This is the cyborg chicken proposed by physicist Freeman Tyson for space exploration

Rockets are very heavy and need to reach a speed of 11.19 km/s to leave the Earth. That's about 40,000 km/h, the so-called “escape velocity”. And, obviously, putting a hulk like a starship at that speed isn't easy when it measures 120 meters. This requires a lot of fuel, which in turn also weighs, and as a result, the starship weighed about 5,000 tons, which in kilograms, is 5 million. It's only natural that some genius dreams of cheap and efficient systems to overcome Earth's gravity, and this is how Astrogicon is born.

What if instead of launching a giant rocket into space, we launched an egg? It is light and manageable, of course requires a small amount of fuel, and of course, it attracts our attention. A semi-biological, semi-mechanical bird that hatches from an egg is the brainchild of theoretical physicist and mathematician Freeman Tyson. The same man who dreamed up the famous Dyson Sphere, which science fiction has so exploited; A kind of shell around our Sun that can harness all of its energy.

Unfortunately, the Tyson Sphere is no longer possible, and unfortunately, the Astropole is still a fantasy. It was the physicist's idea to create a cyborg that could act as a space probe. A bird with special abilities, given partly by genetic engineering and partly by pure engineering. Now, Tyson was a very dedicated genius and didn't leave his daydreams there. His thing is solving problems and our chicken, once it hatches in space, is going to have serious problems. What does it eat?

At this time of year, space doesn't grow much corn…not this time or any time. Being is light. If it had integrated the same organelles as chloroplasts that plants use in its cells, the astrochican would have the ability to carry out photosynthesis, or photovoltaic panels. It can convert the sun's energy into food for him. Or, at least, to feed their motivations. Although Tyson proposes a stranger alternative if possible.

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What if instead of using mechanical thrusters we made them look like bomb beetles? The insect secretes two substances through glands at the end of its abdomen that, when mixed, trigger a thermal reaction, releasing high temperatures and, in a sense, propulsion. Imagine… Why not think of an astrochill with the ability to propel itself like this? Now, the chicken can move through the universe in search of other, more efficient energy sources, because light barely covers the minimum for survival.

Tyson doesn't mention much there either. Dahl only suggested that it could approach a planet's orbit and feed on rotating material around it. But of course, that thing is not breadcrumbs, precisely, they are more or less large particles, but mineral, and stones are not very useful to eat. However, this did not stop the physicist from continuing his speculations, and he proposed that the astrochican could reproduce in space, creating new probes that would not necessarily leave Earth. A miracle, of course.

Although it may not seem like it, science also allows itself to be fooled by the power of certain statistics. Thinkers who stand out in their field and who have earned a certain reputation so hard deserve every bit of credibility. When thinkers decide to express their opinion in other fields or to stimulate their imagination, they convince people that, in fact, they are talking real nonsense. This is what happened when Andrew Wakefield, a two-time Nobel laureate, began to express his views on vaccines. Something similar happened when one of the most famous physicists of our time, Roger Penrose, became interested in consciousness.

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Something similar happens in this case. Freeman Dyson may have been taken seriously by his readers, but his proposal was overlooked by most experts. And, unfortunately, even Dyson didn't pay much attention to the Austrosican. It's a game, an exercise in hard science fiction, the kind that piques our interest, and that's what it's worth, nothing more and nothing less. At least on paper, these creative exhibitions that gave us cyborg animals roaming the universe and eating stardust were welcome.

I do not know:

  • Thought experiments are very valuable in science, but they try to prove something, and in this case they don't try to prove anything, it's more of a Tyson game than a scientific contribution.

Notes (MLA):

  • Freeman Tyson. disturbs the universe. Basic Books 1979

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