Will Man ever reach the stars?

Poll coming, but don’t let its lack inhibit your smart-aleckry.

We are only 8 light minutes from Sol. How close do you want to be before you suggest we reach the nearest star?

We will, but not by ourselves, our destiny is the stars and beyond.

[General Zod]
Why do you say these things, when you know I will kill you for it?
[/general zod]

There are so many vicious things I could say that I can’t pick one.

Yes, we will reach the stars. The other option is extinction when the Sun dies. Men are amazingly tenacious creatures. We will find a way to leave this planet one day. Probably not within my lifetime, but it will happen.

I voted the third option, but fear that may be too optimistic. It may be the fourth.

I’m not sure I understand the Star Trek-intelligent design linkage.

Yeah, I’m not getting the ID reference, either.

But yeah, if we really want to, we will go to the stars, and I even think we’ll figure out a work-around for the whole light-speed limit thingy, but that may come after a few centuries of cryo/sleeper/generation ships.

The existence of multiple, mutually-fertile humanoid species in the TrekVerse indicates to me that in that universe, our theory of evolution is wrong; life on Earth is the result of panspermia, and humans are specifically engineered to be bipedal, ten-fingered, talking tool-users. Intelligent design, in other words.

I think it’s actually canon but I’m toolazy too look up the appropriate episode. Also I cannot recall the url to MemoryAlpha.

Anyway, what I meant by in the first two options is that we’ll find other sentient species similar enough to us that we can interact with them, or not. Interaction in any reasonable sense would require FTL, seems to me. Which I don’t think will happen. But then I never thought that Bill Clinton would be president, and I thought that Barack Obama might accomplish something worthwhile as president,so what do I know?

No. FTL speed is not possible: the notion contradicts the Special Theory of Relativity. The number of things that could and would go wrong with a generational ship are insurmountable.

I want option 3.5: Yes, but since FTL is impossible, the energies required to move anything over interstellar distances are so huge, and life support for squishy organic critters over a period of centuries is a very hard problem, we will send slower-than-light electronic AIs that might or might not qualify as “human” depending on your definitions.

(And possibly frozen embryos or some such).

No because there arent practical engineering options to do so, with humans or not.


Warp drive and/or wormholes haven’t been conclusively ruled out, and would technically allow FTL drive (tho the energy requirements would be horrendous and/or weird, in the case of negative energy, whatever that is).

Why would you do that, in your view?

(frozen embryos that is)

In order to establish human life elsewhere in the universe; I’m not sure if, by the time we have the tech to send AIs and human-growing equipment across interstellar distances, we’ll still have any attachment to the old meatbag lifestyle, but it’s possible we will.

Also, I think there would be greater than zero communication with Earth; a multi-year time lag would obviously prevent any kind of conversations but I’d expect some kind of news service operating in each direction.

FTL is part of big bang theory.

I can’t vote because my POV isn’t there. Physics is a cruel mistress, and we simply won’t be able to come up with a way to travel fast enough and/or long enough to even reach the closest star.

We’re already there.

Eventually if we can harness fusion power, we might be able to expand our industrial capacity to a point where we can afford to build Orion-type ships big enough to be colony ships, if we can find a reasonably hospitable and close world to go to. Advances in medicine, allowing stasis, longer lifespans etc would help.

Here’s Wikipedia on the feasibility of interstellar nuclear-pulse ships: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)#Interstellar_missions

Or convergent evolution. Panspermia does not preclude evolution, or require a supernatural designer.

However, my suspicion is that the Star Trek depiction actually isn’t a very good model.