The Big Problem With Interstellar Travel

The Big Problem With Interstellar Travel


-This video was made possible by Brilliant. -Start learning intuitively with Brilliant for 20% off by being one of the first 200 people to sign up at Brilliant.org/reallifelore. -So you probably know that stars are pretty far away -But you may have also dreamed about visiting one since you were a kid. -Science fiction has taught us that travelling to a distant star system may not be too far off in the distant future. -But Science fiction rarely gets into some of the largest problems that surround this concept. -I’ve made one video before discussing the possibility of humanity reaching another star in your life-time and to summarize that one, -The best you can hope for is *Maybe* a tiny probe the Proxima Centauri system sometime in a few decades That might be capable of taking some pictures of the planets there But as for you actually going yourself in visiting a planet that orbits a distanse star Unless you can figured out how to become immortal you likely never will And here are some of the biggest reasons why The distances are obviously huge and traveling across those distances will take a lot of time The fastest speed that humanity has ever achieved with a man-made object was using a Helios 2 prom which ** to 240 000km/h That’s fast enough to circle around the entire Earth in just about 10 minutes. With going in that speed will still take about 19 000 years of just reach Proxima Centauri – the nearest other star to the Sun But lets speculate for a moment now that perhaps this is the fastest speed that we ever could reach using a spaceships with actuall humans on board We build a ship with about 100 person crew that we populated-self over generations until we gets to Proxima Centauri This concept is known as Generation Ship and the people on board will live their entire lifes without every living the small space of the ship before arriving at its destination over 600 generations of people will live at this bizzare exsistance before finally arriving 19 000 years later at their destination and goal: The first humans to ever colonised antoher star system. The only problem is tho: after they finally do arrive, they not only discover, that humans are already there, but have been there already for tousands of years and have completly colonised the new planet with milions of people and huge cities. The reason this could happend is that the people of 2018 assumed the speed of 240 000 km/h was the fastest speed we could achieved on a ship and so they send up their colonists under that assumption. However, after 19 000 years into their yourney, they were still 18 000 years more away from getting to their planet. Back on Earth, tho, a thousand years of technological development was enough time to discover much faster forms of space travel. And the people od the year 3018 will be capable of sending out colonist on the ship that could reach the planet in just 5 000 years. So their ship endend up passing the one l*** in 2018 arrived to the destination planet thousands of years before it and have enougt time to completly develop civilisation there before the 2018 ship arrived and discover their entire 19 000 years of deal and suffering was all for… nothing. Who knows what psychological or feel self- problems such an experience could create for those people But this entire problem is known as the Wait Calculation When is the optimal time for humanity to send colonist out to another star? The concept was first written about by Andrew Kennedy in a paper written in 2006. Kennedy assumed, that it have to be a minimum travel time to any place in the Universe. And that ment was our technology was close to achieving it we could safely send colonist out and avoid the risk of living too early for nothing. But deciding when the best time to live is.. is pretty complicated. And think about the implications that poses to any would-be space traveler: Would you volunteerly signed up to be locked in the space ship for the rest of your life, along with your children’s life and their children’s, and their children’s and so on houndred of time over? When the only pay-off will be being told that: One day humanity will colonise another planet star thanks to your sacrifice? But then you remember the Wait calculation and release that only pay of is actually a huge gamble and you sacifice maybe worthless and along run. You’ll be insine to take that risk and everybody else will feel the same way, so convincing anybody to get on the Generation Ship like this at almost anytime in the future would be almost impossible..unles you forced them to. Would be colonist always assumed, that peopole in the future would just create faster form of transportation, that would completly negate their own journeys? That is until we descover a way to travel at or near light speed. It appears, that the speed od light is the Universe highest speed limit. And so, naturally, if humanity ever discover a way to travel near it, potential colonists could rest their sure that they sacrifices their travel that never be en vain. Like the explorers aboard the ABC Jungle Fruit are cruisers searching for resourses

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    snowball1988

    Isn’t the bigger problem that a spacecraft couldn’t last 19,000 years… the components would have decomposed by then and they couldn’t possibly take enough replacement parts from Earth to maintain the ship whilst floating through space. Plus what would they do with all their dead? Lol

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    Strange Boy

    Lol how will a group of people just "colonize" a planet? What if conditions aren't exactly like those on earth? How will they land? Where will they get enough materials and equipment to build stuff? The conditions on the planet will have to be idyllic, with pleasant weather, edible fruits all over the place and reeds with which they can build huts, no dangerous bacteria and viruses, etc. NO. This will NEVER happen. NEVER.

