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Posted: 10/5/2004 5:51:31 AM EST
I am very interested in man's future in space. But with what I know(albeit little) of the theory of relativity, I fear that we would be limited to our solar system. Perhaps a few probes undertaking journeys spanning decades to the nearests of stars.

Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:02:51 AM EST
At the end of the 19th century, when steam engines were the latest thing, a scientist remarked that "it was highly improbable that any machine would ever exceed 10 mph." Or something to that effect.

Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:04:18 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:06:30 AM EST
Ephram Cochrane hasn't been born yet. When he is, let him figure it out.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:06:43 AM EST
All things are impossible until you try.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:07:19 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:08:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2004 6:08:25 AM EST by fight4yourrights]

Originally Posted By blackrifle51:\

I am very interested in man's future in space. But with what I know(albeit little) of the theory of relativity, I fear that we would be limited to our solar system. Perhaps a few probes undertaking journeys spanning decades to the nearests of stars.





If you are right, Humanity is a Dead End


We MUST leave this solar system or we are doomed to extinction. It will be very difficult to survive the eventual death of our star if we don't leave.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:11:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By brouhaha:
All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there.

Use them together. Use them in peace.



2010 - A.C. Clark?
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:22:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By JIMBEAM:

Originally Posted By brouhaha:
All these worlds are yours except Europa. Attempt no landings there.

Use them together. Use them in peace.



2010 - A.C. Clark?




Rgr that.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:29:51 AM EST
here's what I mean. According to the Theory of Relativity, the closer you approach the speed of light the more massive you become. If you could reach the speed of light you would be as massive as the entire universe.

At some point your mass would be so great that no engine would be able to propel it further. Like an ant trying to push an elephant.

Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:30:53 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:31:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By rifleman2000:
At the end of the 19th century, when steam engines were the latest thing, a scientist remarked that "it was highly improbable that any machine would ever exceed 10 mph." Or something to that effect.




I think what he said was that all the air would rush out of any vehicle exceeding 40(?) mph. And the passengers would therefore suffocate.

Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:32:44 AM EST
So, don't approach the speed of light.

Travel at a reasonable non relatavistic speed in either a higher energy state(Hyprspace), different dimension (Jump Drive), or bend space (Warp drive).

Or make C higher... its variability was just authenticated and it poses interesting solutions to the whole interstellar travel thing.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:34:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By blackrifle51:
here's what I mean. According to the Theory of Relativity, the closer you approach the speed of light the more massive you become. If you could reach the speed of light you would be as massive as the entire universe.

At some point your mass would be so great that no engine would be able to propel it further. Like an ant trying to push an elephant.





Yep. Hence we have to find the "cheat" around it. Warp speed, wormholes, whatever.... there has to be a way.


The other choice is to download our brains into computers, send a ship out on a 10,000 year trip, clone new bodies and download our brains into those bodies.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:39:35 AM EST
Us talking about how we could go to the stars is like a Renaissance writer speculating on how man might go to the moon. We simply don't know enough yet to even ask the right questions.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:40:28 AM EST

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:

Originally Posted By blackrifle51:\

I am very interested in man's future in space. But with what I know(albeit little) of the theory of relativity, I fear that we would be limited to our solar system. Perhaps a few probes undertaking journeys spanning decades to the nearests of stars.





If you are right, Humanity is a Dead End


We MUST leave this solar system or we are doomed to extinction. It will be very difficult to survive the eventual death of our star if we don't leave.



That is a strange way of looking at it since the Suns expected life remaining is about 1000 times longer than Homo Sapiens has existed so far.

There is certainly a LOT of real estate WITHIN our solar system. So having access only to interplanetary space is not that bad. The only problem that cannot be solved within our solar system is the one about the Sun going Nova.

However, FTL or even high sublight is not needed to travel to the nearest other stars- as long as the people on the boat are not expecting to return...
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:41:36 AM EST
Travelling faster than the speed of light is impossible with technology currently availible or concevable. (Not that it doesn't mean it can't be done, just that it can't be done now)

Travelling to other stars is possible with technology availible today. It's just that the cost of doing it is so huge that humankind cannot attempt it. It will probably only be possible when society has evolved to the point where a substantial portion of our labor will be able to be directed at spaceflight.

