Betting on an Interstellar Future

by Paul Gilster on July 28, 2008

Tibor Pacher has gone out on a limb. The founder of peregrinus interstellar and an active supporter of interstellar research, the Heidelberg-trained physicist (now a freelance software consultant) has made a wager on the Long Bets site that should raise eyebrows: “The first true interstellar mission, targeted at the closest star to the Sun or even farther, will be launched before or on December 6, 2025 and will be widely supported by the public.” Note that no crew is assumed, the vehicle presumably being an unmanned flyby probe. We must also assume it will be targeted at the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri. Even so, to pull off the attempt in a mere seventeen years?

But my friend Tibor is a gadfly as well as an optimist. He knows as well as anyone that the time frame is outrageous, but he wants to inspire discussion and keep people thinking about interstellar issues. In the same spirit, he notes the motivations that exist, from the challenge of a seemingly impossible destination to fears about the future and the need to ensure the survival of our species. All of which is true, but I find the challenge of Tibor’s bet irresistible, and have wagered $500 on the Long Bets site that he is wrong. The proceeds would go to the Tau Zero Foundation, so both Tibor and I can win. Come on, Tibor, take the bet.

Image: An early concept for the mission now called Innovative Interstellar Explorer, designed to push several hundred AU from the Sun. I’ll buy this idea by 2025, but launching similar hardware to the Centauri stars may take a bit longer. Maybe I’m wrong, but my money is on the table. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

As to peregrinus interstellar, it is all about the furthering of research and development into interstellar flight, with studies, projects and educational efforts to be supported by private funding. Working with German science writer Michael Müller, Tibor chose the term peregrinus because, in Hungarian (his native language), the word denotes a wandering student. In Roman times, peregrinus referred to wanderers who had no rights as Roman citizens — strangers in a social sense — but the word also has the connotation of ‘pilgrim.’ Gathering a team of specialists and looking for public support, peregrinus interstellar uses the Internet as its medium in hopes of furthering research and public education, a kind of pilgrimage in its own right and one with potentially celestial rewards.

The community supporting the peregrinus interstellar effort is being built at the PI CLUB site, still under construction, but growing incrementally and reaching out to like-minded people around the globe. Tibor and I have long discussed a renewal of an interstellar bibliography that would gather all work on these topics on a yearly basis and offer a reference for researchers and scholars. Robert Forward and Eugene Mallove produced just such a bibliography many years ago, but just as we currently lack a regular journal of interstellar studies (other than special issues of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society), we also lack a comprehensive research bibliography. Building such things is essential for furthering the effort to make serious advances in propulsion technology.

The last Forward/Mallove bibliography appeared in JBIS in 1980, including 2700 items in seventy subject categories. Forward was an inveterate organizer — at UAH-Huntsville’s Salmon Library, I sifted through copies of his antimatter newsletter, a laborious compilation of all work completed in that field during the interval since the previous newsletter appeared. Forward would gather the resources and circulate the newsletter to several hundred interested physicists, a labor of love that, like the bibliography, saved countless hours of library search time for others.

Today we use online databases for research, enjoying the benefits of computers but often the victim of fragmentary holdings, forcing us to continually widen the search in other databases with still other journals and conference proceedings. Some of these are full-text, some simply consist of abstracts. Even worse, online databases have scant coverage of older materials that can be crucial in developing a sense of how work on a particular topic has progressed over the years. No, we need better, and I’m looking forward to working with people like Tibor as we try to bring interstellar materials up to speed. His work on the PI Library is currently focused on collecting older materials and tweaking the database format that will support a continued and ever updating effort.

Paul Titze July 28, 2008 at 10:35

Even with todays databases, it can difficult getting access to the original paper (especially the older ones). I’ve had on many occasions try to contact the original author(s) if they are still alive, send a cheque to a library so they can photocopy it for me and post it by snail mail etc… some online databases charge $20 to just download a paper! Fortunetly for the physics side, things are pretty good with arXiv…

My other area of interest is Interstellar Navigation and keen to get hold of papers that deal with this subject, anyone got any interesting papers that I missed? I setup a webpage with interesting links to papers on this subject that I found so far but haven’t found much, any suggestions appreciated:

http://wizlab.com/marine/intstelnav.html

Paul.