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    jmautobot

    This is a cool video, but it's silly to assume there would be no contact with the first ship once or left earth. If a new ship left and new technology was developed, the first ship would know albeit with a light delay. It would be in constant communication with Earth.

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    Scott Matheson

    Even if you think one generation ship would stop to rescue another it would make no sense to do so. What would make sense is for later generations, those with near-light travel and much greater resources, to fly around picking up all the inhabitants of generation ships that wanted to be rescued. Odds are if Ship A stops to rescue the inhabitants of older Ship B they will find, upon arrival, that Ship B's inhabitants have already been rescued by somebody with near-light capabilities.

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    relikvija

    What if I told you we are living that bizarre existence on our way to a new planet.

    Our ships name is not eart but PROVETRAVA.

    You are welcome.

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    Soumen Bhattacharya

    Not enough content 30% advertisement. You never mentioned about teleportation of human being remember the series startrek

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    Based Yoshi

    is no one going to talk about time dilation? To a person traveling the speed of light from earth to proxima centauri, they would arrive instantly, while to an observer it would take 4.2 years. This means that to a person in a light speed spacecaraft it would take less time to get to the nearest star then it would be to get on a plane going pretty much anywhere.

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    Izak gets victory royales

    Why dont we just make a black whole and shoot it so fast that its able to drag us to proxima well be so close to the edge of the effect of the black whole that if we thrust a little well be able to escape its effects

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    Swinde

    The speed is not the only problem. You have to slow down when you get there ans it will take the same amount of energy that you used getting there.

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    Christopher Jones

    I am curious how the paper addresses interstellar communications. The generation ship would be in contact with Earth. signals would eventually take years, but that would be gradual. I am certain “passing” ships would stop by and rescue those aboard the generational ship.

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    Blair Jackson

    Why didn’t the 3018 people stop and pickup up the colony in the 2018 colony? Did they give them the birdie on the way past?

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    faro717

    Live all your life in a completely closed space?…and do this VOLUNTARILY?…you would have to be seriously sick in the head…

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    Blayne Puckett

    Why couldn't the faster ships, as they were developed, just stop and pick up the passengers of the slower ships on there way?

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    jtown 90

    Biggest problem is we have yet to make machinery that either lasts or isnt outdated after 10 years. So a ship lasting 20k years would be impossible for us unless it was self repairing and had plenty of materials to do so. You could send people out to do it but you cant trust that they can. Nanobots would be the best option and have humans as back up to manually fix anything in or outside the ship

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    Juan Lopez

    Wait!!! Why can’t the 5,000 traveler generation tow the other ship with them and or load a new engine to give to them so they can do it themselves

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    Mark Gast

    By the time we have interstellar spacecraft everyone will be functionally immortal … either biologically or digitally.

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    jaeden Drake

    We won't ever get to that point if we don't develop the tools to control our climate with extreme precision. Lest extinction be inevitable, and we don't even attain the status of type-I civilization.

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    Mike McCormick

    When I was a kid we were supposed to land humans on Mars in the 80s. We still don’t possess the technology, according to NASAs own Director and various astronauts (eg., Don Pettit) to travel beyond the Van Allen radiation belts that encircle Earth, but we are “working on new technologies in order to travel beyond low earth orbit (beyond 400 miles).” When asked “why don’t we simply use the technology we had in the Apollo moon landing missions?” The reply is “we destroyed that technology and it’s too expensive to rebuild.” So talk of traveling a distance of 4 light years to Proxima Centauri is science fiction, not science. There’s a difference gamers, Trekkies, and comic book guys.

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    Angelo louisjeune

    Lol that was funny. You 19,000 years to reach a planet when you discover theres already you human on said planet. But while passing stop n wake these motherfuckers up.

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    Beecho Nut

    The only situation in which this would make sense would be if we needed to leave planet Earth and had no other option. Then I'd sign up.

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    Thorin

    And the fun part, even the 5K year ship would be possibly left behind and year 4K with a ship under a 1K year travel time. Anything below one percent of the speed of light is just not acceptable for these type of travels. Even at 1%, it would take 500 year for the nearest star…

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    Keith Hunt

    If we ever do this, we need a contingency plan for the exact scenario. Maybe make the ship so that it can easily be found, retrofitted, and pushed up to speed while enroute. I think for the foreseeable future, that generation ship would be too valuable of a resource, both human and material, to pass up.

