Earth:Will our cradle also be our grave?

by IronGland 6 Replies latest jw friends

  • IronGland

    Will we ever get off this rock? We have two options for interstellar travel, fast or slow. Going fast will require technology we can barely comprehend yet, but even travelling at 99% the speed of light would only make 1% of our galaxy traversable within a human lifetime. Also, there's the issue of collisions. Interstellar space is mostly empty, but hitting a speck of dust at even 10% of c would destroy any spacecraft.

    The second option is a slow 'generation ship'. This is the most likely option (barring some unforseen breakthrough in engineering or physics) but it presents the problem of designing a ship that can maintain a large, genetically viable population for thousands of years with no access to resources and no outside help.

    If you wish to discuss this, please leave out speculation on some as yet unknown way to get past the light barrier. Lets assume our understanding of physics is correct and the best we can ever hope for is 99% of c. Better yet, lets be realistic and say the best we can possibly achieve within the forseeable future would be some type of nuclear propulsion like the British Orion Project that could at best reach 1-10% of c.

  • stillajwexelder

    Think of the USA being colonized - it eventaull reached St Louis and the ngradually moved out - so colony on the moon, then on Mars an so on. Perhaps a traveller may start from Neptune not the earth and so on.

  • IronGland

    I think the solar system is possible, but we're talking a few years transit within the solar system as opposed to a few thousand years to the nearest star with any forseeable technology. The universe is so big, I dont see any feasible way to get beyond our solar system . Every solution I've ever heard of to the problem of interstellar travel boils down to magical thinking. People just assume there's going to be some world changing breakthrough in physics that free's us from the limits Einstein showed us. There's no reason to believe that. We're left with the idea of a massive 'generation ship', setting off from Earth that won't see the destination for hundreds of generations. It makes for good sci-fi, but i'm pessimistic that it will ever actually be possible. And what if we are the only intelligent life in the universe? And what if the only life in the universe dies here on the planet that spawned it? Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  • IronGland
  • Vormek2.8

    I too fear that the problem of long distance space travel may be insurmountable. I do believe that we will eventually establish a presence throughout the solar system (asteroid mining, moon bases, mars base).

  • joelbear

    I do not believe space travel outside the solar system will occur.

    We are stuck and will eventually consume the natural resources of this planet.

  • james_woods

    There is a very good book which deals with the feasibility of interstellar space travel from a logical viewpoint: "Beyond Star Trek" by Lawrence M. Krauss. I found it in a local book store, but it is also on amazon. Krauss is a realistic thinker and deals with things like "what kind of propulsion would be needed", "how much would it have to weigh to carry enough fuel and supplies", "can we get back again" and such. He discounts such stuff as wormhole, warp, etc. as Sci-Fi nonsense (at least for the time being) just like our thread creator asked. He does bring up the idea of matter/antimatter fuels but then exposes how impossibly difficult it would be to create and contain the needed amount of antimatter.

    He pretty much paints the picture that solar system travel might be realistic in another 50-100 years but that star travel is probably a figment of imagination at our current level of science. He also makes the point that you could use reverse logic to say that this kind of thinking makes 100' diameter flying discs from beyond the galaxy visiting earth pretty silly.

    Anyway, wouldn't it be the ultimate bummer to dodge space debris all the way from Alpha Centauri down to Euless, Tx. and then just ignominously smash into some farmers windmill?

    Can't you space aliens watch where you are going? Or at least put it on autopilot?

Share this