Interstellar Travel: Approaching Light Speed

Interstellar Travel: Approaching Light Speed


Is interstellar travel doomed to remain in the realm of science fiction with faster than light travel and infinite improbability drives? Never mind warp speed, is light speed even possible? Technically no Light is massless and travels a little over 1 billion km/h Since spacecraft are not massless you need energy to accelerate as you keep gaining speed, you’ll need increasingly larger amounts of fuel Eventually, even tiny gains in acceleration require huge amounts of energy Getting to exactly one hundred percent light speed would require an infinite amount of energy which is why it’s an impossible goal Before we look at how close we can get to the speed of light et’s consider what we’ve accomplished so far When it comes to space travel, everything starts with a rocket still the best way we know of to literally get our feet off the ground ockets give spacecraft that initial massive boost to escape Earth’s gravity t’s the first step in getting people to the moon sending probes to the planets our sun and even the edge of our solar system pollo 10, the dress rehearsal for Apollo 11 never landed on the moon, but at reentry it did set the world record for the fastest manned spacecraft at just under 40,000 km/h in order to get all the way to the moon, it needed the help of Saturn V still the most powerful rocket ever launched The New Horizons probe, hitching a ride on the Atlas V holds the record for fastest launch velocity at over 58,536 km/h t was also the first spacecraft to reach Pluto in 2015 sending back the first detailed images ever taken of Pluto Launched in 1977, Voyager 1’s mission was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn and once complete to leave the solar system entirely It couldn’t do it with rocket power alone so it used gravity assists at Jupiter to slingshot to Saturn and again at Saturn to fling itself out to the edge of the solar system Voyager 1 reached a top speed of 62,000 km/h but it still took over 30 years to reach interstellar space in 2012 In 1976, the Helios-2 probe set off to study the sun and the interplanetary medium To do so they were put in highly elliptical orbits with the Sun at one end and all the way out to the Earth’s orbit at the other Each time it approached the Sun the massive gravitational force sped it up to a record setting speed of 253,000 km/h the fastest any spacecraft has ever travelled Solar Probe Plus will study the corona and outer atmosphere of the sun ith an expected launch in 2018 Over the course of seven years multiple gravity assists will be used at Venus to bring it into an orbit around 7 times closer to the sun than Helios With that close of an orbit it will crush the Helios record with a top speed of just under 725,000 km/h Even still, that’s just a meager .07% the speed of light and would take over 6,000 years to travel 4 and a quarter light years to get to Proxima Centauri the closest star to our own In 2016 a planet, Proxima b, was discovered around the star It’s probably rocky like the Earth and in the right orbit to be potentially warm enough for liquid water on the surface if it has any This makes it an excellent target for the first interstellar spacecraft Staying in the realm of current or near future technology only can we improve on that speed? Ion propulsion is currently employed in some satellites but most notably, the Dawn spacecraft which studied the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres Inside the thruster, electrons bombard neutrally charged atoms ausing them to lose electrons and become positively charged ions Thrust is produced as they are shot out in an ion beam The resulting thrust is miniscule but since it’s fuel supply can last for years, unlike a rocket that tiny amount of thrust keeps compounding on itself and in time, it can potentially reach speeds of up to 324,000 km/h, although no spacecraft currently has While not the fastest it’s a practical method to study multiple celestial bodies in one mission an exciting potential for solar system exploration In the 1970s, the British Interplanetary Society conducted a study Project Daedalus for an unmanned fusion propelled interstellar spacecraft With help from the Tau Zero foundation in 2009 hey initiated Project Icarus to update the concept with the Ghost team’s design winning the internal competition in 2013 For propulsion, Ghost uses Inertial Confinement Fusion Small fuel pellets are shot into a fusion chamber Lasers bombard each pellet from all sides, compressing it then one final laser pulse shoots into the core, igniting the fusion process The resulting plasma is expelled from the ship, producing thrust The older Daedalus design would have reached a remarkable 12% light speed Ghost can only get to 2.33% light speed reaching Proxima Centauri in around 186 years While much slower, Ghost allows for deceleration at the star for scientific study using it’s own fusion engine and a magnetic sail 400 km in diameter Ghost also uses a more practically sourced fuel Deuterium and Tritium while Daedalus used the more efficient combination of Deuterium and Helium-3 Unfortunately, Helium-3 is too rare and inaccessible on Earth You would have to mine a gas giant like Jupiter or possibly the moon to get enough fuel Though it’s the fusion process itself that may be the biggest challenge We have yet to achieve a sustained fusion reaction in the lab Until we figure that out, these ships won’t leave the ground Weighing in at 1.4 million tonnes and over a kilometer long Ghost couldn’t launch from Earth it would have to be assembled in parts This is no small task as The International Space Station, the largest spacecraft ever built is 450 tonnes and 109 meters long, peanuts compared to Ghost Since almost all of the mass of a fusion spacecraft is fuel imagine not having to carry any with you Enter the solar sail IKAROS is a small solar sail spacecraft built by the Japanese space program JAXA Launched in 2010, it was the first successful demonstration of solar sail propulsion Similar to ion propulsion sunlight results in only a small amount of thrust but it keeps compounding on itself and only stops when the spacecraft is too far from the sun The total thrust is determined by the surface area of the sail versus the mass of the spacecraft With a big sail you can catch more light With less mass, the light can push you faster There’s also more solar energy imparted on the spacecraft the closer you can get to the sun As long as you don’t burn up in the process Unfortunately this may not be good enough to get to another star within a lifetime It would take a 1 kg spacecraft with a 1km x 1km sail travelling extremely close to the sun about 100 years to reach Proxima Centauri But we may be able to improve on this Breakthrough Starshot is another proof-of concept project to design an unmanned laser propelled spacecraft. A mothership containing thousands of nanocrafts will be launched into orbit This allows for redundancy in case of failure and a variety of payload options These tiny, gram-scale nanocraft have a sail only 4 meters to a side and just a few hundred atoms thick The Light Beamer is a ground based array of lasers that combine together in a single beam to propel each nanocraft to 20% light speed within minutes At that speed, they could reach Proxima Centauri in as little as 20 years While just a flyby mission they could get close enough to Proxima b to take pictures with enough detail to see continents and oceans if it has any While the team doesn’t see any deal breakers that could stop the project that’s not to say there won’t be any challenges especially building the light beamer At 100 gigawatts, the array would be 100 times more powerful than a nuclear power plant It will also need to contend with the scattering effects of the atmosphere as an orbital laser of this scale is too expensive Speaking of which, the projected cost is nearly 10 billion dollars about half of NASA’s 2016 budget But it does start to look like a bargain compared to the $100 billion dollar cost of the International Space Station Breakthrough Starshot may represent not only the most practical interstellar spacecraft but at 20% light speed it would be the fastest

