Re: Travelling the Stars
Tue, 08 Dec 1998 18:07:14 -0800

--On Wednesday, December 09, 1998, 6:26 AM +1100 "Terry Donaghe" <> wrote:

> I recently finished "The Engines of Creation" and I was thinking about
> some of the things that Drexler said. He seemed convinced that
> humanity won't find a way to circumvent the speed of light. One of
> the things that always bugged me about travelling sub-light speeds was
> the incredible time it takes to travel between stars.
> However, if we find a way to indefinitely extend our lifespans this
> means we could live a really, really long time. Further, if we find a
> way to make our bodies much less fragile (through uploading or just
> reengineering our bodies with nano), then we could potentially live
> for millions of years.
> I'm wondering if a human were to have lived a few hundred thousand
> years, how much of a pain would it be to travel between the stars at
> sub-light speeds. Would 5 or 10 years or even a thousand even be a
> significant amount of time for a being who has lived many many times
> that?
> In other words, 500,000 years from now when I decide to travel to Star
> X which is 1500 light years away, taking me, let's say 3000 years to
> get to (conservatively of course), will I bother getting bored? 3000
> years is .06% of 500,000 years. I'm about 30 years old now and .06%
> of my life span is .18 years or a little more than two months -
> assuming my math is right - is it?
> My question is, would 3,000 years feel like just a couple of months to
> a being more than a half-million years old? Is there any way to know?
> I get the feeling that as our lifespans begin to get longer and longer
> we, as a species, will become more patient and less impulsive. A
> normal human observer looking at a community of long-lived posthumans
> might even think they were immobile statues.
> I dunno.
> Any ideas, thoughts? Is this old territory?
> Terry
> ==
> ----------------------
> Terry Donaghe:
> Individual, Anarcho-Capitalist, Environmentalist, Transhumanist, Mensan
> The Millennium Bookshelf: <>
> _________________________________________________________
> Get your free address at

Remember that time is compressed as you approach the speed of light. If you are going fast enough (it would have to be really close to C), then a year to the outside world may pass in a day for you. If you are going a certain speed, X, then take 1 minus [X squared over C squared] (c is the speed of light: 300000000 meters per second). Take the square root of that. Divide "objective time passed" by that number, and you have the time that you subjectively observe to pass. It may still take something like 99.9999% of the speed of light to reach an acceptable trip length, and this may take a lot of energy (as you approach C your mass increases, approaching infinity). You could further shorten the "subjective" length of the trip by spending 90% of the trip or more in cryonic suspension. Better yet, upload yourself, have yourself "turned off" and set to be turned on near the trip's end to be uploaded into a body. You could have a few thousand people uploaded and asleep, and 5 active bodies that they take shifts sharing for about a year a peice.

Zeb Haradon
my web page: