So, thus far what I’ve found out is that we aren’t likely to travel interstellar distances for at least a hundred years yet. There are a few factors leading to this, mainly distance, power supply and interstellar matter.
One AU is the distance between Sun and the Earth, that is 150 million kilometers. One light year is 63,241 AU. One light years is the distance light travels in one year (and the speed is 300 000 km/s). The distance to the closest star to us, Proxima Centauri, is 268,332 Astronomical Units (AU), or 4,3 light years.
Wherever my heroes and heroines are headed, the way is long and fraught with peril.
The amount of energy the ship would need to move and to stop is another huge issue. There are already some technologies that could carry us to the stars, but none of them is at the moment very fast.
I’ll do another post on this subject later. There is a lot more to propulsion and spacecraft “engines” than I ever thought possible. If only I could understand the math behind some of this stuff, but alas, I can’t.
Humps on the road
The third issue is interstellar matter: dust and other small objects that would be colliding with our spacecraft. Because of the high speeds we would need the particles would hit us very hard and could be potentially very dangerous.
The craft ought to have some form of protection from these particles. Need to delve deeper into the matter to find out what can be done to it. Maybe I’ll have to go through the traditional sci-fi routes of ignoring or installing “force-shields” of some sort.
There are several stars not too far from our solar system that have planet or planets close enough to the main star to be able to support life. The furthest potential star thus far, Vega, is about 25 light years away, but that is not unreachable if other issues are solved first.
To be quite honest, the more I learn by reading on the subject, the more I want to know. It’s no news that the space is huge, but boy, are there a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration I had never thought of!
The research phase might be a long one, but hey, at least I’ll be learning something new every day. Space is really an untold adventure, and I feel that when I can grasp the basic principles of distance and space-travel I’m on to a great start. Obviously, when my ship will evetually land, I really need a refresher course on exoplanets (and god knows what else).