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Stephen Hawking - Image courtesy GrayWizard.net
We must leave this planet before we get hit by rocks or become part of a Ben Affleck movie

In a rare interview, Stephen Hawking said to the BBC that humans must move to another solar system in order to ensure the survival of the species. “Once we spread out into space and establish colonies, our future should be safe,” he said. Hawking made a similar suggestion back in June.

 

He believes that life on Earth could be wiped out by a nuclear disaster or a massive asteroid hitting the planet causing Armageddon with its Deep Impact. He said that, since we have no similar planets on our solar system, we would “have to go to another star” to find a suitable habitat.

 

Before humans could even dream of such a move, we would need to develop a viable means of transportation. Hawking proposed “matter/anti-matter annihilation” propulsion. He explained: “When matter and anti-matter meet up, they disappear in a burst of radiation. If this was beamed out of the back of a spaceship, it could drive it forward … It would take a lot of energy to accelerate to near the speed of light.”

 

Even at near-light speeds, it would take six years to reach a new star. While Hawking, 64, may not see our escape from Earth in his lifetime, he still wishes to see the planet from space.  “My next goal is to go into space; maybe Richard Branson will help me.”

 

Hawking was recently awarded the Royal Society’s Copley medal, their highest honor, for his work in theoretical physics and cosmology leading to classifications and further knowledge of black holes.

 

Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society, stated “Stephen Hawking has contributed as much as anyone since Einstein to our understanding of gravity. This medal is a fitting recognition of an astonishing research career spanning more than 40 years.”

 

In a statement issued by Hawking after learning of the award he said “This is a very distinguished medal, it was awarded to Darwin, Einstein and (Francis) Crick. I am honored to be in their company.”



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By S3anister on 12/1/2006 2:51:44 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Hawking proposed “matter/anti-matter annihilation” propulsion.
WOW, that sounds amazing, like something that would actually make a difference to our species! Stephen Hawking FTW.




By peternelson on 12/1/2006 2:59:26 PM , Rating: 1
If we can harness nuclear fusion, that would probably do as a power source.

Coupled with some form of ion drive, we could probably reach the nearest star.

But we would need life support and food (probably grown on board) to last many generations of humans, something to overcome the lack of gravity on board (like a rotating portion of the spaceship).

Things would be easier if we could find a buried stargate, or some wormhole not very far away from here.

And then of course when we get there, will the local aliens feel happy for us to invade their planets?


By ketwyld on 12/1/2006 3:19:43 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
And then of course when we get there, will the local aliens feel happy for us to invade their planets?


Ahhhh, we'll give them trinkets, booze, & disease-laden blankets and then march the survivors into "reservations", just like we have done in the past with all indigenous people. Seriously, you can't build an empire without having the natives properly under thumb.


By angryhippy on 12/1/2006 3:34:01 PM , Rating: 1
Ahhhh, we'll give them trinkets, booze, & disease-laden blankets and then march the survivors into "reservations", just like we have done in the past with all indigenous people. Seriously, you can't build an empire without having the natives properly under thumb.

We might just run into the American version of aliens who are more advanced. They will "liberate" us by invading, overthrowing our governments, install puppet leaders in their place, modeled on their government style. They will "accidentally" kill 100's of millions of civilians when they mistake schools, hospitals and factories for military installations. Their installed puppet goverment's main purpose will be to sell Earth resources to them at a very cheap price. Then they will wonder why we're not greatful for being liberated, and aren't all getting along after our authority structure was totally destroyed.


By Etsp on 12/1/2006 5:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
That sounds oddly familiar....


By Christopher1 on 12/2/2006 2:56:24 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, sounds like Bush's version of the perfect world.


By Operandi on 12/2/2006 9:46:57 PM , Rating: 3
Luckily we have X-Com to protect us.


By SilthDraeth on 12/4/2006 10:52:52 AM , Rating: 2
If only things where so black and white.


By scrapsma54 on 12/5/2006 5:54:45 PM , Rating: 2
HALF-life 2 anyone?
Makes sense and a reasonable time (6yrs) to obtain a better life (and grave). 6yrs of screwing around in a room with a tv and an xbox 1800, sounds good.


By Russell on 12/1/2006 5:25:33 PM , Rating: 1
FYI: The diseased blankets thing is a myth.

Though some people, even at the time, believed it could work so they TRIED to give out diseased blankets, but the joke was on them as the blankets didn't actually spread any disease. Still it's the thought that counts, right?


By Samus on 12/1/2006 9:12:47 PM , Rating: 2
three words: alien hybrid babies


it's kind of like a cylon offspring but with one eye and a big head.


By knowyourenemy on 12/2/2006 12:29:17 PM , Rating: 2
What makes everyone believe that aliens will even be bipedal, nonetheless mammalian?


By Lord Evermore on 12/2/2006 8:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
Because Star Trek said so.

Or: Because we're the perfect form for an intelligent being.

Or: who said we needed bipedal mammalians to let us make hybrids? Personally I want a set of alien tentacles grafted into my genome.


By nerdboy on 12/1/2006 3:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
Can the Human body with stand almost going the speed of light.


By wien on 12/1/2006 3:35:09 PM , Rating: 5
Speed doesn't hurt anyone. Acceleration does.


By vanka on 12/1/2006 4:24:12 PM , Rating: 3
Unless of course you're going at the speed of light; in which case (according to relativity theory) your length becomes zero and your mass becomes infinite.

(And yes I understand that in relativistic equations mass and length are undefined, but the limit of the equations at that point suggest that this would be the case.)


By vanka on 12/1/2006 4:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
(And yes I understand that in relativistic equations mass and length are undefined, but the limit of the equations at that point suggest that this would be the case.)

Sorry, it should read:


(And yes I understand that in relativistic equations your mass and length are undefined when your speed equals the speed of light, but the limit of the equations at that point suggest that this would be the case.)


By wien on 12/1/2006 4:30:36 PM , Rating: 2
But not relative to your viewpoint right? Just the people you wizz past at the speed of light. Or have I gotten this wrong? :)


By vanka on 12/1/2006 5:17:20 PM , Rating: 5
You got it right, but what you said is true for speeds that approach the speed of light. So if you're traveling at 99% of the speed of light your weight (to an outside observer) will be 1000kg instead of 100kg, a meter stick will be 10cm, and one of your minutes will go by for every 10 minutes of the observer's. (Note these numbers were pulled out of thin air, I used them because most textbooks also use them when they explain the effects of relativity; ask an astrophysicist for the actual figures.) If you're the one traveling at 99% of the speed of light, you won't notice or feel any of these effects. You will notice that relativity has just the opposite effect on the observer though.

