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Old September 3rd 01, 13:15   #11
Jomar
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

How can you tell a city is a billion years old. If there is one it must have belonged to one of the First Ones. Maybe it was Lorien's home town.

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Old September 3rd 01, 21:06   #12
Elenopa
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

Carbon dating;

Unfortunately, my brother is no longer around to help me out with this, but I remember him telling me that carbon dating could only be used to date items up to a few thousand years old or something. I think it may be something to do with the half life (someone help me out here ). Anyway, it couldn't have been used to date the artifact in 'Thirdspace', so no way could it date a city that is Billions of years old.

This is assuming that the process of dating items has not changed in three hundred years. Maybe they have developed a more accurate system using the decay rate of another isotope.

Apologies for any inaccuracy in the chemistry. I am an engineer.

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Old September 3rd 01, 21:07   #13
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

Well, Carbon Dating only works for about 10 or 20,000 years in the past. It's based on the half life of Radioactive Carbon which is pretty well Gone after 20,000 or so years.

It also only works on the remains of once Living Carbon Based organisms.


A Billion years would at least tell us something about just how old Lorien really was.

Possibilities: Could the city have been built by some of Lorien's contemporaries?

Or, were the Vorlons, Shadows and other First Ones even older than most of us had thought?

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Old September 3rd 01, 21:28   #14
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

Thanks Bakana for confirming what my brother told me.

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Old September 3rd 01, 21:31   #15
Joseph DeMartino
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>It also only works on the remains of once Living Carbon Based organisms.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And finally, it only works if you have a baseline against which to measure it the sample. Carbon-14 dating works on Earth based on the assumption that the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere has remained relatively constant over time.

From "The Lurker's Guide" (discussing why IPX couldn't have used carbon dating to get the age of the Thirdspace artifact):

"The theory is that a living organism will ingest C-14 from the air and maintain about the same ratio of C-14 to normal carbon in its body as exists in the atmosphere.

After an organism dies, the C-14 in its body breaks down and isn't replaced; a rough time of death is determined by measuring the difference between the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere and the amount remaining in the organism's body."

TLG gives C-14's total breakdown time as 50,000 years - still way too short to make it useful in dating an alien city.

So for them to date the city in Rangers there is going to have to be C-14 or a similar isotope in the planet's atmosphere, the remains of once-living airbreathers to have absorbed it, and some reasonable way of determining that the amount of C-14 or whatever in the atmosphere hasn't changed drastically in the past few years. (If the city was a domed colony on a world without an atmosphere, they're SOL. )

I suppose they could date it from an astronomical event. If observations tell us that a given star went nova a billion years ago, and the city is beneath the debris that contains evidence of bombardment from the star, we could assume that the city existed before the nova, and is therefore a billion-plus years old.

Regards,

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Old September 3rd 01, 22:35   #16
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

In 265 years I'm almost positive that we'll have come up with a different method of checking the age of something.

But, granted, in Thirdspace, the IPX woman did say "carbon dating". Not "quantum dispersal scanner" or somethin' or other, so it is still a mistake.

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Old September 4th 01, 05:24   #17
channe
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

How do you find out?

Carbon dating. Or whatever they use two hundred some odd years from now.

Are we getting close to story ideas? Eh, 'sok... JMS doesn't come here, we don't need to worry!

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Old September 4th 01, 20:02   #18
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

Over millions of years you can date rocks using the natural decay of Uranium to lead. For billions you need something with a half-life of hundreds of millions of years. It also has to have been used without the aliens modifying it - hi tech aliens can adjust any ratio if they want to.

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Old September 4th 01, 20:43   #19
Mondo Londo
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

My geology is rusty, but I think the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. We already have the technology to measure the age of things going back billions of years -- fossils and rock layers, etc..

Depending on how far back you want to go, there are different techniques. Some use half-life, others water content, etc.

Of course, these measurements will vary from planet to planet, etc., for obvious reasons -- different relative ages, atmospheres, climates, gravity?

Anyway, the "science advisors" who let that carbon dating comment slip through should refund the consulting fees!


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Old September 4th 01, 20:49   #20
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Re: Legend of the Rangers question

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>

For a world to be billions of years old would make it far, far older than anything else ever discovered, I think the point was. For intelligence to be there would be surprising. How could it evolve so quickly? If it didn't there WHERE did it come from?

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't mean to offend anyone, but Earth is only 5 billion years old. The estimates for the age of the universe are something like 17 billion years, and estimates of when the first stars appeared are around 16 billion years ago.

Earth is 5 billion years old. If I remember correctly, our sun didn't form relatively much before that. The first life on Earth appeared around 3 billion years ago, although this was just microscopic single-celled organisms.

Considering how old some stars are, and that it *only* took 2 billion years for the first life to appear on Earth (around another 3 billion for intelligent life to develop), I find it hard to believe that there won't be intelligent - possibly spacefaring? - races that are billions of years older than we are.

Taking into account the age of the universe, about 17 billion years, the age of the stars, around 16 billion years ago, I think that it's at least possible that there could have been a civilisation like ours somewhere in the universe at least 9-11 billion years ago, if their rate of evolution were the same as ours and if they had another dominant group of lifeforms preceeding them, like the dinosaurs.

Like I said, I'm not trying to offend anyone or start an angry or abusive argument. I just noticed hypatia's post and wanted to comment.

Anybody else have any ideas about how old the oldest civilisations in the universe could be?

(I've scared myself this time. This looks like an essay I once did for my physics teacher!)

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