The basic objectives of the Von Neumann probe are exploration and 'settlement'. Even if the probe is used only for scientific exploration, implied in that is 'assay'; exploration for the assessment of potential for utilization or settlement. But what settlement means is going to vary by the context the particular solar system, the nature of communications technology, and the nature of the civilization deploying the probe and their cultural perspectives on space. There are relatively few star systems that would not be 'habitable' in some fashion at the level of technology needed for such probes and those that are not would still likely host some kind of self-perpetuating facilities for purposes of scientific research. There are also relatively few star systems likely already inhabited by any pre-existing forms of life and thus questionable, ethically, for comprehensive settlement, but again, even those that are will likely get permanent facilities to keep an eye on them.To read the rest of the article, click here.
"My 1953 telephone high-strangeness contact essentially claimed to be a Von Neumann probe." -- Jack Sarfatti