But this is for speeds that approach the speed of light. When you approach c, your weight approaches infinity, your length approaches zero, and time slows to a stand still. We realize that this is physically impossible and we can only theorize as to what happens to an object when it hits the speed of light. Maybe it goes into another dimension, who knows; what we do know is that it appears that the speed of light is a speed limit that cannot be broken. Macho American scientists declared that if they were able to break the speed of sound, they'd be able to break the speed of light limit. This of course is not possible as even apparent speed cannot exceed c. Apparent speed is when two objects such as cars approach each other from opposite directions at say 60km/h, their apparent speed of one car to the other is 120km/h; that is the actual speed of both cars are added together to get the apparent speed. This is not true with velocities that approach the speed of light. If two ships, both traveling at 99% of the speed of light, pass each other; their apparent speed will not be 198% of the speed of light. Instead there is a complex formula in which their speeds are multiplied together and their apparent speed will be about 99.8% of the speed of light.


By Gatt on 12/2/2006 3:55:20 AM , Rating: 3
There's a number of technical problems IMO with this.

The first is that the assumption is based upon the various affects being unavoidable, which isn't technically true. 100 years ago, no matter what you did, placing your hand in a fire would result in burns. Today, one can wear a fire-resistant glove and place their hand in fire without reprocussion. We assume that just because we can't avoid a problem today, we'll never find a way to avoid the problem. Not true by a long shot.

Second, we're making a large number of assumptions based upon the belief that all of our data is valid. There's nothing in Physics that is concrete, because we've never been able to test Physics reliably outside of our environment. We've no idea if Physics holds true on another world, or in another Solar System. We could easily discover a variety of things we believe to be true, and are true here, aren't always true. We could easily discover that the way atoms behave in other places aren't close to the way they behave here.

Third, we are limited by our close minded line of thinking. Everything we know, and everything our Laws of Physics are based upon, comes directly from our senses followed to conclusions. We consistently ignore the possibility, probability even, that there's a large variety of forces in the galaxy beyond our sensory range. Radiation is the product of our curosity about light and color, known by sight. Likewise, Atoms are from our curosity about what makes up matter. It's very highly likely there's a number of forms of energy and other effects we've no idea about, simply because it's beyond our sensory range so we've no where to start.

Math is the only thing in Human History that is undeniable. 1 + 1 = 2, no matter what.

Problem is, we humans have an annoying habit of doing the math, discovering something's wrong with it, and creating a solution based upon data from our senses rather than considering the likelyhood of effects beyond our senses. Dark Matter/Energy is a good example. Our equations do not work, do we concede there's things beyond our senses? No. We make up more "Matter", When we really need to start considering energy outside of Atomic and Light ranges.


By cochy on 12/3/2006 4:59:16 PM , Rating: 2
This is true. Moral of the story: We have a laughably insignificant understanding of this reality. Though we do make progress quite quickly!


By joset00 on 12/3/2006 8:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
@ Gatt:

First remark: The point is not that we actually can manage to protect (more efficiently) our hands; it's, mostly, that fire still burns...

Second remark: Try to see it the other way around: all the universe was/is/will be different from our own 'locality'; that'd make our region special, right? What's special about it? So, are we limited in time & space because we're not able to be everywhere at the same time? Definitely. Does this fact change the laws of the ['far'] universe? We do not know but, as far as we can see (literally!), the laws were/are/will be the same; what we - as the only known conscience of the universe - can say about this last statement is... unless otherwise proven.

Third remark: Well, 'likeliness' is akin to probability; as for other 'forces', 'forms of energy', dimensions, etc, what would be the point in consider them - if they 'exist' - if we're not aware of their manifestation? Certainly, we're limited; but, extrapolating to a «close minded line of thinking» leads me to believe there's another... could you elaborate on that, please?
The Laws of Physics are only as good as they reflect our world's behaviour; it's a metalanguage (a translating language...) of natural phenomena; so far, reason has gone hand-in-hand with observation; one's nothing, without the other.
Mathematics are tools (ok, a very special kind of tools); it has been built upon axioms, just like the one you've pictured; actually, like flatness is a special case of curvature, 1+1=2 is a special case, where 2 happens to be one of a series of [infinite?] possibilities; moreover, we cannot prove it's own axioms: Gödel's theorem asserts that mathematical axioms (the very basic ones) cannot be subject to proof; shocking as it might seem, it proves mathematical consistency: were we able to prove axioms, they could prove false...

Preface (we don't know better...): The problem is that we're as much 'gods' as gods can be. We know no other form of thinking nor other form of sensing (we do invent tools which help, though); we've got no comparative models and, even if we had, we would not understand them, most probably.
Many of General Relativity's peculiarities were due to 'insights' about how things could work, within a certain context (not Star Treck's); it happens that, most of those peculiarities were subject to proof and they've been proven, after GR was thought out; that, was a big 'win' towards our way of thinking. But, GR isn't the ultimate theory; nor, perhaps, Quantum Mechanics. Maybe there's room for another 'mind revolution'... or, Nature will show itself, 'undone'.
'Our equations' go way beyond our senses; maybe the four 'forces' we know today may have a more 'colourful' way of presenting themselves than just 'black' & 'white'. We're trying hard to find out.
Maybe you should know better, on what concerns our limitations... and our knowledge.


Cheers!


By joset00 on 12/3/2006 7:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
@ vanka:

y= 1/sqr.1-v^2/c^2, also known as Lorentz transformations (replace y by rest mass, rest time, rest lenght, the first '1' by m', t' or l' and v by the relative velocity to c); or, in 'calculation overdrive mode', http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/relativ...
Actually, we can detect objects @ the speed of light: photons (rest mass=0); and, we can predict what would happen if it was possible for any object with non-zero rest mass to reach c: it would become energy, according to E=m*c^2. Nothing much. The problem would be the amount of energy to supply such an object for such an achievement: infinite.
And, the "complex equation" you mention, is no more than the Lorentz factor, 1/sqr1-v^2/c^2.


Cheers!


By Milliamp on 12/3/2006 11:12:32 PM , Rating: 1
Not true, the friction alone created by traveling at that speed would disintegrate you.

Even in a vacuum if you were to make contact with a small particle, even the size of sand it would destroy your ship.

The best short-term solution would probably be to set up base and begin terraforming mars. Maybe we could put our greenhouse gases to good use on mars and kill 2 birds with one stone.


