Will space travel exist at some point?
Yes, with star wars technology and everything!
47.1% (99)
47.1% (99)
Yes, but only slow space travel (no hyperdrives)
48.6% (102)
48.6% (102)
No, for the reasons extra credits mentioned.
4.3% (9)
4.3% (9)
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Poll: Why I think space travel will never be a reality

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Extra credits did a nice episode where they explain why humanity has not discovered any alien life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF4D4k2AVLA

I feel that the reasons of "its too expensive/impractical" and "everyone dies before it happens" are the most realistic ones. I don't doubt that aliens exist, I just don't buy the idea that space travel will ever be anything else then a fantasy. I think the human race will continue to grow more advanced for some time. Perhaps centuries, perhaps for some thousands of years. But at some point, something will happen that will destroy us and kill us all.

Do you disagree and think space travel will become possible somehow in the future?

That's all well and good, but technically it's already possible.

Unless we're talking about interstellar/intergalactic space travel. In which case, I don't really have the schooling necessary to say one way or the other, but will point out that the cost or practicality of something has never really stopped humans from pursuing it in the past and I doubt we'll die out before we're advanced enough to do something crazy in space.

Space travel is already a reality and has been for decades, do you mean interplanetary or interstellar travel? I'm fairly optimistic about our long-term prospects for colonising the solar system, there's many times the rare metals and elements out there floating in space as there is on Earth and when it eventually becomes economical to mine them... there's going to be a boom in space travel for sure. Private companies need to take over to drive down costs, however.

Interstellar travel on the other hand, that's harder to predict. If our current physics theories are correct about matter being limited to the speed of light and there don't turn out to be any get-arounds like hyperspace or wormholes, then it'll take years to travel between even the closest stars. I can see it still happening, but mainly groups of humans heading out to make a new life for themselves on other worlds with little or no contact with Earth rather than a galactic civilisation as often depicted in Sci-Fi. If there's more to physics than we currently think however, who can say where we'll be in a few centuries time?

We made it to the moon on computers weaker than your average cell phone from five years ago. With the proper motivation, we could be on Mars within the next few years. But without a catalyst like the Cold War to spark another technological race, we're moving at a slower pace as we research long term goals and ramifications.

The most likely scenario (excluding some massive discovery that means we can travel faster than the speed of light) is that we get into space gradually, with lunar/mars/asteroid colonies. Interstellar colonisation is more of an issue as space is fucking massive. It will either take a lot of time for ships to get there (like in Star Trek) or we won't bother at all.

Also, 3D printing is a potential gamechanger. If we can use materials from asteroids to build ships in space, that will reduce the cost of space travel a lot.

There is one thing you guys are all forgetting: Natural disasters.

Considering how often super disasters have happened over the course of history (super volcanos, asteroids etc) I think those will kill us before we have any chance to get to other planets. It also explains why aliens have never come to us. They died because of disasters before it could happen.

Soviet Heavy:
We made it to the moon on computers weaker than your average cell phone from five years ago. With the proper motivation, we could be on Mars within the next few years. But without a catalyst like the Cold War to spark another technological race, we're moving at a slower pace as we research long term goals and ramifications.

Proper motivation could be closer than you think, China is attempting to join in the superpower dickwaving competition with manned missions and unmanned rovers on the moon.

Of course they really need to work on quality control before attempting any sort of extra-planetary operation that involves humans, especially if their 'rabbit' didn't survive the night.

We'd already have it if we weren't still focused on the problems here. Once countries stop being paranoid of one another, maybe then money can be put into expanding space travel.

Esotera:
The most likely scenario (excluding some massive discovery that means we can travel faster than the speed of light) is that we get into space gradually, with lunar/mars/asteroid colonies. Interstellar colonisation is more of an issue as space is fucking massive. It will either take a lot of time for ships to get there (like in Star Trek) or we won't bother at all.

Also, 3D printing is a potential gamechanger. If we can use materials from asteroids to build ships in space, that will reduce the cost of space travel a lot.

