"The problem is that mass grows as you approach the speed of light, so at the speed of light you would have an infinite mass. Thats why particles
which travel at the speed of light never have mass."
Mass grows because of various frictions against it. These include either collisions against something (such as particles) or forces (like pressure).
Since the vacuum of space is theoretically devoid of most pressures (other than faint background radiation and gravitational waves), the fact remains
that a very large number of subatomic particles prevaid all of space. Because of this, and maybe the newer discoveries of dark matter and dark
energy, travelling extremely fast (near or at the speed of light) causes an enormous amount of friction.
As I posted in another note, it is not a matter of living with the friction, but getting rid of it. I saw a mock-saucer design that used a particle
field to create a negative pressure that both sucked the craft in a certain direction and pushed particles out of the way to greatly reduce any
chances of friction. Secondly, you have warp power, which does not require you to go the speed of light, just a very small fraction of it. Bending
space greatly reduces the total velocity required to reach a given point in a certain amount of time, so scientists remain open to the idea of warp
Finally, I'd like to reintroduce relativity into the discussion. Because of relativity, we can not move the velocity of light in a given direction
away from a given starting point. However, if one could figure out a way to reorient the craft to the relative alignment of another object, the
negative aspects of relatively accerating away from an a particular object would be removed.
That might not make sense, but the truth is that we are speeding away form the center of the galaxy at a great portion of the speed of light,
rotating, revolving around the sun, spinning in a solar system, bouncing and spinning around the galaxy, and that galaxy may be moving within a
supercluster. Therefore, we are already moving at a tremendous speed with tremendous force. Once calculated together, we may be going well over the
speed of light, as far as force and acceleration are concerned. However, since each factor has its own relative spacetime position (relativity of
placement), we do not ever feel the effects... thus you can sit at your computer comfortably and not be moving at all (relatively speaking).
I think many of the problems can be solved, but getting over neutralizing mass and energy forces, as well as following the dreaded thermodynamics are
the big challenges that will take time to conquer. In 200 or 300 years, a Geo Metro will cruise around lightspeed
. Ok, maybe 500 years, assuming
no major global disasters.