Interstellar Flight

Interstellar Flight

2014, Science  -   85 Comments
Ratings: 8.15/10 from 195 users.

Alpha Centauri is a three-star solar system 4.37 light years from Earth, the nearest neighbors of our Sun. A planet has recently been detected in the system, which raises the questions of when and how we will make our first efforts to reach this planet, or some other (relatively) nearby planet, to expand the horizons of the human race. Interstellar Flight takes us through current theories of just how we are hypothesizing doing so.

To date, 3841 planets in the near regions of our galaxy have been identified as potential settlement options, about 1100 of which are confirmed. Most are Jupiter and Neptune-sized planets that orbit close to their corresponding stars. Estimates on the number of Earth-sized planets that could possibly support life in our galaxy fall around nine billion.

The film then turns to the actual distance between us and Alpha Centauri, which is daunting. Historically, our rocketry and space travel technology has centered on chemical propellants, a hindrance that will have to be cast aside and replaced if we are to have any hope of traveling the immense distances to other star systems.

An example of this wildly inefficient propulsion method is given in the form of the amount of fuel required by NASA's space shuttles to reach the 25,000 kilometers per hour necessary to escape Earth's gravitational pull - which measures out to fifteen times the weight of the shuttle otherwise. Needless to say, no craft could possibly carry enough fuel to reach another star if it was propelled by fuel so inefficient.

A number of proposed spacecraft designs with alternative propulsion methods that have came and went since the 1970's are cycled through before landing on what is currently the most desired fuel type - antimatter. The engines hypothesized here would supposedly need only 1/10000 of a gram of antimatter to take a spacecraft with all the necessary cargo to Alpha Centauri.

The hurdles with this form of propulsion lie in the scarcity of, and difficulty in obtaining, it. Other than in incredibly trace amounts, it is not known to be found anywhere outside of black holes - which sets the stage for the possibility that if we ever want to get where we really would like to go, we'll need to go to one of the most feared places in all of physics first.

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85 Comments / User Reviews

  1. flybow

    Have not passed the van allen belts yet.

  2. Michael Franicevic

    Heat rises.A bubble floats on the air. Fluff moves up and down with the air currents.
    The definition of gravity doesn't seem like it gets to most people's thinking capacity centres of their brain.
    If two people are fighting and wrestling each other back and forward, then the current thinking on escaping the Earths gravitational pull results in more effort required by one person. Yet if one person takes a side-step and puts the other off balance, then they have the other beat.
    Should we not be thinking side-ways instead of purely about less weight and more thrust?

    1. Jebus

      We already do think "sideways," in a way. The reason why space launch facilities are close to the equator (e.g. NASA's Cape Canaveral, ESA's French Guiana) is so that the Earth's increased tangential speed at the equator there can help the launch vehicle achieve escape velocity, reducing the fuel-supplied velocity requirement by about 3-4% at the Earth's surface. The "escape velocity" at the surface of any (macroscopic) gravitational body is a constant, depending only upon the body's mass. Any object trying to escape the gravitational potential of the massive body must attain escape velocity relative to that body; you can't really sidestep this fact.

      A cool idea is to build a space elevator which can get objects to near-earth orbit altitude. However, to remain in orbit, the object will still need a lot of thrust to achieve enough kinetic energy; otherwise, once "popped out" of the elevator, it would simply fall straight down.

      There is so much more to rocket science than "less weight and more thrust."

  3. Peter

    Its quite likely the first voyages will be caught up by later human missions using more advanced propulsion maybe even warp drive or arrive only to find it long since colonised by humans and they themselves now an anachronism and historical curiosity. That said not an issue thats likely to concern anyone reading this in their lifetimes.

  4. emenot

    Lets forget fuel logistically if interstellar traveling is indeed, by the time human exit the spacecraft human will look like our version of how a Martian with proportionally large head, a tiny core with noodle limbs. Living in space with prolonged inactivity and less intake of nutrition with the brain being to most active of our body! This will be a one way trip regardless of survivability. If human survive the trip, what about life support such as meat, protein, veggies and other subsistence crucial to human life???

    1. Jeff N.

      They could take a bunch of Big Macs and Coke with them. People there probably want obesity and diabetes too.