This is pretty much it here. Once we start mining asteroids, you will start seeing space stations cropping up to house the miners, once that happens, you will eventually see entertainment for them make its way out there, and somewhere way down the line it will become a full fledged colony. Once that happens, you will see more and more crop up, farther and farther away.

Though I do think at some point we will find a more efficient means of travel, I don't see how we could bypass the speed of light, or really find anyway to travel between galaxies inside of one human's lifetime short of some form of stasis chamber with reanimation.

It's really the distance that is the problem.
If I'm correct, the nearest solar system to ours is about 5 light years away. It would take a while to get there.
However, if humans were to, at some point, ditch their biological bodies and become machines (which may be possible in the future), they could just set a trajectory and wait a few millenia until they get there. That combined with not needing air or food, being able to use highly radioactive power sources without risk, being able to upgrade yourself on the way to make the journey easier etc. would make space travel, although time consuming, relatively easy.

I do believe expansion into outer space is a slow but inevitable path our species is on. I mean in another 2000 years who knows where technology will lead us in terms of how we can transport ourselves. Human curiosity is still powerful and the moment science can pinpoint exploitable resources out in space that can be harvested for profit we'll have the financial lure to get out there as well.

However, I don't think I'll be seeing anything beyond possibly Mars landings in my lifetime. Doesn't mean I can't dream though.

I can't speak for the actual FTL travel, but for the most part things like artificial gravity, time dilation, plasma and laser based weapons and subspace communication are all physically possible (yes, even subspace communication, thank quantum mechanics for finding that there are indeed things faster then the speed of light). We don't really know how things will develop, but given what we know to be possible and our drive, I do think we will eventually get there.

hakkarin:
There is one thing you guys are all forgetting: Natural disasters.

Considering how often super disasters have happened over the course of history (super volcanos, asteroids etc) I think those will kill us before we have any chance to get to other planets. It also explains why aliens have never come to us. They died because of disasters before it could happen.

That may be true, but we could reach the point where such a disaster (which nearly wiped out our species several times as it) could happen after we have enough people in earth orbit, the moon, asteroids and other parts of the solar system for humanity to have enough genetic material to survive.

We're already just a stone's throw away from basically every technology in Star Trek.
There's literally nothing in Star Trek that I'm aware of that we're not working on on some level with a fair idea of how to do it.

The only one that currently appears impossible is practical teleportation of people, though we've already achieved teleportation of less useful sorts.

NASA's currently working on plasma engines, force fields, and it's mulling over warp drives.
Not even kidding.

With the privatization of space travel and NASA's increasing goal of trips to Mars, it won't be long til we have people living on Mars. Probably in the next 10 years. Given several of the propulsion technologies NASA is working on, it probably won't be long til Mars looks like a mere stepping stone to exploring the whole Solar System.
Beyond our Solar System...well, yea....that's where it will get tricky again.

I expect NASA to realise the value of Lunar or orbital shipyards in which they will eventually build huge spacecraft that don't have to struggle to break atmosphere.

Unless we suddenly get exceptionally distracted here on the ground....there's no way we WON'T be mucking about in space on a large scale within the next hundred years.

I believe it's possible. We've already discovered a gel that could completely heal wounds as deep as a bullet hole the size of your fist. Soon, it'll be perfected and we'll advance even further. Humanity is interesting because we don't settle on anything. We don't have a 'max' bar where it tells us we've reached the end. Humanity shall advance until we eventually die out to some certain cause.

No worries, I am not being a downer because I have faith in mankind. Despite our darkest moments, we have a lot of good moments too. Eventually, we'll discover a cure for cancer, AIDs, and so on. Even if not in a hundred years or a century, we'll probably discover everything there is to know... except for every specie in the ocean. That there, is something no man can discover even with our current submarines.

Ieyke:
We're already just a stone's throw away from basically every technology in Star Trek.
There's literally nothing in Star Trek that I'm aware of that we're not working on on some level with a fair idea of how to do it.

The only one that currently appears impossible is practical teleportation of people, though we've already achieved teleportation of less useful sorts.

NASA's currently working on plasma engines, force fields, and it's mulling over warp drives.
Not even kidding.

