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Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,


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Maybe this is how we can travel to other galaxies in our lifetime?

Madhavi Gavini posed this great question here: What is the probability of man exploring other galaxies in our lifetime? (http://www.ted.com/conversations/14450/what_is_the_probability_of_man.html?c=552358). I responded with a discussion of how much energy it would take us to travel there and that therefor this would be impossible for quite some time. Then I read a blog posting about why haven't we seen aliens yet? And I started thinking...

The problem is that it takes too much energy to accelerate our massive human bodies to near light speed, where we could take advantage of time dilation effects to travel many light years within the life time of a person on such a trip. So what if...

What if alien civilizations, millions of years more advanced than us, have folded the space time continuum in such a way as to create hills that are always running downhill or uphill, fed by gravity. One side or the other would always be running "up hill" or "down hill" which would send you one way or the other in the universe, and the two sides would perfectly balance each other out. A bit like one of Escher's infinite staircases.

Such superhighways could be shielded with gravitational lensing so as to be undetectable to us here on earth, and there would be on-ramps to allow you to control your own acceleration. Not knowing where one is located, the odds of us finding one by chance would be pretty much impossible.

But if someone shows us where it's located, or sends out a beacon - then we could use normal rocket power to maneuver close to one of these gravity superhighways, jump on the downhill side and just "coast downhill" up to just under the speed of light, reach the halfway point of your trip, and flip around to the other side of the highway to slow down (going uphill effectively).

So this is a shout out to any aliens listening out there, to please show us where you've folded space time so we can explore the universe too.

Does this idea have any merit?


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    Oct 22 2012: It is very easy to get lost in fantasy in a world where cyberspace is real. Only 40 years ago all of this would have had you committed to the looney house. One hundred years ago it did not exist at all, however Science has grown exponentially as of date. I suggest that before we make such loud suggestions that we plant our feet deeply into true physics, and not run away from true logic. Einstein teaches us that we cannot travel beyond the speed of light, as a matter of fact, not even close. Yes there's also the String theorist with their space bending solutions but, as of yet it has not passed the general consensus that it is the theory of everything or anything at all. Danger, to quickly answer your question, my answer is, it is possible but, not in the way that you would imply. Let me present you with a little synopsis; NASA would have never gone to the moon had they stopped to think about all the dangers that they would face. To try and perceive a way to travel to other Galaxies based on our present knowledge is kinda silly. To build something that could endure such a journey would take years, the problem with that is, we would be starting something primitive that in the years to come would be obsolete, hence the project would have to be started again, and again till we actually find a totally different way to travel. Please note that dreaming is important, it is the first step to reality but it could also lead to insanity...... Now my proposal. We can go to other worlds!! Now here is the BITTERSWEET news. It will be much easier and much more perceivable to send the GENOME of life from our planet to inseminate possible uninhabited worlds. They would require much smaller vehicles with less human demands. We would then cross our fingers, and hope that it would be fruition, thus trying to ensure the existence of life as we know it on other worlds' and in Galaxies far, far away. I am sure that there are lots of other ideas out there.

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