Forget using time travel to bet on sports matches whose outcomes you’d already know. You could instead invest money today at a certain rate and then travel forward through time, several hundred years maybe, to retrieve your greatly appreciated nest egg.
It might be the only option many of us have in these times of relatively low interest rates. All you need access to, a mere detail for sure, is a time machine.
Tyler Cowen, of George Mason University, in Virginia, makes another point. Relativity means that on a starship travelling near the speed of light, a handful of years might pass for the crew while hundreds passed on a planet it was travelling from or to. That makes calculating interest rates hard, since savers could pay starship captains to carry them forward in time, to reap the benefits of centuries of accumulated interest. In a Star Trek-style world, then, Dr Cowen thinks the chief determinant of interest rates would be the price of starship fuel.
Otherwise, I’m of the feeling that speed-of-light travel, and money, may not co-exist all that harmoniously in the future.
People have been sending allsortsofobjects into space via weather balloons in recent times, so it seems entirely logical they would eventually send people into space, or the upper part of the atmosphere, by way of a balloon, hopefully something bigger than a weather balloon though.
World View’s “Experience” voyage promises a “gentle” 90-minute ride to an altitude of approximately 19 miles (30km), where passengers in the “luxuriously appointed space-qualified capsule” will be able to gaze upon “the curvature of the Earth with their own eyes,” according to the company. Passengers will remain at that height for two to six hours before floating back to solid ground, which is said to take between 20 and 40 minutes.
Traveling faster than light has always been attributed to science fiction, but that all changed when Harold White and his team at NASA started to work on and tweak the Alcubierre Drive. Special relativity may hold true, but to travel faster or at the speed of light we might not need a craft that can travel at that speed. The solution might be to place a craft within a space that is moving faster than the speed of light! Therefore the craft itself does not have to travel at the speed of light from it’s own type of propulsion system.
I’m guessing we’ve all seen former International Space Station (ISS) commander Chris Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” by now.
Despite what you may think though, the performance was no spur of the moment thought however, both Hadfield and his son, Evan, had obtained prior permission from Bowie’s management, a process that took months.
Before you consider emulating Hadfield’s feat though (anyone up for a jaunt to the ISS this weekend to record some Daft Punk covers?), it would be an idea to swot up on the workings of Earthly copyright laws as applied off the planet… a field that looks to be a whole other frontier unto itself, to say the least:
In this particular case the matter is straightforward because Commander Hadfield had obtained permission to record and distribute the song, and production and distribution was entirely terrestrial. Commander Hadfield and his son Evan spent several months hammering out details with Mr Bowie’s representatives, and with NASA, Russia’s space agency ROSCOSMOS and the CSA. The copyright issue may seem trivial, but the emergence of privately funded rocket launches, space tourism and space exploration hold the potential for more substantive disputes. If an astronaut were to travel to the Moon, an asteroid or Mars on a privately funded spacecraft, the situation would become knottier still, because the United Nations Outer Space Treaty of 1967 applies to countries, not companies or private individuals.
Any extraterrestrials who may be listening into the broadcast signals emanating from Earth will have been treated, or otherwise, to upwards of eight decades of our television shows, depending on how far away they are.
And now, as the signature of our civilisation radiates ever further into the galactic void, we are able to see, thanks to the people at xkcd.com, where the likes of movies and TV shows such as “Star Wars”, “South Park”, or “Casablanca”, are currently being received.
When it comes to travelling to other planets in the solar system, there’s little doubt that Mars is firmly in everyone’s sights. Baltimore scientist Robert Condit however had other ideas. In 1928 he built a rocket that he planned to fly to Venus in.
The Baltimore rocket was fueled with 50 gallons of gasoline with eight steel pipes for engines. The several layers of sailcloth that covered the rocket were impregnated with varnish making an airtight shell “as brittle as glass.” The nose section unscrewed to allow the rocket’s single passenger ingress. Inside was a large tank of oxygen, a supply of concentrated food tablets and water in 1.5-inch pipes that lined the interior to save space. There were also a “couple [of] flashlights and a first aid kit, and that was it.” There were two glass portholes, though there was no way to steer the rocket. He planned to hit Venus by taking very careful aim at takeoff. In the nose was a 25-foot silk parachute that the pilot could push out in order for the rocket to make a safe descent.
It was a bold undertaking to say the least, though from what I can gather Condit’s vessel lacked two vital features. One was the ability to steer, or guide, the craft, as Venus could only be reached “by taking very careful aim at takeoff”. There also appeared to be no way to return to Earth, an equally crucial point, if you ask me.
Perhaps though Condit was hoping to get the jump on Mars One?
Controlling the International Space Station (ISS), as it hurtles above our heads in Earth orbit, looks incredibly straightforward here, but I suspect there’s far more to steering a vessel, or if you ask me, a structure, with the dimensions of the ISS.
Spacesuit design through the… space age. The final suit, the sleek Bio-Suit, as designed by Dava Newman, looks far easier to wear and work in than some of the earlier versions, but I wonder how robust, how radiation resistant, and what have you, it would be.
Two Earth size exoplanets have been detected orbiting the same star, in its so-called “habitable zone” to boot, some 1,200 light years from here. What to say? It can only therefore be a matter of time until first contact is made with an extraterrestrial civilisation.
But if you happen to be the person who answers the phone, or opens the door, when the very first aliens call or arrive, have you given any thought as to what you’d say, or try to say, to them?