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 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 1
Interstellar (And Intergalactic) TravelPage 1 of 1    
Imagine that you are living many years in the future when technology may have advanced to the point where it is possible to construct spaceships that can accelerate to nearly the speed of light. Then, because of time dialation that occurs at such relativistic speeds (and depending on how much acceleration your body is able to tolerate), you would have the ability to travel almost anywhere in the universe in a relatively short period of time. (However, what seems to you as a "short period of time" could be many many centuries of "Earth time".)

Such a futuristic civilization would probably split itself into two totally separate societies:

A - The "Terries" would be the society that never leaves good old "Terra Firma". They would choose to spend their entire lives remaining on (or near) the Earth.

B - The "Rellies" would be the society that chooses to live most of their lives travelling the universe at "relativistic speeds".

These two societies would probably snub each other completely. (After all, what good would it do to start a relationship with someone you will never see again in your lifetime?)

Now, we're already pretty familiar with the Terries' way of life. (We've been living it for many thousands of years. ) But what about the Rellies? How might they interact with each other?

I suspect that the Rellies would probably establish some kind of permanent "central message board" where they could post information about where and when they plan to be. For example, a typical message might be: "If anyone is interested in meeting me for lunch, I will be on the second planet in the Canopus star system at noon (GMT) on 2987 November 19 (Earth Time)*. I'll show some of the pictures that I took on my recent trip to Sirius. Hope you can make it!"

An interested Rellie who arrives at the message board might see the above posting and exclaim, "Yeah! I can just make it if I leave right now!" So he'd quickly accelerate to near-light speed and, after a few hours of his time, he'd arrive at Canopus just in time for the luncheon.

When he's finished eating, he says goodby and start his trip back to the message board. After a few more hours of his time have elapsed, he arrives back at the board to see if any new messages about where to go for supper have been posted since he last visited that message board 150 years ago!
___________________________________________

* (By "Earth Time" I mean the time at which
a pulse of light would reach the specified
destination if it were to be sent from
the Earth at the specified date/time.)

___________________________________________

The previous discussion about the "Rellies" might seem a little far-fetched, because it required that their human bodies be able to withstand the tremendous acceleration forces that would have to be endured in order to quickly reach near-light speed. But even using "acceptable" accelerations (and consequently somewhat longer time intervals), the fundamental concepts discussed would still be valid. (And at the the risk of sounding like some kind of "UFO nut-case", how do we know that a scenario, similar to the one that was depicted, isn't alreading taking place somewhere in the universe? )
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 2
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Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/4/2009 6:17:20 PM
Imagine that you are living many years in the future when technology may have advanced to the point where it is possible to construct spaceships that can accelerate to nearly the speed of light. Then, because of time dialation that occurs at such relativistic speeds (and depending on how much acceleration your body is able to tolerate), you would have the ability to travel almost anywhere in the universe in a relatively short period of time. (However, what seems to you as a "short period of time" could be many many centuries of "Earth time".)


Such a futuristic civilization would probably split itself into two totally separate societies:

A - The "Terries" would be the society that never leaves good old "Terra Firma". They would choose to spend their entire lives remaining on (or near) the Earth.

B - The "Rellies" would be the society that chooses to live most of their lives travelling the universe at "relativistic speeds".

These two societies would probably snub each other completely. (After all, what good would it do to start a relationship with someone you will never see again in your lifetime?)

Now, we're already pretty familiar with the Terries' way of life. (We've been living it for many thousands of years. ) But what about the Rellies? How might they interact with each other?
Great question, Mister Logic. I thought about something like this, a while back, when I was reading Asimov's robot stories. What I realised, was that say that you were a Rellie boy, who met a Rellie girl on another Rellie ship. You might meet her once. But then you might never meet her again, because by the time you did, she might be dead. That would be incredibly annoying, as it would preclude any possibility of long-distance relationships, or long-distance friendships. It would also make trading between Rellie ships virtually impossible, because all trading relies on some level of trust, and you could not form long-term relationships between Rellie ships. Even if all Rellie ships wanted to be honest in trade, because of the time dilation, there is no guarantee that you would not end up trading with your grandchildren's generation, who have abandoned the idea of trust, and gone for "caveat vendor", "seller beware". So there is no way to form long-term relationships with other ships. In the end, I expect that all Rellie ships would end up being completely distrustful of each other. But spaceships need supplies. So in the end, they would have to settle on a planet, or they would either have to develop technology that allowed them to refuel ALL their requirements whenever they wanted. But with such technology, they could be travelling for generations. Things would run out, and over the course of time, they would run out of essentials, or they would encounter super-fast miniature asteroids that would rip through the hull, or end up too close to a black hole, so I think that over time, ALL Rellie ships would either end up settling, or die out. There would probably always be people on planets who wanted to travel through space. But they would be the minority on any one ship, and the experiences of the majority would be to be distrustful of everyone else, including all other members of all other Rellie ships, and anyone who was a Terrie, or like them, which would be anyone who had settled on a planet. For the same reasons as Terries would distrust Rellies, the settlers would distrust other Rellies, especially as they would be the descendants of Rellies who don't trust any other Rellies anyway.

So in the end, I think many of the Rellie ships would settle on planets, and each planet would mistrust any Rellies, and any other planets, and the Rellies would similarly distrust any other Rellie ships, and any settlers on any planets.

I suspect that the Rellies would probably establish some kind of permanent "central message board" where they could post information about where and when they plan to be. For example, a typical message might be: "If anyone is interested in meeting me for lunch, I will be on the second planet in the Canopus star system at noon (GMT) on 2987 November 19 (Earth Time)*. I'll show some of the pictures that I took on my recent trip to Sirius. Hope you can make it!"

