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Traveling anywhere in the galaxy in your life time

  1. Jun 5, 2010 #1
    If we pick a target star 1000 light years away, from the point of view of an observer on Earth we will need at least 1000 years to send a ship there even with the ship traveling near the speed of light.
    But, from the point of view of someone on that ship that travels with near the speed of light the trip may be just a few hours long. That is because they see that star and Earth moving relative to them near the speed of light, and the distance between Earth and that star contracts from their point of view on a scale dependent on the speed.
    Someone on Earth who sees them traveling for years will see that their clocks go much slower and they hardly age at all.
    This opens the possibility for humans to explore the entire universe in the lifetime of the explorers. But, of course they can't report their findings to the people that sent them as those don't exist anymore.
    Am I right here?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2010 #2

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    Sure. Lots of luck getting your ship going that fast though. (It would take an enormous amount of energy.)
     
  4. Jun 5, 2010 #3

    JesseM

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    Science Advisor

    The http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/SR/rocket.html [Broken] has a good discussion of these issues.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Jun 5, 2010 #4
    Two of the methods that have been proposed:

    Frisbee: How to build an antimatter rocket for interstellar missions
    http://www.aiaa.org/Participate/Uploads/2003-4676.pdf [Broken]

    Crane & Westmoreland: Are black hole starships possible?
    http://arxiv.org/abs/0908.1803v1
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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