Age of Cosmic Exploration

Author: Zhttty

Translators: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lonelytree, _Dark_Angel_

Editors: EndlessFantasy Translation , Lucas


Chapter 99: Catalyst for Science and the Compartment

No one could tell what the catalyst for the next scientific renaissance would be, nor when it would arrive.
For example, the first scientific revolution was brought about by the creation of the steam engine, even though history called it the industrial revolution and tied it to the European cultural renaissance. Then again, hasn’t advancements in science always been linked to great societal improvements?
The one after that was caused by the proliferation of electricity, where new fields based in electronics was introduced.
The next one included the advancement in nanotechnology, space technology, and biological engineering, whose common root could be found in the field of computer science. In other words, it was computer science that provided the fertile soil on which other contemporary sciences would grow.
Until now, man had been reaping the rewards from this third industrial revolution. Therefore, even though it had been decades after the onset of this revolution, man was still regretfully languishing in it.
So it was little surprise that people were asking… when the next revolution will arrive. And what will be the catalyst that ushers in its arrival.
This was the topic of the day within the Academy. Some argued for biotechnology, others space technology, there was also support for technology in alternative energy and artificial intelligence. Everyone had their own say regarding this matter, but the whole Academy was in agreement that this next revolution will no doubt be potent and influential.
Even Yao Yuan, especially after witnessing the latest wave of new inventions, couldn’t resist joining in on the hype. He wished he could be alive to witness the arrival of this new revolution because… he believed this revolution would finally usher in an age of true cosmic exploration!
Yao Yuan frowned after listening to Bo Li’s request before sitting back down, "Since you know about the existence of these robots, then you should know as well that they have been reprogrammed to act as the Hope’s last line of defense against threats of non-human origin. Also, since they are controlled by the ship’s central mainframe… I can’t approve of your request right now. You have to understand that even a small tweak to their programming… could have a possibly adverse effect on the Hope’s overall security."
Bo Li too frowned slightly in return. However, she didn’t show any intention of continuing to appeal to Yao Yuan. Instead, she bowed and turned to exit the room.
Yao Yuan, though, called her back, asking, "Bo Li, you have been at the forefront of many new inventions lately… Could it be that you’ve already felt the fourth industrial evolution coming? Tell me, are we at the cusp of this next revolution, like how the rest of the Academy has been saying?"
Bo Li stopped and answered without turning around, "…I can’t say for certain, but they seem to be correct. I need to conduct more experiments to be sure."
Yao Yuan added, "Will it be related to what you’re working on, Gaussian technology? In other words, will this next revolution be based in electromagnetic technology? If that’s true, we will need more supplies, like octane-powered batteries and alternative energy sources, to anticipate this revolution, right?"
Bo Li frowned. "I will say it again, I can’t say for certain, and I need to be conduct more experiments to be sure!"
"Is that so?" Yao Yuan sighed. "Alright, I’ll give you a reply within three days."
"Thank you," Bo Li answered, before retreating out of central command. Stopping just before the door, she suddenly added, "There is a shop that sells rice cakes on the third floor C Street. I really like their rice cakes." And with that, she disappeared out the door.
The sudden information had Yao Yuan stunned. He chuckled to himself, and after thinking about it for quite some time, he activated the communicator on his table, saying, "Tell Zhang Heng, Ying, and Ebon to come meet me at central command."
Three days later, Ying, Ebon, and Zhang Heng, dressed in their smart army fatigues, arrived at Bo Li’s weapons laboratory. They had in tow behind them several robot guards and a pile of broken robot pieces.
"Lieutenants Ying, Ebon, and Zhang Heng reporting as observers and protectors of this robotic experiment," Ying announced, with a sonorous voice to the room of scientists as he took a step forward.
Bo Li glanced at the trio insouciantly before moving past them to inspect the cluster of robots. She first stopped beside the robot guards to take a detailed look at their protective shells before squatting down to look at the pile of robot parts. Finally, she stood up, saying, "Then we shall start the experiment with the robot carcasses…"