Tibor July 28, 2008 at 12:24

Paul,

thanks for Your words – warm, friendly and informative, as always.
And, of course, I am more than happy to take the bet – here we go! My money is on the table as well.

Ad astra!

Tibor

Hiro July 28, 2008 at 12:26

How long does this probe have to travel until it reaches the nearest star? 100 years or 1,000 years? Honestly speaking, I think our next goal should be sending a probe to 600 AU from Sol (yeah, it’s the solar focal point) by 2020 and another one to 10,000 AU by 2050. After that, we will think about interstellar missions.

John Hunt July 28, 2008 at 14:48

If next week an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone is found within 20 light-years then 2025 might not be too soon for an interstellar mission launch with public support. EXCEPT that a science probe still makes no sense. I cannot imagine that we could develop the infrastructure and technology to get a survivable probe up to 0.1c by 2025. Or put another way, I can’t imagine people willing to spend the billions (trillions?) to make it happen by 2025. I would have to join Paul’s side anticipating some easy money!

HOWEVER, a mission with the ability to establish humanity on an exoplanet does make sense for an early launch date. 2025 is not too soon to imagine an existential threat (xRisk) to the human race from a designed self-replicating chemical-, bio-, nano-tech, or AI. If we combine a nearby, rocky exoplanet discovery with public awareness of an xRisk then 0.1c, all that infrastructure, and trillions isn’t necessary. A craft able to safely transport frozen embryos making it to Alpha Centauri within 5,000 or so years with automated gestation and rearing addresses the xRisk. A “slow” craft is within reach if we can solve the long-term survivability, automation, and ethical issues.

To me, the thing which might get the public willing to spend the necessary money for an interstellar mission might be to demonstrate a contained xRisk experiment to demonstrate that such risks are real and might happen sooner than later. Provocative idea I realize. But who among us is certain that it is impossible for humanity to develop a self-replicating xRisk before we escape far enough away?

Hans Bausewein July 28, 2008 at 16:37

How much would 500$ be worth in 2025, considering the decline in the past years. (or should I say that the Euro and the energy prices are rising?)

Or does the Long Bets site resolve money devaluation issues?

Hans

Dennis July 28, 2008 at 18:37

Glad to see that I am not the only crazy person who believes to see interstellar mission within next 20 years. So I would rather bet on Tibor’s side!

Administrator July 28, 2008 at 18:40

Tibor, Hans has already raised the devaluation issue! Hmm, I don’t think the Long Bets site has a mechanism in place to handle the changing value of currency. It looks like $500 is the bet no matter what happens…

And let me add that if Tibor wins this bet, I will be absolutely delighted!

Administrator July 28, 2008 at 18:43

John Hunt says:

To me, the thing which might get the public willing to spend the necessary money for an interstellar mission might be to demonstrate a contained xRisk experiment to demonstrate that such risks are real and might happen sooner than later.

Fascinating. And it seems to me that the nature of an xRisk experiment could itself constitute an excellent science fiction plot. This is worth mulling…

Tibor July 29, 2008 at 2:31

Hans, Paul,

this is from the rules of Long Bets:

“…The bet money, treated as a donation to the The Long Now Foundation, must be paid at the time the Bet is made, and is tax-deductible immediately. The entire amount goes into a long-term investment portfolio called the Farsight Fund — its assets are in “Endowments”, a mutual fund managed by Capital Research and Management Company. Half of the growth of that fund is drawn off to The Long Now Foundation, which maintains the Long Bets service; the other half accrues so that the eventual payment to the winner’s preferred charity may be significantly larger than the original bet stakes.”

I think this is a reasonable policy.

The complete rules how bets are working can be read here:
http://www.longbets.org/rules

Tibor

MaDeR July 29, 2008 at 3:54

This is sad to read some comments on this site, as detached of Reality. “craft able to safely transport frozen embryos making it to Alpha Centauri within 5,000 or so years with automated gestation and rearing” with today tech? Yeah, suuure. Especially “automated gestation and rearing”.