By rushfan2006 on 12/4/2006 8:54:04 AM , Rating: 2
While interesting.....to read all the arguments here on what happens at the speed of light...we may never REALLY know what happens. Science is great, Hawkings and Einstein and the rest of the great minds are definitely "uber" geniuses in their fields.

But as we probably NEVER will have the ability to propel any manmade vehicle carrying any biological occupants anywhere close to the speed of light -- we can't be 100% of what will/would REALLY honestly happen.

Even many of these great minds state the amount of power alone, aside from all the other issues to do with, for propelling a vehicle the speed of light is more power that all the world's electric and nuclear power plants can provide even if you multiplied it all by 1,000 times.



By Sungpooz on 12/8/2006 10:43:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even in a vacuum if you were to make contact with a small particle, even the size of sand it would destroy your ship.


The ship would destroy the particle. getting hit with something traveling that fast would probably smash it into sub-atomic particles.

and sub-atomic particles won't destroy a ship.


By Milliamp on 12/10/2006 5:56:02 AM , Rating: 2
It would destroy the small sand/pebble to sub-atomic particles but not damage the front of the ship?

The material of this ship is light enough to be pushed to these speeds, but armored enough to withstand that?

If you have ever read about a SABOT tank round you will know that the reason it penetrates armor is because it delivers so much force to such a small surface area.

It is said that getting hit with a SABOT is like getting hit by a train spread over the surface area of a dime.

Although this is not necessarily 100% true, the same applies to the sand/pebble. What it lacks in mass, it makes up for in speed.


By Lord Evermore on 12/2/2006 8:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
It ain't the fall that hurts you. It's the sudden stop at the end.


By peternelson on 12/3/2006 6:52:48 AM , Rating: 2
Or as Han Solo put it so eloquently, "without those coordinates from the navo computer, we could fly right through a supernova...... and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it kid?"

Seriously, at those speeds, even very small particles could cause serious damage to the ship's hull, and anything/anyone they impact. At those speeds you would likely crash into it before having ability to detect or change course to steer around it.

Some form of sacrificial shielding to be worn down, or deflection technology would likely need to be developed.

It's the same principle as bugs on my windscreen or throwing bricks at a fast moving train.


By CMcIntyre on 12/4/2006 7:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
I think your getting all this from Star Trek and Stargate Atlantas "Buried Stargate" "Local Aliens" etc, trueth be told the only way to get to another solar system is by shuttle because
1. Hawkins only has theories of black holes, could be right could no be

2. If Hawkins theorie is right, a black hole would destroy the entire space craft and everybody in it, unless a human being can survive being turned into spagetti strings.


By straycat74 on 12/1/2006 4:19:27 PM , Rating: 2
maybe Al Gore will go with to warn the aliens of the dangers of the infamous Manbearpig


By dever on 12/2/2006 10:27:54 AM , Rating: 2
There's nothing funny about ManBearPigs! Well, at least not to a number of DailyTech readers anyway.

Thanks for the hearty chuckle.


By lennylim on 12/1/2006 5:26:31 PM , Rating: 4
If we have antimatter, we'll use it in bombs, and wipe out the human race, way before we have interstellar travel.


By AxemanFU on 12/1/2006 6:22:03 PM , Rating: 3
What's the use of "winning" if you aren't around to enjoy the victory. Amazingly enough, I think it is very likely we're too self interested as whole to actually go through with an action that could possibly be a complete mutually assured destruction. Suicide to win...there are only a few people that try it...and it is never a whole population because most people are too rational, and no single weapon is yet that powerful. Maybe we should all watch Dr. Strangelove and contemplate this...heh.


By milomnderbnder21 on 12/1/2006 9:33:43 PM , Rating: 3
Well, only the people with their finger on the button actually need to be that crazy.

You know, crazy enough to think something like the rapture is near, or that they shall have virgins waiting for them once they've completed their mission to kill some folks that don't agree with them.

Oh, wait...There are a bunch of people like that. Especially in america, for the first batch. Scary.


By Christopher1 on 12/2/2006 2:58:47 PM , Rating: 1
I have to agree. There are a LOT of religious loonies out there who advocate bombing with nuclear weapons Muslims and other people all around the world who do not agree with their view of the world, and who don't worship their god.

They basically DO have their finger on the button right now, because Bush is one of them. The only reason that he HASN'T pushed the button yet is because if he tried to, the military officers around him would stop him and have him committed.


By shecknoscopy on 12/1/2006 6:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If we have antimatter, we'll use it in bombs, and wipe out the human race, way before we have interstellar travel.


Oh, we've totally got antimatter. Anyone who's ever taken a PET scan has been exposed to positrons - the antimatter equivalent of our good buddy the electron. It's not even that hard to contain them, as a magnetic field'd work just as well on positive charges as on negative. Heck, we've come so far as to making anti-hydrogen as well (though it, obviously, couldn't be contained with magnets). However, it'll be a while before we see comerically available anti-hydrogen based anti-cars. See also my documentary, "Who annihilated the Anti-Car?"

Actually, don't see it, it's mostly filler I culled from stock footage of "Small Wonder."

-SHEQ


By knowyourenemy on 12/2/2006 12:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously though, nationality and religion has to die long before we even think of trying to get into outer space. Who knows how many nut cases will try to pull a Contact.


By ADDAvenger on 12/2/2006 5:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
Comments like this are barely worthy of a reply.

Science itself is a religion, because a religion is simply a set of beliefs that you have. There is no god of science, but there are no gods in some religions like shintoism (I think that's a good example anyway), they just worship ancestors and spirits.

You yourself are as bad as the religious nuts you talk about; you would have us eliminated, just like the religious nuts you're talking about. You're a fool if you think all people of religion are crazy fanatics like al-Qaida and Hezbollah.

As for nationality, it doesn't need to die; it's good to understand your history. Don't get me wrong, taking so much pride in your country that you start invading everyone else's because you're just sure they're inferior, that's no good. There will always be regional divisions, or regional differences if you prefer, but that doesn't mean that we'll necessarily have to fight over them.


By joset00 on 12/3/2006 9:03:29 PM , Rating: 3
@ ADDavenger:

Nope. Science - in a very prosaic mode - is a structure which must prove & 'heal' itself constantly, while retaining its universal consistency; Religion - again in a very prosaic mode - is based upon a set of a priori convictions (dogmas), which do not require proof and universal consistency to be valid; and, they're not mutually exclusive, as far as 'validity' is concerned.

Cheers!