With the privatization of space travel and NASA's increasing goal of trips to Mars, it won't be long til we have people living on Mars. Probably in the next 10 years. Given several of the propulsion technologies NASA is working on, it probably won't be long til Mars looks like a mere stepping stone to exploring the whole Solar System.
Beyond our Solar System...well, yea....that's where it will get tricky again.

I expect NASA to realise the value of Lunar or orbital shipyards in which they will eventually build huge spacecraft that don't have to struggle to break atmosphere.

Unless we suddenly get exceptionally distracted here on the ground....there's no way we WON'T be mucking about in space on a large scale within the next hundred years.

Little optimistic aren't we? I mean 10 years? Seems a little fast for me. At least next year that satellite that will prospect asteroids for ore will be launched. Tells you something about how much we should fear China when the American private sector is pulling ahead of it by leaps and bounds.

A little over 100 years ago, many people believe humans could never achieve flight. To already conclude that we'll never achieve interstellar space travel is extremely short-sighted.

As for why we haven't encountered alien life....well, the universe is unimaginably vast and time is unimaginably long. Humans occupying this tiny corner of the Milky Way for what is in galactic time is just a blink of an eye. Statistically, it's not surprising that we haven't come across another intelligent life form yet.

HardkorSB:
It's really the distance that is the problem.
If I'm correct, the nearest solar system to ours is about 5 light years away. It would take a while to get there.

That's putting it mildly. I mean for starters we don't have a propulsion system capable of making anything of significant mass go anywhere near that speed. As of April last year our fastest propulsion system was capable of boosting a pluto bound probe to 36,000 MPH...0.00537% of the speed of light. With the closest star being roughly 23 trillion miles away, it would take us (if my math is right) just over 74,518 years to reach it at that maximum velocity.

Not to be a pessimist, but barring some nigh-miraculous discovery in the next few years, I doubt any of us are going to see interstellar travel become a reality within our lifetimes.

Asita:

HardkorSB:
It's really the distance that is the problem.
If I'm correct, the nearest solar system to ours is about 5 light years away. It would take a while to get there.

That's putting it mildly. I mean for starters we don't have a propulsion system capable of making anything of significant mass go anywhere near that speed. As of April last year our fastest propulsion system was capable of boosting a pluto bound probe to 36,000 MPH...0.00537% of the speed of light. With the closest star being roughly 23 trillion miles away, it would take us (if my math is right) just over 74,518 years to reach it at that maximum velocity.

Not to be a pessimist, but barring some nigh-miraculous discovery in the next few years, I doubt any of us are going to see interstellar travel within our lifetimes.

We took less then 70 years to go from the first flight to having a man on the moon. In the past 60 years air travel has gone from a high society and business event to a casual means of getting from point A to point B between different cities. Compare the tech of the world just 10 years ago to now. Technology is developing faster then ever, so we have no idea where tech can lead us.

shrekfan246:
That's all well and good, but technically it's already possible.

Unless we're talking about interstellar/intergalactic space travel. In which case, I don't really have the schooling necessary to say one way or the other, but will point out that the cost or practicality of something has never really stopped humans from pursuing it in the past and I doubt we'll die out before we're advanced enough to do something crazy in space.

I see guys like the Extra Credits crew as part of the problem, and really all the excuses as to "why not" and people wanting to focus on earth problems first, are pretty much why we're most likely to wind up in a situation where we deplete all the resources on earth due to remaining separated into competitive, nations, and dealing with massive global overpopulation, making space travel effectively impossible to achieve even if we focused on it, followed by us regressing back to barbarism and dying out when the sun finally goes nova in a couple million years.

Assuming we have a nice big war, kill off 90% of the population, organize the remaining 10% into a single world culture, and then take draconian action to maintain a stable population and prevent a baby boom... then yeah, I think it could happen. That's part of why I'm such a militant and don't blink an eye in some discussions when I talk about getting rid of even hundreds of millions of people casually. It's hard to value human life in a general sense when you believe there are too many people and that it's hurting humanity as a whole.

