Yeah, pretty much what the title says. Who has cool ideas for the future of space travel?
Off the top my head:
Al Reynold's Revelation space series has "Lighthuggers". Giant space craft up to 4km long that travel at a whisker under the speed of light. They're so sophisticated the mostly run themselves and have small crews. Always found the concept quite interesting, particularly given the sheer size of the things mean that there are many levels and sections that no one has been to in decades.
Ken MacLeods Engine's of Light series is a bit old now but features a transport systems that allow ships to disappear and reappear somewhere else. From the perspective of the crew the journey is instant, but it actually takes as long as it would take for light to travel between the departure and destination point. A large part of the setting takes place in a Roman derived civilisation on the far side of the galaxy tens of thousands of years in the future.
Peter F Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga has got to have a mention because the principle form of interstellar travel in the books is a wormhole network...that uses trains. The 600 odd human worlds are all connected by wormhole stations through which rails are built allowing trains to sedately travel across continents and solar systems with ease.
Issac Aurthur does an Excellent series on Youtube, he is very detailed and distills the information into very easy to understand segments, its perfect fodder for sci fi writers. He recently did a multi part set on realistic near future methods of getting into space, I believe the set was called upward bound. Check him out.
One possible solution to the Fermi Paradox: By far the easiest way to travel between solar systems is by wormhole. But you can't do that until the locals build one on their own planet. So you can only go from one technologically advanced civilization to another.
Kim Stanley-Robinson's book 2312 has people traveling in hollowed out asteroids(Oneal cylinders). That basic idea is old and not be much to remark on. Each of the cylinders have a unique habitat and ecosystems. Some are recreation of animal habitats on earth. Others mix up plants and animals from various continents. One of the more popular transports had a ring beach and a 360° wave break. You could surf a few miles and complete a cylinder. Then it is only a few meters to swim back to where you stated. Another transport has no light, low gravity (i.e. low spin), and thick atmosphere. People can fly around in the dark living like bats. The main character regrets getting on that one.
He also has people hiking on Mercury (counts as "travel"). The are far enough north of the equator so that walking speed matches the terminator line. Mercury does not have an atmosphere so it is not quite like dawn. The corona would hover at the horizon. If walkers stop briefly the sun makes crazy shadows around landscape features. Would be a bit like the solar eclipse but across the horizon.
I think you mean "quickest", not "easiest". Going through a wormhole requires that they exist, unproven AFAIK. And the trip has to be survivable. Coming out the other end as spaghetti isn't cool.
But a question, why would you need a technologically advanced civilization on the other end? And why do they have to "build" a planet?
He said "build one on". If the wormhole requires building a black hole then building a planet should be much easier. Especially a fake one with active support surface instead of a solid mass core.
Can an uncivilized and technologically primitive goat herder assemble the worm hole? Because of the word "future" I suspect the original post was a request for hard science fiction not fantasy. Worm holes of any kind may already cross that line.
Yeah, I missed the "on". But why would you need another wormhole generator on the other end?
I'm predicting that you'd need one on both ends because that is a solution to the Fermi Paradox. The aliens can't visit us because it would take tens of thousands of years to send a wormhole generator here. Why bother sending one when you can connect right away with the new civilizations that keep building their own?
Too many leaps.
Hurry up and make that wormhole humans, we are HUNGRY!
No physics based reason that I can think of. Could be a lot of plot related reasons. In general science fiction writers have to solve the Fermi paradox. Why are the aliens not everywhere. If you allow faster than light travel a civilization can evolve beyond the visible universe and then move into every galaxy and occupy every star system. Easy access resources like the asteroid belt and various moons would have already been strip mined a few billion years ago.
You can say that wormholes require handwavium at each side of the hole. Then you are only using handwavium to explain things once, preferably at the start of the novel. You can, for example, have humans interacting with other species without having to explain why there was not any interaction before the wormhole. IMO it is better if you have to move the two ends of the wormhole to the points they connect. Also better if it takes 10 years to travel through a 10 light year wormhole. That way you do not have time travel issues.
I really do not think any faster than light travel is actually in the "future of space travel".
Projectrho.com can keep someone busy reading for a few days: rocket designs
They have an FTL section too.
A key idea here:
Primer igniting a charge and explanations of the effect is totally appropriate for physics forum IMO. Worm holes not so much.
How do you go about choosing where the far end of the wormhole ends up?
If the holey one isn't directable then it's probably useless. We have to be able to say "the other end is going to be right here." That would be wonderful. Send probes through that come back in a few weeks or months with information on the target system.
To LaurelAnnyse, and Algr, this forum is for reviewing existing works of science fiction, which Ryan tried to do by bringing it back to the forum's purpose with his post #2. Let's keep it about existing works of science fiction so I don't have to close it.
Wow, can't you just move it to the appropriate sub forum? Let us breathe.
There is no sub forum here for this.
The "writing and world building one". You can't do world building if you are discussing an existing work.
You are thinking of the other forum
This is "science fiction and fantasy". So, for example, it is O.K. to talk about the Vogons from the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. They travel in "impossibly huge yellow somethings" which could make them somewhat on topic for this thread. The OP author may have meant "likely to happen" when using the word "futuristic". I would put the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy into "soft science fiction" and not at all in "futurism".
I'm not seeing any posts discussing world building explicitly, the OP certainly didn't indicate that's what they were asking for. If people do have a worldbuilding project they'd like to brain storm ideas for then that's fine but there has to be more structure to it than baseless speculation about what alien species may or may not do for transport.
I think the future of space travel is immortal machines. We might create these machines to explore for us, but seeing how humans have historically chased immortality, we'll likely figure out how to transfer our consciousness on or near death sometime in the next thousand years. Once you pass that point, space travel becomes very easy. Computers will continue to miniaturize, so a machine the size of our desktop might handle the processing for thousands of minds in some type of virtual afterlife.
I think reservations about spending decades traveling through space largely stem from the fact that that would be the majority of our lives. But if you've lived for ten thousand years already, what's a decade or two?
I predict that most alien spacecraft are really really small, moving close to the speed of light, and contain minds, not bodies, and probably not broadcasting anything.
You have a cure for boredom in that bag?
In a world where the majority of your time is spent in something like a holodeck or the Tron world that can be generated on the fly? Probably. Want sky dive through the clouds of Jupiter? Ask the computer to simulate it. Want to shoot monsters? Ask the computer to create some. Want to have a threesome with Cleopatra and Marilyn Monroe? Ask the computer. Want to see the complete works of Shakespeare acted out as a one man show by Captain Kirk? Sure! Why not? Ask the computer.
Not to mention that suspended animation is pretty easy for a digital entity.
I see you've never met Nathan Brazil.
I did read an SF short story (sorry, I can't recall the title, never mind the author's name) some years back in which the means was found to 'nullify' the mass of spaceships, and presumably that of the crew. This ruse made it possible to travel through space at extremely high speeds without suffering the penalties imposed by Special Relativity. This obviously requires some strenuous handwaving, but the concept was thought-provoking enough for me to remember it now.
Separate names with a comma.