  5. Byron Rocke

    For those who claim it will cost too much, remember money is just IOU paper with no real economic value. It's only use is to represent valuable resources. The planet has enough resources left for the real invaluable asset, human capital to use its ingenuity to create the means to colonize space. Even if we lower the population of earth to a sustainable carrying capacity (naturally through mass starvation, wars and climate change. Although I'm naively optimistic and hopeful that we can choose population controls via education and limiting reproduction) we will still have to leave the planet and colonize outer space. The statistical probability that we will be hit by another extinction asteroid is not a matter of if but when. There is way too much sky to monitor all the civilization ending asteroids in our solar system as well you can't just blow them out of the sky, without making multiple projectiles that still end civilization. Hawking's is 100% correct, we have to leave earth if we want our species to continue. We need this insurance otherwise it will be all for nothing. This should be humanity's top priority. Putting our eggs in several baskets so we ensure the basic survival of our species.

  6. MikeJones

    In order to space travel we need to come as one and stop spending money on weaponry to kill one another. We need to learn peace and treat one another as one of our own brother and sister. Racism, greed, ignorance has to come to a complete stop. We must do what is right! Stop drilling holes into earth for oil and putting earth threatening fumes in our oxygen. More windmills and less dams for energy, more solar power.if we all as one can careless about materialistic things and greed we can build starships every unknown years and send humans out on space travel. But how the world is now we are far from it and its very sad to say. Hopefully within the next century we will come to our senses and come as one. Mars to come and interstellar

  7. John Sweevo

    Oh boy, this really sucks, not the "film" but the reaction it has caused.

    You guys really need to get a grip, eg get out more

    the cost of doing this for a start is big and you got to kid on God you dont know a thing about physics, OK just joking guys

    Have a happy New Year ^^
    "whisper" all conspirators put the caps together and you get a secret message

    1. Prodromos Regalides

      "the cost of doing this for a start is big "

      After so many years, endlessly debating how big the cost is,

      we would have already sent a successful mission, if we were

      more into doing than theorizing.

      "You guys really need to get a grip, eg get out more" " all conspirators ",
      You think that by trying to depict the idea of space expansion
      as nerdy or schizophrenic, you will stop the progress. Progress comes by daring, as in Christopher Colombus daring. If you think such people are mad and out of reality nutjobs, think again. People like you are the real hurdles to human progress,
      concerned too much about satisfying ancient instincts and their social image.

  8. Gigi Bardel

    we are going to kill ourselfs.
    maybe our grand children will be more wise.

    1. Jeff N.

      Maybe they can spell "ourselves" also.

  9. Gigi Bardel

    we need to reset ourselfs before we are going to reach anywere.
    we need to become a truly inteligent and human race

    1. mikem


  10. Krackjack

    If there is a habitable planet, then it is probably inhabited (Murphys law, if something can go wrong, it will). So when we go there, if those aliens are anything like us, they are not gonna want to share their resources with us. So we should be ready for a fight, pack a few nuclear bombs on that spacecraft.

    1. Jose

      So like humans to think we are powerful, im sure A-Bombs are non-threat to very advanced civilizations.

    2. Zerox

      Very well summarized USA politics right there. Let's search for intelligent life and act like a pack of baboons.

  11. Arjan den Hollander.

    Economics need to be revised before any of this. . . The Earth its past performance and future potential to generate new species should be recognized as representing a value beyond any measure or calculation, surpassing all economic considerations. A mother of and sanctuary for life. . . This can only be done if industry and resource economy is relocated to space and lifeless "local" celestial bodies. . . In this environment we can explore all of our most perverse of natures without any threat of extinction. . . That can ultimately lead to split populations by doctrine, from there diversification and evolution can start doing its magic once again. . . And seed the Galaxy. :)

  12. emenot

    All these space cadet need grant money to feed their wives and family too...lmfao!

  13. emenot

    I won't want to leave earth at all, I wonder how many stupid people would? Maybe there are some truth to space men of Area 51, by the time human arrive there we might look just like those alleged space travelers in our history book/stone with a big head because all their limbs turn to noodle arms and legs due to lag of exercise in zero gravity. Who in their right mind would want to go on a one way trip if they ever make it there? Lets not talk about interstellar travels, who would like to migrate to our own moon and live like rats in tubes?

