Reality Check - Space Travel: How NOT to Die

Cam consults genuine science experts, including Elite: Dangerous creator David Braben, to find out how to travel at near light speed without, you know, dying.

Discussion

93 comments
Wensea10
Wensea10

I think the best way to counteract this question is to believe you are immortal.

LtJef
LtJef

Manipulate the Higgs-Boson field to counteract the effects of gravity?!!?  I am on it!  Get back to you later....

vanti
vanti

Technically when free falling you still experience 1 G as you are still being accelerated by earths gravity. When you stand on the ground the acceleration of earths gravity is being cancelled out by the force of the ground on your feet causing you to have constant momentum (0 m/s in any direction) and when skydiving when you reach the terminal velocity the air resistance cancels it out to keep your momentum constant (x m/s towards the earth)


In fact even the astronauts and cosmonauts on the ISS experience about 0.9 G of constant acceleration from the earth. In this case they are constantly being accelerated as there is no opposing force. The acceleration doesn't change their velocity but their momentum is changed as the direction they are traveling in constantly changes as they curve around the earth in a perpetual free fall.

XCyberForceX
XCyberForceX

Hmmm so James knows alot about inertial dampeners.  Is he the Great (x 4) grand father of James Tiberius Kirk?


Annnnd, in order to decrease an objects mass so it doesn't feel the affects of gravity is to generate a stable sub-space warp bubble around the ship.  DUH.



Star Trek has all the answers!  Generations ahead of it time.  I.e., flip top cell phones, video conferencing, Ipads, laptops, inertial dampeners, and subspace warp bubbles.


LOL

Andrendenum1
Andrendenum1

Negative Energy.  Though theoretical, there have been experiments that prove negative energy exists.  Though even if a spaceship could be created to harness it, it would take so much to do it would be almost impossible (definitely beyond present capabilities).  However with future technology (a long time from now) the ability to harness negative energy is quite possible and the ability to use it is scientifically possible in the realm of quantum relativity and the laws of physics as outlined in Einstein's theory of relativity.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXyQ92SPWds


hornspiller
hornspiller

Cam says: "3 months speeding up. 3 months slowing down. Thats like 8 years." I don't understand...

korn7809
korn7809

If you could contract space to move further in less time how would that look to someone watching?  Also what would happen if someone was in your path, would they get contracted with the space.  If so what kind of effects would it have on a living being?

Verenti
Verenti

Why did normal space compression only appear at the end and why did you act like Elite invented the idea? I mean, it's not like most every science fiction with FTL travel doesn't use some sort of space compression/alternate-dimensional space. I mean, Star Trek uses space compression. STAR TREK. In fact, Light speed travel is fairly rare in science fiction. Why you would lead with that as a method for FTL drives is beyond me.

vadagar1
vadagar1

also if u make me ur god-emperor i WILL funnel every resource on this planet into social and space travel projects, all citizens of my empire will have the basic comforts of modern life, medical care and eduction, and the chance to be rich if they chose to (although the more money u make i will take more percentages of said riches to put in the empires coffers, don't want any Paris Hiltons on my planet...), also I will start a MASSIVE expansion into space by colonizing the moon and mars and later every possible moon or planet in the solar system, a star fleet will be formed and expanded every year, where the skills and ambitions of all people can be achieved, scientists, artists, engineers, teachers, farmers.... you are all important 

also I will BAN all religious leaders from all faiths from interfering in imperial affairs, all wars will be resolved amicably or by god like force, any exhibition of violence on planet earth or any of its colonies will be faced with a swift and MERCILESS EXTERMINATUS of all waring parties via orbital bombardment, all nations will become provinces in the empire and their respective flags will be raised under the earth empierium flag, all passports and visas and nationalities will be abolished

the empire will use 12 official languages which are spoken by the vast majority of its citizens, if your a citizen of the empire and lack knowledge in all these languages special translators will be assigned if need be

all citizens are EQUAL in all things, gender, sexuality, color or ethnic discrimination is a capital offense, punishable by social serves and in extreme cases criminal prosecution

all practices of religious customs MUST be accompanied with permits and are only allowed without such in the privacy of one's home or in designated religious facilities or areas 


also as the Emperor me and all the council members that rule with me who are elected every 3 years (expect me I stay in power to ensure we don't snow ball back to he stone ages) are not allowed to own property nor leave inheritance to our offspring, we are not allowed to own money or objects... all that will be provide by the empire until the council terms are over, after this normal citizen ship states is restored to the council members

long live humanity....    



vadagar1
vadagar1

w8 w8


so hegs field exists and this I knew for a while since im a nerd.... so if it does we can do stuff to it!!! right


so in THEORY mass effect aint that fictional after all : /


actually its just a matter of time before some one actually makes use of this

sigmact
sigmact

just at the beginning, i heard space core screaming SPACE? SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!


trackles
trackles

Invent a mass effect field, it solves all problems!.

