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Proxima Centauri b

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I've seen endless discussions of how travel to even the nearest star system (the trinary Alpha & Proxima a & b Centauri star system, 4.26 light years, or 25,042,890,712,032 miles from here--yeah, over 25 trillion miles) is impossible with known technology.

However, there are a few books (including this and this)out there that show how it may be possible without even trying to use that "warp" approach by physicist Miguel Alcubierre, or building a generation ship that would travel for thousands of years at the usual velocities possible today with existing technology. The first "trick" is to generate a field within the ship that would allow acceleration and deceleration on the order of 100-140g, numbers that would normally splatter the passengers all over the inside of the ship. But within such a field, there would be no inertial effect. The second "trick" is to get to near light speed velocity. Each of the books cited point the way this might be accomplished.

Therefore, acceleration to 0.99999 of the speed of light would allow a trip to the Centauri system in on the order of 6 weeks, with the time for the Earth observer of about 4.69 years. In the Hill book cited above, trips at the same velocity to systems within 100 light years could be accomplished in less than a year (with the Earth observer time running up to 110 years--opening up the possibility of colony ships sent to ensure the survival of humanity).

Most discussions of interstellar travel only ever use the observer time to discourage the idea of near-light speed travel. They never use the traveler's time, because that suddenly suggests it would be feasible, if the acceleration/deceleration issue and the speed issue could be overcome (as suggested in those books - too weird for the space travel "Eyores" out there). The only other serious hurdle would be radiation shielding, something most sci-fi ignores. But even that has been shown to be possible.

So, now we are finding exoplanets "nearby" that might be habitable. And there is better technology for finding planets on the way.

Cool stuff. And it isn't as "pie-in-the-sky" as previously thought.

Ambrose
 
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