Check out this book The Starflight Handbook. It will explain many of the technologies that are availible today to travel to other star systems.

(I had a post on project ORION at one point in GD... I don't know where it's at, but if someone could find it, that technology could yeild a Max speed of about .03 C, which could get you to another star in ~150 years - not fast, but a conceivable journey... There are fusion technologies that could get you into the .12 C range, and that would allow for journeys in the 50-75 year range...)
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:42:06 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2004 6:48:16 AM EST by BB]

Originally Posted By blackrifle51:
here's what I mean. According to the Theory of Relativity, the closer you approach the speed of light the more massive you become. If you could reach the speed of light you would be as massive as the entire universe.

At some point your mass would be so great that no engine would be able to propel it further. Like an ant trying to push an elephant.




"There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy"
- Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:42:31 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2004 6:43:37 AM EST by Steve_T_M]
You have to slow down a ship going that fast, too, which takes the same amount of energy that it took to get it to near light speeds.

Travel to the stars within the human lifespan requires more than just overcoming engineering problems. It depends on the universe having different physical principles than it does, according to our current understanding. Warp drives, "bending space", fairy dust, whatever - it's all imaginary at this point in time. Maybe in the future new scientific discoveries will reveal physical laws that can be exploited to allow this. Right now we don't know.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:45:00 AM EST

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:

Originally Posted By blackrifle51:
here's what I mean. According to the Theory of Relativity, the closer you approach the speed of light the more massive you become. If you could reach the speed of light you would be as massive as the entire universe.

At some point your mass would be so great that no engine would be able to propel it further. Like an ant trying to push an elephant.





Yep. Hence we have to find the "cheat" around it. Warp speed, wormholes, whatever.... there has to be a way.


The other choice is to download our brains into computers, send a ship out on a 10,000 year trip, clone new bodies and download our brains into those bodies.




Warp Speed, wormholes ect, these things may not even exist. Some people talk about jumping through deminsions. Is there proof of the existance of other deminsions? I just wonder about the Science behind such things.

I don't think we're going to have a Star-Trek type future.

Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:47:35 AM EST

Originally Posted By blackrifle51:

Originally Posted By rifleman2000:
At the end of the 19th century, when steam engines were the latest thing, a scientist remarked that "it was highly improbable that any machine would ever exceed 10 mph." Or something to that effect.




I think what he said was that all the air would rush out of any vehicle exceeding 40(?) mph. And the passengers would therefore suffocate.




The Royal Astronomy Society 'proved' that a moving vehicle that exceeded 32mph would have all the oxygen sucked from it and the occupants would die from hypoxia. Was one of the great raging debates during the advent of the steam engine locomotive. Always think of that when told of the speed of light barrier.

It was also thought that supersonic flight was not possible due to the # of mishaps during WWII with propeller fighters that exceeded the sound barrier.

wganz

Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:48:57 AM EST
There's already a fairly well-developed theoretical way around it, which is pretty amazing considering how little we know about the universe.

www.fact-index.com/a/al/alcubierre_drive.html

Interestingly, relativity doesn't limit the traveler's perceived speed of travel. Thanks to revalistic effects, you can travel to the stars in what seems to you to be an arbitrarily short time. However, if you return to where you started afterwards, it could be several years after you left. The Alcubierre Drive claims to avoid that effect, but I'm not sure if it's true.

Just think of how far we have come in the last 150 years. From powered flight being an impossible dream to supersonic jet fighters and men on the moon. From barely knowing what electricity is to worldwide communication networks. We've already come a long way, and there's a tremendous amount of stuff out there still to be discovered. Our current technology makes it even easier to develop yet more technology. Who knows where we will be 150 years from now (assuming the planet doesn't collapse into anarchy, or anything like that).
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:51:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By Steve_T_M:
You have to slow down a ship going that fast, too, which takes the same amount of energy that it took to get it to near light speeds.