    1. Zerox

      And why people even explored the Earth, why freezing to death to climb the mountain, going to South Pole, North Pole, why even inventing the wheel or using fire, electricity. Why even bother, posting selfies on Facebook will solve everything. Without "rats in tubes" or mine workers you would live in a cave, not in the house.

    2. emenot

      What about recent Nepal? What is the purpose conquering the Himalayas? I could understand the first explorer but the not the subsequent fools...

  14. Ben Nuttall-Smith

    At least, this has got people thinking of where we are and what we're doing to the planet we inhabit. Let's spend more on getting it right, here on earth. We could make this a place people would not want to leave.

  15. Simon Manohar

    Anyway, who is paying for all this research and space travel ? Do we need all this at all ? Shouldn't we be spending all the money on re-stabilizing the destroyed nature ?

    1. Marvin L Eason

      Seriously? You don't think starting interstellar space travel is a priority? Considering the way mankind is determined to blow itself up. We need to get off this rock.

    2. Nick

      We shouldn't leave this planet on the premise that we are destroying it and need to gtfo we will just take that attitude to every other planet we get to, consume, destroy, leave the carcass...That is not an interstellar civilisation I would want to see come to fruition.

    3. Rebott

      dude WE are not destroying the planet. We are only destroying the conditions necessary to keep us alive and well. The planet will no doubt recover in a few hundred years at most once we're gone.

    4. Zerox

      For intelligent life the planet is destroyed when its natural resources are gone. You are not a plant, you need things, you need minerals, metals, oil to make things. You can't build spaceship out of wood only can you? People think that destroying atmosphere is the only thing we should worry about. We are getting out of oil rapidly, without oil we are sent back to Medieval times, without oil there's no transportation, without oil there's no rubber, plastic, nothing.

      People who think that destroying atmosphere is the only problem are absolutely clueless.

    5. emenot


  16. lexy

    so is it a good doc or not?

    1. Marvin L Eason

      Watch it?

  17. Kansas Devil

    All it takes is a trigger event. There's no telling what humans will do to create one. Ir might be social, financial, technological, or military, or political. Or, we human could just sit here at home and slowly go extinct...a more likely event.

    1. emenot

      There is no escape from our extinction, look at the dinosaurs!

    2. Rebott

      the dinosaurs never developed technology like we did. We have the potential to move to other planets unlike anything else on Earth.

    3. emenot

      How? How many generation or light years will that take? Human will never know if such migration will ever succeed for its a one way trip!!!

    4. emenot

      Think about it again Rebott!

    5. emenot

      Let the GREEN EARTHLINGS go first! GOOD BYE...lmfao!

  18. phill jurkski

    People who want to live in Star Trek world are those at the present want to believe in good terrorist/bad terrorist.But where will that lead to.

  19. awful_truth

    A good short documentary regarding what is necessary for interstellar space travel. With that said, I am absolutely skeptical regarding the time frame (several decades) mentioned before humanity will achieve this ability. I have watched 45 years pass since humanity landed on the moon, and we would be hard pressed to do it successfully again. We will be lucky if we can put humans on Mars and safely return them to earth in the next several decades, let alone Alpha Centauri.
    The awful truth is the likelihood that humanity will 'ever' achieve interstellar travel is extremely improbable. (technology, energy requirements aside) Perhaps we should concentrate on removing our cancer like attitude here on earth first, if we wish to achieve such lofty dreams.
    P.S: The only chance for interstellar travel will require a thousand fold increase in intelligence, and I shouldn't need remind anyone just how slow evolution really is. (that is why we call them aliens, because they are not human)

    1. Airvaulting for Girls

      One aspect I haven't mentioned in my comments on this one is the transhumanist one. That thousand-fold increase (or at least a substantial increase) in intelligence just may be closer than most might suppose, if the transhumanists are right, about which I have my doubts. But things like body-modifications, and even psychological mods, etc., to better endure deep-space travel/settlement will almost certainly be utilized at SOME point. I think we will inevitably speed up the process of our evolution to make many things otherwise unimaginable attainable, even though the idea of all that is one that rather scares me, personally. In the next one or two-hundred years, exactly what will it mean to be "human"? It's a question unsettling to even a lot of the people working to make it happen.

