Many concepts have been created over the decades to achieve interstellar travel and how to achieve it in two different ways puts the matter into perspective for us. Going online to wikipedia under the heading of ‘interstellar travel’ will give a list of almost everything people have thought of to achieve star travel. High speeds on the order of 10% – 15% the speed of light must be attained to go to another star beyond our solar system. 15% of light speed and under are non-relativistic speeds which brings up the fact that there are four problems with traveling to other star systems. These four unsolved problems have slowed the possibility of finding a workable mechanical method for more than 60 years.
The four problems concerning interstellar travel are: (1) trying to send too much mass in the 1000′s to 1,000,000′s of kilograms (2) trying to accelerate this amount of mass from 1% to 90% the speed of light (3) wanting to send humans on an interstellar voyage lasting decades and (4) dealing with projects that are dozens of times beyond the financial means of all the space agencies on this earth combined. Making the matter an impossibility. The two general principles of what would allow star to star travel are written below.
The first principle is: accelerate a very small quantity of mass in the range of several milligrams between 10% – 15% the speed of light over a 200 seconds period of time. The second principle is: accelerate a large quantity of mass in the range of a few kilograms between 10% – 15% the speed of light in small increments of distance such as 1 inch per second per second over several years. This is how to achieve it in two different ways. The reason that there are ways to accomplish interstellar space travel is because the four problems written above can be solved.
It not only takes effort and brains but it also takes money and lots of it when dealing with matters of putting hardware into outer space. To reach the next closest star system which is the centauri star system only a small amount of mass must be sent to keep the costs low. Some people believe that interstellar travel is an ‘impossibility’. It’s not impossible. At this date and time anything we use for star to star travel must be initiated in the isolation of space and far enough from the earth’s field forces because these field forces might cause resistance against a projectile. The vacuum of space have almost zero resistance against a projectile and another matter is a projectile must be sent in a direction that has the least amount of space material in its’ path.
With the first principle a probe can’t be sent because it has too much mass. With the second principle a small probe can be sent because the amount of acceleration energy is redistributed over several years instead of 90, 120 or 200 seconds. Is there a method at present to achieve the first principle? Yes. Is there method at present to achieve the second principle? Probable. The end result is that interstellar travel is possible. How to achieve it in two different ways puts such projects well within our reach.
Interstellar travel and the physics of interstellar space journeys is considered in the sense of achieving it in a human life time. A human life time is 122 years at overall maximum. For interplanetary travel 10-25 miles per second is fine. For interstellar travel 1,000 times that must be achieved or 10,000-25,000 miles per second. For intergalactic travel in a human life time a system must go about 22,000 times light speed to reach the Andromeda galaxy. The first thing is that the interstellar medium is mainly a vacuum. It’s not empty but it’s the closest that could be to a 100% vacuum.
Because of this it becomes improbable that a very small projectile the size of a sewing needle would hit or be hit passing through the interstellar medium. The second thing is that stars are very far apart on the scale of light years. This translates into trillions of miles apart. To journey from our solar system to any star system 4.3 to 15 light years going 25,000 miles per second would take 35-125 years. These are short time periods for star travel. The amount of drag on a projectile in interstellar space is at the point of being zero.
The third thing is that all of the means that humans have produced since 1950 can’t go fast enough to reach the next closest star system in a human life time. Rockets and probes can only go about 10-20 miles per second. This is fast of course but only for interplanetary travel. It would take a little over 73,000 years at such a speed to reach the Centauri star system which is our next closest star neighbor. Interstellar travel isn’t difficult because all that’s needed is a mechanically workable method to do it. Such a method exists and is called ‘The Johnson Rail’.
With the above written 3 matters of the vacuum of space, the distances to and between stars and the two dozen or so ideas produced to cross such distances we come to the simple physics of it. The physics is to achieve 10%-15% of light speed (18,600 to 27,930 miles per second respectively) which are non-relativistic speeds to cross the distances in a short time. The vacuum of space has no resistance so a device sent through it and can arrive at its’ destination for stars 4.3-15 light years distances within 35-125 years. The physics is simple: send milligrams and not kilograms. Use 1,000-20,000 watts of power and not megawatts or gigawatts or more.
This shows that there are only a few problems for interstellar travel and they’re very easy to solve. Accelerate a very small quantity of mass to 25,000 miles per second. This sounds impossible but isn’t! Why? Because the smaller the mass the less amounts of energy needed. The less amounts of energy required the easier for humans to manage this in space. The simpler the idea or concept the easier to find a workable mechanical method because the simpler the solutions to all of its’ problems. This is the physics of interstellar space journeys.
There are laws to this physical universe and they’re impossible to violate. In the context of interstellar travel there’s a physics of getting to other star systems and they are simple but they must be accepted. There are laws to mass, energy, speed, momentum and how to do things. These laws must be respected. The first 2 laws are simple and they are: (1) when two unequal masses are accelerated to the same speed the greater the mass the more energy needed to accelerate that mass and the smaller the mass the less energy needed to accelerate that mass (2) the smaller the mass accelerated with larger and larger amounts of energy the faster the speed of that mass.