Travel to the stars within the human lifespan requires more than just overcoming engineering problems. It depends on the universe having different physical principles than it does, according to our current understanding. Warp drives, "bending space", fairy dust, whatever - it's all imaginary at this point in time. Maybe in the future new scientific discoveries will reveal physical laws that can be exploited to allow this. Right now we don't know.



No, travel to the stars within a human lifespan does not require those things, at least not to nearby stars. It would require massive engineering projects to build starships the size of large asteroids with engines we couldn't hope to build with current technology, but it wouldn't require anything beyond the known laws of physics to make a starship that could get to around half the speed of light, possibly more.
And there is also the possibility of lengthening the human lifespan and/or developing some method of suspended animation.
My thought is, if we wind up travelling to other star systems in sublight ships, we'll do it with unmanned probes containing genetic samples of humans, possibly the recorded memories of the donors and nanobot factories to construct a base to clone the samples and raise them to adulthood. That would allow the probe to be small enough to not require as much power as one that had to shield a shipload of live humans.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:52:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:



If you are right, Humanity is a Dead End


We MUST leave this solar system or we are doomed to extinction. It will be very difficult to survive the eventual death of our star if we don't leave.



That is a strange way of looking at it since the Suns expected life remaining is about 1000 times longer than Homo Sapiens has existed so far.




That doesn't really matter, does it? What I am talking about is inevitable. We MUST leave this solar system, or we as a species are doomed. While it might be possible to stay here and survive while our sun dies (it wont' go Nova, it will expand and almost swallow the earth, then shrink and die), it would take tremendous technology for any substantial portion of the population to survive.

Yes, we are looking at 10's of millions of years in the future, but it will happen and there isn't anything we can do to stop it. Our star will run out of fuel and die. That's a FACT.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:53:50 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:56:07 AM EST
Damn it Jim! I'm a physician, not a magician.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 6:56:30 AM EST

Originally Posted By ASUsax:
Travelling faster than the speed of light is impossible with technology currently availible or concevable. (Not that it doesn't mean it can't be done, just that it can't be done now)

Travelling to other stars is possible with technology availible today. It's just that the cost of doing it is so huge that humankind cannot attempt it. It will probably only be possible when society has evolved to the point where a substantial portion of our labor will be able to be directed at spaceflight.

Check out this book The Starflight Handbook. It will explain many of the technologies that are availible today to travel to other star systems.

(I had a post on project ORION at one point in GD... I don't know where it's at, but if someone could find it, that technology could yeild a Max speed of about .03 C, which could get you to another star in ~150 years - not fast, but a conceivable journey... There are fusion technologies that could get you into the .12 C range, and that would allow for journeys in the 50-75 year range...)



Unfortunately, the energy and propellant requirements for that don't look too good. Energy requirement to send a canister the size of the space shuttle cargo pay past the nearest star in 900 years, using anything resembling current rocket technology (remember to square it if you plan on stopping at the star):


Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:05:22 AM EST

Originally Posted By blackrifle51:
I am very interested in man's future in space. But with what I know(albeit little) of the theory of relativity, I fear that we would be limited to our solar system. Perhaps a few probes undertaking journeys spanning decades to the nearests of stars.




I don't remember which issue, but Popular Science had a article describing various (hypothetical mind you) engines that could make light speed a possibility.

It was pretty interesting, so things may not always be as they seem.

We just need the next einstein/hawkings to translate what they already know into common people language and have the engineers go at it.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:05:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By blackrifle51:
here's what I mean. According to the Theory of Relativity, the closer you approach the speed of light the more massive you become. If you could reach the speed of light you would be as massive as the entire universe.






Hell, I'm getting fatter just sitting here...I don't even need to move!!!!
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:17:38 AM EST
What did I hear last week about all our departing space probes slowing down as they leave the system? Like, slowing down to a stop and nobody knows why.

