thinking alien visitor. His goal  is still to slip by unnoticed afterall, and get  

his equipment fixed or wait out the time till he  can openly book a spaceflight to his homeworld,   centuries down the road. His goal is not to set  himself up as another Thomas Edison or Tesla, or   Musk or Gates or Jobs. He’s not aiming to takeover  this planet or be worshiped as a god, after all.  Athena, emerging from her drop pod on planet  BSG-2004 with the sun rising at her back while   dozens of the primitive natives gather in awe to  see this fiery egg falling from the sky, probably   has some reason to wonder if that might be the  easiest course of action. She’s somewhere in  

the gray area between being a cyborg and android  herself, and thus inhumanly strong and durable,   and she doesn’t really look like the locals,  who are humanoid but not much more similar in   appearance beyond that. So she’s quite capable  of playing god to the paleolithic culture that   found her but also not really in a position to  either live on her own completely, or change her   appearance to match theirs. She looks human,  really thinks of herself as one too, and she   can’t change shapes or perform cosmetic surgery  on herself and she would need to be a foot shorter   and have her knees turned around backwards to have  a chance of passing as one of them, no amount of   makeup is going to make her look like one of them. She thinks that, given enough time and   contemplation, she could figure out how to build  some sort of transmitter, but that might take her   many decades, she really has no bigger advantage  in doing this than you or I would, with a decent   basic knowledge of how radios and electromagnetic  radiation and power generation work. She figures  

she can use her decent basic grasp of science and  some experimentation and sheer determination to   eventually get a radio working. But a spaceship?  Not a chance. She knows the transmitter in her   pod is broken because it says so, along with how  it’s running out of power, and she has no idea how   to fix that any better than most of us would if  the camera on our phone was clearly smashed and   we don’t even know which bits of circuits connect  to that, and the diagrams are on the same system   that’s currently busy running out of power. Athena knows her best path to getting that pod   -or any bit of it- working again, would be to  hope she can guide and teach these primitives   into becoming a technological culture and letting  them poke at the pod in several centuries when   they get there. She’s not sure if the pod would  still be useful by then or if she would still   be functioning. In practice, she is assuming her  fleet’s home base is eventually going to send an   investigation out but she’s not sure if anyone  else survived or would just happen to have had   the good luck to land on this planet, which is a  very tiny target against an entire solar system,   but also way too big for her to have any chance  of searching for other folks from her ship.   She also doesn’t know how long it will take  before a search and rescue effort is made - if   ever - or some other patrol comes through, but  figures it would likely be some decades at least. 

So, her options are to go full-on  hermit and survive as long as she can,   possibly viewed as some loch ness monster or  Grendel equivalent, possibly as fairy or god.   Or she can join this tribe. She doesn't speak  their language and actually doesn’t have all   the right hardware to do so, as it appears to be  a mix of yips, barks, and high-tempo leg tapping,   but signs and gestures work a bit. So she can’t  even tell them yet that she’s not a god, and she’s   not so sure she should try. They might assume  she’s a demon instead, and they’re not really   philosophically advanced enough to have a formal  theology on what is or is not a god, so epic   warrior of vast strength, durability, knowledge  and lifetime, who fell from the heavens, might   check that box, and even an honest explanation  of the situation might leave it checked.  Of course, we’re assuming Athena is somewhat  ethical, but in the event she falls somewhere   between ethical and tyrannical monster, she  might decide being housed in a temple built   in her honor, and being waited-on hand and hoof  by the locals is an entirely justified reward for   making sure their descendants thrive and survive. She held some rank in the service so she is used  

to being in charge and knows the burdens of  command and was screened out for obvious signs   of extreme narcissism or being a psychopath, so  there’s no question that she won’t be abusive to   the locals, except maybe by accident. There’s also  no plausible physical attraction going on here,   the plumbing isn’t even vaguely compatible, so  she’s not demanding to be fanned by scantily   clad servants feeding her grapes like some  Egyptian Pharaoh. But, like a Pharaoh,   she is in a position to soon have tens of  thousands of people working on some big task   like pyramid-building. Or a mega transmitter. Now, in theory she could put a fair amount of   time into teaching them basic metallurgy so that  she could get some copper wire and just build a   very crude steam engine, turning a dynamo and  powering a big simple radio. That could be put  