By ADDAvenger on 12/2/2006 4:49:31 PM , Rating: 1
Antimatter propulsion? Oh ok, I'll just pull out the chunk of antimatter I always carry around in my back pocket....
Antimatter is still highly theoretical and unproven.

Nuclear propulsion is the same concept, except we use an explosive that we already have and have lots of research with. Look up Project Orion on Wikipedia.


By peternelson on 12/3/2006 7:00:52 AM , Rating: 2
"Antimatter is still highly theoretical and unproven"

No it isn't.

Places like Fermilab and CERN can make antimatter quite routinely.

Just it costs quite a lot of money to produce (not to mention build those facilities in the first place) and the quantities are very small.

But I agree, if there was a project like Orion that used true fusion rather than conventional nukes... (and if humans didn't get gene mutation from the radiation), that could probably get us there eventually.


By ADDAvenger on 12/3/2006 5:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
The radiation from an Orion ship wouldn't be too much of a problem. First, the pusher plate that catches the nuclear blasts will be about ten meters thick. Second, any Orion-type ship meant for interstellar travel will be so ridiculously massive that throwing on a couple dozen tons of lead won't mean anything.
Also, there is a lot of cosmic radiation, from solar flares and such, which produces much more intense radiation than the bombs would. So by design, if the sheilding blocks out the cosmic radiation, it will also have to work well enough to block the 'propulsionary' radiation.


Cool...
By retrospooty on 12/1/2006 2:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
Since the last major devastating disaster was 67 million years ago, I would say we very likely have some time to figure light drive out... Consider that humans have only been around 150,000 years and most of that we were illiterate. Now technology 200 years ago, and how far we have come in the most recent past. Now think where we might be in another 10,000 years, or 100,000, 1 million years? We can surely develop technology to detect and defend ourselves from asteroids. In the end we still have to go though, the Sun will expand and complelty engulf the earth in another 5 billion years.




RE: Cool...
By retrospooty on 12/1/2006 2:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, you can tell I have been watching the discovery channel ;)


RE: Cool...
By cochy on 12/1/2006 4:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
The next "major" devastating event might happen sooner than you think. The super volcano underneath Yellow Stone is past due on it's ~600,000 year cycle. An eruption of this volcano would change the face of the world and civilization, not to mention wiping out the better part of North America. Anyway in the long run, speaking in billions of years term, the Human race has more than the Sun's lifespan to worry about. Recent evidence shows that the Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with the Milky Way and we could see a collision in 2-3 billion years or so. This would cause massive devastation on a galactic scale, as stars are displaced and planets flung off orbits. Who really knows how long the Human race can last for.


RE: Cool...
By hubajube on 12/1/2006 4:34:43 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Who really knows how long the Human race can last for.
By my estimations it will be tomorrow...or was that yesterday? I don't remember.


RE: Cool...
By retrospooty on 12/1/2006 4:37:57 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct... And you have been watching the Discovery channel too I see ;)

Yellowstone may happen, and it will devastate North America and the climate of the world for many years, many will die, but humans and our technology will live on.

Andromeda in a few billion years is something we cannot survive. This brings up another question. If we were to develop light speed and have the tech to leave our planet to go to other stars, they would presumable be the stars in the Milky way that are 4 to several hundred light years away... Milky way will be unstable when colliding with Andromeda, even the outer rim solar systems... We need to go to a whole new Galaxy. Which may be tens of thousands of light years away.


RE: Cool...
By EODetroit on 12/1/2006 5:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
Not really. Galaxies are mostly empty space. The two Galaxies will for the most part just pass through each other. Its not like a truck hitting a concrete barrier when Galaxies "collide".

It'll be quite a sight though if anyone's still around to look at the night sky as Andromeda gets close. Remember the end of the Empire Strikes Back?


RE: Cool...
By AxemanFU on 12/1/2006 6:18:00 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on where the solar system goes in that collision..besides the fact that the sun will already be substantially hotter at that point and will probably have make earth intolerable for life, and quite likely barren, a galatic collision will release massive volumes of radiation, and you may drift right into a nebula of gas or dust. Even if objects don't collide directly, their orbits will be massively distorted by each galaxie's mutual gravitational pull. The galaxies will most likely deform and then slowly merge as their super blackhole cores orbit eachother to form a super galaxy and slowly merge over trillions of years. Isn't astrophysics cool?


RE: Cool...
By johnsonx on 12/2/2006 1:02:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Recent evidence shows that the Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with the Milky Way and we could see a collision in 2-3 billion years or so


Your source for this? All evidence and discussion I've ever seen says the galaxies are ALL moving away from each other (red shift). I'd think if the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies were moving towards each other (blue shift), I'd have heard of it.


RE: Cool...
By cochy on 12/3/2006 5:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Your source for this? All evidence and discussion I've ever seen says the galaxies are ALL moving away from each other (red shift). I'd think if the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies were moving towards each other (blue shift), I'd have heard of it.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy#Gene...

Wikipedia is our friend :D.
Most definitely there is a blue shift.


RE: Cool...
By johnsonx on 12/4/2006 2:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I stand corrected. I'm surprised I've never heard of this, but there it is. Maybe I should renew my subscription to Science News?


RE: Cool...
By MadAd on 12/3/2006 7:35:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Recent evidence shows that the Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with the Milky Way and we could see a collision in 2-3 billion years or so.


Good. That may bring other stars with habitable planets closer to us since we cannot rely on cracking the propultion problem anytime soon.


RE: Cool...
By rushfan2006 on 12/4/2006 8:49:13 AM , Rating: 2
Humans have been around for just 150,000 years?

I guess you have to be only referring to a specific evolution of humans. Because as recent as 2002, in Chad (Africa) scientists uncovered the skull and and some other bone fragments of our very early ancestors who walked upright...they estimated with carbon dating that these bones were about 7 million years old. Making it the oldest of such find ever in recorded history to date.



anti matter
By AzureKevin on 12/1/2006 4:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
The only problems now are developing an efficient way of creating antimatter on a large scale, and devising a way to store it safely. Once we do that, however, antimatter will become a terrific energy source.




RE: anti matter
By treehugger87 on 12/1/2006 5:14:23 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the whole point of antimatter was you only need a small amount of it for a huge output of energy. Then why do you need large scale storage? Reactions would only need to occur during direction changes....otherwise it will continue at the same velocity


RE: anti matter
By joset00 on 12/3/2006 9:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
@ AzureKevin:

True. But, there's a bigger catch, hidden in E=m*c^2.

