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Why it cannot happen
Written by Paul A. Gilster   

This is the argument against the case given by Paul Gilster on the Long Bets site .
With kind permission of The Long Now Foundation

The laws of physics as presently understood make interstellar flight a possibility (I believe it is inevitable), but a tremendously difficult one. Barring a near-term breakthrough, we will still be working within the parameters of these laws in 2025, substantially aided by nanotechnology and developments in computer science, to be sure, but still running up against the inexorable limitations imposed upon us by Special Relativity. While I believe a true interstellar mission will be launched at some point, I will argue that it will not be launched within this century, and that when it is launched, it will take advantage of the numerous advances in engineering that will have taken place by that time to allow it. The 2025 time frame is joyously optimistic, and I would support it if I could. But Tibor and I both believe that continuing to work for the interstellar goal -- and continuing to debate it in forums like these -- is worthwhile in itself, and I think we'll both be happy if the loser's money winds up in the hands of an organization that actively promotes these goals.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 September 2008 )
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