Interstellar travel won’t be possible for at least 200 years, according to a former NASA propulsion scientist who has some new calculations. And by then, the spaceships we would design for the trip will be obsolete.
Forget cost, political will and all the other variables — simply obtaining enough energy will take until 2196, according to Marc Millis, former head of NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project and founder of the Tau Zero Foundation, which supports interstellar travel research.
A reader inquires: “Why can’t we put people into some sort of cryogenic sleep and launch them to Mars—or to an even more distant destination, like Alpha Centauri?”
By Elizabeth SvobodaPosted 08.04.2004 at 7:00 pm 0 Comments
Setting aside very real concerns such as our lack of a spacecraft with suitable size and power to launch astronauts to Mars—much less the outer planets or other stars—suspended animation lingers more in the realm of sci-fi than reality. Yet the concept remains attractive, especially for longer journeys, because astronauts in a Rip Van Winkleâ€like stupor might be protected from the serious health hazards associated with distant space travel, and they wouldn’t need food—or entertainment.