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(PC Games N)   NASA explores faster than light travel with designs for a trip to Alpha Centauri in only two weeks. Which is a pretty amazing since after 45 years we still can't get back to the Moon   (pcgamesn.com) divider line 79
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2345 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Jun 2014 at 9:54 AM (13 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-13 08:36:53 AM
I think it needs to be the USS Einstein.
 
2014-06-13 08:37:34 AM
Suck it, Virgin Galactic! We're going to Alpha Centauri!
 
2014-06-13 09:15:04 AM
I've got a warp bubble... in my pants!

Yeah, I have no idea what I mean by that...
 
2014-06-13 09:58:53 AM

Welcome to Alpha Centauri.

.

Now go home.

 
2014-06-13 10:01:56 AM
Back to the moon?

Hell, we can't even get people into orbit without hitching a ride from the Russians.
 
2014-06-13 10:02:25 AM
I prefer to go for the Cultural Victory.
 
2014-06-13 10:03:58 AM

Doc Daneeka: Back to the moon?

Hell, we can't even get people into orbit without hitching a ride from the Russians.


SpaceX made a trip to the space station recently didn't they?
 
2014-06-13 10:04:54 AM
Why would we  want to go back to the moon?
Just to walk around on it some more?

Unless we want to live there, just send some robots.
 
2014-06-13 10:07:27 AM
Apollo 17 was at the end of 1972, dumbmitter. It has been 42.5 years. And we haven't gone back because there is no reason to. We need to find a cheap was to get stuff into orbit, then we can start doing the really cool stuff.
 
2014-06-13 10:08:15 AM

DubtodaIll: Doc Daneeka: Back to the moon?

Hell, we can't even get people into orbit without hitching a ride from the Russians.

SpaceX made a trip to the space station recently didn't they?


That was just cargo, no squishy bodies.  They did unveil the crew ready Dragon 2 a few weeks back, so they are on the way.
 
2014-06-13 10:09:55 AM
THIS IS CETI ALPHA V!!!
 
2014-06-13 10:10:46 AM
 DubtodaIll: Doc Daneeka: Back to the moon?

Hell, we can't even get people into orbit without hitching a ride from the Russians.

SpaceX made a trip to the space station recently didn't they?


Yes.  Unmanned resupply mission, I believe.

Correct me f I'm wrong, but I don't think SpaceX has actually sent any people up yet.
 
2014-06-13 10:12:13 AM

Honest Bender: Why would we  want to go back to the moon?
Just to walk around on it some more?

Unless we want to live there, just send some robots.


That's pretty much what I was going to say.

If there has been something useful or interesting on the moon, we would have gone back and built a base by now....
 
2014-06-13 10:14:32 AM

Honest Bender: Why would we  want to go back to the moon?
Just to walk around on it some more?

Unless we want to live there, just send some robots.


Yup.

And we can't live there.  So...
 
2014-06-13 10:14:41 AM

Rev. Skarekroe: I've got a warp bubble... in my pants!

Yeah, I have no idea what I mean by that...


Kinda sounds like you sharted
 
2014-06-13 10:15:45 AM

SpdrJay: If there has been something useful or interesting on the moon, we would have gone back and built a base by now....


True.  The moon is a very, very dangerous place.  Searingly hot in the sunlight, frigidly cold in the shade, and all that high-energy radiation just a-blaring down on you.  In orbit, at least, astronauts and electronics get some protection from cosmic rays courtesy of the Van Allen belts but I'm fairly certain those don't help as far as the moon.
 
2014-06-13 10:15:53 AM
Yeah, but when they come back, it'll be 30,000 years later.  Then they can stand on the beach and yell something about maniacs and God.
 
2014-06-13 10:18:51 AM

madgonad: Apollo 17 was at the end of 1972, dumbmitter. It has been 42.5 years. And we haven't gone back because there is no reason to. We need to find a cheap was to get stuff into orbit, then we can start doing the really cool stuff.


I'd say our first goal should be to colonize the moon and figure out how to make rocket fuel from materials there. It's always going to be cheaper to ship stuff up from the moon's much smaller gravity well than it would be to ship anything up from earth.

You wouldn't need a very big railgun to shoot materials from the moon into orbit where we could use it to build and/or fuel ships to explore out farther.

We really should be trying to see if we can't build railguns powerful enough to ship supplies to orbit from earth, even if the acceleration would be too much for people.
 
2014-06-13 10:20:52 AM
Bye bye blue blue shiny ball
 
2014-06-13 10:27:13 AM

Rev. Skarekroe: I've got a warp bubble... in my pants!

Yeah, I have no idea what I mean by that...


you might want to see a doctor for that.
 
