# Traveling the speed of light

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#### bowman316

##### Guest
Why couldn't we travel the speed of light, eventually?
there is no friction in space, so we would never slow down.
This means the space ship would not experince any turblance at high speed, because we are not passing thru anything.
If we had enough fuel to fire rockets for years, we could keep accelerating at what ever rate out space ships accelerate. Say every minute you gain 100 mph...
add that up and you should really be haulin ass after a while. Maybe approach the speed of light assuming you had enough fuel.

We would just have to have a way to grow food on board, and replinish oxygen. The plants should do both.

Would the ship just break up after going too fast?

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#### MeteorWayne

##### Guest
Simply because to travel at the speed of light for an object with mass would require more energy than exists in the Universe. The mass of an object increses as it approaches the speed of light. At just below the speed of light, the mass is nearly infinately large, so it would require a nearly infinate amount of energy to make it go faster.

You really should spend some time understanding physics before throwing out these ideas.

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#### crazyeddie

##### Guest
bowman316":94b8veic said:
Why couldn't we travel the speed of light, eventually?
there is no friction in space, so we would never slow down.
This means the space ship would not experince any turblance at high speed, because we are not passing thru anything.
If we had enough fuel to fire rockets for years, we could keep accelerating at what ever rate out space ships accelerate. Say every minute you gain 100 mph...
add that up and you should really be haulin ass after a while. Maybe approach the speed of light assuming you had enough fuel.
You could approach the speed of light, yes.....but you could never achieve it, because there's not enough fuel in the universe to do the job. The closer to lightspeed you get, the more massive your ship becomes, and the more amount of energy needed to push it even a tiny bit faster.

And you're wrong about there being "no friction in space". There's gas and dust in interstellar space, and for a ship traveling at 99% of lightspeed, collision with even a speck of dust will result in the release of kinetic energy equivalent to that of an atomic bomb.

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#### bowman316

##### Guest
yea, you may be able to realisticlly be able to get around 5-10 % the speend of light.
It would take some sort of nuclear and solar power.
We would have to have a way to convert human waste back into useable water to live long term in space.
Then we water plants, and grow more food, which would convert carbon monoxide into O2.

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#### yevaud

##### Guest
When I was in College, my Advisor, and several of us undergrads once mulled this very point over. This was when it still appeared that Bussard Ramscoops might work, which has become much less likely recently (several MAJOR technical difficulties, as I understand it). Even with this propulsion system, which has a very high effective top velocity, we still figured that realistically 0.3 C was about it.

I might add to Eddie's comment that you don't even have to achieve a velocity in which the interstellar dust and gas hit with the dforce of a bomb; at a far lower velocity, these will impact your hull with sufficient energy to cause primary, secondary and tertiary cascades of radiation (Bremstrallung, for the medical professional) that would sleet right through you. Cell death / radiation poisoning isn't a fun way to go.

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#### bowman316

##### Guest
Might a magnetic shield around the ship help prevent collisions?

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#### yevaud

##### Guest
We took that into consideration too.

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#### neilsox

##### Guest
Collisions occur proportionally more often at more than about 1% of light speed as you speed up, and the impact energy increases as the square of the speed. I agree, multiple solutions largely fail above about 0.3 c.
Even at 0.01 c life expectancy is much reduced without multiple shields traveing far ahead of the craft. Neil

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#### yevaud

##### Guest
That's why we considered Bussard firstly and foremost, since it defacto carries it's own "shields" (magnetic ramscoop) along with it. Btw, the recent "technical issues" I mentioned is that it now appears that a magnetic scoop is not quite as robust or as feasible as once thought. Also that it is now understood that the concentration of hydrogen gas per M^3 in interstellar space is likely far lower than once believed.

We even considered a ship with a gigantic chunk of ice at the fore end, to absorb/deflect/contain all of the effects. But we also understood that it would probably ablate way too fast to be useful, once your velocity got up to 0.2 C.

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#### eburacum45

##### Guest
Reinforced ice (pyecrete) would be much more robust, and would probably be fine up to 0.3c or more. Whipple shields could also be useful, a series of thin layers separated by empty space- they cause small particles to vapourise harmlessly in the gaps between the layers. At high speeds the layers have to be quite far apart, however.

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