Deterrents to Interstellar Travel

  • Inefficiency and Terminal Velocity

[To accelerate a projectile must lose part of itself. With cars that might mean combustible fuel. But transports can only accelerate as long as they can shove their matter out behind them in an action/reaction event.]

We know that our transportation/projectile system must lose available energy in order to accelerate to a higher velocity. As this occurs, more acceleration means a loss of efficiency. (If you drive 80 mph, then you’ll use more gas (or electricity) than if you cover the same distance at a lower speed).

So as we try to force our rocket ship toward the nearest star system from Sol, we reach a terminal velocity at which our speed remains constant. This is what I call inefficient travel.

But you might say, wait a minute, if we don’t accelerate, we’ll never arrive at our target within our lifetime. And you’re probably right.

The other more efficient option is to accelerate more slowly, maybe using gravitational pathways.

It is known that equations covering acceleration to near light speeds translate into curving space like a large mass (maybe more massive than your ship started out). You might see the push back from outer space as you sink into a self-made gravitational well due to special relativity.

So space gives transports a terminal velocity when it eventually gets somewhat warped/curved by the transports relatively higher mass at maximum acceleration. It could be that as your ship uses up its available energetic energy, it ceases to be able to do anything which is consistent with becoming more massive.

Okay so, at some point, our projectile becomes a gravitational well (or special relativistic wells suggested by “dark matter” data). Does it still progress toward our neighbor star system at constant velocity, or does it start to decelerate as it becomes more “massive?” What affects the terminal velocity of our spaceship/transport?

Terminal velocity means the maximum velocity an object can have, where inefficiency in propulsion becomes great.

  • Terminal velocity

Now that we know about the inefficiency of travel at accelerated speeds, we know there are vestiges of energetic energy that act like our resisting atmosphere when something falls through it. These vestiges of energetic energy in outer space are very small energy packets with nonzero rest masses. They may be so energetic, and everywhere at once, that they produce universal tension between areas of expansion and contracting gravitational wells.

When there is something in the way of expansion or movement then there is a resistance (for example: jumping into a pool of water from the pools edge is nothing like jumping into the pool from 100 feet above it).

The faster you move with respect to something in your way, the more whatever that thing is will resist you. Any flow can be resisted (there is resistance in electrical flow that grows with the density (or complexity?) of the conductor).

We can speak of these resisting materials: gas, liquid, solid, but what resists movement in outer space. I will let others speculate about naming the energy packets out there that resist accelerating movement through them (that result in terminal velocities, like that of photons at v = c). Since nothing can be measured at zero in our universe, there is always some residual out there. I believe this residual energetic energy is what resists EM energetic particle/energy-packets (like photons, or any other system accelerating into it).

So, let’s think about the difference between a highly curved object (meaning an approximately small sphere) and a large sphere or curved surface forcing its way through this residual energy in outer space.

If we think of this residual like a fluid, we’ll see that these residual energy packets will take the path of least resistance (around the highly curved gravity well, or other highly curved space). But, as the surface of a spaceship (for example) impacts this residual, there is a greater resistance as the residual cannot get out of its way. So in considering terminal velocities of objects, we have to consider how difficult we make it to flow against something versus getting out of its way. There is less resistance of fluid flow the smaller the object. (That is why aerodynamic high velocity machines are designed with highly curved, pointed fronts that face into the wind).

The above suggests that terminal velocities in outer space vary depending on the size of the object resisted. So what is the terminal velocity of our spaceships if they provide a much larger front to movement through space? Their terminal velocities are probably much less than c. The terminal velocity of our ship (or probe) is important, because it determines how long it will take us to get to Proxima Centauri’s goldilocks planet (if it exists).

By this line of thinking, our spaceship accelerates to its terminal velocity in space and then it can accelerate no more. The math says as our spaceship accelerates through space, its relationship with the space it impacts creates a higher curvature and higher mass than its rest mass. At terminal velocity through other fluids, the projectile continues to move only at that velocity. It cannot accelerate further (even if it has energy to do that). It is not just the fuel it carries that determines its ability to increase velocity, but the resistance to its movement in outer space that dominates).

  • Massive objects in outer space

In the same way the expanding, residual energetic energy in space takes the path of least resistance around small particles/energy-packets/high-curvature-objects, the universe expands around and away from them. Why do I say “away from them?” Because the denser the object, the more difficulty it has of being moved as the universe expands (it may be that the universe expands very little between us and Proxima. At least, we hope so, or interstellar travel would be near impossible for us). For an explanation of how we can think about the inertia (resistance to movement) of dense and massive objects read below about the oscillation of matter.

  • Oscillation of Matter

It became clear in my experiments with two-phase droplets that they can look perfectly circular (interfacial tension can dominate the movement of their centers of gravity at the first instability or offset).

As the cg becomes offset from the centroid of the droplet (always the case since there is always residual oscillatory behavior (no zero)), the radius of fluid sees a different change of pressure (in the form of a sine wave where there is a crest and a trough (about the 360 of the droplet)).

The above is probably the answer to the question: How can a particle also be a wave (because the particle is what we see as a local phenomenon (rest mass), and the wave is what the distribution experiences (Yes, that does mean that all systems in our universe react based on their own perspectives/experiences-of-flow).

The less massive a particle becomes, the more space it carves out with its oscillation, meaning it covers lots of ground in its oscillation, that unlike our two-phase droplets or more massive objects, to us, it has statistically distributed itself within a space. That is why it looks like nothing is there, but there is something there (just not here and just not now), because of the volumes any system sweeps out.

One cannot separate form from function.

2 thoughts

  1. So is it impossible to travel, in a lifetime in human years, to say the nearest stars which are light years away. And if this is true, it would also be impossible for alien life from outside our solar system to travel to earth?

  2. We could go interstellar more efficiently in generation ships. [ORPHANS OF THE SKY by Heinlein gives a good, though, sometimes, humorous example]
    Humans could and would do that, and probably another very social race might. Personally, I think there are other connections between ourselves and whatever aliens are out there (EM signals). No one wants to be alone.

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