    2. awful_truth

      Ironically, while our technology and understanding of the universe is increasing exponentially, the moral equivalent has not. It should also be noted that the increase in intelligence of the general population moves at the speed of evolution.
      I do agree with the points you noted, (well stated) and there is no doubt that humanity will forge ahead, sometimes with leaps and bounds. I guess I am just questioning human potentiality when the most obvious needs are not addressed because we refuse to acknowledge the underpinning that are preventing it.
      Perhaps, in the end, it really does not matter. No matter how smart any of us think we are, our ability to foresee what lies down the road is obscured by our own close mindedness. In the final analysis, I can acknowledge the unlimited potentiality of humanity, (I can dream, can't I) but I cannot delude myself regarding the perversion of our greatest accomplishments. Great to hear from you AFG, and best wishes!

  20. John Techwriter

    A nicely-paced, thoughtful exploration of our ever-increasing need to find an alternate home, and the formidable odds against success. Still, we've beaten the odds before. If humanity is capable of one thing, it's hope against hope.

  21. terencegalland

    There could be beings out there already on there way here to refuge earth. Its goingto be pretty near to impossible even with a super starship the dangers are going to be astronomical in open space what about space cities seems more feasible to me!!!

    1. gigi

      I have an ideea that could be a helping thought:)) food for thought!?(don't be fooled by the puerile way in which I begin)
      We can, we will and so we should, leave happily ever after
      provided before we can move above the skyes, we leave the parasites behind, so mother nature will innevitably ask them:
      So now my dear, what did you say about power?

  22. THCjunky

    Well i'm not gonna call richard branson that's for sure.

    1. jackmax

      Why not? By all accounts he has done more for the space program than you'll ever do and at least he has tried to create a idea of space travel for for the future, it will most likely fail in the short term however without people like Branson being prepared to invest in these ideas we may never achieve a great deal more than we already have.

      What have you done to contribute to the advancements in aeronautical science in your life time.
      it would appear this is a case of the tall poppy syndrome more than an educated assessment or if I'm wrong show me the evidence of your great feats of aeronautical science.

    2. THCjunky

      Maybe because he just crashed his plain and the pilot is dead. Richard Branson is great and he has done a lot, my contributions is that i smoke weed all my life so I'm always in space already. And dude your way to serious about life, by the time people get to live on another planet you and i will already be turned to assess. And look around you what is happening to the earth and the people living on it. It is going to get a lot more worse before it gets better, and nobody will never leave this place ever again if this goes on like this. So " NO MORE WARS FIRST I AM SICK OF IT,NO MORE KILLING STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR PLANET"

    3. THCjunky

      Oh and my real contribution to society is that i help people that suffer mental illnesses and are rejected of society because they would not be perfect. When i do my best to give them a good day i am happy.

    4. jackmax

      That being the case you opinion of the NASA and soviet space agency would be far less than Branson if the standard you have set for space exploration as there death toll far exceed Bransons.
      I think pessimistic outlook from the likes of you and I can not help in any way in improving the the standard of living. I believe that a pro active approach is the best way to advance in all aspect of life.
      Yes I do have a strong desire to leave this earth in a better place for my children and ideally the whole community and if that requires that I appear to be of a serious nature so be it, but if you have passion for what you believe in there will always have to be serious discourse otherwise nothing will be achieved. I understand the effects of war a little better than most as I have served in the defence force and had the displeasure of seeing and being a part of the destruction that war does, however unfortunately there are times that it may be required to ensure our future is more atoned to what we are all wanting in a free world. I would like to see the end of the slaying of innocent people due to there belief and lifestyle but until we can instill the same values that the greater world population have we need to eliminate these rouge elements ie; ISIS.
      I think we are heading in the right direction in the when it comes to the state of our planet, yes it has taken far longer than it should have but I can see positive steps being taken to stop the damage through emission control measure that we are now starting to see and the green energy sector has made great inroads to reduce the amount of fossil fuels required to generate the energy required to maintain the standard of live most of us have become accustom to.
      There is plenty more to be done but at least the world leaders on a whole has embraced the science that has shown us the damage we are and have cause this planet, I know first hand that some leaders are in denial when it comes to climate change, the Australian Prime Minister is one the does not believe in the science of climate change but this is not the forum for me to vent my anger an disappointment on him and his government.