See, the "slow travel" technology already exists, and really having the planet divided and our heads up our collective backsides is the only reason we haven't been mining the asteroid belts and such as a way of solving some of the problems down here on earth. Asteroid mining alone would be a big boon in providing minerals when we're already desperate enough to be strip mining the planet to death just to meet the current demand (which is growing every day).

"Fast Travel" is quite possible, I was just watching a show on the theories today, talking about space warping and folding and such, and why it's impossible to travel faster than light, but quite possible to cheat and effectively
cover faster distances than light by warping or folding space. Of course to even start experimenting with that we'd pretty much have to be in space and refining our "slow travel" engines.

I decided to be optimistic at once and say yes, with the "Star Wars" type of space travel and everything, simply because it's possible. Honestly though, I kind of suspect that the current state of the planet will continue, and we're all going to die out. Steven Hawking said at one point that if humanity is going to survive we need to get off the planet in a couple of decades (for reasons I largely agree with, along with some of my own), and really I don't see it happening.

EDIT:

Oh and this got long with my own rant that I caught up with Extra Credits, I just wanted to add that their reasons for dismissing certain things are kind of weak. For example when they address the entire "Prime Directive" theory it doesn't take into account what a unified culture with far more advanced technology could ultimately achieve. Not to mention that some things occasionally getting though would explain UFO sightings and other odd phenomena. A better example in response to a lot of Extra Credit's arguments are not "can we dismiss this" but so much as "can we conceive of a way that this could happen". Again using "Prime Directive" theory as my example... of course we can, it's called "Star Trek" which is where we took the name from. Interestingly enough this entire theory is also a central tenet of Scientology where the Scientologists claim we're off limits while we develop along with a
lot of the other things they say, but it is interesting to note.

Speaking for myself, I'd also point out that Extra Credits doesn't seem to allow for the idea of these "7 spacefaring civilizations" not getting along and their expansion being greatly limited by their own competition and warfare with each other. Not to mention that if you look at things in terms of 1000 year waves, a point might come where any spacefaring civilization decides it has enough. Especially if one argues that communications in space remains really difficult and you say wind up with an empire of a hundred worlds or whatever that is already having trouble keeping organized, beyond a certain point they might decide it's really not worth it if it's going to say take 10,000 years to get from the homeworld to the farthest flung colony, or whatever else. That's one of the central problems with the math and the argument.

See, people tend to assume that if a species has space travel, they have to be more advanced in all other aspects as well. To be honest we've got space travel at least within our own solar system if we ever planned to try and use it, with that has not come the full gamut of technologies some early science fiction writers assumed we'd also have. Technological development also doesn't follow a straight line, it depends on imagination, and what people want to try and find ways to do or find solutions for. A good example is Lasers, us humans love our lasers ever since someone came up with the idea of the "laser gun", there are far more efficient ways of putting holes in stuff, but we keep right at it. Along the way we've developed all kinds of things we can do with lasers for surgery, communications, holograms, and various things, all of which would have been missed if some species never got enchanted by the idea of playing with focused light beams. Likewise space travel could be side effect of some weird branch of research that never caught our attention. Sort of like how the guy envisioning the laser-based death ray never thought of laser eye surgery to fix people's eyes. In theory you could have some dude with a space ship, whose people never developed a weapon more advanced than the crossbow (even if that is pushing it a bit). It also means that you can look at things like "Warhammer 40k" as an example of the kinds of problems you might face with unbalanced technologies, half the problem of the Imperium in that setting is they have no reliable FTL communications, and in reality where there are presumably no Astropaths to even do it their way (which is rough enough) just imagine what that is going to do to your interstellar exploration. Albeit in "40k" the concept is that at one time things like that existed by the tech was lost, which is how things got spread out so far, but if you were coping with that from the beginning? Just imagine if we say decided to start colonizing with sleeper ships using our current slow engine travel and technology, we could do it at close to Extra Credit's rate, but what would the point be? It's not like we could reliably communicate with these guys via radio and such, at the end of the day whether a colony formed out there or not would become meaningless.

