Beyond Star Trek: physics from alien invasions to the end of by Lawrence M. Krauss

By Lawrence M. Krauss

Lawrence Krauss takes a provocative examine how the legislation of physics relate to notions from our pop culture - not just megastar Trek, yet different movies, indicates, and well known lore - from Independence Day to superstar Wars to The X-Files. subscribe to him on a enjoyable, mind-bending trip throughout the nature of alien visitation, interstellar go back and forth - together with the very most modern on warp-drive structures - time, recognition, ESP, the chance of different lifestyles within the universe, and quantum fact.

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In this case, the initial mass of the ship plus fuel would be about 55 times the mass of the ship without fuel. In practice, things are even worse than this "rocket equation" predicts, since a ship designed to carry a disproportionately large volume of fuel will doubtless have to be sturdier than it would otherwise have to be, and will therefore weigh more. It is generally impossible to carry enough fuel to move a ship faster than 3 or 4 times the velocity of the propellant. It gets worse still.

One can show explicitly in the context of general relativity that the following is possible in principle: Say you want to travel to the nearest star but don't relish 42 THEY'LL BE COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN... spending 10,000 years in a rocket ship. Well then, all you have to do is travel a little more than 3/4 of the way to the Moon, to the point where the Moon's gravitational pull balances that of the Earth, and you can remain at rest there with your engines off. Now arrange for the space between you and the nearest star—all 4 lightyears worth of it—to collapse in, say, 1 second, while the space between you and the Earth, formerly only about 180,000 miles, now expands correspondingly in the same short period of time.

But it takes at least 1,000 years for this signal to spread across the region. Thus, while you could (in principle) travel arbitrarily fast once the warp front started to collapse, the "countdown" to takeoff would last 1,000 years. I suppose there is some comfort in being able to spend the 1,000 years waiting in comfortable surroundings instead of sitting inside a cramped spacecraft, but the end result is the same. However you slice it, you can never get from "here" to "there" in less than 1,000 years from the time you first 44 THEY'LL BE COMIN' ROUND THE MOUNTAIN...

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