Pandora Gates – Exponential Exploration

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cpt.crush cpt.crush's picture
Pandora Gates – Exponential Exploration

Maybe this has been answered before, but I couldn't find anything:

The book states gate time is expensive and access is very limited. Yet, exploration to unknown destinations is still happening.

Why would not Pathfinder, or any other Gate Crashing enterprise, do this instead of sending exploration crews:

  • Create a Rep-Rep, a replicator that has sensors, mining equipment, a manipulator, and can replicate itself.
  • Rep-Rep would be sent to the first destination.
  • From now on, it will indefinitely:
  • Create a copy of itself
  • Use its own gate to randomly dial up new locations and probe through the gate
  • If destination is empty, send it's clone
  • If destination has a Rep-Rep, exchange all known information.

These Rep-Reps would grow exponentially, and after relatively short time, millions of them would explore and map out the gates.

In a more extreme case, they could produce a number of cases, and upload copies of (pruned?) explorer forks to help them.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
There are several problems

There are several problems with this. First, people don't trust automated technology that much. It hasn't been very long since the fall of Earth. Second, some gates are defended. There was this one instance where the people dialing another gate were crushed by overwhelming gravitational force. Thirdly, many Transhuman factions believe it is a bad idea to leave an opportunity for an alien faction to get a hold of gate dialing technology.

I'm sure there are other reasons, but I'm not going to look for them right now.

Edit: By the way, none of this actually prevents someone trying to do what you are proposing. Some people might be dumb, might think the risks are worth the reward, or think they can make a plan to minimize the risks.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Hunt them down!

A mission where you have to ride the gate network trying to chase down and stop one of these reckless groups could be pretty interesting. A mix of exploration and detective work to figure out where they went and get yourselves to their blue box and steal / destroy it while keeping your own safe as well.

A slight smell of ions....

cpt.crush cpt.crush's picture
Just realized something else:

Just realized something else: Is it established that the other side of a gate is always a gate?

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
There haven't been any

There haven't been any exceptions to that rule that gates link to other gates at least, but I don't believe there's any word of god there, but no reason to think otherwise for now. Of course, if someone went through a one-way gate, they'd just be MIA, and no one would hear from them ever again so it totally could have happened.

Gate time and access is expensive because a lot of people want to use the gates. Pathfinder literally makes money by selling gate time so they have little incentive to cut those costs much, that cuts down on the people who want to do that.

There's some issues with trying something like that:

* It's not easy to get the data back. Even if you're just trying to map out the network navigating gate nexi like Sol or Droplet requires a lot of extra stuff besides just traveling through a gate to even realize you're in a nexus let alone find the other gates. Leaving hardened boxes at gates and sending a retrieval team through is probably your best bet.

* Making a von-neumann machine which can operate AND replicate in any situation it might run into in the galaxy isn't easy or simple, and is likely impossible in some cases.

* Loading it with enough intelligence and knowledge to replace a first-in team would probably mean it isn't cheaper than sending one. First in teams are pretty cheap, especially because of the glut of people who want to literally explore strange new worlds and go where no one has gone before. Heck, people will even bid low and buy their own equipment for the chance!

* The gates aren't actually reliable, so mapping them is less useful, and a whole lot harder. Combined with the no-go gates there would be a lot of gaps, though using other methods probably wouldn't work.

* There's the potential of a HUGE security risk, ranging from data-payloads from the probes bringing back strange new viral strains, TITAN infiltration-software, or alien horrors, to giving away the location of Sol to a possibly extremely hostile and powerful alien race, to simply getting your paydata stolen by rival groups on the other side.

You can solve these issues, but you're looking at basically a baby TITAN with full production capabilities and no "adult" oversight within 100+ LY after you do. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, which means that even if someone wants to do that, there's a LOT of people who want them stopped. A weaker, less powerful, and less independent version is possible, but probably can't map anything close to the full network.

Of course, none of that means that it can't be done, or at least tried. It's totally possible that various powerful orgs are trying to map the gate network, but as they couldn't have been trying for more than 5 years, and with a full galaxy or more worth of gates it would probably take centuries to properly map the network.

cpt.crush cpt.crush's picture
Trappedinwikipedia wrote

Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
There haven't been any exceptions to that rule that gates link to other gates at least, but I don't believe there's any word of god there, but no reason to think otherwise for now.

Thanks for the insight! However, in case gates always dial up other gates I am wondering why transhumanity ever seriously considered gates could be a TITAN thing?

Such thinking would either imply a) the TITANs were able to create gates "magically" at remote destinations (e.g., FTL travel), or b) at least knew about their destination gates from another source.

In the first case, why would TITANs then need gates anyway? In the second case it would be established already that 99% of all gates were not made by TITANs.

Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
Making a von-neumann machine which can operate AND replicate in any situation it might run into in the galaxy isn't easy or simple, and is likely impossible in some cases.

In terms of in-game explanation that might be a really good one: Some of the elements needed (e.g., Osmium, Iridium) to create more Rep-Reps might be hard to mine / come by on the crusts / surfaces of random worlds.

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Guess which idea is my favourite...

cpt.crush wrote:
Thanks for the insight! However, in case gates always dial up other gates I am wondering why transhumanity ever seriously considered gates could be a TITAN thing?

Such thinking would either imply a) the TITANs were able to create gates "magically" at remote destinations (e.g., FTL travel), or b) at least knew about their destination gates from another source.

In the first case, why would TITANs then need gates anyway? In the second case it would be established already that 99% of all gates were not made by TITANs.

One possibility is that establishing a wormhole to a location without a Destination Gate (either using a Gate or a separate mechanism) is possible but comes with prohibitive restrictions, such as high energy expenditure, low connection duration (less than a second) or microscopic diameter.
In this case the method could have been used to transport a Nano- or Pico-Swarm which then assembled a Gate on the other side, creating a more stable connection.

A more dramatic variant is that Gates can establish connections without a target, but doing so causes a Gate to manifest at destination – the gate "inverts" and duplicates itself as a part of the connection process.
For that matter, there may only be One Gate. What people think is multiple objects are actually the One, with apparent differences in structure and design actually being a trick of perspective arising from observing it from different locations in space/time.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?