Scientists Propose A New Way to Travel From One Solar System to Another in a Reasonable Time

Scientists Propose A New Way to Travel From One Solar System to Another in a Reasonable Time
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The closest solar system to ours is Alpha Centauri, and it’s located somewhere between 3 to 4 light-years away from Earth. That means that judging by the current technology that humanity has, astronauts would literally grow old in their spacecraft during the flight, and they would still not be anywhere close enough to their destination. Now think about the fact that there are trillions of stars out there! You certainly got the idea for now: interstellar travel can just be a scenario for great sci-fi movies for now.

But it doesn’t always have to be that way. There might be a way to travel interstellar distances in a reasonable time, meaning without having to spend long years in the spacecraft itself as an astronaut. By taking some inspiration from our friends, the animals, researchers from McGill University in Canada, as well as the Tau Zero Foundation in the US, think that they have the right formula.

Taking advantage of the ‘dynamic soaring’ trick

The scientists propose the dynamic soaring trick to use for making spacecraft fast enough to travel from one solar system to another in a reasonable amount of time. The new study bringing all the details was published in Frontiers in Space Technologies.

Over time, astrophysicists came up with plenty of theories that would make space travel possible and faster than it normally is. The dynamic soaring gimmick is just one of them. Unfortunately or not, plenty more time is needed to say for sure if any of the theories work, as they need to be put into practice first.

The wormhole method arguably remains the best theory

Traveling from one solar system to another without having to wait decades or centuries would indeed be possible by using the wormhole method. But there are some hindrances here as well. First of all, wormholes aren’t a naturally occurring phenomenon. Someone has to somehow build one. It could be theoretically possible to build a wormhole, but such a task would normally require an enormous amount of energy that our planet can’t afford to lose. 

What’s somewhat amusing is that the scenario from the Interstellar movie that came out in 2014 is somewhat feasible. A wormhole was placed somewhere near Saturn by advanced creatures. It hasn’t been said if they are aliens, gods, or something else. What’s for sure is that if someone or something builds a wormhole in our Solar System as well, as it happened in the movie, we’re good to go.

In a nutshell, wormholes are shortcuts through both space and time. Instead of traveling from our solar system to another in a straight line, a wormhole can allow us to reach the destination as if the entire space is bent. In this way, it’s obvious that the two points in space, our location and our possible destination, will be much closer to one another. 

Traveling at the speed of light would also be problematic

Building a spacecraft able to fly at the speed of light would seem like a dream come true for astronauts. But it would still lead to a major problem. If you’re familiar with the so-called “twin paradox,” you already got the drill. An astronaut traveling at the speed of light would make time pass a lot slower for him, although he wouldn’t be aware of any difference. But after a few hours or even minutes of space travel at the speed of light, he’ll see his relatives and friends older by a few decades when he comes back home. That’s because time has been running at a different pace for him compared to how it did for the others. Even time itself is relative, as it can slow down a lot if an object reaches the speed of light. Einstein even believed that if the speed of light is somehow surpassed, time will run backward. In other words, if someone knocks on your door and claims to be your grandson from the future, don’t slam the door right away!

For the people on Earth waiting for the astronaut to finish his space journey while traveling at the speed of light, it would obviously take forever, such as entire decades. Waiting that long to see the outcome of a space journey would certainly be no good deal for space agencies. 

However, even if astronauts travel through the Universe at the speed of light, they would still need somewhere between 3 to 4 years to reach Alpha Centauri, meaning the closest solar system to our own. So humanity somehow needs to surpass the speed of light, which would be a violation of Einstein’s general relativity. The famous physicist firmly stated that nothing can ever surpass the speed of light, which is the maximum allowed speed by the laws of nature. 

Of course, no spacecraft is currently capable of even approaching the speed of light, so we can just forget about the whole idea anyway. Wormholes don’t count here if they will ever be put into practice. That’s because if an astronaut jumps in a wormhole to make his space journey a lot shorter, that wouldn’t mean that he’s traveling faster through the Universe than the current technology allows. He’s just following a shortcut through both space and time.

If anybody knows any secret formula for how to build a wormhole, please don’t be selfish and share it with the world! It would probably ensure the survival of the human race in the long term!


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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