2014-06-13 10:28:55 AM
we can't solve the huge problems on earth (most of them social and have have not gap) but we can drop a Trillion on running around in space.  using The People's money, no doubt.
 
2014-06-13 10:31:10 AM

Linux_Yes: we can't solve the huge problems on earth (most of them social and have have not gap) but we can drop a Trillion on running around in space.  using The People's money, no doubt.


Oh yes, let's get all those rocket scientists and engineers moved over to curing cancer.  Your brilliant plan certainly has no glaring flaws a child could spot.  Let's do that.
 
2014-06-13 10:33:54 AM
The first broadcast message we should send: "All your base are belong to us."
 
2014-06-13 10:34:54 AM
We also can't make Greek Fire but nobody is acting fake indignant about it.
 
2014-06-13 10:35:59 AM
Are these "artist's concept" designs, or do we actually have a practical means of accelerating something bigger than an atom to faster than light speed?
 
2014-06-13 10:36:56 AM

adm_crunch: Yeah, but when they come back, it'll be 30,000 years later.  Then they can stand on the beach and yell something about maniacs and God.


actually, no.  The original paper said by using the 'warp bubble' concept it would be the same subjective time as here.  i.e. 2 weeks travel there and 2 weeks back (if it is just a touch and go) and a month has passed here.

pretty interesting stuff if they theory plays out.  that is a huge IF.

\\ lower power, 30 days to Jupiter.
\ neat.
 
2014-06-13 10:38:39 AM
You know, I'm all for figuring out FTL and getting off this rock. But instead of wasting time designing a ship around a theoretical idea that hasn't been fully fleshed out yet, how about they figure out how the hell they're actually going to create said warp bubble and how they're going to power it first. You can't very well design a farking ship to do something when you don't even know how it's going to do that something in the first place.
 
2014-06-13 10:38:44 AM

ikanreed: Linux_Yes: we can't solve the huge problems on earth (most of them social and have have not gap) but we can drop a Trillion on running around in space.  using The People's money, no doubt.

Oh yes, let's get all those rocket scientists and engineers moved over to curing cancer.  Your brilliant plan certainly has no glaring flaws a child could spot.  Let's do that.


Oh snap! /s
 
2014-06-13 10:39:22 AM

Arkanaut: Are these "artist's concept" designs, or do we actually have a practical means of accelerating something bigger than an atom to faster than light speed?


We can't even accelerate an atom faster than light although we think maybe we have an idea of how to do it. The problem is that it requires materials which may or may not exist.
 
2014-06-13 10:42:10 AM
They've got SS Propulsion and SS Fuel, now they just need to develop SS Habitation and SS Life Support and they'll win a Technology Victory.
 
2014-06-13 10:42:43 AM

Arkanaut: Are these "artist's concept" designs, or do we actually have a practical means of accelerating something bigger than an atom to faster than light speed?


Artist's concepts.
 
2014-06-13 10:46:15 AM

Linux_Yes: we can't solve the huge problems on earth (most of them social and have have not gap) but we can drop a Trillion on running around in space.  using The People's money, no doubt.


Because the space program didn't have any medical spin offs or inspired anyone or anything .
 
2014-06-13 10:48:30 AM

Arkanaut: Are these "artist's concept" designs, or do we actually have a practical means of accelerating something bigger than an atom to faster than light speed?


the article is about a kerbal mockup of the artist rendering based on the theory.

The current science is they have a plausible test-rig to see if a warp-bubble can be created (a really small one) and how it impacts a laser beam within it.  If that pans out, then SCIENCE!

\\ really interesting writeup
\ if you are into that sort of thing.
\\ the 2011 paper is here
 
2014-06-13 10:53:58 AM

BullBearMS: I'd say our first goal should be to colonize the moon and figure out how to make rocket fuel from materials there. It's always going to be cheaper to ship stuff up from the moon's much smaller gravity well than it would be to ship anything up from earth.


If all we were shipping was stuff that came from the moon, that would almost make sense. Not as much as mining asteroids, though. I don't know why we would need a colony there for the purpose of harvesting fuel. It's about time we had robots do something productive besides driving around Mars poking rocks.

BullBearMS: We really should be trying to see if we can't build railguns powerful enough to ship supplies to orbit from earth, even if the acceleration would be too much for people.


Pumping that much delta V into something in such a short amount of time...I'd think the only supplies you would end up delivering would look like they had gone through a trash compactor and then set ablaze. If I'm wrong about that, please let me know; it's hardly my area of expertise.
 
2014-06-13 10:57:16 AM

Dingleberry Dickwad: You know, I'm all for figuring out FTL and getting off this rock. But instead of wasting time designing a ship around a theoretical idea that hasn't been fully fleshed out yet, how about they figure out how the hell they're actually going to create said warp bubble and how they're going to power it first. You can't very well design a farking ship to do something when you don't even know how it's going to do that something in the first place.


well, they aren't, really, they are using the artist rendering to describe what the science is working on.  The rest of just silly science journalism suckage.
 
