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Reaching for the Stars

deluxestogie

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#1
Interstellar Travel



Voyager 2 has finally reached beyond the bounds of our solar system. It has gone 11 billion miles, requiring 41 years to do so. I'm 70. I was 29 years old when it launched in 1977. Its maximum speed: 35,970 mph.

The good news: Voyager 2 is now in interstellar space.

The bad news: To travel a total of one light year (~6 trillion miles), Voyager will need to keep on truckin' for another 500 x 41 = ~20,500 years. That's just to make it one light year away.

The closest star to our sun is Proxima Centauri, which is a mere 4.22 light years away. So, at Voyager 2's speed, reaching the closest star would require 86,510 years, which is easily 4 times longer than the entirety of human civilization so far. That's just our closest neighbor within our own galaxy.

Want to leave the Milky Way galaxy--intergalactic travel? Forget about it. I can't do the math. Science fiction is better.

Bob
 

Jitterbugdude

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#5
You guys haven't been watching Animal House lately have you?
BTW.. Don't forget the meteor shower later this week and the big comet event this weekend.
 

stic

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#6
Want to leave the Milky Way galaxy--intergalactic travel? Forget about it. I can't do the math. Science fiction is better.

Bob
205 Million years to go straight up, out of the plain of rotation...

512 Million years to head out across the plain of rotation to the outer edge of the western spiral arm...
 

stic

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#10
To travel that far in a reasonable human time scale would require technology that would encompass, or be synonymous with, time travel.

If we were, to one day have that technology, then, where are all the time travelers?

Don't think it's gonna be possible...
 
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#11
Time travel is a relative thing (no pun intended). Whenever you travel in space you are traveling in time (Special Relativity). Going faster means slowing down time (your timeframe). So if you go fast enough you could go anywhere in a lifetime. The universe (being at rest) would age at the same rate. So if you traveled somewhere at a relativistic rate then returned you would have effectively traveled forward in time. Traveling back in time would require going faster than the speed of light and is a completely different problem.
 
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#12
I read somewhere a while ago that some quantum physicists theorize that by manipulating matter relativity FTL travel may be possible. By super-compressing matter (such as the effect of a black hole) while somehow maintaining relativity, you could jump in space without affecting time.

Easiest way I can think of describing it is this: you have to walk 40 miles and can walk 4 MPH. That should take 10 hours. But if you could compress the universe to 1/10th it's mass while maintaining your own relative mass, you could make that same trip in 1 hour.

Naturally in terms of quantum physics there's very little difference between compressing the universe or expanding yourself; the result is the same in terms of relativity.

I don't pretend to understand a tenth of what I read, but if people smarter than me think it's possible (whether in our lifetime or not) I tend to believe them. NASA has already made a propulsion engine that requires no fuel. Anything is possible.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/relay....sics-independent-tests-magnetic-space-science
 

deluxestogie

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#13
Hmmm. If I compress the entire universe at a point 4 inches from the pivot of my wall press, using 2 one-gallon jugs of water (~16 pounds total), how long should the lever arm be, and how long a period should I compress it?

Bob
 

stic

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#15
There is another way...

Radio waves travel at the speed of light, so, you could 'FAX' or 'EMAIL' data to another planet (once a robotic spacecraft had set up a receiving station).

This data (given a sufficiently advanced technology) could be used to create a 'copy' of a human mind, in a robotic body...

But, this requires advanced technology and, would also still require the vast length of time to send a robot craft to set up the other end of the 'line'...
 
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#18
This whole thread is making my head spin...
I really whish we could travel space to reach other suns... but reality probably will never allow us to do so... :(

Thankfully we have sience fiction ! (as Bob said)
 

deluxestogie

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#19
If we want to write about (or even contemplate) living on a world outside our solar system, we must imagine modes of travel that are unlikely to ever exist. (Of course, intelligent people worried that if an automobile were able to reach 50 mph, it would suck the air out of one's lungs, and be impossible to endure. But that was just an ignorance of the physics of human physiology.)

There is, indeed, a loophole in Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. A mass traveling faster than the speed of light might allow so-called time travel. Unfortunately, as a mass accelerates from below the speed of light toward the speed of light, its relativistic mass increases exponentially, meaning the energy required to accelerate it. [The speed of light defines a vertical asymptote.] So we imagine a mere technological fix for that inconvenient barrier.


Read the discussion.

Bob
[I'm actually a time traveler, trying to throw you guys off the path!]
 
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#20
[I'm actually a time traveler, trying to throw you guys off the path!]
I knew it!

[...] as a mass accelerates from below the speed of light toward the speed of light, its relativistic mass increases exponentially, meaning the energy required to accelerate it.
This ties in perfectly with, and broadens my understanding of, what I read and mentioned earlier. Granted, I haven't read the link you provided in any kind of detail because I'm at work (should make for some fun light reading this evening though), but your synopsis is a good logical extension of what I thought I narrowly understood.

The goal of quantum FTL travel I mentioned before was to: A) Compress Invariant Mass of the plane you are traveling; and B) Maintain your own (or the vessel, or whatever) Relativistic Mass during travel.

Please keep in mind I haven't even broached the subject of quantum mechanics in well over a decade, let alone tried to dredge up that particular memory, so my recall may be imperfect, but from a theoretical thought-experiment point of view, it makes sense.
 
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