Hell, we've already designed spacecraft capable of interstellar travel. We didn't actually implement it because it was huge & impractical, but if we really had to, we could probably get it working.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)

I reckon if some disaster doesn't wipe us out a couple hundred years or so from now and the general state of the world at least stays around the same as it is now, things like long range manned missions, small scale permanent developments and mining of other rocks will definitely be a thing. However because of the sheer costs and distances involved in space travel unless we magically manage to stumble across some kind of insanely powerful energy source we can actually get at the more pipe dreamy, near omniprescent in sci-fi space setting concepts like large colonies, terraforming and affordable and easily available commercial space travel from world to world won't happen for a really long time, if ever.

Also the sheer size of the universe means its downright unreasonable to assume its devoid of life beyond life as we know it. Whether we'll ever make contact with it and whether that even matters or not is another thing.

Ok in all seriousness, how can you write off space travel considering the technological advancement occuring. In just 65 years we went from a rudimentary flying/gliding machine to walking on the moon. In the last 60 or so years we have gone from the invention of the computer to the beasts we game on today. Just in my short lifetime, I have had a portable CD player and saved things on floppy discs. Now we have solid state memory in things the size of your thumb with huge storage capacity. If you think we can't travel through space in the next 100 years, you must be crazy.

i believe it will exist, but unfortunately, faster-than-light seems like an impossibility.

Zontar:

We took less then 70 years to go from the first flight to having a man on the moon. In the past 60 years air travel has gone from a high society and business event to a casual means of getting from point A to point B between different cities. Compare the tech of the world just 10 years ago to now. Technology is developing faster then ever, so we have no idea where tech can lead us.

Perhaps, but by the same metric we expected to have true artificial intelligence by what...1980? Point being we aren't exactly known for accurately predicting our progress. And with regards to interstellar travel I hope you'll forgive me for being skeptical of people telling me that we'll have colonies in Alpha Centauri within my lifetime when our propulsion systems fall ludicrously short of what would bring the trip down to a half dozen years under ideal circumstances and we lack a suitable power source for the more powerful propulsion system we require for such a trip to be 'reasonable'. Our best 'realistic' option (at least that I've heard of) in plans so far is fusion, for pete's sake, and that's a pipe dream in and of itself[1]. It's one thing to be optimistic, but I do draw the line at optimism predicated on hypothetical technology based on hypothetical advancements that themselves require more hypothetical technology to work. Is it outside the range of possibility? No. But I don't know a betting man alive who'd bank on it happening within the next few decades, and I treat it with the same skepticism I do the claims that "if you're alive in 2035, you'll be functionally immortal due to what will happen in the technological singularity". (Yes, I have heard that exact line).

[1] At least based on current knowledge and without requiring more energy than it puts out

barbzilla:

Esotera:
The most likely scenario (excluding some massive discovery that means we can travel faster than the speed of light) is that we get into space gradually, with lunar/mars/asteroid colonies. Interstellar colonisation is more of an issue as space is fucking massive. It will either take a lot of time for ships to get there (like in Star Trek) or we won't bother at all.

Also, 3D printing is a potential gamechanger. If we can use materials from asteroids to build ships in space, that will reduce the cost of space travel a lot.

This is pretty much it here. Once we start mining asteroids, you will start seeing space stations cropping up to house the miners, once that happens, you will eventually see entertainment for them make its way out there, and somewhere way down the line it will become a full fledged colony. Once that happens, you will see more and more crop up, farther and farther away.

Though I do think at some point we will find a more efficient means of travel, I don't see how we could bypass the speed of light, or really find anyway to travel between galaxies inside of one human's lifetime short of some form of stasis chamber with reanimation.

I wouldn't be so optimistic that we could start travelling to galaxies, even if we managed to get to maybe 5x the speed of light Andromeda is still very far away. If we manage to get to Alpha Centauri that alone would be very impressive, it would require investment in resources for a one-way trip that would take a very long time even at slow speeds. It's almost impossible to imagine how absolutely massive these distances are.

Esotera:

barbzilla:

Esotera:
The most likely scenario (excluding some massive discovery that means we can travel faster than the speed of light) is that we get into space gradually, with lunar/mars/asteroid colonies. Interstellar colonisation is more of an issue as space is fucking massive. It will either take a lot of time for ships to get there (like in Star Trek) or we won't bother at all.

