Interstellar travel with future technologies has always been a favorite Sci-Fi topic. It is easy to understand why. Distances in space are immense, and with conventional means it would be difficult to even leave the Heliosphere.Among the issues behind traveling in space, with manned or even unmanned vehicles, energy, speed and propulsion rank first, and they are strictly related. How to produce the enormous amount of energy necessary to achieve the required thrust to propel a ship fast enough?

The chemical rockets used at the moment are inefficient—and the solutions include nuclear-powered rockets, plasma or ion drives, and lightsails large enough to employ light beams pushing the starship. Also the idea of collecting fuel is on the way—like interstellar hydrogen in ramjets.
Further away in terms of feasibility is antimatter propulsion. It is incredibly powerful but expensive to generate and even more difficult to control.
There are some ideas for prototypes too. The amazing IXS Enterprise is the CGI design concept by Rademaker for the warp-ship imagined by NASA engineer Harold White, which will use that version of warp drive known as the Alcubierre Drive to navigate these distances. The idea behind the warp drive concept is that the starship doesn’t actually travel the whole distance, but it’s the spacetime itself that moves, and shrinks.

MAKING INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL POSSIBLE

Special relativity states that nothing can move faster than light, and this technically makes any space travel heading to the nearest stars impossible.The system in our neighborhood, Alpha Centauri, is still at a distance of 4.2 LY—266,000 times the distance between the sun and the earth. To solve this conundrum, Sci-Fi devised wormholes, warp drives and hyperspace as solutions.

The spacecraft would depart the point of origin (e.g. earth) using some conventional propulsion system and travel a distance (…) never locally breaking the speed of light, but covering the distance in an arbitrarily short time period of time just the same…This approach would allow a journey to say Alpha Centauri as measured by an earth bound observer (and spacecraft clocks) measured in weeks or months, rather than decades or centuries.” (Harold White, 2011)

INTERSTELLAR TRAVEL – STEVEN HAWKINS INTO THE UNIVERSE

Why bother with these seemingly impossible goals? Well, progress is not made by conceding defeat. History is replete with conquered impossibilities — flying machines, moon landings, and tapping the power of the atom, to name but a few. It took four decades to go from the first liquid rocket to the first landing on the moon, and three decades to go from the confirmation of radioactive decay to the first nuclear reactor.” (Marc G. Millis, NASA’s Glenn Research Center, 1998)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), together with NASA’s Ames Research Center, has launched the 100 Year Starship initiative, fostering independent, collaborative and open-source projects to reach interstellar travel within the next 100 years.
Some scientists believe that mankind will only reach stars in the lifespan of a few generations. There may be a danger though that they would possibly forget they are on a starship.A solution could send robots first to colonize new worlds and then transport, or grow humans over there. Alternatively, the travelers could be set on suspended animation, very much like in movies (i.e. Alien).

FUTURE IMPLICATIONS

There are other possibilities for future technologies, a further step into pure Sci-Fi. Is it truly impossible to travel faster than light? Two scientists, Hill and Cox, have recently extended Einstein’s calculations to explore the boundaries of faster-than-light, showing that his equations break down into mathematical singularities, where physical properties simply don’t hold.

“The actual business of going through the speed of light is not defined. The theory we’ve come up with is simply for velocities greater than the speed of light,” Hill declared. While it is dubious this can have any practical implication any time soon, the possibility itself is a game changer and can result in surprising

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