Should humanity build an FTL Drive?

By on March 28, 2012 2:14:16 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

imawsome29

Join Date 02/2009
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I have been thinking latley and realized that this planet wont last forever, so I got the idea why not pour our resources into making an FTL Drive.  I know it would cost trillions even more then that, but the money that could be made by effecient space travell could be greater than the money spent.  It could permanent the permenant survival of the human race.  This is my opinion tell me what you think.

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March 28, 2012 2:24:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There are things we need first. Fusion power, perfected Ion Drives, artificial gravity, terraforming techs, long range planet scanners, stronger alloys, raw materials. Since we don't even really have a space program anymore in America, I am not hopeful of much of this within my lifetime. Probably won'r even get to mining the nearest asteroid belt until 2250. It would be much more efficient to just build facilities that could help the Earth sustain itself until we have the proper technology. 

Star Trek is full of examples of the uselessness of sending out colony ships before we have a solid tech base to make it worthwhile. Since FTL technology would essentially require something on the order of antimatter to produce the necessary energy levels, we are better off testing it once we have a colony on Pluto. We don't want to blow ourselves up!

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March 28, 2012 2:27:26 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

What I think?

What I think is that you are incredibly naive. "Trillions" of a currency doesn't even begin to cover the cost of a hypothetical superluminal propulsion method. Mostly because current scientific thought is along the lines of "FTL=impossible". Einstein's a spoilsport, news at 11.

You're also being naive in assuming that we need to find some other Earth-like planet, and the idea that we would need to start doing this *now* when Earth is going to last for plenty of time- if and when we reach the point that Earth is no longer a viable residence, then it won't actually matter- not for the current and near-to-mid-future generations, because we won't be around when it happens, and not for far-future (IE several millenia [1000s of years] down the line) generations because they will likely have the technology to nullify any possible disadvantages to whatever solution is decided upon.

Further, the most optimal choice would actually be to pursue vigorous mass-living in space- likely Earth or Near-Earth orbit(s). After all, I'd wager that by the time it matters [at minimum several centuries in the future], we'll have developed sufficient space technology that we'll easily be able to construct numerous orbital habitats.

Also, you should really consider your definition of "efficient space travel". We already have some varieties of it- it's fuel/remass efficient, but by far isn't time efficient.

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March 28, 2012 2:30:11 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting seanw3,
Since FTL technology would essentially require something on the order of antimatter to produce the necessary energy levels, we are better off testing it once we have a colony on Pluto. We don't want to blow ourselves up!

I apologize for the double-post, by I do want to address this. Since current theoretical methods are more or less varying between energy requirements of "no idea" to "more than is contained by the universe", with very little in between, simply giving a blanket statement of "we need antimatter for FTL drive" is rather silly.

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March 28, 2012 2:39:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, we would at the very least need antimatter. I am just basing that on the necessary energy levels needed are astronomical and antimatter is the most powerful source of energy we currently are stockpiling. At the very least, an Ion Drive powered by Antimatter would get us far enough away from earth where we can start researching more powerful energy. Fusion power would be nice too, but we won't likely have one that fits in a spaceship until 2150 or so. 

This is mostly generalized conjecture, but still makes a good point I think.

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March 28, 2012 2:48:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the question was 'should' not 'could'.

If we could I don't think we should ... the depths of the universe may drive us insane

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March 28, 2012 3:02:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Right, because to get to should we, we need to have could we in the conversation. I say that the energy spent on could negates the practicality of doing it. So no, we should not. We should sustain this planet until we can get FTL at a reasonable speed and cost. Of course we will make an FTL drive eventually. At the present though, we should not pursue it.

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March 28, 2012 3:03:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"Just now, there are a great many matters that are pressing in on us, that compete for the money it takes to send people to other worlds. Should we solve those problems first, or are they a reason for going?" - Carl Sagan

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March 28, 2012 3:06:35 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I have been thinking latley and realized that this planet wont last forever, so I got the idea why not pour our resources into making an FTL Drive.

planet will not last forever and the same for our sun... but we don't need FTL for go to other star with other planet, FTL can only be useful if we plan to return on earth when a short time have pass on earth...

"How far can one travel from the Earth?

Since one can not travel faster than light, one might conclude that a human can never travel further from Earth than 40 light years, if the traveler is active between the age of 20 and 60. One would easily think that a traveller would never be able to reach more than the very few solar systems which exist within the limit of 20-40 light years from the earth. But that would be a mistaken conclusion. Because of time dilation, he can travel thousands of light years during his 40 active years. If the spaceship accelerates at a constant 1g, he will after a little less than a year (mathematically) reach almost the speed of light, but time dilation will increase his life span to thousands of years, seen from the reference system of the Solar System, but his subjective lifespan will not thereby change. If he returns to Earth he will land thousands of years into its future. Even if he should accelerate for a longer period, his speed will not be seen as higher than the speed of light by observers on Earth, and he will not measure his speed as being higher than the speed of light. This is because he will see a length contraction of the universe in his direction of travel. And during the journey, people on Earth will experience much more time than he does. So, although his (ordinary) speed cannot exceed c, his four-velocity (distance as seen by Earth divided by his proper (i.e. subjective) time) can be much greater than c. This is similar to the fact that a muon can travel much further than c times its half-life (when at rest), if it is traveling close to c."

Now, if you have plenty of money, by example the money who will be used for create a FTL... put it in some bank account with good interest... flight away from earth for almost 6 month at near the speed of light and come back... a lot of year will have pass on earth and you will be able to cash out a lot of interest money...