Also, 3D printing is a potential gamechanger. If we can use materials from asteroids to build ships in space, that will reduce the cost of space travel a lot.

This is pretty much it here. Once we start mining asteroids, you will start seeing space stations cropping up to house the miners, once that happens, you will eventually see entertainment for them make its way out there, and somewhere way down the line it will become a full fledged colony. Once that happens, you will see more and more crop up, farther and farther away.

Though I do think at some point we will find a more efficient means of travel, I don't see how we could bypass the speed of light, or really find anyway to travel between galaxies inside of one human's lifetime short of some form of stasis chamber with reanimation.

I wouldn't be so optimistic that we could start travelling to galaxies, even if we managed to get to maybe 5x the speed of light Andromeda is still very far away. If we manage to get to Alpha Centauri that alone would be very impressive, it would require investment in resources for a one-way trip that would take a very long time even at slow speeds. It's almost impossible to imagine how absolutely massive these distances are.

You forget one of the major advantages of space.... nothingness is available. That means that if they manage to find some way to either place the body into stasis, or reanimate it, we would be able to travel to other galaxies just from the initial boost, it doesn't require constant thrust or fuel because we are no longer trying to overcome gravity. Inertia will take over from there.

Ieyke:
We're already just a stone's throw away from basically every technology in Star Trek.
There's literally nothing in Star Trek that I'm aware of that we're not working on on some level with a fair idea of how to do it.

Well, apart from more or less everything. People might be working "on some level", at least with the ideas of various technologies, but there's an awful lot that we don't know if it's even theoretically possible, let alone how we might go about building one.

Ieyke:
NASA's currently working on plasma engines, force fields, and it's mulling over warp drives.

Mulling over as in thinking about. Not anywhere near getting starting trying to build one.

Ieyke:
With the privatization of space travel and NASA's increasing goal of trips to Mars, it won't be long til we have people living on Mars. Probably in the next 10 years. Given several of the propulsion technologies NASA is working on, it probably won't be long til Mars looks like a mere stepping stone to exploring the whole Solar System.
Beyond our Solar System...well, yea....that's where it will get tricky again.

I expect NASA to realise the value of Lunar or orbital shipyards in which they will eventually build huge spacecraft that don't have to struggle to break atmosphere.

I seriously doubt it...perhaps, if the Chinese got their space program going strongly, they could start another space race. As it is, NASA's glory days are long behind it, the space industry isn't seen as important anymore.

With governments and businesses clamping down hard on freedom and creativity, the only future i see is hell holes ala bladerunner or judge dredd.

We wiol never have a brigh future, it will go down in shit and flamey death.

Nothing is impossible. The only reason space travel is not a reality is because we do not know how yet. I strongly believe it is a matter of when, not if; it will not happen in our lifetimes (perhaps landing on Mars, but not much more), but it will happen. Science is all about discovery, about exploration, about knowing that which we don't know and about questioning what it is we do know. It may take hundreds, thousands of years, but, as they say in Star Trek, space is the "final frontier" - and you can take the humanity out of the frontier, but I strongly believe, you cannot take the frontierman out of humanity. We'll keep dreaming and trying until the end of time. That's just what we do.

thaluikhain:
I seriously doubt it...perhaps, if the Chinese got their space program going strongly, they could start another space race. As it is, NASA's glory days are long behind it, the space industry isn't seen as important anymore.

Rockets aren't important anymore. Science is still incredibly vital. NASA is working as much in space as they are on the ground, they just aren't doing launches.

And may I just say that assertions like "there's an awful lot that we don't know if it's even theoretically possible" is why we have a field like science in the first place. Of course we don't know. We don't know barely anything. That's why we do science. To ask questions. To make things known. So yeah, there is an awful lot we don't know. That's why it's stupid to use words like "never" and "can't".

Andy of Comix Inc:
Rockets aren't important anymore. Science is still incredibly vital. NASA is working as much in space as they are on the ground, they just aren't doing launches.