There's no electroststic anything. Maybe they just don't want us to leave.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:28:38 AM EST

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:


There is certainly a LOT of real estate WITHIN our solar system. So having access only to interplanetary space is not that bad. The only problem that cannot be solved within our solar system is the one about the Sun going Nova.



Theres not really. If you look at the fact that we probably wont be moving in closer to the sun that rules out 2 planets. We have mars, which isnt as big as the earth. We have the asteroid belt. Not exactly sure who wants to live there. The jovial planets have no terrestrial "ground". There are some small moons like IO and callista. You move out to the edge of the solar system to neptune and pluto and its a little cold there, you could get away with a space penguin farm but I dont want to live there.


Theres a reason only one planet in the solar system has life that we know of on it.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:31:14 AM EST

Originally Posted By LHD:

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:


There is certainly a LOT of real estate WITHIN our solar system. So having access only to interplanetary space is not that bad. The only problem that cannot be solved within our solar system is the one about the Sun going Nova.



Theres not really. If you look at the fact that we probably wont be moving in closer to the sun that rules out 2 planets. We have mars, which isnt as big as the earth. We have the asteroid belt. Not exactly sure who wants to live there. The jovial planets have no terrestrial "ground". There are some small moons like IO and callista. You move out to the edge of the solar system to neptune and pluto and its a little cold there, you could get away with a space penguin farm but I dont want to live there.


Theres a reason only one planet in the solar system has life that we know of on it.



Why would you WANT to live on the surface of a planet? You can see how much more difficult it makes it to move stuff.

You would BUILD habatats in space using the astroid belt, the smaller moons, Saturns rings and the Oort Cloud as resources.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:31:34 AM EST

Originally Posted By blackrifle51:
here's what I mean. According to the Theory of Relativity, the closer you approach the speed of light the more massive you become. If you could reach the speed of light you would be as massive as the entire universe.

At some point your mass would be so great that no engine would be able to propel it further. Like an ant trying to push an elephant.




Kinda like Michael Moore at a slow jog?
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:32:16 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2004 7:32:38 AM EST by brouhaha]
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:40:35 AM EST

Originally Posted By mace:

Originally Posted By ASUsax:
Travelling faster than the speed of light is impossible with technology currently availible or concevable. (Not that it doesn't mean it can't be done, just that it can't be done now)

Travelling to other stars is possible with technology availible today. It's just that the cost of doing it is so huge that humankind cannot attempt it. It will probably only be possible when society has evolved to the point where a substantial portion of our labor will be able to be directed at spaceflight.

Check out this book The Starflight Handbook. It will explain many of the technologies that are availible today to travel to other star systems.

(I had a post on project ORION at one point in GD... I don't know where it's at, but if someone could find it, that technology could yeild a Max speed of about .03 C, which could get you to another star in ~150 years - not fast, but a conceivable journey... There are fusion technologies that could get you into the .12 C range, and that would allow for journeys in the 50-75 year range...)



Unfortunately, the energy and propellant requirements for that don't look too good. Energy requirement to send a canister the size of the space shuttle cargo pay past the nearest star in 900 years, using anything resembling current rocket technology (remember to square it if you plan on stopping at the star):

www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/PAO/images/warp/warp06.gif



There's actually a fairly well developed theory for using solar power to propel a spaceship. It involves an array of lasers around Mercury, a focusing lens in the Jupiter/Saturn range, and a ship to focus on. The problem is that to get any substantial range, the ship has to be pretty big, and the lens has to be bigger.

See here - it's similar to a solar sail concept (that would take a LONG time) but using beamed power...

ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/213.web.stuff/Scott%20Kircher/lightsails.html

A similar prospect was a Robert Forward design called 'Starwisp' that used the power of 'Solar Sattelites' that NASA has been working on. Both designs use reasonable extrapolations of current technology.

Read that book. It's insightful - you don't need to bring the propellant with you...
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:43:08 AM EST
ha! Star travel is easy!

we've been doing it since...well, ... a long long time ago....
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 7:58:24 AM EST

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Originally Posted By LHD:

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:


There is certainly a LOT of real estate WITHIN our solar system. So having access only to interplanetary space is not that bad. The only problem that cannot be solved within our solar system is the one about the Sun going Nova.