(A Diviner to sense danger, a Seeker to record my movements, and a Perceptor to incapacitate me at the shortest notice if necessary… So be it. I’ve told him I’ve no ulterior motives, and I happen to love the Hope, but I suppose Dad was right; the man holds high mistrust of other people…) With that, Bo Li’s experiment began in earnest. On the other hand, Yao Yuan’s milk powder purchase limitation policy was thankfully accepted by the citizens without much of an uproar. In fact, before the baby boom, many people had stopped purchasing milk powder on account of its high price, so this didn’t affect them much.
With an addition of 1,000 new doctors, the following wave of baby boom was efficiently solved. Thus far, the Hope’s population had increased to a total of 140,000 people. Among them, 16,000 newborn babies. There were 15,000 scheduled childbirths in the upcoming two months, and that would kick the Hope’s population to go over the 150,000 line!
Nevertheless, it was not all good news because the increase in population meant a decrease in living space.
Civil engineers pointed out that the Hope had a maximum capacity of 220,000 people. The biomes wouldn’t be able to support a higher population than that, so people would have to starve if the number of inhabitants went over the capacity. The population increase also brought more pressure on the ship’s air and water recycling systems.
Human needs sufficient private space to move around in to grow and flourish. Being boxed in a limited space will stunt both physical and spiritual growth. Adequate space is a valid need alongside a satisfying job, sufficient relaxation, and food. At this point, the Hope stumbled into a situation where it was lacking in these four.
The Hope was simply… too small!
However, Yao Yuan knew that he couldn’t sign off a policy that discouraged childbirth, because that was in gross violation of basic human rights. Furthermore, practically speaking, the Hope needed this new generations to keep humanity’s hope burning. If there was a 1-child-per-family policy, the quality of the gene pool on the Hope would dramatically decrease. As inbreeding became more common, the future generations would get weaker and weaker.
Experts concluded that sufficient living space and stable population number were the two main factors deciding man’s fate in space.
"Looks like plans to construct that external cabin have to continue."
The idea of an external cabin was brought up by multiple experts in response to the increase in population.
It was their expert opinion that not only could the external cabin be used to house more biomes, it could be a successful prototype that could be copied to construct future cabins. With the addition of these cabins, the Hope’s space issue would be resolved because these cabins could be re-purposed into housing units.
Simultaneously, the experts had pointed out the irrationality within Yao Yuan’s decision to conduct continuous warps.
Currently, the Hope could warp 400 times. If one totaled up the three days that were spent after every warp, the time would add up to about 4 years.
That number didn’t align with the amount of time the Hope could survive independently in space, which was 40 years. So after exhausting all the energy in warps, what would the Hope do for the remaining 36 years? Become an aimless space nomad?
Therefore, the experts suggested that instead of a three day stay, they stay for a whole month whether or not there was anything worth sticking around for. They could also use the 30 days to let the external cabins out as some plants had a 30 days harvest cycle. In the future, more cabins could be added to provide the much needed housing space.
Housing arrangements could be cycled after each warp so that every family would be given its turn to spend a month out on the external cabin. With this system in place, the Hope’s maximum population could increase to a staggering 500,000 people. It could fit two generations of people. If the Hope was destined to perish 40 years later, at least then man would have lasted long enough to build a new spaceship.
Just when Yao Yuan was discussing matters of the external cabins with a panel of experts, Bo Li’s team sent over a new report.
The report wasn’t about her team’s experiment success, nor was it about any accidents, but rather her team had intercepted a stray signal issued by the group of intact robots. However, weirdly enough, the signal wasn’t targeted at the ship’s central mainframe but instead… at the compartment below the mainframe!
According to the Hope’s blueprint, that space should be a slab of metallic flooring, and it wasn’t supposed to be hollow. But since the target of the signal was there… something must lie within that compartment!