100 thoughts on “Interstellar Travel: Approaching Light Speed

  1. As a follow up, you can watch my latest video on how the Sun can be used as a gravitational lens to get a high resolution image of an exoplanet for the first time. This would be even better resolution than breakthrough star shot is capable of. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjaj-Ig9jBs

  2. Here's another thing. If you get the space craft there, because the electrical signals travel about the speed of light it will probably take several years for it to send the images back.

  3. There are other issues that come into play that no one ever talks about, such as even at 10% light speed, dust or something as small as a grain of sand floating in space becomes a deadly projectile that can destroy a craft. How do we avoid these kind of issues. I recall a college collage prof brought this up many years ago.

  4. The video was good until he said "NUCULAR". Jesus, why is this a thing? It's literally pronounced exactly how it's spelled. NUCULAR isn't a word you dumbass. Say it with me now, NU-CLEAR. FFS

  5. $10 Billion Budget in 2016…..seems nothing compared to the $686.1 billion "war" budget in 2019 …u stupid fucks 🙁

  6. 08:11 SCREAMING LIKE DOC BROWN —– 100 JIGGA WATTS?!! — GREAT SCOTT!!!

    Please Tell me someone else was thinking that!

  7. Click the link below if you are curious about the truth ?
    https://youtu.be/I_PKwNrgbxY ,,,,,, I accept his opinion but it's not nearly accurate,,, but we can travel faster than speed of light,,,, trust me try to get it properly by clicking the link above I'm not drunk ☝️#Subscriber

  8. Doing the math, mass increases by adding energy, volume stays the same.

    Relativistic relationships change near c, some change at 0.999999c and don't hold faster or slower, photons & electrons of note.

    Consider the Sternglass-Einstein work on the electron-electron pair in a death spiral since being created in the first condensations of matter after a Bang.

    From that structure paired with another counter-rotating pair was found a meson matching the properties in lab results!