Theres not really. If you look at the fact that we probably wont be moving in closer to the sun that rules out 2 planets. We have mars, which isnt as big as the earth. We have the asteroid belt. Not exactly sure who wants to live there. The jovial planets have no terrestrial "ground". There are some small moons like IO and callista. You move out to the edge of the solar system to neptune and pluto and its a little cold there, you could get away with a space penguin farm but I dont want to live there.


Theres a reason only one planet in the solar system has life that we know of on it.



Why would you WANT to live on the surface of a planet? You can see how much more difficult it makes it to move stuff.

You would BUILD habatats in space using the astroid belt, the smaller moons, Saturns rings and the Oort Cloud as resources.



I see what you're saying now. You meant realestate like open space not occupieable ground. Sorry I mistook it for a more terrestrial meaning.




Originally Posted By brouhaha:

Originally Posted By LHD:
The jovial planets have no terrestrial "ground". There are some small moons like IO and callista.



The moons around Jupiter are thought to be uninhabitable due to intense radiation coming off the gas giant.

Saturn is likely the same.



Sure but if IO or callista have water on them, even in ice form we could dig down into the rock to a depth that was protected. The main limiting factor is the ever important, heavy ass water. So far everything we have needs it and its a pain to move. If its already there thats a big part of the work taken out.



On a side note, OORT! Its just fun to say.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 8:03:01 AM EST
Yeah, I know Einstein said FTL travel is impossible, but I refuse to believe him.

Some smart-ass scientist is going to figure out a way around it one day , and that will be a good day!
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 8:05:00 AM EST

Originally Posted By brouhaha:

Originally Posted By LHD:
The jovial planets have no terrestrial "ground". There are some small moons like IO and callista.



The moons around Jupiter are thought to be uninhabitable due to intense radiation coming off the gas giant.

Saturn is likely the same.



Cassini has not found the high levels of radiation in Saturns orbit that it found around Jupiter.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 8:27:51 AM EST
You people who say "oh, we'll find a way to break the light speed barrier. I mean, they said we couldn't break the sound barrier and then we did" drive me crazy, because you lack a basic understanding of theoretical principles. For that example, the reason why people didn't think it was possible to go beyond the sound barrier was due to mechanical properties.

As time goes on, our understanding oh physics gets more and more accurate. Relativity didn't upheave newtonian physics, it updated it. For example, the accuracy of an answer to a specific problem might go from 0.1 to 0.01 to 0.000001 to 0.0000000000000001 percent, etc. with new theories. New theories in physics don't take away limits that were found before, they make them more accurate.

They will never find a way to break the speed of light. It is a fundamental impossibility, like trying to break the first law of thermodynamics. Now wormholes and what not are all up for grabs at this point, but not FTL travel.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 8:36:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By RikWriter:
Us talking about how we could go to the stars is like a Renaissance writer speculating on how man might go to the moon. We simply don't know enough yet to even ask the right questions.



BINGO...

101 years ago humans could not do power flight in the atmosphere and the idea of a flight to the moon would have been viewed by most scientists as impossible. Monday a private group managed to fly in to space for the second time in less than a week.

101 years ago as fast as you could get from London to New York was about 5 days… this can now be done in 2 hours or in 1/50th of the time it took 101 years ago.

101 years ago humans could go a few hundred feet down in to the oceans… we now can now decent to depths 100 times greater that 101 years ago.

Anybody who will tell you that man can or cannot travel to the stars in the near future or distance future is basically blowing smoke up your ass because there is now way in hell the can possibly know or even make an educated guess one way or the other.

