Originally posted by wang
Traveling the speed of light will get us to see other solar systems, but to travel throughout our galaxy is something we are going to have to wait
untill the next paradigm comes about, if anyone has any ground breaking discoveries then post it
Hi Wang. The imagination of Gene Roddenberry had some unfortunate effects. He studied restricted-access projects to come up with many of his Star Trek
concepts. One of these was 'warp factor'. He made it into a means of relatively instant travel between stars (correct for the crew due to time
dilatation), with no time dilatation effect for the homeworld (incorrect). Time dilatation is the slowing of time relative to a fixed observer: go
faster and you age slower. Not just you, but your particles too. The original warp factor referred to in the real-world restricted-access project is
not a space factor, but a time warp factor. If one attains a certain percentage of the speed of light, for example, 1 year would pass on the bridge
but 7 would pass at the point of origin. Thus, warp factor 7. This is science, not science fiction, and is proven again and again at high-speed
particle accelerator laboratories on Earth. Thus at close enough to light speed, one could traverse the entire Universe in the blink of an eye. One's
homeworld would have aged by the effective warp factor, however. This complicates real-world exopolitics, neccesitating something like megalithic
religion for political continuity in a spacefaring empire. We are talking about time travel into the future.
The effect of this from the point of view of the bridge is that you are traveling faster than C. At warp factor 4, you seem to be traveling at four
times the speed of light. From the point of view of the Earth, you are travelling at some large fraction (99%+?) of the speed of light. From your
viewpoint, you arrive at Proxima Centauri, 4 light years distant in one year. From Earth's viewpoint, the journey takes you four years. Weird but
At light speed, the warp factor becomes infinite. So light speed alone would open the entire
Universe to human colonization in one lifetime- if
you are crew. Accel, blink
, decel. Other side of the Universe.
First, you have to come up with enough fuel to reach such a tremendous speed. Or some way to extract the neccesary energy from space itself.
The problem then becomes how to avoid being vaporized by dust, fist sized rocks, interstellar mountains, and the rain of radiation coming from the
ship's nose as you plow into relativistic nuclei (space is not a perfect vacuum). You need a lot of radiation shielding in front. So a practical
starship ends up looking more like a Moon than the Enterprise.
And when you get home, if you go far enough, maybe no one is waiting for you.
Now, this is relativistic physics as we know it today. If some kid comes along and rips the Universe a new hole, maybe we can do it differently.
Miguel Alcubierre may have done just that.
[edit on 12-2-2005 by Chakotay]