Though it seems impossible to colonize galaxy at sub-light speed but without FTL travel we can still colonise the universe at sub-light velocities[ using self replicating probes and Bioprograms which I’ve discussed recently], but the resulting colonies are separated from each other by the vastness of interstellar space. In the past trading empires have coped with time delays on commerce routes of the order of a few years at most. This suggests that economic zones would find it difficult to encompass more than one star system. Travelling beyond this would require significant re-orientation upon return, catching up with cultural changes etc. It’s unlikely people would routinely travel much beyond this and return.
Archive for the ‘Physics’ Category.
Ever since its invention in the 1920s, quantum physics has given rise to countless discussions about its meaning and about how to interpret the theory correctly. These discussions focus on issues like the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox, quantum non-locality and the role of measurement in quantum physics. In recent years, however, research into the very foundations of quantum mechanics has also led to a new field – quantum information technology. The use of quantum physics could revolutionize the way we communicate and process information.
The notion of time travel is rooted in the early 20th century physics of Albert Einstein. In the 1880s, two American scientists, Albert Michelson and Edward Morley set out to measure how the speed of light was affected by Earth’s motion through space. They discovered, to their amazement, that the speed of Earth made no difference to the passage of light through space (which they called the ether). No matter how fast you travel, the speed of light remained the same.
Try to imagine a 4D hypercube as viewed from the fifth dimension. The shape will be static and unchanging, the hypercube is always a hypercube. Now imagine the shape representing a human being from birth to death as viewed from the fifth dimension. That “long undulating snake” imagery we’ve used really is a gross oversimplification – the complex web of atoms and molecules, water and energy, choices taken and not taken, and all the potential “worldlines” representing a single person is a vastly more complex shape than a simple hypercube. In both cases, that extra dimensional pattern casts a shadow into the third dimension which moves in specific ways: but a rotating hypercube casts a much more predictable and essentially unchanging shadow than the 3D shadow cast by a living and breathing human being!
While terrestrial self-replicating systems may be limited for some time to coevolution with Earth-based industry constrained by normal economic factors, the prospect for extraterrestrial applications is quite different. The difficulty of surmounting the Earth’s gravitational potential makes it more efficient to consider sending information in preference to matter into space whenever possible. Once a small number of self-replicating facilities has been established in space, each able to feed upon nonterrestrial materials, further exports of mass from Earth will dwindle and eventually cease. The replicative feature is unique in its ability to grow, in situ, a vastly larger production facility than could reasonably be transported from Earth. Thus, the time required to organize extraordinarily large amounts of mass in space and to set up and perform various ambitious future missions can be greatly shortened by using a self-replicating factory that expands to the desired manufacturing capacity.