I know if we don’t explore the issue we cannot go anywhere. We understand far, far, far, far less about the universe that we know.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 8:46:05 AM EST

Originally Posted By ASUsax:

Originally Posted By mace:

Originally Posted By ASUsax:
Travelling faster than the speed of light is impossible with technology currently availible or concevable. (Not that it doesn't mean it can't be done, just that it can't be done now)

Travelling to other stars is possible with technology availible today. It's just that the cost of doing it is so huge that humankind cannot attempt it. It will probably only be possible when society has evolved to the point where a substantial portion of our labor will be able to be directed at spaceflight.

Check out this book The Starflight Handbook. It will explain many of the technologies that are availible today to travel to other star systems.

(I had a post on project ORION at one point in GD... I don't know where it's at, but if someone could find it, that technology could yeild a Max speed of about .03 C, which could get you to another star in ~150 years - not fast, but a conceivable journey... There are fusion technologies that could get you into the .12 C range, and that would allow for journeys in the 50-75 year range...)



Unfortunately, the energy and propellant requirements for that don't look too good. Energy requirement to send a canister the size of the space shuttle cargo pay past the nearest star in 900 years, using anything resembling current rocket technology (remember to square it if you plan on stopping at the star):

www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/PAO/images/warp/warp06.gif



There's actually a fairly well developed theory for using solar power to propel a spaceship. It involves an array of lasers around Mercury, a focusing lens in the Jupiter/Saturn range, and a ship to focus on. The problem is that to get any substantial range, the ship has to be pretty big, and the lens has to be bigger.

See here - it's similar to a solar sail concept (that would take a LONG time) but using beamed power...

ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/213.web.stuff/Scott%20Kircher/lightsails.html

A similar prospect was a Robert Forward design called 'Starwisp' that used the power of 'Solar Sattelites' that NASA has been working on. Both designs use reasonable extrapolations of current technology.

Read that book. It's insightful - you don't need to bring the propellant with you...



I know about the concept. The trouble is that the energy requirements are still enormous, and there's no way to stop when you get to your destination.

Sending the Space Shuttle Orbiter to Alpha Centauri in 200 years, based on pure kinetic energy, would require around a Gigawatt of energy production for 50 years. It would take a major nuclear plant to make that kind of energy, and that's without accounting for inefficiencies.

I don't think it's going to happen until we can find a way around Newton's Laws, and some new power generation technology would help too. I do think it'd be more effective to spend the money on research towards those ends then in building things like that with our current technology.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 9:00:18 AM EST

Originally Posted By mace:

Originally Posted By ASUsax:

Originally Posted By mace:

Originally Posted By ASUsax:
Travelling faster than the speed of light is impossible with technology currently availible or concevable. (Not that it doesn't mean it can't be done, just that it can't be done now)

Travelling to other stars is possible with technology availible today. It's just that the cost of doing it is so huge that humankind cannot attempt it. It will probably only be possible when society has evolved to the point where a substantial portion of our labor will be able to be directed at spaceflight.

Check out this book The Starflight Handbook. It will explain many of the technologies that are availible today to travel to other star systems.

(I had a post on project ORION at one point in GD... I don't know where it's at, but if someone could find it, that technology could yeild a Max speed of about .03 C, which could get you to another star in ~150 years - not fast, but a conceivable journey... There are fusion technologies that could get you into the .12 C range, and that would allow for journeys in the 50-75 year range...)



Unfortunately, the energy and propellant requirements for that don't look too good. Energy requirement to send a canister the size of the space shuttle cargo pay past the nearest star in 900 years, using anything resembling current rocket technology (remember to square it if you plan on stopping at the star):

www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/PAO/images/warp/warp06.gif



There's actually a fairly well developed theory for using solar power to propel a spaceship. It involves an array of lasers around Mercury, a focusing lens in the Jupiter/Saturn range, and a ship to focus on. The problem is that to get any substantial range, the ship has to be pretty big, and the lens has to be bigger.

See here - it's similar to a solar sail concept (that would take a LONG time) but using beamed power...

ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/213.web.stuff/Scott%20Kircher/lightsails.html

A similar prospect was a Robert Forward design called 'Starwisp' that used the power of 'Solar Sattelites' that NASA has been working on. Both designs use reasonable extrapolations of current technology.

