No Federation or Empire for Our Universe
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Whether you’re a Sci-Fi fan or not, you will have probably watched at least an episode of Star Trek, or one of the Star Wars movies. The former’s Federation of Planets is the utopia of many, including myself, and the latter’s Galactic Empire definitely doesn’t do anything for one’s self esteem in a universe. Across the realm of science fiction mediums, great galactic groups of people come together to wage war or preserve peace.
But is that at all likely?
Putting aside any skepticism one may have towards the existence of aliens out there, the likelihood that we would ever meet up with any of them is even unlikelier.
Back in 1893, Friedrich Bessel was the first to measure the distance to a star other than our own Sol. It turned out to be 61 Cygni, a binary star that is 11 light years away. A relativistic model of how far away that is, puts a ping-pong ball in the middle of New York’s Central Park, with 61 Cygni being a slightly smaller ball somewhere over near Denver.
The distances between stars are measured in tens of trillions of miles. But no one thinks that there are habitants encircling every star, so the distance between adjacent civilizations is measured in the thousands of trillions of miles; and that is even given a whole bundle of them out there!
So looking at that in a simplified number, it is still hundreds of light-years between civilized solar systems. In addition, this number doesn’t change, no matter how many civilizations you believe are out there; the separation distance is pretty much the same across the entire universe.
Currently, the best chemical powered rockets we have wouldn’t get us to a nearby civilized sun in less than 100,000 years. Even if some of our alien brethren have developed the power generation and shields needed for relativistic spaceflight, the time between them and us is still measured in years (though for us, not the inhabitants of the vessel).
So is interstellar travel even worth it? Are we ever going to bother to go past our own small solar borders? One can only hope so, but probably not for any “I Came, I Saw, I Conquered” visits.
For, even if we made a massive empire, when news of invading aliens reached our ears, it would already be too late to send anyone.
Joshua Hill, a Geek’s-Geek from Melbourne, Australia, Josh is an aspiring author with dreams of publishing his epic fantasy, currently in the works, sometime in the next 5 years. A techie, nerd, sci-fi nut and bookworm.