Someone would think that this kind of tech will be used on Earth first, for example to remove burden of pregnancy from womens. And we will have artifical wombs in a few decades at EARLIEST. And even then artifical wombs will NOT be capable of “automated gestation and rearing”.

Too much fantasy and wishful thinking, too few rational thoughts and realistic estimations.

Russ Haywood July 29, 2008 at 12:55

by 2025? Yep, it’ll happen. It’s all a question of organization. There’s too much space-gold floating about to ignore. …CIG all the way

Adam Crowl July 29, 2008 at 18:53

Hi All

Tibor’s bet seems overly optimistic, but there’s no inherent reason why a nuclear pulse propelled vehicle couldn’t be launched by then, except for a distinct lack of political will. The “Project Longshot” report is a reasonably plausible near-term design, but is over the 100 year mission time-scale, which is hard to see being actualised unless there was a good reason to collect detailed data on the local ISM and an interstellar encounter was only the secondary mission.

kurt9 July 29, 2008 at 19:39

I think the best approach, based on limited budget, is to do the kind of experimentation that the Earthtech guys are doing. Replication of the Tajmar experiment is one. their attempt to test MOND is another. These appear to be experiments that can be done on a limited budget that possibly open the door to new methods of propulsion.

We can also simply sit back and watch the LHC people do their work. The first task for the LHC is to find the Higgs. The second is to find the lightest of the hypothesized supersymmetry particles that the Standard Model requires. Confirmation of either one of these would falsify the Extended Heim Theory, thus ruling out one possible method of FTL. If the LHC fails to find the Higgs and the lightest supersymmetry particles, the case for Extended Heim Theory is increased enormously. At which time, it makes sense to do the experiment proposed by Droecher and Hauser.

If you’re going to have dedicate organization for interstellar travel, it make sense to have it do experimentation on novel physics ideas than anything else. Cheap commercial space transport is still 1-2 decades away, which will result from the efforts of entrepreneurs. Low cost access to space will, in turn, lead to commercial space activities (space tourism, extraterrestrial resource utilization, space solar power) which will develop over a period of decades. All of this, if it happens, will be the work of entrepreneurs. All of this must happen before there will be any possibility of interstellar travel. For this reason, I think a dedicated organization for this purpose should focus on physics research.

John Hunt July 30, 2008 at 9:58

MaDeR or whoever,

I have no problem with skepticism of the embryo/gestation/rearing (EGR) mission concept. Any thoughful criticism is helpful.

EGR would not use today’s tech but near-term tech meaning the technology which would result after funding program development (say ISS to Project Orion level). This level of funding is dramatically more than what the current research receives. So hopefully greatly increased funding could lead to considerable progress such as we saw with the Human Genome Project.

Since automated gestation and childrearing were particularly mentioned let me direct attention to the following information:

Artificial Uterus:

We hope to create complete artificial wombs using these techniques in a few years,’ said Dr Hung-Ching Liu of Cornell University’s Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility. – February 10, 2002

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/feb/10/medicalscience.research

Liu says she has now grown mouse foetuses in her artificial womb for 17 of their 21—day terms. This is equivalent to about 31 weeks in humans.

However more research is needed before the foetuses become viable.
http://www.mindfully.org/Technology/2005/Faking-Babies-Reproduction19may05.htm

Speech Recognition:

The past decade has witnessed significant progress in speech recognition technology. Word error rates continue to drop by a factor of 2 every two years.

http://cslu.cse.ogi.edu/HLTsurvey/ch1node4.html

Robot Expressing Emotions:

The Kansei robot from Japan offers a whole new level of interactivity, featuring a silicon face mask and 19 movable parts that make him capable of expressing up to three dozen facial expressions in reaction to word associations. He can draw from an online database of half a million words at the moment, and the fact that the database itself is self-updating makes Kansei all the more dynamic.

http://www.ubergizmo.com/15/archives/2007/06/kansei_robot_displays_emotions.html

Also, consider that child-rearing algorithms could be sent to the craft well after the craft was launched using the Deep Space Network. So those algorithms could be as sophisticated as say 70 years of development would allow.