    5. awful_truth

      Let me see, who created rogue elements like ISIS, and Al Qaeda in an attempt to overthrow governments in foreign countries? Oh, that's right, it was the terrorists. Funny how that works!
      The fact that people can't understand this basic concept (morality) is why humanity's destruction is assured. (never mind saving the planet, or interstellar travel)
      With that said, I am not directing these statements at your personally jackmax, or trying to be a stick in the mud. I am just speaking the truth, no matter how awful it is.

    6. jackmax

      I have not said that ISIS and Al Qaeda was not the brain child of foreign country, all I was pointing out is the fact that until we can eliminate these war mongers there will always be a need for the protection of the innocent. I'm fully aware of one countries attempt to control all viable assets in some of these foreign countries and the measures that they have undertaken, but that does not lessen the impact that these terrorist have had on the local population.
      I have the opinion that whist the US hold the rest of the world to ransom though oil and other assets we will always have conflict, but I can see the tide turning to a more transparent open market especially know that China and Russia are now in negotiations with their own trade agreements and price structures coming into effect.

      the strong hold that the US has held for to long is slowly breaking down and will eventually subside to the point that they can no longer get away with the criminal acts that they have been involved in the past.

    7. awful_truth

      I appreciate your thoughts and clarification. I must admit, I too hold hope that things will get better for everyone, especially the next generation. I just have a tough time believing that we will 'rid the world of the evil doers'. Peeling the 'bad from the good' like some skin of evil is an exercise in futility, especially when the bad think they are good. (I usually try to avoid these over simplifications, but you get my point)
      I guess humanity will be what it is, and perhaps the hardest thing to embrace, is that the people may be salvageable, but the human race may not, regardless of our acts, intentions, or strength of will. Perhaps it is not meant to be to begin with. (if I didn't feel the sting of evil, I would never develop the tools to combat it! - the purpose of life) This does not mean we still shouldn't try, since the effort yields it's own rewards. In which case, I can only quote you a song:
      "Que sera, sera, whatever will be will be, the future's not ours to see, Que sera, sera". Take care jackmax!
      P.S: While I agree with you that U.S stronghold will eventually break down, my concern lies only with what trouble they can cause before it's demise. ( a huge military budget to protect the guilty) A price worth paying as long as it works out for everyone's best interests, and not just a pendulum swing to someone else's advantage for the insane.

    8. emenot

      Sweet dreams buddy!

    9. THCjunky

      I sleep very well, thank you.

  23. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

    I'm on board for anything that lets me gtfo this "god" forsaken rock.


    1. Richard Neva

      Only in your most wildest dream sir.

  24. CasaSuprNova

    This isn't a documentary, its a one man home-production.

  25. DarkSpirit

    If we can't even live among people with a different skin color from us, what makes us think that we are ready to live among aliens who are even more biologically different from us.

    If we are not ready for alien encounters, it would probably end up with us destroying them or them destroying us. Either way, I am glad that we have not mastered the technology for interstellar flight yet.

    1. jackmax

      I think you have a valid point if we were to go back in time, however i have the opinion that collectively man kind has improved with racism. Granted we have along ways to go but on a whole the general population have long been for the advancement of equal right for all. I think that as with the terror threats that we are bombarded with it is the minority that are creating this anti everything environment and not the masses.
      Your point about alien encounters has no merit at this stage due mainly to the lack of evidence that there is other life forms outside our own atmosphere.

      That's not to say what we may discover in the future as with all science, as that is the beauty of science. We should not discount the possibilities of what may be discovered in the future

    2. DarkSpirit

      Considering recent events in the US (e.g. Ferguson), I am sure that the human race would not be ready for a peaceful encounter, with any alien civilization, for a long time.