    The implications of this finding, late 50's, which was never disproven although disputed regards the StdModel, are immense to theory and help explain a portion of 'dark matter' by virtue of their neutral charge as a single pair.

    If the pair is from a neutrino hitting a hyper-viscous charge "fluid", two identically opposed monopoles result.

    They spin near 2c my take, the mass & charge properties assigned by labs can't resolve it, yet Einstein was correct in looking, Sternglass was considered the better at creating dynamic property equations by him.
    Ymmv.

  9. I think we should focus on planetary colonization, interplanetary movement, and radiation shielding first before we focus heavily on interstellar physics. Yes, we can do both at the same time, but until we gain access to the materials within the asteroids of our system for increased resource availability, and our space technology advances more, we are very limited as a species. If feels like we are still tiptoeing and taking baby steps.

  10. I hate it when I'm listening to actual science in my headphones at work, then the next video plays automatically, and it's pure propaganda.

  11. we can reach light speed and beyond… but we will have to over come many other things that come with been human.. like stop been polluters of our earth stop going to war help each other and stop looking at money as a means..if we stop using money and just work together it wont cost a thing and if all the best minds work together we will reach many wonderful stepping stones..we look at light speed as been a goal but have to you noticed that light travels slower in many cases and studies.. we are a (-) current trying to be positive one .. we will reach light speed but only after we surpass many other things

  12. Shit when you said 186 years I thought to myself Would the wealthy cram a couple thousand poors into a can and send them and their descendants on a 186 year version of the atlantic crossings and forced mass migrations of the 17th/18th/19th centuries?? Yes they would.

  13. Error! Light is NOT massless. It clearly has mass and demonstrates physical properties. It can be bent by gravity. Look how it bends in to the massive gravity of a black hole. If it were free of mass, it couldn't be acted upon by gravity. Now, throw this in to the mix: THE SPEED OF LIGHT IS SLOWING DOWN! Barry Setterfield was the first to notice this and it has been proven out as fact as more precise measurements have been achieved. Of further interest is that TIME is also a physical property and can be acted upon and altered by velocity and gravity. Jast as time is quantized (it's digital, not analog) so is light. They both exist in individual units or quanta.

  14. WOW!! Apparently this video must be a little old. Because nuclear energy has enough fuel or energy for space travel. You might want to do a lot more research. Trust me Uranium and or thorium has plenty of energy.

  15. Interstellar travel will never be possible by any rocket technology. Spacecraft are not massless, but you can make them massless by ELF radiation; so it's speed can be unlimited. Please study the TOE (theory of everything by prof. Fran De Aquino, PDF doc. 5,7 Mb, 428 pages)

  16. Great, so you've spent your billions of dollars and launched your little light sails to Proxima Centauri. What kind of payload can a 4m square light sail carry? A tiny camera? Cool, but how are you going to transmit your payload data back to earth? You can't carry a large transmitter or antenna, nor can you carry a power source heavy enough to produce the power required to transmit data at interstellar distances.

  17. Fascinating! If You like this, you'll Love this: Dr. svetlana berdyugina an exoplanetary and astrobiology researcher and physics professor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoAhIsk5m9Y&t=70s

  18. You're actually stupid. There's no such thing as something massless. If something even has the slightest bit of mass, it means that it is something. Nothing = nothing = no mass.

  19. IF WE CAN'T GET TO THE SPEED OF LIGHT IT'S OK. ALL WE NEED TO DO IS CREATE WARP SPEED. THAT WOULD LET US SHORTEN THE TRIP ENOUGH THAT WE CAN GO ANYWHERE IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM THAT WE WANT TO. ONCE WE WORK OUT THE BUGS, IT'S OFF TO THE STARS.

  20. answer is Yes interstellar travel is doomed by any livable definition. The only chance is Dyson Spheres in which generations will live and die. And that would take all the GDP of all the countries to build something like that. And if we ever got it up to any significant speed, the likelihood that some space collision would destroy it is almost a certainty

  21. well in order to expore further into space we'd have no choice but to invent warp speed thats the only way. People said going to the moon was impossible.

  22. 14mm on both sides of the sail, cant be corect ???? thats euro/mesure and is only the size of a penny ..? maybe you ment 14Meters on both sides. thats "14m" then to be corect ! "mm" = Milimeter and "m" is the short for : Meter ! type right when making data !

