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Superluminal Travel

Star Trek Warp Speed

Today’s topic comes from QSFer John Bellagio: “According to Einstein’s theories, superluminal travel is not possible. Do you agree? What implications would this have for society and our future if there’s no easy “escape valve”?”

It’s an interesting question – the bulk of our far-future sci fi stories posit some sort of Faster-Than-Light travel. It allows multi-solar system societies and governments to form and function, and also allows for the creation of Empires in space – see the Foundation series for an early example of this.

But what if it was only possible to get around from star to star at sub-light speed?

Imagine if, her on Earth, we could only move around the planet at horse and buggy speed, and no further speed advances were possible?

So my questions for you today – first off, what’s your take on FTL travel – do you think it will ever be possible? And second, if it’s not, what ramifications would it have on Earth society and on the future of mankind to learn that we could not easily continue to expand outward? Would policies have to change if, effectively, this was the only Earth we would ever have?

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