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March 28, 2012 3:17:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Assuming there is still money when you get back. There is a Star Trek:TNG episode where people put themselves in stasis with the same idea. Upon waking they found themselves in a world without money. All their personal property was gone. Kind of a risky bet. I would think that part of an FTL drive would be a temporal compensation factor so that you arrive at your destination around the time you left your starting point. Time travel is very dangerous. I think even an animal as dumb as the human would be smart enough not to mess with it.

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March 28, 2012 3:31:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I want to be a space pirate.

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March 28, 2012 3:35:50 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

FTL in a conventional method (as in standard rocket style) is impossible. The whole time warping thing itself is an issue.

You can maybe trick the system though by effectively warping space itself and possibly making the "distance" you have to travel shorter while still travelling at a sub-light speed This goes to that whole theory that the universe itself is a membrane and that it can have bends and such (also explains wormholes if that exist).

As in if we should or not? At this point we arn't even incapable of sustaining life in a colony on Mars or the Moon or at least havn't proven ourselfs if we can. Trying to make the rush to FTL is going to be counterproductive if anything much less the problems we have on our Earth now.

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March 28, 2012 3:58:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

what makes you think you can get someone to live on a ship for 40 years without having them kill themselves off? and if you can do that, then there's no reason why it won't be one of them generation ship thing, where generations live and die on the ship for no purpose other than some descendant get to the other side.

even if you can get a drive built tomorrow, it'll just be a lump of junk fit for nothing more than a robot probe.

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March 28, 2012 4:09:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It would be much cheaper to pool our resources and simply get rid of the undesirables, prolonging the time the rest of us can sustain ourselves on this planet.

 

But I think we will transcend before leaving the planet in any serious way.  I just hope that transcendence is not preceded by large quantities of radiation.

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March 28, 2012 4:14:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

LOL, transcendence requires much higher technology than an FTL drive. What science book are you reading? 

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March 28, 2012 4:23:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Why not just save these transcendant concepts for the future? As in when we have the technologies. I suggest living within our means and for once trying to be good stewards of the world we live on in - reality. It's a nice big planet!

The space shuttle was an enormously inefficient vehicle. That is gone and now what have we got? The Air Force has the space planes now. We can't even ferry humans into orbit (USA), much less blast off to Mars or Alpha Centauri.

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March 28, 2012 4:43:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This thread is hilarious.

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March 28, 2012 4:45:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Also, all colonies need to be highly ordered military installations. We don't want regular people living on other planets. Their culture would evolve differently and we would become separate peoples. 

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March 28, 2012 4:48:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
Also, all colonies need to be highly ordered military installations. We don't want regular people living on other planets. Their culture would evolve differently and we would become separate peoples. 

 

Fuck that, I want to be a proud Moonmanian!

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March 28, 2012 4:51:49 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,
I want to be a space pirate.
I want to be an Ice Pirate!

 

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March 28, 2012 4:56:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Tasunke was that an Event Horizon reference?

(for the sake of discussion let's assume we could develop something like FTL) As much as I love everything to do with space, a project like this would probably require a level of global cooperation that is hard to imagine in our time. I'm not a huge Star Trek knowledge database, but I think the fact that there is a Human Federation (Preceded by a united Earth Government: United Earth) with the Prime Directives is essential, before you could have effective space technology. Otherwise, issues of cost, ownership and usage of the technology will just drive a wedge between the traditional powers of the 21st Century and very little would be accomplished. Even if there was a huge technological advance, this could actually cause a great deal of tension and potential conflict over governing it.

There would likely need to be some sort of cataclysmic event that would unite humanity to such a degree. In the Star Trek universe, there is a World War 3 prior to the creation of Warp technology and a united World government, for example. Sorry to keep using Star Trek, but it just fit well.

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March 28, 2012 5:11:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

God damn space herpes.

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March 28, 2012 5:29:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think a war is needed. Greed will fuel our expansion as it always has. I think Firefly gives a much more likely prediction of how it might look. Corporations are the future of most interstellar ventures. Blue Sun Corp. FTW!

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March 28, 2012 5:40:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

MHO, but from what little high energy particle physics I've done, we are closer to attaining those Star Trek transporter beams that reconstitute matter than we are FTL drives.

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March 28, 2012 6:03:57 PM from WinCustomize Forums WinCustomize Forums

Short answer: NO

Wait for aliens to show up with the technology, kick their asses and take it.

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March 28, 2012 6:19:36 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting seanw3,
Well, we would at the very least need antimatter.

Antimatter is "promising" due to its mass to energy ratio...however, it is currently the single most expensive material by mass known to humanity, so fat chance of using just AM to power anything....

More reasonable propositions use AM to start a fusion process...still expensive, but the amount of AM needed is in the micro- or milligram range...I'd say it's also fair to assume AM production costs would go down if there existed a demand for AM beyond theoretical science...

The problem here with AM is that we have absolutely no idea if it is "good enough"...we have no idea if FTL is actually possible, how it would work, and what the energy requirements would be...so, even if AM is the best option now, it may still not be good enough to power FTL propulsion...

Quoting Thoumsin,
If the spaceship accelerates at a constant 1g, he will after a little less than a year (mathematically) reach almost the speed of light

This is a very misleading statement...at about 86.6% the speed of light, your relativistic momentum would be twice the classical value, meaning you would need twice the force to maintain your original acceleration...at this point, your kinetic energy would be exactly equal to your rest mass energy...

Some might even argue that constant "acceleration" inherently implies a constant force when talking about relativistic mechanics...constant force rather than constant acceleration is a better model since you could never design a device that would maintain constant acceleration for all speeds (you would, in fact, need infinite energy)...

Quoting Thoumsin,
If he returns to Earth he will land thousands of years into its future.

For a 40 year journey, one would need to be traveling at about 97.98% the speed of light relative to earth in order for 1000 years to pass here...this is completely neglecting your acceleration phase, so in reality, you would need to obtain a max speed much more energetic....

 

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