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    energicko

    3:08 "All for nothing?" Let's appreciate the fact they're living, breathing time capsules. Imagine if we had the ancient Annunaki, Lyrans, Zeta Reticulans or Martians (good ones-not evil ones) do that for us into our present time period!

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    S.E. Sander

    Your data on the speed record is inaccurate. Parker Solar Probe smashed that record already and hasn't even topped out yet at max speed. It's 10th or 11th perihelion will send it past the sun at well over 500,000 mph. That is absolutely cooking.

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    Koro Kin

    Something missed is that on that 600th generation, desires will be drastically different. They have lived their whole life on that ship, even their parents did the same thing. For them, that's the world and they probably won't be that excited to live in a floating rock with no previous experience of being in such living environment. And that 19000 years, they've probably mutated to adapt to space and will be no longer human but probably still be humanoid.

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    Tom De Backer

    As they pass the first ship, they could slow down, pick them up or attach both ships together, and fly on at the second ship's original speed, thus getting more colonists for the original settlement. This would also reduce the problem with your number of 100 people. They are too small a group to prevent in-breeding and must mix dna with a new group of people after some 200 years.

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    kasa

    I think best solution is light speed travel. If we ever see hope for digitizing human mind and artificially growing or costructing humans, that would be the best way. You would still have to wait till some autonomous craft sets up in target system though.
    But even if you had to wait long time for craft to arrive, actual transfer of people would be just 4 years at light speed. And you could possibly have the autonomus craft already surveying, constructing and gathering materials in advance.

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    sexymanabe

    Just send those with death sentences. Also why couldn't the advanced ships just catch up and save the people out of the slower ship?

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    goldie aljuaid

    In the beginning you say " Fastest man made objects speed is 240,000 Kmh" but it's actually 99.9% the speed of light in the Large Hadron Collider.

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    Alien Soup

    Space travel is for robots. They make the journey and populate the new world with genetic samples from Earth. Transporting living humans is far too complex and expensive in resources and infrastructure.

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    Alien Soup

    So when an Alien spaceship arrives at Earth and the inhabitants look just like us, should we assume that we are the descendants of the fast ship, and they are our slower great-great-great…grandparents?

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    Evan Koch

    in most sci fi stories with generation ships the inhabitants suffer sociological anarchy and forgot what the mission was about often not even knowing they are in a ship.

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    Dragan Tomic

    19k yrs, 600 generations, on a ship with humans… How tiny is the chance they wouldn't eat each other after 2/3/4/5 generations…

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    Luke Pickett

    The Big Problem with the Wait Calculation is that a faster ship could be designed with salvage modules and a lot of empty space. It would catch up with the original generation ship, transfer the colonists and dismantle the critical components and store them aboard the new ship en route to the destination. This process could be repeated even dozens of times until the actual travel time would be approximate to the minimum travel time. Some materials may be wasted but the process could be performed at any time with the safety net of if further speed advancements are never reached time would not have been lost. Also, after colonization, the faster ships could return to the derelict ships to salvage them completely and return these resources to the colony. This methodology would work provided the paradigm of travel is maintained and something else like dimensional shifting or teleportation isn't developed, which might actually be the only limiting factor to the Wait Calculation.

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    BBTeZeT

    Poooooooor….. don't you know, that simple engine constantly accelerating ship with just 1G can speed up the ship to like 99.99% speed of light? It can be done with nuclear engine, the only problem that exists is star dust / micrometeorites – with that speed their mass grows to something that can destroy like every ship, so we need some kind of shield technology, but after that…. Universe is Ours You dumb fck. With that speed traveling to Proxima Centauri would took like few minutes for the crew inside the ship – cause you forgot about time dilation, You dumb fck.

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    talon310calif

    Maybe I've watched too much bad scifi, but the generational ship would be a total disaster. No way it could survive that trip. They would kill and eat each other. They would stop on some random planet or asteroid and pick up dangerous aliens etc

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    adamstrange supreme

    The one big problem about this is where do you get the resources to keep a ship going for 19000 years ?