    3. jackmax

      From what I can gather it is more the case of another instants of police being a law unto them selves rather than violent civil unrest. If that is incorrect explain why the United States Department of Justice is investigating the Ferguson police force for possible misconduct and/or discrimination.

      As I had already stated the likely hood that any alien life form is now and in the immediate future going to be discovered is extremely bleak.
      So that being the case your concern about a peaceful encounter is nothing less than an pipe dream at this point in time.

      I think that the statement I made about humanity and the common goals we have for the of discrimination and racism is correct and it would appear that even in ferguson it is the powers to be that are the instigators and not the general public as you have implied in your reply to me.

      I'm of the opinion that it is thinking like yours is one of the biggest hurdles we are facing when it comes to racism and discrimination and until people stop the propaganda that there is little or no improvement in the equality of all man we will always have that fear mongering element amongst us.

      People should stop listerning to all the propaganda and start investigation what the experts and the educated professionals are saying. The improvement in equality even in the last 20years has been nothing less than fantastic. I'm not saying that there is not a lot of work to be done but we are improving in the overall situation across the board.

    4. DarkSpirit

      There is a difference in our opinions as to what happened in Ferguson then. Racism happen constantly everyday around the world. We can't even live peacefully with ourselves as human beings just because of a simple difference of skin color, not to mention differences in ideology, religion, political affiliations, etc which often resulted in violent conflict between humans.

      In every aspect that I have looked at, we are not ready as a species for interstellar travel for peace. IF we do discover interstellar travel before we are ready, then it can only result in hostile outcome.

    5. jackmax

      Yes your right about racism does occur everyday around the world, but as I have said it has decreased considerably in my life time to date, that's not to say that a marked improvement isn't required. Religion is also another aspect of life that has change dramatically over the ages especially when we look at the secular movement across the world, yes we have along ways to go but as we every great advancement it is moving slower than is required to achieve the end result if that is at all possible. Political affiliations and ideologies are two very important areas of life that will always create a difference of opinion but that is not to say generally most only resort to violence when all other avenues have been exhausted.
      We need to be able to have robust debate on many issues that concern the quality of life and the well being of the plant, and it would appear that it is the unwillingness of people to show tolerance to others that cause many of the problems.

      If we were to achieve interstellar travel, I think the community that would be working to achieve it are intelligent enough to forego their beliefs. i think you under estimate the power of education and the effect it has on the understand of others from different backgrounds and lifestyles. The science communities are always debating and discussing ideas and achievements of others without violence overshadowing or clouding the issues. So it is my opinion you are incorrect in your assessment of the world wide community that would be involved is such a grand project. It would be foolish for them not to prepare for the worst possible encounter with the capabilities of defence but to think that we would attack with out provocation is a negative approach which is not what they are searching for. Your pessimistic views seem to paint us all with the same brush which is not right and some what offensive. A prime example is the discussion we are having here although we have a difference of opinion there does not appear to be any hint of hostilities in our approach our thoughts or opinions

    6. Airvaulting for Girls

      Great post, from start to finish. I understand the points he's making, but you're making better ones. There are still a lot of things to overcome, everyone has their work cut out for them, but people seem to forget about the progress that's been made too easily... or that when it comes to endeavors like space exploration, I'm sure we're only going to continue sending those among our best and brightest. They'll be up to the challenges, I'm sure. If it's a problem that can be solved, they'll be more likely to find a way to do it, and, in any case, I don't think (physical) contact with intelligent extraterrestrials will be much of a possibility for a very long time.

    7. DarkSpirit

      That sounds more like a threat to any other alien civilization out there than anything else, if they exist that is.

    8. Airvaulting for Girls

      If you read it as contingent upon the content of Jackmax's post (specifically, this sentence: "If we were to achieve interstellar travel, I think the community that would be working to achieve it are intelligent enough to forego their
      beliefs."), you should find it harder to sense any threat in it at all.

    9. DarkSpirit

      As I have said, the scientific community, regardless of how intelligent they are, has neither the wealth nor the power so it doesn't matter what they think. The most that they can do is only to provide recommendations to their superiors.