Matter & Anti-matter produce high-energy photons, during anihilation; photons are massless particles, no matter how energetic they are.
The push-per-unit-time they'd produce would be insignificant, compared to nuclear devices or, even, to throwing stones, all other things being equal.
Analogy: Throw a 10Kg (or pounds) from a small boat, in mid-ocean & measure the reaction; do the same with small stones (same 10Kg/£)...


Cheers!


RE: anti matter
By Visual on 12/4/2006 5:00:29 AM , Rating: 2
wrong.
if you throw the small stones *fast enough*, you can get just as good a result.
light might be massless, but to counter that it's helluva fast ;)
it still has momentum. momentum preservation would indicate that if you manage to direct that light backwards, you'd gain momentum forwards.
in fact, light is the best possible "reaction mass" you could use, looking at the impulse per energy ratio, i.e. impulse per mass of fuel, specific impulse.


RE: anti matter
By joset00 on 12/4/2006 9:31:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
wrong.


Not necessarily.
You'd spend more energy than available throwing small stones "fast enough", in a closed system.
Moreover, matter/anti-matter anihilation (M/AMA) is, indeed the most eficient way of 'turning' mass into energy (E=m*c^2, where m=0, for the photon's rest mass); however, it would take a ship forever/all of the ship's mass to reach very close to c; what would be the point? Even a small mass portion left (say, you & your toothbrush), would refrain the whole system (ship) to reach such a speed.
(As for momentum, p=mv in Newtonian Mechanics, etc, just try to imagine the photons' impact, whenever one's X-rayed; acceleration would be tremendously faint/the 'ship' would be tremendously massive...).


Cheers!


RE: anti matter
By Visual on 12/6/2006 8:45:50 AM , Rating: 2
ok these boards arent the most convenient place for an argument, what with the lack of reply notifications and such... so this is gonna be my last post on the subject.

put simple, newtonian mechanics just doesn't apply here. p=mv, no longer. p=gamma*m0*v is still valid where m0>0, but gives 0/0 indefinite for photons. a more general formula, working for both massive and massless particles, is
p=sqrt(E^2-m0^2*c^4)/c
as you can see, for a set total energy E, the maximum momentum would be that of a massless particle, i.e. the photon. so light propulsion is the most efficient one possible. in other words, throwing a stone, or any other reaction mass, will always gain you less momentum than annihilating it and emmiting all of the energy behind you.

as to your speech about not being able to reach c - it is both corrent and unrelated to what is being discussed. we won't reach c, we can reach arbitrarily close to it though, and doing it with light propulsion is the most efficient way.


ArkShip Made Easy
By jgregersen on 12/1/2006 4:24:07 PM , Rating: 2
Simply hollow out a cylinder inside a reasonably sized asteroid and rotate. Drop nukes out the back until you reach an acceptable velocity. Once you reach halfway to your destination rotate rinse and repeat. When I say reasonably sized I mean around 100km long and say 30 km wide. The cylinder can be 50km by 15km and contain enough square km along the inside to easily handle a large enough population to start over somewhere else. For that matter why even go anywhere else (another solar system) when you can live inside a structure like this. With 10 km of solid rock as shielding, no tectonic activity or foul weather to deal with, it would be absolutely safer than any planetary surface. Place in orbit around the earth or moon and bingo, the species is safe.




RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By Disorganise on 12/1/2006 5:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds rather like Arthur C Clarke + Gentry Lee's 'Rendevous with Rama'


RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By AxemanFU on 12/1/2006 6:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
It'd probably work, but you'd need a big old reliable reactor of some type to keep the whole thing from bleeding energy into space until everything reaches room temp in space, 0 Kelvin. Where you'd get the fuel to keep it going for long periods of time, I'm not sure.


RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By Tyler 86 on 12/10/2006 3:18:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well, with no external atmosphere, a large enough conductive surface, and improvements in nanotechnology on the way, there's solar power, just for starters.

Electrokinetics embedded in the outer wall for harnessing the gravitational pull from a satellite (think moon versus ocean tides), or from being a satellite.

Get the organics going, say sugar cane, and you have long time storage fuel source.

All that's left is nanotechnology make waste management feasable, quantum technology for communications, surface weapon platforms to act as active shielding, and some sort of scifi-ish shield to deflect micrometeorites and the like from surface structures, such as solar panels...


RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By bobsmith1492 on 12/1/2006 8:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
I fail to see how any lifeforms bigger than an ant could survive the acceleration of riding on an atomic explosion... unless your asteroid weighed a whole lot, maybe.


RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By ADDAvenger on 12/3/2006 5:54:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I fail to see how any lifeforms bigger than an ant could survive the acceleration of riding on an atomic explosion... unless your asteroid weighed a whole lot, maybe.


Really really big sets of springs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_%28nucl...


Too bad
By bamacre on 12/1/2006 2:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
The human race has spent too many resources on war.




RE: Too bad
By angryhippy on 12/1/2006 3:07:52 PM , Rating: 2
The human race has spent too many resources on war.

What humanity needs is a predator, something we have to unite against. Humans work great together when there's something to kill. Maybe we can genetically engineer a velocaraptor with human intelligence, that sees in the dark, and breeds faster than rabbits! We need something scary enough for us all to set aside our differences. I mean come on, many religions feel compelled to make up scary villians like Satan. We must have a psychological need to fear some kind of monster!


RE: Too bad
By B166ER on 12/1/2006 3:52:47 PM , Rating: 1
Aliens, We need aliens. The "terrorist threat", I had assumed, was going to be the Saviour of us all until I realized it was one big joke and those involved are using scapegoats to cover up their real plans.
Has anyone mentioned Kurzweil yet or is this another one of those hater groups that take advantage of all that he says but gives him no credit for his insight? I had mentioned him on another technology channel, a music software forum and got shot down by oh too many people, though we sit in the land of DAWs and 24/96 home studios, DVD burners and soft synthesizers beyond imagination, technology that wouldn't dare exist but 10 years ago in our homes, and the fellas from that forums laughed all the ideas of human advancement in the realm of tech as jokes. I'm not worried. The Singularity will come, whether we like it or not, and Ill be quietly looking for the signs and taking advantage of every inch of tech advancement.


RE: Too bad
By hubajube on 12/1/2006 4:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
...only part of the human race would leave because the other part is too dumb to believe in self preservation.


RE: Too bad
By AxemanFU on 12/1/2006 6:08:58 PM , Rating: 2
Don't we predate ourselves quite nicely? Nothing like a little competition for keeps. I think Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, among others, did a spectacularly and horrifyingly effective job of predating their fellow man.

Actually, probably our most effetive predator througout history is simple old Malaria. Some estimates think it may have killed as many as 1/4 of humans that have ever lived.


