Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
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06-02-2013, 11:28 PM (This post was last modified: 06-02-2013 11:56 PM by LadyJane.)
Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
I've always wondered if, with what we've got on our planet for raw materials, could we make a ship to get to another star system? I do hope human differences are settled so the goal can be reached to travel in space and colonize other worlds, but my fear lies within not knowing if we indeed have the right "stuff" to do so. I hope we do. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

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06-02-2013, 11:39 PM
RE: Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
well, we need lots of energy to travel far away, and the best way to get energy is making matter and anti-matter collide, we have lots of matter, and we know how to make anti-matter. So I'd say yes, we have the stuff.

About the technology or if the laws of physics allow it, I don't know, but nobody fully does yet. So lets not put it in the impossible box just yet Big Grin

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07-02-2013, 12:03 AM
RE: Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
(06-02-2013 11:28 PM)cheapthrillseaker Wrote:  I've always wondered if, with what we've got on our planet for raw materials, could we make a ship to get to another star system? I do hope human differences are settled so the goal can be reached to travel in space and colonize other worlds, but my fear lies within not knowing if we indeed have the right "stuff" to do so. I hope we do. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

The star nearest to us is 4.37 Light Years from our Solar System.

The Earth is 238.957 miles away from the Moon (on average) and about 25,800,000,000,000 miles away from Alpha Centauri.

According to this site the fastest we have ever gotten to the moon is 5 days. Unless those distances are off or my calculator isn't working, it would take us 539,846,081 (540 million) days or 1,479,030 years to reach Alpha Centauri. Sounds like quite the trip.

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07-02-2013, 01:11 AM
RE: Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
We definitely have the resources to get to a near-by solar system... Might take a while to get there though with current technology. Even using a 200,000mph ion drive would take over 14000 years to get to the nearest star AT max speed, and it would take years to reach that speed since ion drives deliver so little thrust.

We will likely need to invent some type of warp drive to travel to different star systems in any decent time. But hey, it hasn't been ruled out.

I think that we will likely become machine before we are able to travel to other star systems, which, isn't really such a bad idea. Once we defeat aging and death, and are capable of replicating unique, personalized consciousness as are experienced by every individual, we could either physically travel for hundreds of years to other systems... OR, send our "personality" at light speed to another system where it will be imprinted on a blank being in some premade people depot. Of course, this would basically mean that you either stay here, and another version of you is created elsewhere, or you die here, and another version of you is created elsewhere. In either case, I'm not sure how to preserve continuity without you physically traveling there.

However, I have considered this problem of continuity when transitioning IN TO a robotic self. We would need super advanced nanobots that gradually copy and replace the functions of every cell in your body, including the brain(or just your brain, then dump the body). Ideally, you would preserve all memories and retain continuity throughout the process... But afterwards, you'd be a robot. Not impossible, just not available yet.
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07-02-2013, 01:39 AM
RE: Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
(07-02-2013 01:11 AM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  We definitely have the resources to get to a near-by solar system... Might take a while to get there though with current technology. Even using a 200,000mph ion drive would take over 14000 years to get to the nearest star AT max speed, and it would take years to reach that speed since ion drives deliver so little thrust.

I am quite certain we don't have the capabilities to make a space shuttle travel at 200,000mph.

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07-02-2013, 01:59 AM
RE: Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
(07-02-2013 01:39 AM)Aspchizo Wrote:  
(07-02-2013 01:11 AM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  We definitely have the resources to get to a near-by solar system... Might take a while to get there though with current technology. Even using a 200,000mph ion drive would take over 14000 years to get to the nearest star AT max speed, and it would take years to reach that speed since ion drives deliver so little thrust.

I am quite certain we don't have the capabilities to make a space shuttle travel at 200,000mph.
We're capable of making ion thrusters that work at over 90% efficiency and 200,000mph speeds... We could probably get an unmanned spacecraft to 200,000mph by using some available technology, or at least variations of current tech.

"Early tests in 2004 demonstrated power levels of 40 kilowatts and
exhaust velocities in excess of 90,000 meters per second (over 200,000
mph)" -NASA (on ion propulsion)

I'm just gonna guess that we haven't even come close to the maximum potential of ion propulsion... But yeah, I doubt its gonna have a shuttle going 200,000mph, I just needed a number for my ideal situation example.
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07-02-2013, 02:08 AM
RE: Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
(07-02-2013 01:59 AM)WeAreTheCosmos Wrote:  We're capable of making ion thrusters that work at over 90% efficiency and 200,000mph speeds... We could probably get an unmanned spacecraft to 200,000mph by using some available technology, or at least variations of current tech.

"Early tests in 2004 demonstrated power levels of 40 kilowatts and
exhaust velocities in excess of 90,000 meters per second (over 200,000
mph)" -NASA (on ion propulsion)

I'm just gonna guess that we haven't even come close to the maximum potential of ion propulsion... But yeah, I doubt its gonna have a shuttle going 200,000mph, I just needed a number for my ideal situation example.

The fastest travelling object I can find is the Helios probes which reached 157,078 mph. Bare in mind these things weigh only around 800 pounds. That was around thirty years ago, so our technology has certainly improved, but I don't think it has improved to the point where a trip to another solar system is possible, of course that opinion is open to debate Tongue

The larger the object gets, the more difficult it is to get it to reach a higher speed. The slower we go, and the longer it takes for us to get to our destination, and the more room we need for storage or growth of food along with recycling of air and water. If it were possible then multitudes of generations would have come and gone before we reached our destination.

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07-02-2013, 06:16 AM
RE: Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
What ? You never heard of a Warp Drive ? They'll figgure it out. Knowledge doubles, gemetrically every ten years.

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07-02-2013, 12:14 PM
RE: Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
Orion is the fastest interplanetary and interstellar drive we have, and has remained so since the 50s.


Get a big steel hemisphere, at least 100 meters across, set it with the flat side down. Put the world's best shock absorber system on top of that, and a space city on top of that.

Toss a nuclear bomb underneath.

Then toss another one.

Repeat until you're at your desired velocity.



They actually got frighteningly close to building this thing in the late 50s, and they worked out almost all of the engineering details, but the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty forbade atmospheric nuclear detonations, so it got canned. But it's totally safe for anyone on the round side of the hemisphere, and you can literally lift entire cities or massive spacecraft with ease. It actually gets more efficient and smoother riding the larger your payload. Only downside is, you know, nuclear explosions, radiation, fallout...


Still, if you build it in space the radiation and fallout cease to matter. You don't get the amazing lift efficiency of Orion, but you'd still get the fantastic thrust, fuel efficiency, and versatility. Nothing has matched it since.

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2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
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07-02-2013, 12:20 PM
RE: Do we have the "stuff" to travel beyond our solar system?
It may increase every 10 years but I was assuming the question was could we do this now.

I see the nuclear bomb acceleration idea being very problematic... It would be difficult to build a bottom to that star ship that didn't get destroyed by the repeat nuclear explosions.

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