      It is the government and the industrial complex, who finances the mission with the necessary resources, that would determine policy and call the final shots.

    10. Airvaulting for Girls

      If you honestly think that, after all that time, after all that effort, after all that accumulation of scientific knowledge, after all the advancements that will be required in so many fields even to reach the possibility of such an encounter, that the government, which is a field of human endeavor, of those far off days will nevertheless be such a group of trigger-happy cowboys that their prime directive will be, in effect, "Colonization at any cost, boys, and shoot on sight if you have to!" then there's not much I can say about your lack of faith in humanity, other than that it's pretty sad. And the leader(s) of any such mission of exploration, far-fetched in any case, would be severely unlikely to in much of any way resemble, for example, a police officer in Ferguson. The fact of the matter is, that by the time interstellar frigging WAR could even be a possibility, too many other much more palatable options would be available for us to take, and I have no doubt we'd go with those.

    11. DarkSpirit

      Yes I really think that and as evidence, I have human history to back up my claims. If the more primitive alien civilization has resources that they need, be it land, gold, diamonds, precious metals mines, or other exotic matter that are very rare on earth, etc. then the government would take it by force if the native aliens resist. Even if the government refuses to act, the rich consortium that finances the mission would do so to secure the wealth of their stakeholders. It is called a positive Return-On-Investment from financing the mission. Despite thousands of years of evolution, "Greed" still exists within the human race and that is still growing strong to this day.

    12. Airvaulting for Girls

      You should combine a knowledge of history with an acceptance and recognition of progress. Your argument is a good one, but it isn't as fully backed up as you think. Developed countries don't colonize less developed countries anymore, or attempt to exploit them without a lot of moral outrage and economic pressure from elsewhere, for example. And the 'Avatar' scenario or the evil Weyland-Yutani Corp both seem, to put it mildly, extremely unlikely to me. As I said, by the time any of this is possible, I think we'd have other, better options we'd go with. However, if the kind of contact we're talking about happened TOMORROW (meaning: Sometime in the next 50-100 years), you might be right, but even there I think the world, including the discoverers, would simply be too psychologically stunned to think about making exploitation a priority at any point in time. Cooperation and mutual learning, after a period of recovering from the shock, strike me as more likely.

    13. DarkSpirit

      I find it strange that you have not heard of the situation in Crimea, situations in the Middle East, the austerity measures imposed by central banks to control other nations, or even the Occupy Wall Street movement, etc. We can go through each of these incidents in recent history and prove if a weakened country can be controlled through superior power and wealth.

      Greed still exists, and poor people are still being exploited. And I seriously do not think that the world is getting morally better everyday as you seem to be claiming. I have not heard any supporting evidence from you, if you claim that the world is getting morally better, then prove it.

    14. Airvaulting for Girls

      I find it strange that you would assume I haven't. And that the world is getting morally better isn't precisely my argument, although, now that you mention it, I think, on the whole, it is... if history is to be used as that measurement. I haven't heard anything from you actually proving that the world is getting morally worse, but rather have the impression of someone who buys into the fear and division sold on major media outlets as being the complete (that's an important word here) truth of the world. If you're so convinced that we are on the inevitable road to ruin, then prove it.

    15. DarkSpirit

      Then it is just a matter of a difference of opinions. You call me fearful and I call you naive. I think this world is headed towards its own destruction while you think it is getting better. After all, the fact that we disagree so easily shows our human nature. The irony is, the more bitter we argue, the more this situation substantiates my point.

    16. Airvaulting for Girls

      Well, then, let us end on a note of humor: You label me naive, and yet a battered old copy of 'Candide' is within arm's reach on the shelf behind me. It doesn't make me a blind optimist if I refuse a bite of the oozing, steaming cowpie of total despondency about our future you offer up for my delectation, garnished with a few green headlines in an attempt to make it more palatable. That big meaty chud is all you've chosen to put on your plate. You eat it.

    17. DarkSpirit

      Thank you for proving my point. In the end everyone's view of the world is tempered by his or her own experience. You can ask a mother, who has just lost her child to terrorist attacks, if the world is getting morally better and chances are, she would disagree with you too. In her mind, your overly-optimistic naive view would probably sound like a piece of BS.