together in a relatively short time, maybe a few  years tops, with a couple years spent learning   the language and persuading, or conquering,  nearby tribes. That would produce a radio   signal loud and artificial enough that a search  and rescue team would pick it up and investigate.  We don’t know how they’d respond at that  point if they did spot the signal. They  

might embrace her and take her home, or clap  her in chains for tampering with or enslaving   a primitive world. Or they might celebrate her  ingenuity, and leave a detachment behind to   claim the planet or just nuke the surrounding  region to cut out the contagion, so to speak,   that region that received technological uplifting.  She might be concerned something like that might   happen. We also never said how her ship got  damaged or what they were patrolling for,   it could have been enemy ships and this world  might be left alone because it’s part of some   neutral zone. Or maybe the enemy is pretty vicious  and she thinks her side is losing and wants to   help these people get a chance to survive should  the enemy win and turn their eye on smaller prey. 

Or maybe the radio just doesn’t work. Whichever,  if that option passes then Athena might realize   that her own knowledge of science and technology  is good, but not enough to rebuild a computerized   spacefaring culture. She can tell them  lots of basics and also lots of goalposts,   like knowing whether or not deuterium or helium  3 was the better path to fusion reactors or not   knowing how to build a carburetor but knowing they  existed and what they were for. So, how fast can   she take a paleolithic culture to modern tech? Well, the early periods are actually the easiest,   once you get the language down, it shouldn’t  be that hard to take any paleolithic culture to   neolithic or early copper age just by showing them  copper and pottery and few hours of discussing   plants and plowing and such, again once you  learned their language and had them explain   their planet to you. There’s no guarantee for  instance that the plants actually have seeds,   maybe it’s all spores and rhizomes, maybe  they don’t need a boost in nitrogen,   phosphorus and potassium, and those aren’t the big  nutrients to boost. Primitive doesn’t mean stupid,   though they are aliens so there’s no particular  reason to think their brains parallel humans,   they might be smarter or dumber in all things  or better or worse at certain mental tasks. 

But that should be a one or two generation  project, and then it’s really more about   growing numbers and showing them what you  know and describing what you can recall.   We already know plenty of stone-age tribes  from the colonial era picked up technology   comfortably enough after a fairly short period of  being awed by it. But if Athena determined that   she had components that might not last more  than a century or so, and that it would take   at least three or four to get the tech to make a  spaceship or interstellar beacons or replacement   cyborg parts, she might devote her efforts  to accelerating them as much as she can while   writing down or dictating all the tech knowledge  and descriptions she could recall, then teach them   how to make liquid nitrogen and vacuum-walled  chambers, neither of which are very difficult,   along with everything she knew about cryo and  restoration afterward, and have herself frozen.  I suspect that might be easier to do as an  ancient hero of the people who came from   a distant star and asked for their help  and gave it in return then as a fake god,   as they would want you back as much as we would  want back a Benjamin Franklin or Leonardo Davinci,   and all the more so if they turned out to be  alien, not least because they could serve as a   guide or ambassador to their people for us, but  you can make an argument for going either way. 

Turok has no such option, as his own ship  is crashing into the jungles of Tal’Set, the   world he serves as guardian of and has done for  a very long time. It’s a truly primitive planet,   nothing with a brain much bigger than a chicken’s,  but with some giant chicken-like creatures around.   This world has dinosaurs, and here at least,  they do have feathers, and they roam the jungles   and mushroom forests trying to eat anything  tasty, and Turok is about the right size. 

Before he was dragging himself out of his crashed  ship, he and a few others had the duty of guarding   this planet from potential colonization or  from reckless explorers, or from asteroids   or other world-ending events. This world is  quarantined and he is its keeper. The system is   23,000 light years from Earth and it’s the year  97,022 AD, so the main wave of colonization is   still way far behind and this system is outright  owned by the NPPP, which is headquartered on Earth   but controls thousands of systems and defends  them ruthlessly. The Native Planet Protection   Pact may need 23,000 years before they even  realize their station blew up and one of its few   dedicated crew survived, let alone send anyone  from Earth to help, or maybe hire a mercenary   company closer to the spot to protect the system  and rescue Turok, once more people settle it.  Turok doesn’t know if his station was  attacked, maybe by poaching dinosaur hunters,   or just hit by a micrometeor, or had received  sub-standard maintenance, he just knows that   when he was docking from a routine sampling  trip to the surface, the station exploded,   damaging his ship, which was also low on fuel.  He also knows that any rescue that might be   coming is either going to be those hypothetical  dino-hunters or else be several millennia in the   making. There are only a handful of colonies  within a thousand light years of here and   most are from various groups which might be called  eccentric or unreliable, who had essentially spent   fortunes to migrate far, far from Earth when  countless nearer worlds were still available. 

