Archive for the ‘Space Travel’ Tag

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trappist-7Trappist-1 System – NASA

By now, everyone’s heard the news – there’s seven new planets to consider in the universe. We’ve all read the headlines. Seven lovely orbs holding potential for life, only a mere 40 light years away! Why, that’s practically next door! And some of them hold the potential for life? Incredible.

While it’s nice to consider that we have an escape plan  to another world, it’s kind of unreasonable to expect to get to any one of these places anytime soon. Sure, we’re all expecting to hop on a space ship in the next couple of dozen years and arrive at planet du jour within a Einstein’s calculated period. And Lord knows that the folks behind Prometheus  practically guarantee travel to new Edens (although not without some pesky grey, hissing creatures with a penchant for sucking people’s innards and faces).

Are there wormholes to get us to these places quicker? Could be. Interstellar makes an excellent argument for that. If those wormholes do exist, the common folk won’t hear about them, at least not yet. Existing in theory and written about aplenty, I’ve no doubt these gateways to universal superhighways are around somewhere.

How then, is it possible to construct a vehicle to travel within the confines of a wormhole? Sure, we can throw a ship together – that’s the easy part. I’m wondering how a ship might be able to withstand whatever that wormhole throws at it – pressure gradients, temperature, forces binding the wormhole together. Or suppose the wormhole is a perpetual vortex that leads to nothingness? Once trapped inside, the travelers can’t break free and are subjected to extremes not even imagined?

Could there be different categories of wormholes? There must be. Just as there’s different types of highways, roads and streets, wormholes have characteristics. Some may be dead ends, short jaunts or long, winding roads. There could be ones that have celestial potholes, breaks, connect at junctions or turn back on themselves.

Suppose we do discover a wormhole in the neighborhood of Jupiter, as mentioned in Interstellar. Do we send our best and brightest through it just to see what happens? Do we travel to the unknown hoping to reap the benefits of what other places and methods of navigation can teach us? How do we steer our crafts, once caught in a wormhole if we don’t fully understand what they are in the first place? What is speculation and reality? Or will time trick us to believe there is a light at the end of the wormhole, only to find out we’re no longer able to function because of the forces of the universe bearing down on us? If we’re not able to return to Earth, what good is the journey to begin with?

Eventually, some intrepid group of astronauts will go forth to see what’s out there. We may never hear from them again. But they might find another system such as Trappist-1, and create a world that no citizen of Earth may ever be so fortunate to imagine.

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