      Because we live in different parts of the world and have different upbringing, it is no wonder that we disagree on so many things. I wonder how many more disagreements we would have if we live in opposite sides of the galaxy. If humans, who speak the same language, can't even get along with themselves without resorting to conflict and insults, it is ridiculous to hope that we would stand a better chance of getting along with aliens from outer space instead.

    18. Jane

      Unfortunately, history appears to prove you right.

    19. DarkSpirit

      Seems like you have a lot more confidence in human education than I have. Education is a powerful tool that can be used to gain an advantage over those who do not have one. Many despots are highly educated like Kim Jong Un (i.e. the North Korean leader), or even Hitler. How has their education brought about higher morals for earth?

      Even if all the scientists that are sent across the stars have the best of intentions, that still leaves the decision-making powers to their government and the industrial complex who had financed their trip and are waiting for a return on their investment. Does this remind you of the movie Avatar?

      Face it, the history of humanity is full of violence whenever one culture discovered and dominated over another. If the aliens have something that we need and they are more primitive, it is almost a certainty that we would take their resources by force as we have always done to other more primitive cultures throughout our history.

    20. jackmax

      I find it amusing that you refer to Hitler as an example of an extreme use of control and power but as I stated we have come along ways since that time. The North Korea leader is only one of a very few world leaders that have not embraced the advancements that have been achieved else where in the world, but that's not to say that thing in North Korea will not improve in the future. We only have to look at the progress that China has made in the last 30 years, granted they have a lot more to achieve but it is a great example that change can occur even in a dictatorship.

      I find it amusing that you refer to sci/fi move as an example of how bleak our future appears.
      I think you should look at real life event to try to strengthen your argument.
      eg; Look at what Richard Branson is trying to achieve with his space project as an example of the future of space travel and exploration.
      We also have many joint venture space project both in operations and in the planing stage though out the world as well that appear to have improved relationships from otherwise hostel countries. The developed world are also trying to improve relationships thought international trade and commerce with summits like the G20 that has just been held in Australia and other international conferences that are held thought out the year on a regular basis. As I have stated we have along ways to go but even a small step forward is better than no steps at all.

      i think we have to keep working improving the achievement we have made so far. I have the opinion that it is the pessimistic views you display that are our biggest hurdle in overcoming the barriers that our forefather have put in place.

    21. Able Archer

      We are a long way off from being at the point where we can send even a small probe to our nearest star, let alone colonise anything. We are, at best, decades from colonising our nearest planets and far closer to tearing ourselves apart over some foolish resource / ideological war. That's not to say we won't eventually reach that point. Who knows where humanity will be by then? One would hope we have moved beyond our current myopic racial / religious / nationalist prejudices and our unbalanced, long-term-unworkable capitalist system into something more advanced, because right now this is severely holding us back as a species / civilisation from reaching anything near our full potential. If we are clever enough to survive our current stage of evolution, there will be plenty of time to reach for the stars.

  26. desktop joe

    Bit of a preach and the relevance of 'that movie' was little more than eye candy and bore little true bearing to the narrative. However it was nice to see some of the earlier speculative ponderings of scientists on how we are going to actually get there and in such wonderful definition, great job on the cgi. Now I still can't get my head around the time factors involved. I think without an actual warping of space it just doesn't seem practicable to go out there and for all intents and purposes never see home or your nearest and dearest again. Of course I'd love to journey out to the stars but if it's less than light speed forget it. I'll wait until the technologies caught up with our imaginations.

  27. blondemama

    i love this.

  28. pwndecaf

    I'm not anti-matter, per se, but if I were, I'd be worth a lot!

  29. Airvaulting for Girls

    High production values throughout. The graphics, esp., are very well done. Even if some or most of the info is very familiar to many of you, this one is well worth a watch, imo. My only (slight) quibble is that the flat narration comes off just a little like some sort of vocal-hybrid of Boris Karloff and Charlton Heston, minus the accent.

    1. Fabien L

      Spot on appreciation imho.

    2. Airvaulting for Girls

      Thanks. Now I'm... waiting a little apprehensively for all the space pessimists to touchdown. ;)