Ron S July 30, 2008 at 11:57

kurt9: “Cheap commercial space transport is still 1-2 decades away, which will result from the efforts of entrepreneurs.”

I hope you’re right, but I am unconvinced. Entrepreneurs can increase the human and materials efficiency of design, construction and launch. What they can’t do is change the chemistry of the propulsion, which is an even greater fraction of operating costs for space ventures than for commercial aviation. This is presently around 35-40% of passenger airline operating costs (due to high fuel costs).

Another way of looking at it is, if all costs other than propulsion were nil, getting to space remains a daunting and costly challenge with chemical rockets. We need new launch technologies (and new physics?) to make space travel both economical and reliable.

kurt9 July 30, 2008 at 14:02

Ron S,

That is my point. Discussion of interstellar travel is meaningless without low cost access to LEO to begin with. If you are right, then it will be longer than 1-2 decades before we have cheap access to space, which reinforces my argument that any organization dedicated to “interstellar travel” should finance and conduct research into new physics.

The amount of energy needed to get into orbit is comparable to the energy needed to fly from LAX to Sydney. The problem is that that energy must be utilized in a 10-20 minute period. This demands a lot of engineering.

James M. Essig July 30, 2008 at 15:07

Hi Folks;

This is a great discussion. A very interesting topic as well.

We have heard of facilities such as the National Ignition Test facility within the U.S. wherein tiny pellets of fusionable fuel will be blasted by intense laser pulses measured in picoseconds of duration. My thinking is that if we can blast such pellets wherein the yield energy is one or more orders of magnitude greater than the impinging laser light energy, perhaps such a system can be adapted to provide propulsive thrust for a manned large-scale fusion rocket that could be designed, assembled in orbit, and then launched in only 25 to 50 years from this date, if not sooner.

The energy to power the laser pulses might come from a nuclear fission reactor whose fuel would be stored in separated pods at a safe distance from each other external to the ship and crew quarters itself. The fusion fuel to effective craft dry weight ratio might be as great as 100 or greater. Terminal velocities as high as 0.1 C to 0.2 C or even higher might be obtained with highly optimized Isp values perhaps approaching 3 million. Electro-dynamic breaking mechanisms could be used to slow the craft down thus avoiding the necessity to carry extra fuel on board for deceleration.

Another method to induce fusion of the fuel pellets might be to either carry onboard from the beginning of the journey or produce in route small quantities of antimatter which could be directed into the fuel pellets to induce thermonuclear fusion. Ideally, dense forms of hydrogen or hydrogen isotopes would be used to increased the effectiveness of the antimatter reactions at causing the entire pellet to fuse.

Alternatively, interstellar hydrogen could be collected from interstellar space such as by some efficient ram-scoop, electro-dynamic ram-scoop, laser augmented ram-scoop, or laser augmented electro-dynamic ram-scoop. Such a system, if the details can be worked, out would permit much higher craft gamma factors than possible with systems that carry all of their fuel on board from the beginning.

Thanks;

Jim

James M. Essig July 30, 2008 at 21:20

Hi Folks;

Yet another take on a potential space craft technology which might be ready for launch to the stars in 25 years is a craft powered by antimatter activated fission fusion pellets wherein say an amount of nuclear fissile fuel on the order of grams is surrounded by tens of grams of fusion fuel such as hydrogen, deuterium, lithium deuteride, helium -3, and the like fusion fuel.

Accordingly, a relatively small number of anti-protons would be injected into or released within the center of or other appropriate locations within the central fission fuel seed core wherein the reaction of the antiprotons with the high atomic mass nuclei would cause the nuclei to fission with enough neutron release and neutron capture events in order to cause the seed to reach super-criticality which would then provide heat to cause the fussile outer layer(s) to fuse.

