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FTL Travel - Are we in trouble when the oil runs out?

  1. Sep 26, 2012 #1
    Is there a race against time to discover FTL travel?

    Hey guys.
    I would like to ask your opinion on a possible crisis for humanity.
    If humans havn't discovered practical FTL space travel before oil becomes scarce...
    could we be in trouble?
    When oil runs out, lots of things will change.
    Could it be that we could be plunged into chaos? Could we squander our resources, and focus our efforts on maintaining quality of life on our home while nearly abandoning research on space exploration?

    Could we procrastinate for so long that a disaster, natural or otherwise, makes it impossible for us to evolve further in our current form?
    Could the strength and purity of our genes be diminished after a long period spent stagnant on earth enjoying prosperity?

    Could there be a "race against time" of sorts to discover FTL travel? Just wondering if you think that this is worrying possibility or not.
    I'm thinking of writing a novel that may include a few of these concepts, so i'm really interested to hear your thoughts on how this could be a problem (or not).

    TL;DR: Should we be focusing on FTL travel sooner rather than later?
    What are some reasons we should aim to discover FTL travel as soon as possible?
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2012 #2


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    How in the world does oil running out have anything to do with needing practical superluminal space travel?
  4. Sep 26, 2012 #3


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    FTL travel, if possible at all, will not be done with oil, for the same reason why rockets do not burn wood.

    While many things rely on oil today, there are alternatives. Some might be more expensive, some not, but all are possible.
  5. Sep 26, 2012 #4
    Ok so assuming that oil running out is fine and we find another easy renewable energy source... Are there any other reasons why discovering FTL travel should have some urgency?
  6. Sep 26, 2012 #5


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    Don't get your hopes up. It is highly likely that FTL travel is impossible. We will need to travel to the stars slowly, at subluminal speeds.
  7. Sep 26, 2012 #6


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    Probably not. It's far more likely that if we needed to get off of Earth, we'd just head on over to mars. This would not need to be done at speeds faster than light.
  8. Sep 26, 2012 #7


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    If you want a reason for a novel: Let astronomers discover that Betelgeuse will explode in a supernova soon, and exaggerate the influence on the solar system (including the other planets, so we need to get far away).
    Or take one of those.
  9. Sep 26, 2012 #8
    Re: Is there a race against time to discover FTL travel?

    I think this has already begun to happen. Medical and social advances have resulted in people who survive and procreate despite inherent genetic weaknesses. If this continues I for-see a situation where the human race declines back into a medieval civilization until the less intelligent genes are weeded back out of the gene pool. The long term result would be a species that oscillates around it's current level for a long time until environmental changes force a large shift in genetic make-up.

    One alternative scenario that I see as possible would be a technical advance (such as molecular robots that can manipulate individual atoms) that lets us re-write and repair our DNA and cellular biology on the fly. This would would instantly cure every medical disease including old age. It would also allow for some pretty magical sounding stuff, like turning yourself into a cat or growing wings at will.

    Another possibility is that the human race, as a group, decides to evolve. Or we have evolution imposed on us by our government. In this scenario those with unfavorable traits are prevented from procreating through sterilization or genocide.
  10. Sep 26, 2012 #9


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    I always thought the idea of a rogue dwarf star/planet/primordial black hole passing through the solar system, ejecting Earth from solar orbit was a neat idea for a story. It would give humanity a decent amount of time to make arrangements to a) generate enough energy on earth for humanity to continue to exist without the sun and b) leave the earth to colonize say Venus or Mars, whose orbits might be perturbed to become more habitable.
  11. Sep 26, 2012 #10


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    Which is easier...solving an oil crisis or inventing FTL travel? I think solving an oil crisis would be easier.
  12. Sep 26, 2012 #11


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    This is not a physics topic, nor is it a discussion on plausible idea.

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