SaintsRowLA
SaintsRowLA

SPACE TRAVEL and why it wouldn't work at near light speed for very long.

Taken for 'Why The Universe Is The Way It Is' by Dr. Hugh Ross

extracts taken from page 60


"However, scientists didn't know then that rocks, dust, gas, particles, and radiation so littered interstellar space that any spacecraft's travel speed would be severely limited.  Damage to a spacecraft's travel speed would be severely limited.  Damage to a spacecraft increases geometrically with collision velocity.  If a rock hits a car's fender when the rock is travelling 50 miles per hour, the collision energy would be 100 times greater than if the same stone struck when the vehicle was moving 5 miles per hour.  If that same rock struck the car traveling at just 1 percent of the velocity of light (about 6.7 million miles per hour) its collision energy would be 45 trillion times greater still. . .any hypothetical spaceship would need to limit its speed . . .


Such a damage hazard would also require the trip be routed through relatively benign regions of interstellar space in heavily armored, radiation-shielded craft. . .


To paraphrase extra long trips by humans in a small confined area such as a space craft would result in people turning against each other.  People would die of old age before they reached their destination on super long distant trips.


SaintsRowLA
SaintsRowLA

Why are console gamers so hardcore?

Probably because they have their identity and their console are one.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I'm sorry? His retina's detached from his eyes? Eesh!

I find that quite funny, that in freefall we experience no gravity. Just sounds counter-intuitive. Physics, eh? Gotta love it.

Dovetailed
Dovetailed

Alright, I'm kind of confused (thanks, Elizabeth Pearson :P )...

I was under the impression that the Higgs field only provides a mechanism for the invariant masses of the elementary particles (which are tiny) - most of the mass of atoms (like 99% most) comes from the binding energy of these elementary particles (quarks specifically) in the composite particles (protons and neutrons). Here, the binding energy is related to mass by the old classic - E=mc^2 - the same relationship we exploit in the generation of nuclear power.

If you do the sums, on the scale of a human, the Higgs field only accounts for a few grams out of dozens of kilograms. Hence, I thought that even if we could manipulate the Higgs field our inertial mass wouldn't change that much? Also if you turned the Higgs field 'off' I believe our atoms would fly apart given that the electrons would be massless and no longer bound to their nuclei...

Would love to know the truth though... 

wearelegion5000
wearelegion5000

One basic fact about safe space travel Cam didn't mention is radiation. Gamma radiation is very dangerous and very common in the universe. There was this casting where they were looking for people to travel to and stay on Mars. They didn't mention that the gamma radiation in that area would certainly give you cancer. In some other places in the universe, the gamma radiation is strong enough to kill instantly. That's the main obstacle to space travel.

Another thing: The speed of light is actually turtle-slow if you consider, how large the universe is. Bending time-space (creating wormholes) is a more logical way of travelling. 


skipper847
skipper847

Just hope we dont have to go to red alert as that means changing the builb.

thelehman
thelehman

Even if you were able to get up to those speeds You would need some sort of Shield to keep debris out of the spaceship and killing every body. let alone  The Light speed travel.

greasemonkey42
greasemonkey42

Great ep. As far as games go, Mass Effect probably put the most effort into explaining how interstellar travel works in its universe. Not many people would know if they never looked into the in-game Codex, so it's good to see you brought it up here. I think Higgs field manipulation sounds awesome :P

Anarchy023
Anarchy023

Please don't let them ever cancel this show. I love how this gives the educated audience something to ponder over while all the school kids argue about their favorite console.


Great show! Keep it up.

LocoBaxter
LocoBaxter

I have an idea for how to withstand the bloody back seat problem. just wear a titanium suit around your body so your bloody pulp still retains that sexy human form. your welcome.

Apofis_SG-1
Apofis_SG-1

Awesome episode. Love those "sci-fi in real life" eps. Cant wait to see whats on the next weeks episode.

rogerpenna
rogerpenna

btw Cameron, while it´s true nobody was ever turned into a bloody pulp because of acceleration in games, it has happened in sci-fi books.


you should read The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman. Aside the collapstars, a kinda of wormhole that ships use to move hundreds of lights years in the book, the rest of the physics is quite realistic, including lorentz distortion on time and space due to speeds near that of light (collapstars are usually very far from star systems, so the ships must travel months/years, approaching light speed, before reaching a collapstar to make the jump).