An interested Rellie who arrives at the message board might see the above posting and exclaim, "Yeah! I can just make it if I leave right now!" So he'd quickly accelerate to near-light speed and, after a few hours of his time, he'd arrive at Canopus just in time for the luncheon.

When he's finished eating, he says goodby and start his trip back to the message board. After a few more hours of his time have elapsed, he arrives back to the board to see if any new messages about where to go for supper have been posted since he last visited that message board 150 years ago!
Each message on a central message board would also be limited to the speed of light, which would get harder and harder to read, the further out you went, and beyond a certain distance, would be impossible to pick up. So if Rellies wanted to read the message board, they'd have to keep going back to the area where the messages were sent, say withing 1 light-year of the Central Message Board. That would severely limit the range of how far the Rellies would be able to travel, and still stay in communication. In the end, it would defeat the purpose of being a Rellie.

Another option might be to make multiple message boards on multiple planets. That way, they could function as a sort of long-range internet. But there would still be a huge time lag. At best, it might foster shared experiences between others in the same general area. But you'd have a similar problem as with the Central Message Board. You wouldn't get most of your messages. So in the end, it would only be useful for posting general tips for the area, like: "Don't go to this sector, there is a black hole there", or "Visit this planet, it's got fantastic beaches".

Also, if we take evolution into account, then over time, we might find that Terries and Rellies become entirely different species. Rellies on different ships might also evolve so much, that they are nothing alike as well. It might be interesting if you met up with another ship, only to discover that you are talking to an intelligent****oach.
 Morpheal
Joined: 12/27/2008
Msg: 3
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Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/4/2009 6:37:28 PM
Odd, I had a bit of discussion with someone about something similar, yesterday.

Relativistic speeds is usually understood as meaning at light speed or faster than light.

That isn't necessary.

You can travel at speeds much slower than that, and travel greater distances in a five dimensional space-time matrix
such as the one in which we actually exist. It is the nature of the field that enables travel that makes interstellar travel
possible, not the velocity relative to an Earthbound observer.

Star Trek's warp drives don't stand a chance.

I'll pretend I am still having that drink that I was drinking last night. ;->

Morpheal
 hellgremlin
Joined: 5/23/2009
Msg: 4
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Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/4/2009 7:15:24 PM
Discussions like these make me feel I was born a few centuries too early.
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 5
Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/4/2009 7:24:48 PM

...it would be impossible to keep in contact as a society while travelling large distances in the universe. The societies would have to stick together very closely, otherwise they would be lost to each other in different times.

But there is no reason why ALL the Rellies have to regard themselves as belonging to only a SINGLE community. There could be HUNDREDS of separate sub-communities, each with its own jointly agreed upon times of returning to the message board. Then each individual Rellie could go his own separate way... and then meet back at the message board at that agreed upon time to rejoin his group. OR he could choose to return to the board at some other time and thereby join up with one of the other sub-communities that will be meeting there. (There could be much "sub-community hopping" taking place. So an individual Rellie would not have to remain "stuck" with only his initial group if he didn't want to.)
 AppleGeek
Joined: 9/26/2006
Msg: 6
Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/4/2009 8:14:04 PM
If you had the technology to produce an engine capable of propelling a spacecraft to a significant percentage of C you wouldn't need to. You'd build a star instead, it would take less energy. Or build a planet sized space habitat and set it adrift across space. Thats why all the interstellar scifi worlds all have some form of FTL. Without it traveling takes to long or takes too much energy. There's no point in burning the energy equivalent of a star to send 4 people anywhere.
 nipoleon
Joined: 12/27/2005
Msg: 7
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Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/5/2009 5:03:11 AM
Traveling significantly close to the speed of light in the Newtonian fashion is certainly flat impossible and actually pretty inconvenient.

It would be possible to travel great distances in real time both for the travelers and those left at home by manipulating gravity and stretching space. If only we knew how to do that.
 CerebralRomantic
Joined: 3/2/2009
Msg: 8
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Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/5/2009 5:03:59 PM
There is actually already several books based around this particular concept and involving the crossover interactions of these two separate societies. One particularly involved the harvesting of new members of what you call the "rellie" society, as supposedly reletavistic speeds also left them sterile.

Time dillation is always a facinating topic.
 CerebralRomantic
Joined: 3/2/2009
Msg: 9
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Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/5/2009 5:05:24 PM
Are, 'there are.' Scentance structure is a little off today.
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 10
Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/6/2009 11:43:21 AM

The previous discussion about the "Rellies" might seem a little far-fetched, because it required that their human bodies be able to withstand the tremendous acceleration forces that would have to be endured in order to quickly reach near-light speed. But... at the the risk of sounding like some kind of "UFO nut-case", how do we know that a scenario, similar to the one that was depicted, isn't alreading taking place somewhere in the universe?

As I've indicated before, I am neither a believer nor a disbeliever in the idea that our small planet might be experiencing visitations by extraterrestrial entities. (I am an "open-minded agnostic" on that issue... with slight leanings toward the "nay" side of the fence.) But many UFO sightings tell of objects in the sky that can suddenly make sharp right-angle turns, or objects that hover motionless for a few seconds... and then quickly fly out of sight. If these observations are true, then those objects must certainly be capable of withstanding very high accelerations. And if that is the case...

(I think it was Arthur C. Clarke who said something like "Either there is other life in the universe, or there is not. Either way, the implications are profound.")
 yna6
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 11
Interstellar (And Intergalactic) Travel
Posted: 7/7/2009 10:45:48 AM
Try "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"...the series. It would explain a lot of these things to you.
Sure...we "could" see two distinct societies, but where's the money in that? Could a ship load up on trade goods or technology and return to earth in order to trade or make money off it?
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