2014-06-13 10:59:35 AM

SewerSquirrels: If all we were shipping was stuff that came from the moon, that would almost make sense. Not as much as mining asteroids, though


which is why we need to put a giant rocket on the moon and burn it into a geostationary orbit to build a space elevator
 
2014-06-13 11:01:00 AM

escherblacksmith: Arkanaut: Are these "artist's concept" designs, or do we actually have a practical means of accelerating something bigger than an atom to faster than light speed?

the article is about a kerbal mockup of the artist rendering based on the theory.

The current science is they have a plausible test-rig to see if a warp-bubble can be created (a really small one) and how it impacts a laser beam within it.  If that pans out, then SCIENCE!

\\ really interesting writeup
\ if you are into that sort of thing.
\\ the 2011 paper is here


Warp fields? THE FUTURE IS HERE
 
2014-06-13 11:06:13 AM

To The Escape Zeppelin!: Arkanaut: Are these "artist's concept" designs, or do we actually have a practical means of accelerating something bigger than an atom to faster than light speed?

We can't even accelerate an atom faster than light although we think maybe we have an idea of how to do it. The problem is that it requires materials which may or may not exist.


I think it's more of the folding space concept from Dune. Essentially allows you to move FTL without moving.

/spice must flow
 
2014-06-13 11:12:05 AM

sprawl15: SewerSquirrels: If all we were shipping was stuff that came from the moon, that would almost make sense. Not as much as mining asteroids, though

which is why we need to put a giant rocket on the moon and burn it into a geostationary orbit to build a space elevator


Well ain't that cool. That's the second thing I learned about space elevators in the last couple of weeks. That's one way to fix those nasty tides. Which side of the planet is it going on? Normally I'd be all, "USA USA!", but I'd think this side of the planet would be like Water World if we did that.
 
2014-06-13 11:14:01 AM

SewerSquirrels: BullBearMS: I'd say our first goal should be to colonize the moon and figure out how to make rocket fuel from materials there. It's always going to be cheaper to ship stuff up from the moon's much smaller gravity well than it would be to ship anything up from earth.

If all we were shipping was stuff that came from the moon, that would almost make sense. Not as much as mining asteroids, though. I don't know why we would need a colony there for the purpose of harvesting fuel. It's about time we had robots do something productive besides driving around Mars poking rocks.

BullBearMS: We really should be trying to see if we can't build railguns powerful enough to ship supplies to orbit from earth, even if the acceleration would be too much for people.

Pumping that much delta V into something in such a short amount of time...I'd think the only supplies you would end up delivering would look like they had gone through a trash compactor and then set ablaze. If I'm wrong about that, please let me know; it's hardly my area of expertise.


The problem is that it cost twenty five thousand dollars to ship a kilo of stuff into low earth orbit with the shuttle. That kind of prevented us from doing very much beyond low earth orbit.

It's hard to afford enough fuel to get somewhere far away in a decent amount of time. Also, the slower you go, the more air, food, etc. you need per person for long trips. The nice thing about the moon is that it's really, really close and has very low gravity, so if we can manufacture fuel there, it's super cheap to get it into space where we can use it.

Space X will get the cost down, but not enough.

Various engineers have looked at railguns and say it would work just fine for food, materials, supplies, fuel... Just not people or delicate equipment. Wikipedia's estimate of the cost per kilo was down around 500 bucks instead of the $25,000 bucks the shuttle cost. So even if you still need traditional rockets for people and delicate stuff, the savings are huge.
 
2014-06-13 11:14:52 AM
The free market has spoken. If there were money to be made on the moon, private industry would be up there already.

McCain would have built a moon base, but you all said "No!"
 
2014-06-13 11:19:29 AM
I'll probably get flamed hard for this, but what if NASA or one of its contractors had already figured out how to go that big (interstellar) by whatever means, and was just waiting for technology/society to catch up before trotting it out?

Why piss off billions to colonize Mars when it could be possible to leave the system entirely and colonize a more acceptable world? Bear with me here. Let's say that, maybe, just maybe, all that alien/Area 51 BS was real, and that we've had the knowledge to build a working FTL drive for awhile now, just not the political will or pressing need to do so. Until now.

How would you do a 'gradual reveal' on this? Slowly start planting imagery and ideas over time to lessen the culture shock to society that we really aren't alone, then start trumpeting 'new discoveries!' that eventually lead up to being able to bridge the interstellar gap, without doing what seems most logical, 'cutting our teeth' by learning how to get around our own solar system.

