TED Conversations

Linus Landergren

Skagerak Intl' Student, Archery Sandefjord

This conversation is closed.

FTL Space Travel

Hi I am Linus, I am new to the community, I am very interested in FTL travel like they have in Star Trek. I am just wanting to start a discussion about the subject itself if anyone has any news of FTL or anything new in Space Travel. Exited to hear what you guys think about FTL.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Sep 28 2013: As of our current understanding of modern physics, it can't be done.
    Its not even an engineering problem, there is an outright physical law telling you "not happening".

    Granted, there have been certain points in history when physics books had to be re-written because our understanding of physics proved fundamentally flawed, so who knows.
    • thumb
      Sep 28 2013: it is not perfectly true.

      1. general theory of relativity disallows FTL locally, but it allows the spacetime itself to move. not entirely unlike a river carrying you fast, though you don't row fast compared to the water.

      2. GTR allows shorter paths to exist or even created between apparently far away points. this would be popularized under the name of wormholes.

      3. we know for certainty that GTR is not a perfect representation of the world, therefore if something is not possible within the scope of GTR, it does not mean it is not possible in the real world.

      on the other hand, just to rain on the parade of anyone trusting a hope. it seems that in order to do anything outside the traditional snail approach, we need amounts of energy that blows the mind. even the traditional approach needs humongous portions of energy. to travel the nearest star within a decade of travel time, we would need to condense the total energy production of mankind during a century into antimatter. anything less ambitious than that just won't cut it. if we want to play with the structure of spacetime, we might need significantly more energy.
      • Sep 28 2013: So we've moved from it being theoretically impossible, to simply being completely unfeasible on a practical level.
        Not much of an improvement to be honest.

        A better understanding of the theoretical physics would help, but somewhat out of my area of expertise. Though if I understand correctly, even the proper experts on theoretical physics don't fully understand the lot of it.

        Oh well. Still, its not like there's nothing left to explore even on this solar system. You could even do it with today's technology if you could stomach the months or years of travel time and if the reliance on autonomous probes doesn't drive you to distraction.
        • thumb
          Sep 28 2013: it is very much improvement if you pick the right angle to look it from. if we need 100 years of total output on today's level, and we assume 1% increase in energy production, the same statement would say 60 years in 2050, 35 years in 2100, 14 years in 2300, 8 months in 2500, less than 2 days in 3000, and 7 seconds in 4000.

          we only need to find out how to live 2000 years.
      • Sep 28 2013: In that case, maybe we ought to focus on the living 2000 years part?
        FTL is nice and all, but I've never really encountered a need for it in my day to day life. Living forever on the other hand...

        On an unrelated note, living for 2000 years may actually be long enough for a voyage to a nearby star system without that whole pesky FTL business. Assuming you'll be traveling a fairly reasonable speed of 30 kilometers per second (around 0.001 c), you ought to be able to hit Alpha Centauri after about 4000 years (habitable planet once you get there unlikely, but you can't have everything).
        By doing so, you of course risk having FTL discovered after you left. That'd make for one awkward meeting on the other side...
    • thumb
      Oct 5 2013: But what if 'our current understanding of modern physics' was wrong? Would you give it a ride?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.