As an example: to accelerate 2 kilograms to 25,000 miles per second takes 1.6 billion watts of power. Humans can’t put this much electrical hardware into space or manage this much power in space. 2 kilograms is 4.4 pounds. What to say of a human being weighing 220 pounds or 100 kilograms plus the mass of the life support system. The mass of the human and the life support system would remain constant throughout the trip. To accelerate 2 kilograms of mass 25,000 miles per second can be done in only one way at this date.
As another example: to accelerate 4 milligrams of mass 25,000 miles per second requires only 3.2 kilowatts. This can be managed by humans in outer space. Since this can be managed then what are the 2 laws of achieving interstellar travel? They are: (1) accelerate a very small amount of mass of several milligrams to 10% – 15% of light speed within 60-200 seconds or a very short time period (2) accelerate a large quantity of mass of several kilograms 10% – 15% of light speed in small increments of an inch or several inches per second over several or more years. This is the physics of interstellar travel.
Humans want to send humans on an interstellar trip. Humans want to go light speed or near light speed. Humans want to go in a first class seating starship of 1,000,000′s of kilograms of mass. Humans want what they want and forget physics. It simply doesn’t work like that. The first major rule of star travel: START SMALL. The second major rule of star travel: RESPECT PHYSICS.
Another matter is the interplanetary medium and the interstellar medium. These two things poses no problem for star space journeys. Over 99% of all material is found in the plane of our solar system in the interplanetary medium and this is tenuous material to the point of very extreme. The interstellar medium is filled with gas and dust. About one atom per cubic inch and about 1,000 dust particles per cubic mile which makes it a vacuum dozens of times greater than the best vacuum ever produced on Earth.
It would be virtually impossible for a very small projectile to come into contact with such atoms or dust particles in our solar system or in the interstellar medium. Nothing prohibits star travel and interstellar travel technology is advanced enough to accomplish this. The physics of interstellar travel and how to reach the next star system has been possible for 20-23 years.
Interstellar travel could have been achieved in 1990 because we’ve had the tools, machinery and know how since then. Several things have kept us from implementing the process. This is to say that everything about interstellar travel falls under four headings:
(1) its preamble.
(2) ideas to accomplish star travel from 1930-2015 or about 85 years.
(3) problems encountered to do it.
(4) solutions to those problems. When such simple problems are listed and solved it can easily be seen just how achievable interstellar travel truly is. Star travel is no more difficult than inter solar system travel and takes no more technical skills to do so.
To begin: (1) the preamble: interstellar travel is possible. It’s just that simple and has been since 1990. What’s one of the reasons that has kept humans from doing it? Money. In the sense of wasting tens of billions of dollars of tax payers money. Along with the suppression of new ideas. If it doesn’t fit in with our line of thinking or wishes then it’s to be suppressed.
(2) ideas humans have produced from 1930-2015 or about 85 years of which 45-55 ideas have been created to achieve star travel.
None of them work but the effort is excellent and welcome. Go online to Wikipedia under interstellar travel and there’s a list of about 35 ideas and a few others scattered over the internet.
(3) there are about ten basic problems with interstellar travel.
They are (a) the interstellar medium.
(b) finding a way to go light speed or near it.
(c) the distance to be traveled and its feasibility.
(d) which star is the first choice to go to.
(e) how long will it take to reach a star.
(f) how much mass is the ship or craft to be made of?
Also: (g) the amount of energy needed to accelerate the mass.
(h) the method to be used to accelerate the craft or projectile.
(i) how to send humans on a star journey.
(j) the cost of a star journey.
(k) humans lines of thinking which have prohibited finding a practical way.
(l) how long will it be before we actually send something? These 12 problems can easily be solved from the facts of physics. What it comes out to be is much different from what millions of professors, grade students, physicists, astronomers (professionals and amateurs), science fiction fans, engineers and technologists likes and wishes.
It’s not a matter of what’s wished for or wanted but what in – fact – can and/or can’t be done in actuality. Here are the solutions to all 12 problems which has been known since 1990.
(1) the interstellar medium is almost a flawless vacuum with approximately 2 atoms per cubic inch and approximately 900-1,000 talcum powder sized particles inhomogenously spaced per cubic mile. Send several projectiles one behind the other linearly where the lead projectile destroys everything in front.
(2) light speed or near light speed isn’t need but only 13%-15% of light speed.
(3) the Centauri star system is 5.865 trillion miles away and can be reached in 35-36 years travel time.
Also: (4) the best first choice is to go is Centauri.
(5) at a specific speed it’ll take 35-36 years to reach Centauri.
(6) dealing with reality and – NOT – fantasy it will take 2-20 milligrams of mass.
(7) the amount of energy needed to accelerate 2 milligrams up to 25,000 miles per second is 1.6 kilowatts net or 2238 watts gross (3 horse power).
(8) the method to be used to accelerate the mass can be – The Johnson Rail -.
(9) it’s an impossibility to send humans on a star journey. TOO MUCH MASS.
Also: (10) to send a send a small mass to the Centauri system would cost approximately $500-$800 million dollars.
(11) humans want to send too much mass which is impossible. Hollywood physics do not work in the real world. This is a wrong line of thinking.
(12) if everything goes well humans should send something to the next star system(s) by 2025.