I believe that if man is to gain mastery of interstellar travel, wether the mission be a hundred years long, or a colonisation that will take the
better part of a thousand years and encompass every habitable rock between here and the galactic core, we will need to radically rethink our approach
With the recent confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson, new oppertunities and new methodologies are going to be presenting themselves to
those involved in this project, assuming they have the foresight to recognise them. Because the Higgs bosons primary function (as far as it can be
understood at this time) is to provide mass to other particles, controling its behavior may be the key to future space travel.
With a little imagination, it is clear that learning ways to manipulate mass in any given region of space would be a very good trick to learn, as it
would allow for Warp Drive like travel through space. Because an increase in mass results in an increase in gravity, it is possible that control of
the Higgs would allow future space vehicles to warp space in a way which all trekkies would find familiar, warping space ahead of the craft with an
increase in gravity to draw the vessel forward, and an opposite effect behind to push the vehicle from behind as well, riding the wave between these
two altered areas.
Currently, the most workable scenarios for near light or light speed travel involves ridiculous ideas like capturing black holes, and using them to
do the job, which would require MASSIVE advances in material science, due to the requirement for human occupation of the vessel, meaning that the
horrific levels of radiation that would be given off by such a black hole, would have to be shielded or diverted away from the crafts innards, to
protect the crew. Currently there are not materials which would allow for this to happen, without resulting in the vehicle being so heavy and
cumbersome, that it would have to output far too much thrust to be practical, and use so much energy that its use would sap the very universe to the
point of heat death or some such thing.
By more subtle manipulations of space time, using some Higgs derived control factor, I believe the human race might have a better chance of achieving
mastery over the byways of space. Rockets, electronic and nuclear propulsion, all of these are far too damned slow to be effective in the long term.
Even if this one hundred year craft leaves the solar system, by the time it has gotten anywhere, it will have been overtaken by something using a
Higgs derived propulsion system, of that I have no doubt.
What remains to be seen is if the money required to fund either the Hundred Year craft, or indeed the mass manipulator drive system that I am
suggesting, can ever be found, or found in our lifetime. Frankly, the worlds financial systems are in such uproar that I would be very suprised if
initial funding is anything like as comprehensive as it needs to be to get the job done effectively. If there is going to be a stumbling block in the
way of our baby steps into the cosmos, then surely the funding of such a project would be the one to watch. I would HOPE that the human race, and all
its regional controlers, understand the importance of this work, for all mankind, and are able to either set aside thier differences in order to make
it happen, or at least set aside some funding to make it possible. But in such fractured times as these, I fear that there may be too little cohesion
and too much tension to make it a priority for some.
Another poster mentioned that the human race is in desperate need of hope. Travel through the stars alone cannot achieve hope, not without root and
branch change in the way governments treat thier people, and the way that people treat thier neighbors, both domestic and foreign. But if we can unify
around the core need to explore, and gather round the travelers campfire long enough to realise our similarities, perhaps the craft of the future will
be crewed by a focused and united people, united through common purpose, rather than common oppression. THAT is something we can hope for.
on 8-9-2012 by TrueBrit because: Minor grammar correction. Probably missed some other errors, for which I apologise.