Space travel on the far horizon

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Space travel on the far horizon

The concept of space is insane! The fact that there's so much we haven't even discovered yet in outer space blows is enough to blow anyone's mind. To us, Earth is everything we know, but in reality, we're just specks of nothingness compared to the universe.

Brave men and women have traveled beyond our planet Earth to explore what's beyond our atmosphere. Unfortunately, a few technical details are standing in your way before you can start exploring infinity and beyond like Buzz Lightyear, including cracking the code of near-light speed travel.

But there is hope still. NASA recently released a fun video, explaining some of the mechanics of travelling at this velocity, which is 90% of the speed of light. (Light travels at more than a billion kilometres per hour.) While it might take you three years to reach the planet of your choice, on Earth, time would have moved a bit faster.

To get to the edge of the Earth’s solar system would take nine months, while on Earth, a year-and-a-half would pass. The next closest star system is Proxima Centauri, and it would take more than two years to get there at 90% of the speed of light.

If you left your twin behind on Earth, they would age more quickly than you. The age difference would depend on the speed of the spaceship, including when it accelerates and when it slows down. This time differentiation is called time dilation.

This is a fact of space travel that forms part of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity.

In a galaxy far, far away . . .

According to NASA there are three ways that this acceleration can happen: through electromagnetic fields, magnetic explosions and wave-particle interactions.

These mostly involve the collision of energies and magnetic fields. Time dilation also depends on gravity and how close the "clock" is to a gravitational force like that of a planet. Space also isn't exactly empty.

You would need something to shield you from free-running particles that could damage you and your spacecraft, as they can also travel at around the speed of light. "Space travel is life-enhancing, and anything that's life-enhancing is worth doing.

It makes you want to live forever," according to science fiction author, Ray Bradbury. Unfortunately, humanity is still a long way from having the kind of technology that allows us to reach these speeds. For now, you can but daydream and travel around in space with NASA.