Read that book. It's insightful - you don't need to bring the propellant with you...




I know about the concept. The trouble is that the energy requirements are still enormous, and there's no way to stop when you get to your destination.

Sending the Space Shuttle Orbiter to Alpha Centauri in 200 years, based on pure kinetic energy, would require around a Gigawatt of energy production for 50 years. It would take a major nuclear plant to make that kind of energy, and that's without accounting for inefficiencies.

I don't think it's going to happen until we can find a way around Newton's Laws, and some new power generation technology would help too. I do think it'd be more effective to spend the money on research towards those ends then in building things like that with our current technology.





Actually, if you'd have followed the link I gave you, that problem has been solved. I never said it's going to be easy, just that it can be done, and much of the theory is already on the table.

Read the book, it will give you insight on this...
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 9:09:53 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2004 9:11:04 AM EST by Leisure_Shoot]

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Why would you WANT to live on the surface of a planet? You can see how much more difficult it makes it to move stuff.

You would BUILD habatats in space using the astroid belt, the smaller moons, Saturns rings and the Oort Cloud as resources.



A planet provides a lot of protection from floating debris and radiation and other extremes.
And besides, machine guns don't work well in zero gravity, what with all the empty shell casing floating around.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 9:14:47 AM EST
Ladies and gentlemen of the Science Council; KRYPTON IS DOOMED!!! Uhhh.... sorry, wrong planet.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 9:20:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By Leisure_Shoot:

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:
Why would you WANT to live on the surface of a planet? You can see how much more difficult it makes it to move stuff.

You would BUILD habatats in space using the astroid belt, the smaller moons, Saturns rings and the Oort Cloud as resources.



A planet provides a lot of protection from floating debris and radiation and other extremes.
And besides, machine guns don't work well in zero gravity, what with all the empty shell casing floating around.



Yes they do, which is why you build your habitats orbiting around planets, not on them. The planets sweep the space in their orbit clean. And they all provide some shadowing of the habitats part of the time.

Link Posted: 10/5/2004 9:38:33 AM EST

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:





The other choice is to download our brains into computers, send a ship out on a 10,000 year trip, clone new bodies and download our brains into those bodies.

Kurzweil? Great Idea, I thought I was the only one who wanted to do that!!!!
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 9:42:20 AM EST

Originally Posted By QuantumPion:
They will never find a way to break the speed of light. It is a fundamental impossibility, like trying to break the first law of thermodynamics. Now wormholes and what not are all up for grabs at this point, but not FTL travel.



If we either use an existing or generate our own wormholes to travel light years in seconds, isn't the result the same?

We WILL achieve FTL travel. If you want to split hairs, feel free.

And anyone who thinks that finding a Grand Unified Theory will put theoretical physics out o a job is deluding themselves. There will ALWAYS be something else to learn.
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 9:50:46 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/5/2004 9:55:09 AM EST by fight4yourrights]

Originally Posted By QuantumPion:

They will never find a way to break the speed of light.





WE ALREADY HAVE BROKEN THE SPEED OF LIGHT.


Faster than the speed of light?


superluminal speeds


Portions of this entry contributed by Waldyr A. Rodrigues, Jr.

A superluminal phenomenon is a frame of reference traveling with a speed greater than the speed of light c. There is a putative class of particles dubbed tachyons which are able to travel faster than light

Link Posted: 10/5/2004 9:51:13 AM EST

Originally Posted By RED_5:
ha! Star travel is easy!




Flying through hyperspace isn't like dusting crops boy! Without precise calculations you could fly right through a star or wind up too close to a supernova. That would end your trip real quick!
Link Posted: 10/5/2004 9:52:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:

Originally Posted By QuantumPion:

They will never find a way to break the speed of light.





WE ALREADY HAVE BROKEN THE SPEED OF LIGHT.


Do a google for "quantum tunneling"



But its only useful for sending data, just like quantum teleportation. No one has done it with anything that has a measurable mass, only with electrons.
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