A fission-fusion seed as such with mass of about 100 grams would have a yield of about 10 kilotons which is roughly the yield of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Perhaps a fission-fusion seed with a mass of only 10 grams would produce a more manageable 1 kiloton yield detonation.

Whatever the size and yield of the seeds, they could be detonated within large magnetic mirror and/or electric force mirror rocket cones for efficient forward craft propulsion.

I have come to the conclusion that a fusion rocket is a fusion rocket whether the fuel is reacted continuously within an electro-dynamic thrusting mechanism or whether the fuel is fused in batch mode such as in the fusion seed concept just described. Since we already know a lot about nuclear fission and fusion, it seems to me that a huge effort to develop such a batch mode fusion rocket might be our best bet for reaching the stars, in fact, manned missions to the many stars within a 20 LY radius of Earth this very century.

Thanks;

Jim

kurt9 July 31, 2008 at 13:04

We’re not going to go until with get the travel time down to around 40-50 years. A 50 year period is a short enough one that the guys back home are less likely to develop some kind of FTL while you are en-route. Even if the boys back home do invent warp drive, your still only out of a few decades of lost time, which isn’t so bad.

At 0.1c, one can make Alpha Centauri in about 50 years. I would say any practical method of getting up to maybe 0.2c would be used.

george scaglione July 31, 2008 at 14:04

paul,jim,everybody above,so, an intrerstellar mission in just 17 years?! not impossible as long as we are not assuming a crew which as great as it would be would without doubt complicate the issue.funny thing not too long ago i myself predicted the first mission to the stars by 2075. imho a much more reasonable date taking into account that science goes forward exponentially.as i recall i predicted a crew ,however a crew in suspended animation.however,even an unmanned mission by 2025? i wish that all the best of luck to! a great precursor to what i have in mind without doubt. very respectfully my friends, george

John Hunt August 3, 2008 at 14:07

Adam,

I was unable to locate a price tag for Project Longshot to see if it was reasonable as a near-term mission. Let me know if you find that estimated cost. I did some of my own calculations. I realize that they are not accurate but just trying to get a ballpark figure.

Project Longshot
264 metric tonnes – Helium-3/Deuterium pellet fuel/propellant.
132 metric tonnes – Non-propellent craft mass.

ISS
450 metric tonnes = ISS
Cost of the ISS = Approx $100 billion
Therefore cost of Project Longshot craft (design, launch, & assembly) = $59 billion

Cost of He-3 Fuel
It is not clear to me where Project Longshot proposed to get it’s He-3.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19890007533_1989007533.pdf
“Obviously, the option of picking up fuel mined from the atmosphere of Jupiter would be impractical because of high cost and complication.”

Using Cassini mass/$ transportations costs I estimate it would cost $151 billion to transport 264 tonnes of He-3 from Jupiter. Not including extraction/processing costs.

At any rate it seems that a Project Longshot would cost hundreds of billions of dollars or perhaps closer to a trillion dollars.

———-

Also, “the reactor would power a number of lasers in the engine that would be used to ignite inertial confinement fusion”

This sounds like what they have yet to accomplish at the National Ignition Facility. Imagine having a space ship the mass of that facility: https://lasers.llnl.gov/missions/images/nif.jpg

———-

I wonder if there is a simpler, less expensive, less risky interstellar mission design. In my mind if we can lay aside the .1c-or-so criteria then everything becomes a lot more doable. But, of course this means longer mission times which puts the science return rationale for the mission under question. This is why I advocate a preservation-of-humanity rationale instead.

————–

Also, I got these figures from Cosmic Log:

$104 billion – The Vision for Space Exploration starting with the moon
$100 billion – International Space Station
$13 billion – ITER experimental fusion project
$10 billion – The Superconducting Super Collider (canceled in 1993)
$8.0 billion – The Large Hadron Collider
$3.4 billion – The National Ignition Facility
$800 million – Twin Mars Exploration Rovers
$365 million – Laser Interferometry Gravitational-Wave Observatory

I suggest that we set $100 billion the most we could reasonably expect for funding of an interstellar mission if a biosignature were found or more if some nearly existential threat occurred.