NASA's funding has still been severely cut, as it isn't seen as such a priority anymore, though.

Andy of Comix Inc:
And may I just say that assertions like "there's an awful lot that we don't know if it's even theoretically possible" is why we have a field like science in the first place. Of course we don't know. We don't know barely anything. That's why we do science. To ask questions. To make things known. So yeah, there is an awful lot we don't know. That's why it's stupid to use words like "never" and "can't".

Certainly...however there is a common assumption that anything is possible, given time, that Star Trek style space travel is inevitable as long as we don't blow ourselves up first.

Currently, we can't say that this is or is not going to happen. I'd personally say though, that if humanity does reach the stars, it won't be in a form we currently think of.

I'd imagine if any Interstellar travel is likely it's going to be similar to the Alien series.

Planets will be found by telescopes and automatic probes, then a ship will be sent (at a almost fast as light speed as we can go) with the crew in cryostasis, and then with some kind of AI/VI to wake them up when then get there however many years later.

Science just needs to solve the crystallizing problems we currently have with cryostasis and then make a really reliable AI/VI, and we will be good to go.

Those problems seem way more realistic and achievable than creating a physics breaking/warping FLT drive.

Of course the faster engines we can develop in the mean time the better it will be when they do solve those problems.

thaluikhain:
Certainly...however there is a common assumption that anything is possible, given time, that Star Trek style space travel is inevitable as long as we don't blow ourselves up first.

Currently, we can't say that this is or is not going to happen. I'd personally say though, that if humanity does reach the stars, it won't be in a form we currently think of.

Oh, no. Whatever happens, it will be quite beyond our imaginations, I hope.

OK, I watched the video series that was linked in the OP and read up a little on the equations that were used in it and I'm seeing a few problems with it that I'm certain other people have already addressed at some point in time, but they've not been posted here.

1. The equation speaks of intelligent life, it doesn't matter how intelligent something is if it has no way of using this intelligence, to elaborate I'll point to Dolphins, although they're not as smart as humans they're incredibly intelligent but that doesn't mean shit when you've no fucking hands. Hell, let's just look at humans, for example Stephen Hawking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Hawkins) is one of the world's greatest minds and scientists, but unfortunately he's not going to be doing much physical lifting if you get what I'm saying. Life has to evolve in extremely specific ways to mean anything. Conversely, even if a species as capable as humanity evolves it has to evolve in an environment where it is capable of being out in the open (I'm phrasing that poorly, but I hope you'll get what I mean) and can flourish. Let's say there's another world where humans exist (meaning we've met the much lower chance of a particular type of creature ever occuring that can make use of a high intellect), but they're primitive, if the planet is far more hostile they may never be able to do more than survive, imagine if people as primitive as cavemen (which didn't really exist since we're essentially 200,000 years old as a species, etc, It's just a shorthand that everyone recognises, just roll with it) were attempting to mine an area but now they're dealing with dinosaurs. With predators like, say, a T-Rex, there's no way to make any stable colonies at such a technological level, the people would have to be nomadic and as such they would not have access to the supplies nor be able to build up a knowledge base to really do much. I was having trouble finding a good way to phrase this, I hope it was at least moderately coherent.

2. It implies that just because a planet is capable of developing life, let alone intelligent life, that it contains the resources necessary for building an advanced civilization. A real world example that you should all look up some time; Do you know the main reason that countries like Africa were very "primitive" until relatively recently in comparison to the rest of the world? Africa has fuck and all when it comes to resources, they've improved because people have since been bringing supplies over from countries that actually have such resources. There's also the distinct possibility that even if the planet DOES have resources they won't have the technology to reach any, for example, perhaps all the planet's metal deposits are too deep underground to reach without mining drills and equipment, drills and equipment which they can't make because they've no metal to make it with because they can't reach the metal to begin with.