A little snippet here, a tidbit there, and over time, people (in general) become immune to what at any other time in history would have sent the human race into a xenophobic panic. I only say this be looking back at just how fast we went from flying in rickety wood-and-fabric contraptions to hypersonic flight in only a few decades. In 1903, the fastest airspeed was around 45-60 mph, by '63, the SR-71 was clocking in at 1400. Just think about that, compare and contrast with maritime technology, and how long it took to go from dugouts to modern ocean-going vessels.

That's my suspicions as to why the US didn't go gangbusters to replace Shuttle. We may have had a better alternative waiting in the wings for the 'right' moment to reveal it. At least, that's what I hope is the case, and not that we're destined to become the Portugal of the Space Age.
 
2014-06-13 11:20:37 AM

escherblacksmith: The rest of just silly science journalism suckage.


That's shocking considering it's an article on a gaming website.
 
2014-06-13 11:22:35 AM

Cymbal: To The Escape Zeppelin!: Arkanaut: Are these "artist's concept" designs, or do we actually have a practical means of accelerating something bigger than an atom to faster than light speed?

We can't even accelerate an atom faster than light although we think maybe we have an idea of how to do it. The problem is that it requires materials which may or may not exist.

I think it's more of the folding space concept from Dune. Essentially allows you to move FTL without moving.

/spice must flow


it is actually almost completely unlike the folding space concept.  That involves pulling two parts of space together, punching a hole and pass through it (wormhole).

This is changing the compression and expansion of the space directly in front of and behind the spacecraft, by creating a bubble that you will then be going a lot faster than light effectively.  By changing those bits you allow yourself to glide through much faster.

\\ but that is about as far as my brain can get
\ the math, it hurts.
 
2014-06-13 11:25:16 AM

syrynxx: escherblacksmith: The rest of just silly science journalism suckage.

That's shocking considering it's an article on a gaming website.


well, yeah, I was referring to all of the official coverage so far, but, especially this, especially given some of the reactions to it.
 
2014-06-13 11:28:54 AM
If we'd actually developed Project Orion, we'd have a probe half-way to Proxima Centauri by now.
 
2014-06-13 11:32:08 AM

madgonad: And we haven't gone back because there is no reason to


Mostly it's because it would cost a gazillion metric shiatloads of cash. The cost benefit analysis doesn't work.

I know we have this and that and another thing from the moon program, but man, if velcro wasn't government subsidized, think what it would cost.
 
2014-06-13 11:36:36 AM

redlegrick: I'll probably get flamed hard for this, but what if NASA or one of its contractors had already figured out how to go that big (interstellar) by whatever means, and was just waiting for technology/society to catch up before trotting it out?

Why piss off billions to colonize Mars when it could be possible to leave the system entirely and colonize a more acceptable world? Bear with me here. Let's say that, maybe, just maybe, all that alien/Area 51 BS was real, and that we've had the knowledge to build a working FTL drive for awhile now, just not the political will or pressing need to do so. Until now.

How would you do a 'gradual reveal' on this? Slowly start planting imagery and ideas over time to lessen the culture shock to society that we really aren't alone, then start trumpeting 'new discoveries!' that eventually lead up to being able to bridge the interstellar gap, without doing what seems most logical, 'cutting our teeth' by learning how to get around our own solar system.

A little snippet here, a tidbit there, and over time, people (in general) become immune to what at any other time in history would have sent the human race into a xenophobic panic. I only say this be looking back at just how fast we went from flying in rickety wood-and-fabric contraptions to hypersonic flight in only a few decades. In 1903, the fastest airspeed was around 45-60 mph, by '63, the SR-71 was clocking in at 1400. Just think about that, compare and contrast with maritime technology, and how long it took to go from dugouts to modern ocean-going vessels.

That's my suspicions as to why the US didn't go gangbusters to replace Shuttle. We may have had a better alternative waiting in the wings for the 'right' moment to reveal it. At least, that's what I hope is the case, and not that we're destined to become the Portugal of the Space Age.


That would be giving the powers that are known to be a lot of credit.  Now, if you said there was some force/group outside of that guiding human development, well, it would be silly too, but much more plausible.
 
2014-06-13 11:42:34 AM

escherblacksmith: This is changing the compression and expansion of the space directly in front of and behind the spacecraft, by creating a bubble that you will then be going a lot faster than light effectively. By changing those bits you allow yourself to glide through much faster.


Yep, when I learned that the universe once expanded faster than the speed of light I wondered if there might be a way to exploit that. Seems a whole hell of a lot easier than dragging a singularity through space to create a worm hole (or however you would do that).
 
2014-06-13 11:59:02 AM
Good, fark that tyrannical Theory of Relativity. Photons are not a speed limit.
 
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