Thursday, May 13, 2010 5:24:30 PM
There's another problem too - time dilation. If you have ships flying around at high enough speeds to get anywhere in any sort of sane amount of time, time dilation is going to wreak havoc with any sort of plans. A ship would leave, fly around for a few years and return to find that millenia had passed for their home planet/space station/whatever.
A completely different approach would be needed, one that in some way takes the ship out of what we think of as reality and sticks in back in again somewhere else.
Thursday, May 13, 2010 1:22:49 AM
What information we DO have certainly points to a high probability that life has the potential to exist.
That said, IF alien sentience DOES exist, we still haven't seen anything in science that would let them get here in a reasonable time. Most stars are at least a thousand light years away. As long as the speed of light is a limiter, nobody is going anywhere.
There`s another problem too, any speed more than 1/10th the speed of light will be constantly colliding with itty bitty bits of things that won`t be going nearly as fast.
So the energy of something the size of a penny that collides with something going very fast is ENORMOUS. You`re an instant fireball.
Even though space is sparse, I wouldn`t be surprised if the surrounding medium acts like a liquid at those speeds, that means a large energy expenditure to overcome the effects of friction and you`d likely have to carry your own fuel...