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Old 05-03-2013, 10:50 AM
Askthepizzaguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Norway
Posts: 2,910
Originally Posted by WordMan View Post
I am quite willing to accept the premise of the OP given what we know today.

But humans have regularly demonstrated:
a) An inability to anticipate what we may discover
b) An inability to understand how that will evolve our understanding of the world/universe/reality around us - and what is possible in terms of tools we could then produce.

Or, a different way to ask the question - how big is the distance between the tech of 1,000 years ago vs. the tech of today VERSUS the tech of today vs. what we might be capable of 1,000 years from now (if we and the Earth are still around)?

Personally, I wouldn't bet against another Newton/Einstein level revelation or two along with the way. How many Einsteins are we away from coming at the space-travel challenge in a very different way we look at it now?
I can accept this idea as a concept. The issue is that you still need to get there, and no amount of technological advancement avoids the problem of getting there, and getting there means moving at some speed, for some length of time.

At certain speeds, the matter you're sending is in real danger of being damaged or destroyed by the medium you're moving in.

What is the theoretical limit for moving through ocean water, for example? You could construct the craft out of exotic molecules, and it will still be made out of atoms, yes? How fast can those atoms move through water before they no longer resemble the craft you built? There's a hard, physical limit you're running into. And generating shields to push the water out of the way still requires energy, and a lot of it, to move matter in such a way, and at such speeds. And there's a limit to how much energy you'll extract from matter, because that involves cosmological constants.

We're not going to extract from a neutron more energy than is contained within the neutron. We can't conjure matter and energy like magic. We live in a physical universe and we are bound by its laws. Math is not something we can avoid with pretending. We have to find a way to make the math work.

The amount of energy required to move a few atoms of water out of your way, if you're traveling near the speed of light, is immense, because you've got to either project energy/forces very far away from your ship (to the tune of a few million miles) or you've got to accelerate that matter very quickly, which adds to the energy cost.

And the problem of getting there slowly is that it takes too long. Even our nearest stellar neighbors would take hundreds of thousands of years traveling at speeds wherein we could maneuver out of the way of debris larger than a grain of sand. Then, it's got to be a star system worth getting to. Imagine we travel to Proxima Centauri and find that there's a gas giant there and nothing else.

Well of course we find out before we travel. But finding out doesn't change whether there is a habitable (for even loose definitions of habitable) globe to colonize. There either is or there is not. And if there is not, that means you have to travel to a different, and more distant, star system. Which adds to the travel time.

Given my prediction that this wouldn't happen within 100,000 years, taking more than that length of time to get to another star system satisfies the requirements of my prediction. If you want to get there faster, you have to figure out how, and you don't do that by either ignoring the problem, or imagining ways to make the problem more complicated.

Agreed, you could build a probe that can assemble matter out of energy. That's possible. It still needs to get there in one piece. How long will it take?

That's the challenge.

If it takes too long, then just send in the clones. You haven't saved me any time. I want to do this before 100,000 years have passed. Tell me how.

Then tell NASA how, because they don't know either.