Administrator August 3, 2008 at 14:21

Interesting figures! Longshot was an academic exercise (performed at the US Naval Academy), and to my knowledge never went past that, which may account for the lack of follow-ups re price tags, etc. I’ve got a copy of the original report here and it’s quite basic. And you’re right, John, that the project assumed a propulsion method that has yet to be demonstrated, and one that would raise huge issues in terms of mass. Getting the mass down seems to me the key to a future flyby probe, and I suspect we’re talking nanotech enormously evolved from where it is today, allowing a tiny payload.

The reaction of the public to a biosignature detection will be fascinating to watch. An initial burst of enthusiasm, to be sure, but what then? Like you, I favor the preservation of the species motivation beyond all others.

John Hunt August 4, 2008 at 1:21

Paul,

I’m glad to read that you also favor the preservaton of the species motivation. It is entirely possible that there could be some non-interstellar methods to preserve humanity. But from an interstellar perspective it seems to me that there are roughly four categories of solutions:
1) Nanotech –> Construct humans from an information system,
2) Frozen embryos, automated gestation, & rearing (EGR),
3) Suspended animation, and
4) Living crew or population

I believe that EGR or maybe suspension is closest to today’s technology. The mass and energy requirements would favor Nanotech & EGR. Also Nanotech & EGR would avoid the risk of crew loss.

Nanotech could be accelerated to a significant % of the speed of light. But, if nanotech were able to produce humans from scratch might it be too late? Wouldn’t advanced nanotech be well beyond the point of being able to produce any number of novel nanotech viruses?

Nanotech could be combined with EGR in that early nanotech could produce the energy, air, water, food, and maybe habitat for the people produced from frozen embryos. But if you have to launch enough mass to provide a magnetic field protection of the embryos against cosmic rays might you by necessity have to be in the kg instead of microgram range? If so, then why wait for even early nanotech? Why not design near-term equipment which would produce life-support and habitat? Also, childrearing systems would be much easier to build at equipment scale than from nanotech.

—————

We need a fundable, plausible, reference mission ready to present to the public during the inital burst of enthusiasm. If, as I suspect, we don’t find biosignatures then we still need to present a reference mission plan for a nearby Mars-like but still habitable planet outside of Sol system.

george scaglione August 4, 2008 at 10:21

john,paul, was very glad to read the above.even the price tags though large do not seem to be by todays methods of reckoning too large or “over the top”. the vision for space exploration seems a real bargin at 104 billion.was very glad to see suspended animaton mentioned above because as we can also see above it is part of my own vision/guesstimate for the first crewed probe by 2075.would not mind getting anyones ideas on that by the way if you agree or not.it is so good to have a place to shoot the breeze about ideas like this with likeminded friends. all the best, george

John Hunt August 5, 2008 at 1:29

George,

Let me take you up on your request for ideas on your 2075 crewed mission concept. I tried to search for where you might have previously articulated your concept but was unable to find it. Feel free to give me more details so that I can respond better.

I suspect that you are suggesting using a hibernating crew which could periodically awake to “fix problems in mid-flight”. Every concept has it’s pros and cons. As I see it, the pros are:
- reduced life-support needs compared to “warm” crew,
– intelligent maintenance,
– last-minute decision making of course change (e.g. within the solar system),
– a consenting adult at destination, and
– no need for automated construction of habitat, food, & some other life support materials.

The cons are:
- uncertainty if long-term, safe hibernation is achievable by 2075,
– multi-ton mass and large launch energy needs,
– fair risk to the life of the crew,
– cosmic radiation issues, and
– micrometeorite shielding (if traveling at high speeds).

Pro or con (depending upon what missions it is compared to):
- waiting until 2075 to buy the “insurance policy” against an existential risk (xRisk)

Perhaps you can think up more pros and cons.