    Food, water, fuel and spare parts will be needed. Doctors, surgeons and medical supplies as well.
    Then as people die you're going to need to replace them to fill the job they once did so your going to need to train them.
    Who and how will you handle breakdowns in critical systems as there cannot be any moving parts in such a ship because eventually they will wear out and need replacement.
    So basically interstellar travel will Never happen unless the ship is capable of speeds many times faster than light and as big as the island of Manhattan filled with all nessisary resources

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    David Brisbane

    Don't leave earth until 20% the speed of light and hybernation is possible. Then you can arrive in about 10 years and not have aged.

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    Elizabeth Frantes

    I think it is horrible to send a ship of breeders to another planet. The kids born didn't sign up for it. And it's like shipping cancer cells to your vital organs. We already made our planet unihabitable for us and you think it's a good idea . .. you're daft. Good video about the insanity of the colonist concept.

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    Bipolar Bear

    It's actually quite simple. First we need to finally create anti-matter, find dilithium Crystal's, and create the first warp drive with nacelles. Duh….

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    Dougie H

    No one ever mentions the interstellar medium collisions that may happen at relativistic speeds that would destroy the ship.

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    BoyurBee Gaming

    Take the slackers approach to all problems, especially space travel, don’t do anything someone else will come along and do it better. So sit back and relax somebody smarter, that hasn’t been born yet, will figure out the problem and come up with a faster solution. Well nothing to do now but to play the waiting game and sip on my tea.

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    adventurousken7734

    The famous sci-fi author, Clifford D. Simak, wrote a short story called "Target Generation". In the story, he predicted the people in the ship–when it arrives at the planet–would have to be forced out. Having lived their entire lives onboard, he theorized they wouldn't believe life outside the ship–other than in space suits–would be possible. It would be best that way, since it would be very disappointing to know your life was just used to keep the human race alive during an immensely long journey, in which your great great great great great great grandkids would be the colonists. A more modern theory would be to have the "travel generations" immersed in a simulated reality, in which they thought they were living normal lives back on Earth, in say, for example, the year 2019 or 2020 . . .

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    Alyssa Charlesworth

    I’d totally get on a generational ship. idgaf
    I have two Earth children but I’d be down to have some more kids in space.

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    Allan Brogdon

    After all that journey it is already populated with beings who don't welcome colonizing or conquerors.We wouldn't.

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    Zebra Dun

    Readers would like Brian Aldiss Non Stop, Heinlein and Time for the Stars as well as Orphans of the Sky for Generation ships.

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    Aaron Davis

    We would evolve into something else after 600 generations..or the 7th or 8th generation would just go insane and destroy itself.

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    Kernelhazzard1

    2006? This concept was even covered in enders game. New generation of figters would catch up with the late generation fighters to arrive at the star system at the same time in a swarm style.

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    Rob Moss

    Errr if you can get close to the speed of light time slows down (at the speed of light time stops) – so theoretically you could go thousands of light years whilst only a few minutes has passed in your time frame – so it could be possible. Theres nothing to slow you down in space & getting close to the speed to light might be possible.

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    New Alchemy

    The sad part is after all those generations, all those years, they'd get there and find people already living there because during that long journey, back on on Earth, they'd have discovered the ability to fold space and create a wormhole allowing them to reach that same destination in minutes. Who depressing would that be for the travellers?

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    Ryan Hall

    I always thought a way around this was to send a machine ran/auto pilot ship with thousands of somehow frozen but recoverable human zygotes. Then perhaps develop about 100 at 30 years till arrival and have some machines take care of all the basics and education. Then at about 10 years till arrival, develop the other 900 zygotes. Then the older 100 can teach the younger 900 everything. I suppose the whole just waiting until we develop faster tech is still optimal, but should that not be physically possible for us then you would have to go with this. Just sending conscious, living people to rot on a ship for generations has not only extreme ethical problems, but just wouldn't be a remotely intelligent way of handling the task.

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    SpicyBacon

    Turns out when the 3018 ships got to the planet it was already colonized by 4018 ships that took 2000 years to get there… OR so they thought cause the 4018 ships were taken over by 5018 ships that colonized the planet thousands of years before the 4018 ships and then 6018 ships come along and the cycle repeats.

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    doublegone

    Any subsequent mission leaving Earth could be bound by a treaty where as a sign of respect, they are forbidden to aim for the same star system as the original "pilgrims" if it meant overtaking them. Assuming we find that habitable planets are in abundance throughout the galaxy, with billions of star systems to choose from, and better/faster technology, there would be enough virgin routes to go round. There could be a central data bank with exploration routes and arrival dates shared across the galaxy.

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