RE: Too bad
By VooDooAddict on 12/2/2006 1:07:10 PM , Rating: 1
manbearpig


chuckle
By Spivonious on 12/1/2006 2:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He believes that life on Earth could be wiped out by a nuclear disaster or a massive asteroid hitting the planet causing Armageddon with its Deep Impact.


:P




RE: chuckle
By peternelson on 12/1/2006 2:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, two great movies ;-)

But, I think he has been reading about the Valenzetti Equation, or trying to solve it.

Since he couldn't change "the numbers" either, the only solution is to get off the planet!


RE: chuckle
By hubajube on 12/1/2006 4:31:22 PM , Rating: 3
"Earth....what a shithole!"


RE: chuckle
By AxemanFU on 12/1/2006 6:05:41 PM , Rating: 2
Heh...Alien4 if memory serves. Hopefully the planet we'd find wouldn't be previously occupied by some little buggers like the Alien aliens...


Antimatter over Fusion?
By TimberJon on 12/1/2006 3:23:27 PM , Rating: 3
Hmph. Antimatter propulsion systems. Fusion would be much faster than conventional methods and a source of nearly unlimited propulsion on a very little amount of fuel. Sure an antimatter engine would get you there MUCH faster, but you still have to slow down. Fusion propulsion is much safer, you would have time to react to dangers within hours and minutes instead of microseconds. I forget what the specific impulse was, but I think it was around 200 or 300,000 for a fusion rocket engine.

And when you have a ship that goes near the speed of light, a dust particle can punch right through your ship. Armor plating? Ok, perhaps. Radiation shielding? We will need an electromagnetic shield or cloak (not to be mistaken as invisibility) for the ships for extended periods of spaceflight. Oxygen recycling? An ark ship large enough to have an ecology area and hydroponics would have to be built. Irrigation, and strict waste, water and air circulation and scrubbing systems would have to be in there.

Its saying alot that we have to find another star system. We will always have to visit Earth. Even if we move out and colonize moons, asteriods and planets elsewhere. Earth would be the birthplace of humankind and would be a reverential cornerstone in Humans history. Perhaps later on we can take Slipspace Cruises and vacation to Earth haha!




RE: Antimatter over Fusion?
By angryhippy on 12/1/2006 3:54:35 PM , Rating: 3
An ark ship large enough to have an ecology area and hydroponics would have to be built. Irrigation, and strict waste, water and air circulation and scrubbing systems would have to be in there.

Some great ideas, but it would probably be easier to have a bunch of sperm and eggs stored for humans and animals, and seeds for crop plants. By then, artificial wombs should be perfected. Computers and robots could probably just grow any humans, animals plants after landing on a suitable planet. You could maybe have a small number of people in suspended animation to wake up for decisions or child rearing if AI isn't perfected by then. By then we'll probably have the technology to manufacture needed equipment on site, so you just include life support equipment for any living humans along for the ride, and store a bunch of components, or the more rare materials needed to make any electronics machinery. You could have some sort of seed ship that lands, manufactures any facilities & equipment needed, then raises and trains people and their food.


RE: Antimatter over Fusion?
By MarkHark on 12/3/2006 9:55:37 PM , Rating: 3
Arthur C. Clarke
"Songs of distant earth"

Really good book, one of his best IMO.
It's all described there, almost exactly as you posted.


pardon me
By GhandiInstinct on 12/1/2006 5:27:52 PM , Rating: 1
But may I remind everyone humans have only discovered 1/10 of the entire Universe thus far.




RE: pardon me
By Missing Ghost on 12/1/2006 10:11:47 PM , Rating: 4
You know the size of the universe?


RE: pardon me
By GhandiInstinct on 12/2/2006 4:29:08 PM , Rating: 1
Cosmologists do.

If you took Astronomy 101 they give you an aproximate scale of how much we've seen and how much we believe there to be, all in all its about 1/10 of what we've seen, and that's saying a lot.


RE: pardon me
By cunning plan on 12/4/2006 3:38:23 AM , Rating: 2
Somebody should tell Cosmologists to look on Google map becuase that has all of it.. Click hybrid for a great view..


Hmm. . .
By angryhippy on 12/1/2006 2:59:43 PM , Rating: 3
Wow, maybe in a couple thousand years we'll actually have the technology to leave the solar system in mass.

Seems more practical to work on keeping Earth pleasant and habitable, with maybe some super nukes to deflect space rocks.

Hawkings is an amazing person, but this idea is silly. Colonizing other solar systems is a long long way off! We don't even know if there are any other habitable planets in out part of the galaxy, and who'd want to live on a dead rock like the moon or Mars? A life spent inside a building sounds pretty depressing.




RE: Hmm. . .
By Xavian on 12/1/2006 9:02:05 PM , Rating: 2
If its one thing, i've seen over the past 20 years, its that Technology goes hand in hand with acceleration of human evolution.

As Technology accelerates, human understanding evolves faster and thus accelerates Technology, an endless loop which could possibly end with the event of a technological singularity.

I wouldn't be surprised that even 30 years from now, Earth and human-kind as we know it will be completely changed. The Internet and Computers on a whole are constantly accelerating advances in Science and Technology at an exponential rate. Who's to say that we wont start colonising planets in 10-20 years from now, considering how far we've come in only 50 years, i'd say its possible especially since Technology is advancing at a quicker and quicker rate nowadays.


RE: Hmm. . .
By joset00 on 12/3/2006 10:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
@ angryhippy:

Stephen Hawking deserves all the credits given to him (and more); I'm stating this in a loose way, in accordance with my [limited] understanding of his work. This, is fundamental; criticisms are only relevant, after.
However, the man seems to put forward some speculative ideas on scientific/technological matters, mostly for media consumption (he can afford it...).
Just look at the way this less-than-original though is put, just because it's S. W. Hawking's opinion; he's even writen a book about the [near] end of Physics... polemic, to say the least.
Certainly, there's some credit in this idea, since it addresses one of our most basic instincts, the one of survival. However, I think we still have some steps to go through, in between, before hitting the stars (if we ever make it...): we've just entered genetic engineering's infancy. Given enough time (i.e., not in this century; my opinion), genetics will become the shifting gear for all humanity (well, for the chosen ones; hence, minuscule 'h'). Theoretically, we'll be able to transform ourselves & adapt as new forms of living organisms, under the most severe & unusual circumstances; if we manage to escape self-anihilation (genetics included), 'terraformation', [genetical] adaptability, Solar System colonization & extra-Solar System probing, will become viable possibilities.
The only certain thing is that we, as an intelligent class of beings, will do whatever it takes to survive, paradoxically, if we exclude self-anihilation. Depending upon the scientific/technological/mental degree of development, we might leave an unsuited-for-survival planet like ours in two ways: carrying our earthly houses on our backs or adapt & turn into something we'd hardly call human, by today's standards.

