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Reaching Other Stars, Colonizing Planets

  1. Jan 3, 2007 #1
    Here's an article on a speech by Stephen Hawking:


    So even a physicist like Hawking -- who's not going to niavely believe in arbitrary comicbook fantasies about warp drive, hyperspace, etc -- is advocating that we go to the stars to save and preserve humanity.

    But it's one thing to see a need for it and say it -- but it's quite another thing to figure out how to accomplish it.

    So what physics will get us to distant stars and colonize earth-like planets?

    Out of the candidates, which is the most promising scientific/technological direction to go in, for the pursuit of this dream?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2007 #2
    If mankind could build a rocketship capable of traveling accelerating to .999c in a reasonable amount of time, inhabitants of the ship could travel from earth to one of many distant stars within a fraction their lifetime.

    I is due to length contraction predicted by special relativity.

    Thus, abandoning earth to travel to the distant stars requires progress in engineering, but not in physics. Our current physics allows this sort of travel under the constraint of limited human lifetimes.
  4. Jan 3, 2007 #3


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    I only hope we can survive technological adolescence to be able to accomplish these engineering wonders.
  5. Jan 3, 2007 #4
    even if we know how to build these super-speedy spaceship; I wonder how we can find out which way to go.....
  6. Jan 4, 2007 #5


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    But I wonder, taking into account length contraction. How beneficial would this be? Exploring systems light years away would only benefit the people aboard the space craft. The time lapse on earth would be too great...it just seems complicated to sync all this.
  7. Jan 4, 2007 #6
    That's like saying polluting only disadvantages our grandchildren. The future survival of humanity will inevitably depend on our colonisations around other stars.

    Regards technology, I think we're already capable of getting there (via project orion at least), but I don't know if we're capable of being self-sufficient on another planet yet.
  8. Jan 4, 2007 #7
    Well, I think that Hawking was specifically talking about planets that are Earth-like, and not just going to any old planet with crummy conditions like Venus, Pluto, etc.
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