Interstellar Space Travel - Most Realistic Options?

Dec 5, 2019
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Hello,

I'm a student at Minnetonka High School and am currently doing a short research project on the various methods of interstellar travel. I would like to get in touch with an expert that I may ask questions and be advised by.

In addition, I have a few starter questions:

How are solar sails (LightSails) supposed to stop after having accelerated to roughly 0.1c? Solar sails, based on our research so far, appear to be the most realistic and feasible, however, the issue of stopping prevents a conclusion being made upon this option.

Secondly, what obstacles do we face in terms of support and funding for interstellar space travel? It seems the government's interest in space travel as a whole has declined, and clearly more research is required for any of these methods to be truly feasible. Also, are private corporations such as SpaceX interested at all in interstellar space travel? Or are they still focused mainly on shuttling and going to Mars?

Finally, how has the quest to produce/store/use negative energy/mass progressed in recent years? I know this is required for the theoretical warp drive, however, currently the technology does not permit this.
 
Nov 16, 2019
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How are solar sails (LightSails) supposed to stop after having accelerated to roughly 0.1c? Solar sails, based on our research so far, appear to be the most realistic and feasible, however, the issue of stopping prevents a conclusion being made upon this option.
Very difficult to stop because the solar sail needs to be extremely low mass, any technology or mechanism on-board the craft to aid in stopping would probably give it too much mass. Maybe you could have a mechanism that redirects the light energy in the opposite direction, no sure.

Secondly, what obstacles do we face in terms of support and funding for interstellar space travel? It seems the government's interest in space travel as a whole has declined, and clearly more research is required for any of these methods to be truly feasible. Also, are private corporations such as SpaceX interested at all in interstellar space travel? Or are they still focused mainly on shuttling and going to Mars?
Nobody is really interested in interstellar space travel right now because it's not practical. The fastest any human-made spacecraft has traveled is less than 1/1000 the speed of light. Put that in perspective, it would take more than 4000 years to get to the closest star system.

Finally, how has the quest to produce/store/use negative energy/mass progressed in recent years? I know this is required for the theoretical warp drive, however, currently the technology does not permit this.
There is no such thing as negative mass currently. So it's purely theoretical and not yet feasible.
 
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Oct 21, 2019
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I'm a student at Minnetonka High School and am currently doing a short research project on the various methods of interstellar travel. I would like to get in touch with an expert that I may ask questions and be advised by.
Practical Interstellar travel for us is a long way in the future. Having said that, unmanned interstellar probes could be launched at any time. The problem is that with current technology, they will never be able to travel very fast. Probes launched 50 years from now might simply pass them before they have gone very far, making them a waste of resources. In the future, barring some many orders of magnitude advancement in technology, the most probable manned interstellar missions will be Generation Ships.
How are solar sails (LightSails) supposed to stop after having accelerated to roughly 0.1c? Solar sails, based on our research so far, appear to be the most realistic and feasible, however, the issue of stopping prevents a conclusion being made upon this option.
Solar Sails will have very little Sunlight for power, but will still accelerate slowly. The light energy from the Sun will decrease as the square of the distance from the Sun. At the destination, the Solar Sail will work in reverse, to slow the spacecraft down at the same, but revered rate. Assuming a destination star of equal light output to our Sun, the spacecraft would slow down enough to use minimal rocket power to achieve orbit about a planet there.
Secondly, what obstacles do we face in terms of support and funding for interstellar space travel? It seems the government's interest in space travel as a whole has declined, and clearly more research is required for any of these methods to be truly feasible. Also, are private corporations such as SpaceX interested at all in interstellar space travel? Or are they still focused mainly on shuttling and going to Mars?
Don’t expect any serious funding for Interstellar travel for perhaps 100+ years. Then it will probably be miserly at best. However, huge advances in technology, or verified intelligent transmissions from a nearby Star, could change that dramatically.
Finally, how has the quest to produce/store/use negative energy/mass progressed in recent years? I know this is required for the theoretical warp drive, however, currently the technology does not permit this.
There is no theoretical “warp drive”. That is 100% science fiction. It is a device used to make the characters in SciFi stories able to move great distances in a fraction of their lifetimes. There is no reason to believe that anything remotely resembling warp drive will ever be a reality. I suggest not including that in your report as it would tend to discredit the validity of your research.
 
Nov 16, 2019
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For interstellar travel the most realistic option is to go there the same way as SentientKind from another planet would reach here and that would be by a SpaceShip kilometres long full of fuel, food, air and water. The crew would have to be in a deep sleep which is telepathically influenced for muscle movement in order to prevent muscle waste.
If they're not cryogenically frozen their bodies will still age and they'll die.

A second option is unique and this involves wormholes, in order to have access to wormholes the society would have to have made an agreement with Heaven. So Heaven's SpaceShips do fly to Earth regularly, an agreement with Heaven would allow for travel across the Universe to other stars and galaxies via wormholes. It would open the door also for new technology for HumanKind. I am not trying to influence you religiously but I also have to point out that Heaven has helped HumanKind particularly with Space travel.
Sorry but huh
 
Nov 27, 2019
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Create a void around a ship, then time and space have no meaning and even traveling at 1mph you go infinitely fast.
You might want a tiny bit of fluctuation in that bubble so you have some sort of control :)
 
Nov 27, 2019
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In reality the leading technology is what it was in the 60s.
Nuclear propulsion gets you to around 1/4 C, so a trip to alpha system around 20 years.

Hitting a single grain of sand in a 20 year trip at 1/4 C though will be nuclear in itself.

Sending humans we are a quantum leap from it.
IMO someone will have to find a solution to go without either time or distance in time.
My thought is distance is just a property of space so steeping out of it gets rid of time.
Void :)
 

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