Regarding Hibernation:
H2S induces a form of hibernation in mice but not in sheep:
http://www.depressedmetabolism.com/2007/11/12/hydrogen-sulfide-does-not-induce-hypometabolism-in-sheep/

My guess is that by 2075 and with decent funding we could find a way of reducing human metabolism to true hibernation levels but that we still won’t be able to completely freeze and safely recover people by that time. So I think that such a mission would need to have continuous, low-energy life-support which could break down and would need highly efficient closed systems. Also, I doubt that by 2075 we could extend the lifespan of astronauts to cover a 1,000+ year trip. Having children in space would ethically require that they be awake and raised by an adult which would undo the benefits of hibernation.

Trying to get the mission duration to <200 years (the lifetime of one astronaut using 2075 life-extension technology) would mean launching the craft in smaller parts and at rather high speeds. I think that the costs of launch would be prohibitive even at 2075.

So my overall assessment is that a hibernating crew mission at 2075 is probably not realistic. I look forward to your response.

george scaglione August 5, 2008 at 15:43

john thank you very much for your highly intelligent and well thought out response to my idea that we might have a crew going to the stars in suspended animation by 2075.the reason i thought 2075 to be possible was that 2075 is 67 years off and science tends to move along in a exponential fashion,i mean just look how faar we have come since,say,shephards sub orbital flight in 1961 ! i very much liked and agree with your pro’s list.as for con’s,well i was hopeing for a somewhat less than 1000yr. plus trip.that in and of itself seems a little over the top.if i am right then we had better get to work on some serious new forms of propulsion to get us there! but come to think of it those may take quite a little while to develop.would you agree that the biggest part of the problem is trying to cross interstellar distances!? lol and respectfully…maybe we can not do this by 2075 after all because the more i think about it the more problems seem to turn up.but as i said above one never knows if,if,if something really fantastic did turn up…like warp speed ala star trek or one of my favorites traversable worm hole as in the book contact by carl sagan – then maybe we would get somewhere. i am pretty much blue skying as is my habit in an attempt to get everybody to think about potential ways to solve these problems.keeping my fingers crossed and thank you again i will look forward to your ideas.all the very best, george

hiro August 7, 2008 at 14:18

George,
I think a robotic mission by 2075 should be the best estimation about interstellar travel. By 2075, I think we have some robots/computers that are smarter than human beings, so sending them to stars around 5-25 light years from Sol is more realistic than a man mission. Hopefully we have some kind of advanced propulsions like fusion rocket or post-modern solar-sail which can travels at least 0.1c; anyway, even though the probability of interstellar travel by 2025 is less than 5%, it’s still a good discussion.

george scaglione August 7, 2008 at 21:43

hiro,ok man thanks for your remarks.yes i can see your idea and it is not a bad one.a very advanced robotic mission powered by say fusion in the year 2075 may just be after all more possible than one with a crew.kinda got that idea too from my discussion above with john hunt.still what i guessed at would be so cool but lol just maybe not possible.thank you very much for your thoughts.your friend george

Hugh September 16, 2008 at 3:58

Many are seeing the LHC as a test of Heim – e.g. the Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/09/anton_wylie_lhc/print.html
Reading up on Higgs and Superstring: it really is do or die on the LHC, since if they’re not found in this mass rage then the Supersymmetry is broken so much that nasty fermion-boson transitions should happen very often, giving a violation of conservation of fermion number or muon number etc. that is NOT see in reality, in all the countless runs on accelerators in the past.

But even if a particle with mass near the Higgs is found, there’s no reason to abondon the Heim propulsion concept, as it is fairly independent of the mass equation aspect of the theory. And Tajmar acknowledges Heim’s achievement in predicting his effect many years ago, which is why he refers to Droscher & Hauser in his papers as one of 2 or 3 possible mechanisms – the others being rather arbitrary and ugly paste-ons to the standard model.

David A. Hardy October 8, 2009 at 9:32

I’d love Tibor to be right (and of course I have painted many interstellar missions and alien target planets!), but considering that it is 40 years since we first went to the Moon, and we have not yet been back – and yes, I know this is an unmanned mission, but this actually reduces its attractiveness to the public – I’m not optimistic. I guess I’ve just got used to the idea that everything in space exploration is going to take longer than we hoped it would, back in the 50s and 60s. . .

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