3. This is actually a concern I have regarding humanity itself at present. We're quite a wasteful species, because of some people's attitudes we may actually run out of necessary supplies before attaining the necessary technology, there's only so much of everything here, including metals. Yes, we can recycle metals well, but not 100% and yes, there's a LOT of metal here, but there's not an inexhaustible supply. Let's say we reach a scenario where we're running low on metals and ONLY THEN do we as a species refocus our efforts on researching inter-stellar travel, if we don't have the supplies needed to research the technology we need then we'll never be able to make that technology, meaning we're stuck here. This problem is compounded a great deal when coupled with number 2 where the supplies of a potential planet are quite small to begin with, meaning that they would run out much sooner.

There's a few more I can think of, but I think I've made my point, even with the equation, life is rare to the point of absolute hilarity, but with these and I'm sure MANY more points, it's much, much, much rarer still. I would personally guess that there being life as advanced/more advanced/that possess the potential to be as advanced as humanity is rare to the point that it may only exists in maybe as few as 1 in 100 galaxies.

Baron_BJ:
OK, I watched the video series that was linked in the OP and read up a little on the equations that were used in it and I'm seeing a few problems with it that I'm certain other people have already addressed at some point in time, but they've not been posted here.

1. The equation speaks of intelligent life, it doesn't matter how intelligent something is if it has no way of using this intelligence, to elaborate I'll point to Dolphins, although they're not as smart as humans they're incredibly intelligent but that doesn't mean shit when you've no fucking hands. Hell, let's just look at humans, for example Stephen Hawking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Hawkins) is one of the world's greatest minds and scientists, but unfortunately he's not going to be doing much physical lifting if you get what I'm saying. Life has to evolve in extremely specific ways to mean anything. Conversely, even if a species as capable as humanity evolves it has to evolve in an environment where it is capable of being out in the open (I'm phrasing that poorly, but I hope you'll get what I mean) and can flourish. Let's say there's another world where humans exist (meaning we've met the much lower chance of a particular type of creature ever occuring that can make use of a high intellect), but they're primitive, if the planet is far more hostile they may never be able to do more than survive, imagine if people as primitive as cavemen (which didn't really exist since we're essentially 200,000 years old as a species, etc, It's just a shorthand that everyone recognises, just roll with it) were attempting to mine an area but now they're dealing with dinosaurs. With predators like, say, a T-Rex, there's no way to make any stable colonies at such a technological level, the people would have to be nomadic and as such they would not have access to the supplies nor be able to build up a knowledge base to really do much. I was having trouble finding a good way to phrase this, I hope it was at least moderately coherent.

2. It implies that just because a planet is capable of developing life, let alone intelligent life, that it contains the resources necessary for building an advanced civilization. A real world example that you should all look up some time; Do you know the main reason that countries like Africa were very "primitive" until relatively recently in comparison to the rest of the world? Africa has fuck and all when it comes to resources, they've improved because people have since been bringing supplies over from countries that actually have such resources. There's also the distinct possibility that even if the planet DOES have resources they won't have the technology to reach any, for example, perhaps all the planet's metal deposits are too deep underground to reach without mining drills and equipment, drills and equipment which they can't make because they've no metal to make it with because they can't reach the metal to begin with.

3. This is actually a concern I have regarding humanity itself at present. We're quite a wasteful species, because of some people's attitudes we may actually run out of necessary supplies before attaining the necessary technology, there's only so much of everything here, including metals. Yes, we can recycle metals well, but not 100% and yes, there's a LOT of metal here, but there's not an inexhaustible supply. Let's say we reach a scenario where we're running low on metals and ONLY THEN do we as a species refocus our efforts on researching inter-stellar travel, if we don't have the supplies needed to research the technology we need then we'll never be able to make that technology, meaning we're stuck here. This problem is compounded a great deal when coupled with number 2 where the supplies of a potential planet are quite small to begin with, meaning that they would run out much sooner.

There's a few more I can think of, but I think I've made my point, even with the equation, life is rare to the point of absolute hilarity, but with these and I'm sure MANY more points, it's much, much, much rarer still. I would personally guess that there being life as advanced/more advanced/that possess the potential to be as advanced as humanity is rare to the point that it may only exists in maybe as few as 1 in 100 galaxies.

Metals rank about best at being able to be recycled. It will be hard to run out of that. You activly have to work for that.

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