Of course, travelling near light speed compresses time in the ship due to lorentz factor, thus when the ships from the war return to Earth, the few days/weeks they spent travelling from collapstars to star systems and back, actually amounted to decades/centuries on Earth, all their relatives dying of old age in the meantime.



Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Ugh, Feedbackula dies and this boring crap lives.

Zelda99
Zelda99

0 to 185,999 miles a sec in 3 seconds would definitely leave a mark

lostn
lostn

I find female nerds hot.

Zloth2
Zloth2

So what does a warping spaceship look like from the outside?  Does it look all sliced up?  Do the slices stay still or do they move?  Could a rock fly in from the side and hit one of the slices dead center?  Could that mean having said rock suddenly pop up inside your chest as you're flying along??

LtJef
LtJef

@XCyberForceX  Yeah I love the solutions in Star Trek.  Can't predict where an electron will be before transport, just turn on the Heisenberg compensator.  Inertia making thing rough for the flight, make sure the inertial dampeners are functioning.  Very cool!

RevLux
RevLux

@hornspiller He was simply alluding to the 3 months needed to speed up and 3 months to slow down being an insanely long time. Something akin to saying: "It's so long it might as well be 8 years."


Obviously the actual length of time, if one does the math, is 7.5 years...

XCyberForceX
XCyberForceX

@Verenti  Yep.  They obviously don't understand the science behind star trek.  flip top cell phones, video conferencing, Ipads, laptops, inertial dampeners, and subspace warp bubbles.  As far as I can see Star Trek had all these theories before any other sci-fi show or theorist.  And just a person grip, what are theorists anyway.   People who just sit down on a chair and think of already postulated theories but adding a simplistic twist to it and calling it their own? Ridiculous!

Dovetailed
Dovetailed

@vadagar1  Read my post from below, fellow science nerd. I'm pretty much certain manipulating the Higgs field (even if it could be done) would not have the effect implied by the video. 


I'm fairly certain I'm right, but particle physics is not my area of science so I'm still waiting on Cam or someone else to respond and tell me if it's me or the video that's wrong.

yaba
yaba

@skipper847 I am compelled to click like on all Red Dwarf references.

GrahamZ
GrahamZ

@LocoBaxter Not going to work -- you'll still experience the forces, only the bloody pulp that used to be your body will be contained in titanium.
  At least your surviving family will not have to deal with the mess.

GrahamZ
GrahamZ

@rogerpenna The Forever War was excellent, and educational as well.  There's also an excellent short story by Larry Niven called "Neutron Star", which was my introduction to tidal forces.  Essentially, if you are in a space ship that is traveling close to a very massive object, the difference in the gravitational pull on different parts of your body could be strong enough to, essentially, rip you apart, if not the space ship you are traveling in.  (Being contained within a structurally strong ship would not be protection).  It's also the explanation of why massive planets often have rings -- the tidal forces at certain distances from massive planets are strong enough that they exceed the structural strength of rock, so moon formation cannot happen within that orbit.  Instead you get ice particles and dust.  (For anyone interested, that's known as the Roche limit, the distance from a gravitational body at which point you can't have a stable planetary orbit).
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roche_limit

Dragerdeifrit
Dragerdeifrit

@lostn  nothing better than an inteligent woman, boobs are overrated, a no, its not sarcasm, i'm serious.

rogerpenna
rogerpenna

@Zloth2  according to NASA´s Dr Sonny White, who is researching warping space (he has a laboratory where he is making laser experiments to see if he can create tiny spacetime distortions), the ship would would have a flat ring around it that would generate a bubble, so the ship can´t be very long (or part of it would be outside the bubble.


in this talk, Dr Sonny White discusses his mathematics that decreased the amount of exotic mass needed to create the space time distortions from Jupiter quantities to around a single one ton of exotic mass. Towards the end of the video, he shows a slide with an old artistic depiction of a warp ship and then he discusses what differences his warp ship based on physics and mathematics would be like.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULIOhNdMkXc


vadagar1
vadagar1

@Dovetailed meh i don't care if FTL is achieved via carrot juice I just want it noaw XD

CallMeDuraSouka
CallMeDuraSouka

My god his statement is upsetting, how is satire more entertaining than knowledge? I enjoy a laugh here and there, but enlightenment is the gift that keeps on giving.

This new generation sucks, for the most part.......

I remember back in the day......

CallMeDuraSouka
CallMeDuraSouka

Got to hear hi lecture on the economic impact of virtual reality in a capitalist economy, .....if VR reached that point of immersion. Stupid smart guy, and thanks for the link