Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are we there yet?

At some point in the future, I suspect scientists (aided by ever smarter computers) will learn how to build the Warp engine (think Star Trek), thus enabling realistic travel between the stars. If history is any guide, if humankind can envision it -- and make the underlying math work -- it can build it. In the interim, contemplate the utter enormity of the problem. Per The Atlantic: "Alpha Centauri may be the closest star system to Earth, but it's still four light years away. Voyager 1, our farthest-traveled probe is moving at 38,000 miles per hour, and after 35 years, it's still in our solar system (barely). Moving at Voyager's speed, it would take 700 centuries for a mission to reach Alpha Centauri."

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