What is the fastest speed we can travel in space?

In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of traveling at high speeds in empty space without any obstacles or forces. It is suggested that the main challenge would be maintaining constant acceleration and avoiding collisions with spurious matter. The conversation also touches on the limitations presented by fuel and mass, but acknowledges that theoretically there is nothing stopping a spaceship from reaching any speed as long as the acceleration is controlled. However, practical considerations such as engineering and fuel supply make it unlikely for a ship to safely travel at 99% of the speed of light.
  • #1
Tabaristiio
61
2
Without taking into consideration any G forces or other phenomena's. So say we slowly and gradually speed up, eliminating any risks of G Force related issues. Fly in empty space without any obstacles in our way and will not be in our way in this scenario, and finally the spacecraft is perfectly engineered and cannot go faulty. Can we continue traveling faster provided we were below the speed of light? Or will we experience problems a long way before we reach anywhere near the speed of light? If so, at around what max speed could we safely travel and what would some of the safety risks be? Ship becoming unstable? Weight or energy increasing? Or could we theoretically travel safely at 99% of the speed of light? Please state what are some possible safety problems if there are any.

Thanks
 
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  • #2
In my opinion, keeping the acceleration going would be the most difficult problem of them all.
 
  • #3
Running into spurious matter might be a problem, even hitting hydrogen atoms at relativistic speeds will result in high radiation.
 
  • #4
This is an extremely hypothetical situation; I think we would want to make mods for adjusting course and such.
 
  • #6
Totally ignoring the engineering / practical problems (fuel, mass, obstacles, etc) that make it completely impossible, there is nothing inherently stopping a spaceship from going at any arbitrary speed as long as the acceleration is low enough to keep it from suffering metal fatigue.

The point is, the ship doesn't CARE how fast it is going, only how much acceleration is being applied to it. A constant acceleration of 1G would likely in no way cause any mechanical problems with a ship and it would reach near light speed reasonably quickly. I've seen the calculations here on this forum and as I recall, .99c takes about a year of ship time at 1G.

As to what's practical, that's a whole other can of worms.
 
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Related to What is the fastest speed we can travel in space?

1. What is the speed of light and can we ever travel faster than it?

The speed of light is approximately 299,792,458 meters per second (or 186,282 miles per second). According to Einstein's theory of relativity, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. This means that it is currently impossible for us to travel faster than the speed of light in space.

2. What is the fastest speed a spacecraft has ever traveled?

The fastest speed a spacecraft has traveled was achieved by NASA's Juno spacecraft, which reached a speed of 165,000 miles per hour (or 265,000 kilometers per hour) during its journey to Jupiter. However, this is still significantly slower than the speed of light.

3. Can we travel at the speed of light if we have advanced technology?

Currently, there is no technology that can allow us to travel at the speed of light. Even with advanced propulsion systems, it would still take an infinite amount of energy to reach the speed of light. However, scientists are constantly researching and developing new technologies that may one day make this possible.

4. Is there a limit to how fast we can travel in space?

Based on our current understanding of physics, the speed of light is the ultimate speed limit in the universe. This means that no matter how advanced our technology becomes, it is unlikely that we will ever be able to travel faster than the speed of light.

5. What are the consequences of traveling at near the speed of light?

As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases and it requires more and more energy to accelerate further. Additionally, time dilation occurs, which means that time passes slower for the moving object relative to a stationary observer. These effects make it extremely difficult for humans to travel at such speeds, and it may also have implications for communication and navigation systems.

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