As someone already mentioned in this thread, we are responsible (now) and we should stand for the defense of the only life-supporting-planet we know of; however, we must also be aware of our 'limitations' as a species, with all the contradictions it implies; that's being Homo Sapiens Sapiens; 'Homo', might disapear as part of our own taxonomy, if genetic engineering enters adulthood, in a few centuries. And, outer space travelling techniques won't be the peeble in the shoe, of that I'm sure... well, who said S. Hawking was going too far?!


Cheers!


By therealnickdanger on 12/1/2006 3:24:57 PM , Rating: 2
DJ Hawking is pretty awesome, there's no doubt. Why is it that every seemingly profound scientific proposal was already done on Star Trek?




By B166ER on 12/1/2006 4:59:25 PM , Rating: 3
LOl, love the Family Guy quote. I think the idea isn't so much that it was envisioned on Star Trek, its the limits of Mans imagination. I find that theres a lot of things we don't know about thew world and for some reason we always seem to make true waht we want to believe. robots, Cars, Lasers, Flying machines, disease cures... all were envisioned wayyyy before the most basic of mans technological prowess. Never say never goes the saying...


Propulsion and protection are key
By ajfink on 12/1/2006 4:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
The only real hurdles, barring cost constraints, is an adequate form of propulsion and protection from meteors and radiation. An electromagnetic form of radiation protection I can see becoming viable in the next few decades, as well as theoretical research into the propulsion necessary. By then, any other gaps in the technology would be well out of the way. Politics and money is what is really slowing things down.

P.S. - Would they knight Hawkings already? The man deserves it.




RE: Propulsion and protection are key
By Christopher1 on 12/2/2006 3:00:47 PM , Rating: 1
Anyone else wonder how we went to the moon with all the cosmic radiation and stuff out there? Frankly, some scientists have proven mathmatically that anyone who went into space in the vehicles that we had back then and even now, would have been DEAD long before they got to the moon, from radiation poisoning.


RE: Propulsion and protection are key
By Ard on 12/5/2006 3:39:24 PM , Rating: 2
That's because we never went. Why do you think we're "going back" in 2018? ;)


Subtitle
By umerok on 12/1/2006 6:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We must leave this planet before [b]get get[/b] hit by rocks or become part of a Ben Affleck movie


Yeah, consider changing that to something else




RE: Subtitle
By SaintSinner1 on 12/3/2006 4:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
... hit by rocks or become part of a Ben Affleck movie


Perhaps Hawking watched Gili ... ?


RE: Subtitle
By ElJefe69 on 12/3/2006 6:50:28 PM , Rating: 1
what about Glisten?

4x multiplier for that ding ding ding!


I give us another 200 years tops
By edge929 on 12/1/2006 3:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
We'll blow ourselves up before we get anywhere near a star. WW3 here we come!

..... that is, unless we get rid of religion first, then we might have a chance.




By AxemanFU on 12/1/2006 3:28:53 PM , Rating: 2
Nah..we'd still have politics and resources to fight over. Religion is nothing compared to starvation or thirst as a motivator for fighting.


but you know..
By cunning plan on 12/4/2006 3:43:15 AM , Rating: 2
There are alot of cleaver people on here and this thread makes great reading.. At this point I have nothing valuable to add but if we do go somewhere else you just know there will be a McDonnalds already there.




RE: but you know..
By rushfan2006 on 12/4/2006 4:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
You are probably right...lol...I hope there is a Wendy's though too --- I don't eat fast food that much anymore, but I like there stuff much better. ;)

As for the clever people on these boards....I'll just say...half of them or more talk out their ass and make up facts on the fly...take it with a grain of salt.

The *real* professions in any given field wouldn't waste their time on a "tech news" internet forum....so don't let anyone fool you (especially when some of those people bust stupid jokes on the true minds of science whether still living or long since dead).



Medal?
By Fanon on 12/1/2006 5:15:47 PM , Rating: 3
"Stephen Hawking has contributed as much as anyone since Einstein to our understanding of gravity."

What goes up must come down. Where's my medal?




Subject
By Howard on 12/1/2006 9:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
Will Hawking seek to become the God Emperor to guide humanity on the Golden Path?




RE: Subject
By ElJefe69 on 12/3/2006 6:49:16 PM , Rating: 1
yeah you get negative forum points for destroying the demi god for damnation.

youll get positive God points one day for it though in real life. ;)


The lesser of two evils
By Transcendental Ego on 12/2/2006 11:17:43 AM , Rating: 3
"We must leave this planet before we get hit by rocks or become part of a Ben Affleck movie"

I hoping it's the rocks because I don't think anyone could take the other one.




pfft.
By Wwhat on 12/2/2006 12:55:48 PM , Rating: 1
A better headline would be 'we must prevent spacetravel to contain the human species and ensure its natural destruction'
It's the responsible thing to do, who needs the human race to go on for ever really? I mean common.

Also this 'newsbit' is several months old.




RE: pfft.
By rafael1119 on 12/2/2006 1:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
No such thing as old on the web but point taken. Also, I agree with you about the headline, aspiring immortality while disregarding the core of their existence (planet earth), is a delusion only possible in our minds.


Galactica
By Kuroyama on 12/1/2006 4:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
We better make sure these new colonies don't know where Earth is, because when the Cylons (robots) revolt and destroy them then we don't want Earth to get wiped out as well.




YPOC
By bldckstark on 12/1/2006 5:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
Why not just create a great big 3-D scanner with filter software and make a copy of the earth? Or we can get ahold of those dudes on Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy and have them make another copy!




Posible and not many years away
By cocoman on 12/1/2006 7:37:40 PM , Rating: 2
Matter anti-matter collisions have been studied for a few years now. The problem with it is that it is extremely expensive to produce anti-matter, because of the amount of energy necesary to do it. You would just need 1 gram of it to go to Mars and go back. And I think it is not going to take so many years for interstellar travel to become a reality; how many years have passed since man learned to fly?? Just go back a few decades and you will notice that the rate at wich the technology and knowledge advances grows really fast!




