At the risk of “self-plagiarism” from another site (poetry.com,) it seems that a little poem, written some years ago, is somewhat pertinent. It goes, as follows:
The future of mankind, what shall it be?
Out to the stars, or back up a tree?
We could lose both very easily,
If, in shooting for the stars, we kill the tree.
The point, of course, is that, if we focus on the extremely expensive,
and very speculative, problems of space exploration and do not solve our energy/environmental problems here on Earth, we will have no future at all.
With the advances in nanotechnology-and the fact that, despite current beliefs to the contrary, there is no limit such that a vessel containing its own propulsion and fuel could not come very close to the speed of light-it might be possible to do some hyper-light exploration without costing a humongous fortune in the not too distant future.
The idea that motion along a vector cannot exceed the speed of light is just that, a belief, based on Einstein’s “no speed greater than light” hypothesis, which can be shown to apply only to transmitter-receiver situations. It has no pertinence to maximum speeds along a vector or relative velocities of moving particles. This supposed limitation to space exploration is a misconception. However, some modern, theoretical speculation suggests that, while Einstein’s postulate that the speed of light is a maximum is probably in error, that velocity may be a practical limit. A modern view, although not a majority view, is that the speed of light in a “vacuum” is the average velocity in any given directiion of all of the motions of the units present in thst “vacuum.” As such it could represent the same kind of resistance to increased velocity as does air at the speed of sound…
The fact, however, does remain that accelerating a significant mass to nesr light velocities along a vector would consume either much energy or much time. For now, almost all ideas of space travel should be put on hold. We have to solve more pressing problems first; e.g., the waste of energy, time, and other resources in senseless religious conflicts….
Time, or at least sequential motion, moves on, ideas change and limits change. The first version of this article was written about a year ago. Much has happened since then. As noted above, there is a possible change in the way the speed of light may be considered. Motion in a Matrix Theory was supplanted by its originator by a “Second Generation” reexamination of ideas to a form, “Oscillator/Substance” Theory. The Hadron Collider has started up with its potential to find new “Fundamental Particles;” or, in one worst-case scenario, go into an oscillatory mode which could turn Earth into a new asteroid belt between Venus and Mars. The world Economy is quaking as the United States’ Economy rapidly slides towards collapse. Water supples, world-wide are beicoming more critically threatened, to where it may well be that we will run out of useable water before we run out of energy. More and more items appear every day which say that exploration of space should probably be the least of our concerns at this instant of existence.