Repairing and refueling his ship wouldn’t let him  do anything other than maybe get back into orbit   to scan the debris or for other ships, though he  contemplates that he could cannibalize the various   defense and recon satellites around the planet.  There’s a whole constellation of them up there,   but without active maintenance they probably won’t  survive more than a century. Ironically his GPS   is working fine and he has plenty of access to  information on his ship. It’s not going anywhere,  

though he’ll need to protect it from nature,  and he has all the bits and pieces necessary   to rig up some solar power for a bit and then make  a dynamo and other electrical production hardware.  What does he do? Try to repair  and refuel? If he was attacked,   does he try to deal with the poachers  and become Turok, Dino-Hunter-Hunter,   or does he just cut a deal with them, figuring  he can’t stop them but he might be able to   talk them out of particularly ecological  harmful actions and get a ride back home,   or some place than can become home. Or  maybe he goes the cryo and beacon route too,   sleeping on ice in the Savage Land until rescue  comes or civilization arrives the slow way, by   colony ship or by the intelligent descendants of  the chicken-dinos. Maybe he could even engage in   selective breeding and engineering to bring about  smarter dinos and an eventual sauron civilization?  He still has options and a lot more than our last  case, Noonien, the exiled leader of a defeated   empire, a once great Khan, now abandoned or  fled to the lifeless world of Ceti Alpha,   with only the basic tools for a meager survival.  Is the world entirely lifeless or just devoid   of anything abundant or complex? Or perhaps  the world held life, once his great capital,   but all that’s left after the bombing is deserts,  traces of atmosphere full of radioactive dust,   and his bunker where he and a few of his  loyalists held out till the end, buried alive. 

Now, crashing on a lifeless world like Mars  presumably leaves few odds for survival   without rescue, but a scenario like in Andy Weir’s  Martian is more plausible with just a handful more   technology than the character in that story had.  It wouldn’t be likely there would be a breathable   atmosphere unless it was a case like earth from  a bit over a billion years back, before we had a   real land ecology but after life had switched from  regarding oxygen as a dangerous waste product,   to one that could be used as part of our fuel  process, then excrete carbon dioxide as a waste   instead. Noonien is very augmented though, he  could survive in a radioactive environment that   would kill us in minutes, or in low-pressure  or low oxygen environments for extended times,   and he’s smart and tough and strong. He knows that with any decent supply   of electricity he can turn not just water or  ice but actual rock into breathable oxygen,   rock is mostly oxygen afterall. He knows  he can use wind turbines for power in dust  

storms and solar thermal in an airless or low  air environment, or hydropower or any number of   options. The big question is if there’s anything  to eat, either local or in his supplies, and if it   can be made to last long enough to grow more.  A ship or bunker might well have hydroponics,   and a person stranded there as an exile probably  would have that too. Though pre-packaged food   might not have anything that was viable as a  seed, possibly as a byproduct of processing and   packaging it, and possibly intentionally too. His  ultra-durable food stores given by his captors or  

exilers are just a bit over the amount needed  for him to survive the rest of his long life.  In such a case, hypothetically, even a slurry of  microbes grown from a sample from your own gut   bacteria or excretions might provide sustenance.  A sufficient mastery of biology and the right   equipment might allow you to take DNA from  food to clone up, and indeed, you might be   able to vat-grow a clone of yourself, or many  of them and more than one gender too. And the  

name aside this isn’t Star Trek, so there’s no  copy fatigue on cloning, one person could supply   the gene-stock for an entire planet, especially  with advanced tech but even modern tech could do,   which would allow you to tweak genes to  restore other hair and skin colors and   other human traits. I could imagine Noonien and  his fellow survivors or clones, living in some   cobbled-together domes on some duststorm-wracked  deathworld for generations, eking out an existence   on what they could hydroponically grow  by artificial lighting and manufacturing,   or in algae vats, using power generated by wind  turbines, and one day growing Ceti Alpha to be   a terraformed paradise planet, home to a  genetically diverse ecosystem and people.  With sufficient technology, that might be possible  just for one relatively normal human in an   advanced spacesuit, one with limited 3D printing,  nanotech, and good data capacity archives,   able to keep a survivor alive who fell onto a  barren asteroid, by just eating up the local   scenery to build solar collectors, habitation  domes and drums, biology labs and hydroponics,   copies of its own AI to help, and eventually  growing more plants, animals, and even people. And  