Where we go does not matter
By rafael1119 on 12/2/2006 12:10:45 PM , Rating: 2
I am all for finding new places to live in the galaxy but if history can teach us anything about ourselves is that it does not matter where we go, we'll find ourselves in the same predicament we're in today. Personally, I believe the danger to the planet and life as we know it is a condition of our own making and it is far more likely that man driven by greed will destroy the planet than a big flying rock.




EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE
By Visual on 12/4/2006 6:17:08 AM , Rating: 2
One aspect of space travel that i didn't see mentioned in this thread, and quite an interesting one I think, is that relativity effects kick in.

No long travel times are needed...
... well, from a certain point of view, anyway.
That is, from the traveller's point of view, the journey to anywhere could be arbitrarily brief.

Open up http://www.cthreepo.com/cp_html/math1.htm and scroll down to the Long Relativistic Journeys section. Make sure you have javascript enabled. Then have fun changing the distances and acceleration. Keep an eye at the "Trip time" field...
Theoretically, even if we use the quite comfortable constant 1 g acceleration we can reach the other side of the galaxy (estimates are from 90000 to 160000 ly) in under 24 years, get to the nearest galaxies (all the ones listed at http://www.answers.com/topic/list-of-nearest-galax... for example) in under 32 years, etc...
Surprised by the results? We can go virtually anywhere in a lifetime.

On the other hand, even getting to the nearest stars is going to take atleast 3 years at 1 g acceleration. Not exactly a quick journey... so while we might not need colony ships spanning multiple generations, we still would need life-support for atleast a few years, or decades for the faraway places.

Perhaps cryogenic sleep would be the way to go?

Or... you can change the acceleration and see what happens. 10 g cuts the travel time around ten times for the larger distances. 100 g would let us cross the galaxy in 4 months... get it into the thousands, and the calculator starts to overflow and give errors, but it'd make huge journeys look like just days or minutes to the travellers.

Another interesting fact to note here, is that the "Earth time" doesn't get much different wether the acceleration is 1 g or 1000 g. A couple of years difference for crossing the galaxy. So we, with a primitive but comfortable 1 g seedship, can get there around about the same time as our superadvanced alien neighbours travelling at 1000g, if we start at the same time and distance :p

Sure we can't survive a journey at even 10 g. 1 g is the best option we can start with, it will be just like artificial gravity for the ship. I bet we can also manage slightly more than that, for example adapt to 2 g. In cryostasis we might be able to survive an order of magnitude more, but we'd never get much beyond that.

But maybe we'll find a way around this - some technology that would allow us to apply this acceleration uniformly to the whole ship, or atleast uniformly to the whole human body, so it doesn't feel the stress. Remember, you can fall even with 10000000000 g acceleration in a uniform gravity field without feeling a thing, just because it is uniform.

Ok, now a reality call of sorts. That page I showed you, it is just math. It assumes we can keep up a constant acceleration (from the traveller's viewpoint) for half the journey and the same constant deceleration for the other half. But can we? No, definitely not at our technology state, even if we assume we get the antimatter engine itself. As we get closer and closer to the speed of light, collisions with interstallar matter or even the light of the stars infront of us will become a significant problem. Relativistic aberration would mean that the closer we are to c, the bigger part of the universe will appear to be infront of us instead of behind us, so we'd get more light trying to slow us down (on the same principle that light we emit behind us accelerates us). Also light we receive from infront will be increasingly more blueshifted and energetic, increasing its slowdown effect. On the plus side, we can use this as a bonus for the deceleration phase of the journey, but facts are there is no free lunch - we'd have spent much more energy during acceleration.

And things slowing us down might be the least of our problems... rather, i think things might just be destrying us :P I.e. at some point even non-harmful light will appear to us like gamma rays and become deadly. And we won't be hitting just light on our way, but massive matter too - a single hydrogen atom might destroy the whole ship at a velocity high enough.





An alternate solution?
By bozilla on 12/4/2006 9:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
AN EXTRAORDINARY "hyperspace" engine that could make interstellar space travel a reality by flying into other dimensions is being investigated by the United States government.

The hypothetical device, which has been outlined in principle but is based on a controversial theory about the fabric of the universe, could potentially allow a spacecraft to travel to Mars in three hours and journey to a star 11 light years away in just 80 days, according to a report in today's New Scientist magazine.


I believe more in this then we would ever make enough power to fuel the ship that will fly so fast.

Here's the whole link:
http://news.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=16902006




I like seeing
By Randum on 12/6/2006 11:04:24 AM , Rating: 2
I like seeing how every comment is trying to disprove SH's theory of space travel, I love it. Heres this guy who devotes his life to science, and some internet nerd who watches star trek thinks he knows what can and can't be done....my favorite.
And trying to cut down his discoveries...thats also my favorite, most of what he does is so over the head of the general public, sure they don't get it at all-and never hear about it.
I just hope most of the population thinks like all you naysayers do because in that case...you will all stay nicely at the bottom, or should I say, safely tucked away in cubicles thinking of ways to take over the world- as the smarter tier continue to rise....




Alpha Centauri?
By Thetech on 12/6/2006 2:23:56 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like Alpha Centauri (the game) :D
I wonder who killed the Captain? We can go to another planet and start new wars just like in the game.




No insult
By Thetech on 12/10/2006 5:11:49 PM , Rating: 2
I meant no insult to Dr.Hawking, when I said start wars on a new planet, I do hope your joking Eljefe :D. Dr.Hawkings opinion is his own of course and I'll assume blindly or not that he meant that in the best case scenario, meaning no guns,A-bombs etc. brought on board.




By unomee on 12/17/2006 6:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
This makes a better theory than plan, Mr. Hawking. I'm not commenting on propulsion theory here. Rather, I'm questioning the belief that this Earth is so irrepairable that we must colonize another world for our survival. Before such talk of colonizing another world should be seriously considered, the societal and environmental issues of this planet Earth must be dealt with FIRST.

If humans can't fix the problems they've created while living on a paradise planet (i.e.: Earth), how can they be expected to deal with the unknowns of a less hospitable alien world? Surely, the enormous efforts are required to colonize another planet. Would not much less effort be required to solve the problems we live with here Earth? (Or do we considered it prudent to buy that new summer cottage before the crumbling foundation of the winter home is repaired first?)

Ironically, Earth colonists on a new planet who manage to survive and/or thrive would likely do so by following the frugality that those on Earth refused to do. Perhaps these New Humans would some day teach their children to dispise the practices of the Earth Humans.

Do we maintain a legacy of "burn, then move on"? Or perhaps we first learn to survive with less, first?




physicists and steven hawking
By ElJefe69 on 12/3/06, Rating: 0
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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