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Madhavi Gavini

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What is the probability of man exploring other galaxies in our lifetime?

The record breaking jump from space by Felix Baumgartner has renewed my interest in space travel.
Until now space travel has been limited to our solar system.
Is there a possibility for us to travel to other galaxies beyond the milky way in the near future?

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    Oct 19 2012: The probability of man exploring other galaxies in our lifetime is zero. If it's even possible, we are at least thousands of years away from even starting such a journey.

    Of course one could get creative with the meaning of your question. What do you mean by "man exploring" - in person? Or simply exploring by observing very carefully? By sending a remote probe? What about a spiritual journey? What about using quantum entanglement principles?

    Should we calculate the distance to the nearest galaxy - Andromeda - and then how long it would take to get there at the speed of light? Or assume faster than light travel will be invented? How much faster? Or diving through a worm hole to instantly transport from one region of our universe to another? Or travel to another multiverse? Or time travel?

    Lacking some exotic discovery like that, it's going to be a very, very long time before our species gets to another galaxy. And by that time, our species will likely have changed so much that one might hesitate to call that "man" in the sense of your question.
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      Oct 19 2012: zero is a very small number
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      Oct 19 2012: Danger,
      By exploring, I mean either sending remote probes or in person.
      "our species will likely have changed so much that one might hesitate to call that "man" in the sense of your question."
      Homo sapiens (modern man) has been around for over 200000 years. So,it will take a very long time for us to evolve into another species. I do not think it will take that long for humans/probes to travel to another galaxy.
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        Oct 20 2012: I think you're right about how long our species would be around if we were relying on the same kind of evolution. I subscribe to theories like the singularity theory, which I think implies that our technology will eventually get so advanced that we will have full control over our own genetics, body shape, and brain function. If you believe that our brains carry our minds, then we should be able to extend our minds into other realms. In a 100 years or so when we Combine the power of quantum computing with nanotechnology this will give us near god like powers over matter and ourselves - issues like practical immortality, and identity boundaries will be very interesting issues - hot topics explored in science fiction today.
    • Oct 20 2012: "Lacking some exotic discovery like that, it's going to be a very, very long time before our species gets to another galaxy. And by that time, our species will likely have changed so much that one might hesitate to call that "man" in the sense of your question."

      Even at sublight speeds the journey doesn't have to take long for those ABOARD the ship because of time dilation (and/or some form of stasis).
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        Oct 20 2012: An excellent point!

        As the question used the phrase "in our lifetime", I interpreted that to mean the timeline of us here on earth. It's also valid I think to consider whether we could reach another galaxy within the life time of the person on the trip.

        If you add a form of stasis for passengers on a spaceship such as cryonic suspension (with the thawing out problems worked out), you can effectively take however many thousands or more years you like to get there. I don't think that helps an argument one way or the other, other than to say that eventually, some time, we could get there.

        As far as time dilation goes though, that's an interesting point. I put together a scenario and looked at the hard relativistic math to see whether it actually pans out. Let's put together the most optimistic scenario possible: Let's assume we could build a rocket ship with an engine that was 100% efficient at converting mass to energy maybe using antimatter - theoretically, the most efficient way to achieve near light speed travel. Let's say you accelerate at a constant 1G, simulating earth gravity. The equations tell us only 28 years would have passed for those on board the spaceship by the time they safely reach the next galaxy. So you could get there in your life time, while many thousands of years have passed on earth.

        How would you build such a space ship? You would need 4.2 billion tons of fuel to safely propel each 1 kilogram of payload to the nearest galaxy. That's a one way trip, by the way.

        So assuming we are limited by the speed of light, it would take way too much fuel to get there in our life time by relying on time dilation. At least according to this scenario.

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