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Author Topic: How can you travel close to the speed of light?  (Read 1974 times)

Offline thedoc

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How can you travel close to the speed of light?
« on: 07/08/2015 13:50:01 »
anon asked the Naked Scientists:
   
We  know that we cannot travel faster than the speed of light. But, even if, we established a communication with aliens, say, 100 light years away we could still never be in physical proximity, EVER. The Large Hadron Collider accelerates particles close to the speed of light and then deliberately smashes them together producing lots of energy distributions. A spacecraft travelling at close to the speed of light has to have a shield against, say, random protons that just happen to be there. You may even encounter the odd anti-particle. How thick does your shield need to be? And what would your shield consist of? We are talking fundamental particle interaction! What about Dark Matter?  

   

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 07/08/2015 13:50:01 by _system »


 

Offline Mordeth

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Re: How can you travel close to the speed of light?
« Reply #1 on: 08/08/2015 22:44:21 »
Hydrogen atoms and dust grains are the likely problem at relativistic speeds (ignoring radiation). If we stay within what is called the "Local Bubble", produced by a super nova in the past, the density of these atoms is understood to be far less than the overall interstellar medium (although this is a guess).  This bubble extends a few hundred light years, giving us many, many star systems to explore.  Now, designing and fueling a constant acceleration rocket capable of say, .5c, is the bigger problem.
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Re: How can you travel close to the speed of light?
« Reply #2 on: 09/08/2015 06:11:36 »
Quote from: thedoc
A spacecraft travelling at close to the speed of light has to have a shield against, say, random protons that just happen to be there.
Not really. We get hit by cosmic rays. Cosmic rays are immensely high-energy radiation, mainly originating outside the Solar System. They're composed primarily of high-energy protons and atomic nuclei. They're mysterious in origin.

I haven't calculated it so I might be wrong. However it might be possible to deflect cosmic rays out of the path of the spacecraft using magnet fields.

But there are ideas being addressed which might allow us to travel FTL such as the Alcubierre warp drive. See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive

Right now there are problems creating one. However if the problems aren't insurmountable we might be able to travel to the stars.
 

Offline mathew_orman

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Re: How can you travel close to the speed of light?
« Reply #3 on: 31/08/2015 11:28:32 »
You life is to short to accelerate at normal g rate to the speed of light...
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: How can you travel close to the speed of light?
« Reply #4 on: 31/08/2015 13:21:17 »
Using any sort of conventional (known) means it would take forever to reach c.

But, I calculate it would take about a year of acceleration at 1 g to reach close to c.
 

Offline jeffreyH

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Re: How can you travel close to the speed of light?
« Reply #5 on: 04/09/2015 21:27:12 »
If there exists a force which is the opposite of gravity in that it was repulsive and acted on all particles of a mass at once then it may be possible to get close to c. It all depends upon how this affects the increase in relativistic mass. This would likely be a dark energy drive. If we ever find out exactly what that is. However it may require a dark energy 'white hole' to power it. That is pure speculation however.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Re: How can you travel close to the speed of light?
« Reply #6 on: 06/09/2015 06:03:27 »
The project is a bit beyond the current state of the art.
 

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Re: How can you travel close to the speed of light?
« Reply #6 on: 06/09/2015 06:03:27 »

 

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