maybe just turning the asteroid into one big space  habitat or spaceship, able to take itself back to   civilization. Or maybe just do a simple ship and  place the person inside into hibernation. And   of course that spacesuit might actually just be  someone’s own internal augmentations, as opposed   to something a normal modern human could wear. In any of these cases, with enough brains,   technology, and sheer willpower a person  can survive and get home, using real science   rather than turning coconuts into radios like in  Gilligan’s Island. Getting stranded on an alien   world might be mostly a thing of science fiction,  depending on the case, but as we saw today,   survival is possible, with a combination  of luck, skill, tools, and determination.

So this SciFi Sunday we were talking about getting  stranded on an Alien Planet and referred to Andy   Weir’s the Martian, and I was producing this video  while writing up our upcoming December episode on   Farming on Mars and discussed those potatoes he  grew in the novel and film. I’m quite fond of   that novel and it won our Audible Audiobok  of the Month back in October 2019, in our   episode on Hi-Tech Search and Rescue, as did  his novel Artemis 4 years ago. Andy Weir is   rapidly becoming one of the Greats of Scifi and  his newest novel Project Hail Mary, featuring an   amnesiac who is the sole survivor of a mission to  Tau Ceti to save Earth, did not disappoint, and   I’m very glad today to give Andy Weir’s Project  Hail Mary our Audible Audiobook of the Month.  All of our Audiobooks of the month are  available on Audible, the Home of Storytelling,   which has thousands of audiobooks and literally  centuries worth of content for you to pick from,   and more being added every day faster  than you could listen to all of it,   which is wonderful whether you’re stranded on an  Alien Planet or just stuck inside for the winter. 

But they don’t just have audiobooks,  they also have many excellent podcasts,   such as Science & Futurism with Isaac Arthur,  where we have every single episode on Youtube,   plus several audio-only exclusives I’ve made  over the years. That’s just some of the great   content in the Audible Plus Catalog, which also  has sleep & meditation tracks available, as well   as guided fitness programs, and Audible Original’s  like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Act III and Roadkill,   the newest work by my friend Dennis E. Taylor,  who many of you know from his awesome Bobiverse   series, which are also available on Audible. The whole Audible Plus Catalog full of free  

books and other content, comes as a bonus when  you join Audible, for you to stream or download   to listen to anywhere and anywhen, in addition to  the usual one free title a month and great member   discounts . Audible’s incredible selection makes  it truly the home of storytelling, and listening   to audiobooks lets you get more books into  your life. Let Audible help you discover new   ways to laugh, be inspired, or be entertained.  New members can try it free for 30 days. Visit   Audible dot com slash isaac or text isaac to  500-500. That’s Audible dot com slash isaac or   text isaac to 500-500 to try Audible free  for 30 days. Audible dot com slash isaac. 

Incidentally for everyone who  caught all those references,   yes I was making fun of the 2004 TV Reboot of  Battlestar Galactica’s last episode Daybreak.   If you don’t know the series it's definitely  worth a watch even if I didn’t like the ending,   and if you’re in a rush and don’t want to sit  down for nearly a hundred episodes, Spacedock   did a fun 8 minute summary of the show a couple  years back, and is definitely a great channel to   tune into if you’re looking for more discussion  of realism in scifi, or a lack thereof, to tide   you over to our next Scifi Sunday episode, which  will be on Planetary Civil Wars on December 11th.  We’ve got a lot of episodes in November still  coming up, starting this Thursday with a look   at the concept of living planets, including  asking if Earth might be one, in the The Gaia   Hypothesis. Then it's onto our Thanksgiving  Episode, Thursday, November 24th, for Reasons   to Be Optimistic about the Future, followed by  our Monthly Livestream Q&A two Sundays from now.  If you want alerts when those and other episodes  come out, don’t forget to subscribe to the channel   and hit the notifications bell. And if you  enjoyed today’s episode, and would like to  

help support future episodes, please visit our  website, Isaac, for ways to donate,   or become a show patron over at Patreon. Those  and other options, like our awesome social media   forums for discussing futuristic concepts,  can be found in the links in the description.  Until next time, thanks for  watching, and have a great week!

2022-11-16 03:51

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