  23. Don’t you believe bending space time or worm holes or some way of traveling vast distances in a relatively short time would be possible in the next 100-200 years?? Think about where technology was 150 years ago. There was no electricity, cars, airplanes. Technology has increased more in the last 100 years then it has in the last 1000 years. Just think where we’ll be 100 years from today. You’ll be vacationing somewhere near Alpha Centauri

  24. I heard that there's this nice scientist with a glass eye and a hook for a hand, living on a volcano island, who would be willing to build an orbital laser.

  25. I wonder why GOD put us so far away from any other life sustaining planets ??? ummm because we are so evil, we kill each other on our own planet imagine what we'd do to other planets less advanced than us.

  26. Near light speed may be possible but actual traveling at it would be hazardous to say the least. Gases and clouds of matter fill the space between the stars. Hitting a thin cloud of hydrogen at 50million mph would be like hitting a brick wall.

  27. This is so bad its pathetic. One its not impossible, it was impossible with our old technology. 2. We now have realized that there is an ambient energy field, and each atom contains all the energy in the universe on a virtual scale. Hard to explain without showing equations, but as long as the energy given is replaced instantly then everything is fine. We are trying to learn how to access the ambient field. Now that we have found the higgs, we are gaining a better understanding on how our reality works. How mass is assigned to particles, etc etc This video is ok for grade school science and kids, but has no bearing in the new breakthroughs that are taking place. I dont mean to be critical either, this was at one time the accepted notion that nothing with mass can travel faster then c. This has now gone from impossible to probable, but we lack the technology at this current time to test the theory, but we do have a set of equations that explains this spooky action. Even more so, if you study quantum entanglement, you would know particles can be entangled together, and if one is manipulated it will cause the other entangled particle to manipulate as well, no matter how far apart they are from each other, the action is instantaneous. There is so much we are discovering now that our tech is getting better, but still so much we cant test, only make equations for…to say it is impossible is not only inaccurate but its dead wrong.

  28. it amazes me how Teleportation is not viewed as a viable option for light speed travel. all the mass of the craft and crew are converted to information as such they have no mass.

  29. When mankind achieves travel in the speed of light, then mankind can change history by going back in time and into the future.

  30. notice how everything here mentioned is unmanned space crafts. The moment we run into aliens will actually us seeing their unmanned machines, or just robots in general.

  31. 10 billion dollars. Wow thats a lot…
    As long as you don't compare it to the united states annual military budget of… 600 billion dollars. Imagine what space programs could have done with that.

  32. We have far too many isms to ever travel to Interstellar space it's not enough of humanity working on the issue because if a human is a little darker they may be deemed unworthy so how many unworthy human beings have gone by the wasteside who may have had the ability to figure out some of these issues that we now face in terms of interstellar travel. The Big Three racism, sexism, and religion will always work in together to keep us from reaching our fullest potential as a species. So in my belief we will never travel at the speed needed to get to Interstellar travel

  33. It is impossible to have a spped of light by a object, because mass would be infinite. Only way is not by a object but a beam of energy similar to light which could be transfer to mass at one point.

  34. Meanwhile, the US's yearly military budget is 700b. Imagine what NASA can accomplish if Congress can allocate even just a seventh (or even 1/14th) of that towards space exploration?

  35. If it were possible to travel at light speed it would already have been done by others in the galaxy. They would have reached the Earth and mined it to a husk aeons ago. They would have colonized the entire galaxy until they were 'shoulder to shoulder' on every piece of solid matter and they would have drained every star for fuel and energy. If LS was possible, we wouldn't be here to notice.

  36. Relative position relating to higher speed G force, one must stand on the side of the craft, which allows the human body to best absorb the Gs, if on the floor then the speed must be moving upward.

  37. According to Doctor Harold Sonny White head of NASA'S ADAVANCED PROPULSION LAB (or something like that) He's says using a warp bubble we may achieve a million times the speed of light or more. Check out NASA'S PIC (painting) ON THEIR WEB SITE OF THE WARP DRIVE SPACE SHIP.

  38. Another minor problem with travelling near the speed of light is drag. At one molecule per cubic metre, at 3×10^8 m/sec your space ship is shoving through the equivalent of solid copper at a rate of about a centimetre per second. Need some grunt to do that, and probably some heating issues arise. Lets go the other way.

  39. you can go faster than light without breaking relativity… look at the alcubiere warp drive… NASA is even looking into it.

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