back to article Ding Dong, ALIENS CALLING

Sorry, sci-fi fans: pretty much anyone who's imagined what a near-light-speed spacecraft would look like has got it wrong, because they've forgotten its interaction with photons. Not only that, but according to a couple of scientists working for Raytheon, it doesn't matter whether Einstein's proposition that you'll never …

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Bah!

Sorry, article author, but any true science fiction fan will already have figured that at near-lightspeed the blue-shifted cosmic background is coming on as gamma rays.

The rest of your article then follows as "Well, duh!"

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rvt

Step 1 ) Turn yourself into pure energy.

Step 2) Travel at the speed of light.

Step 3) When arrive at destination, turn yourself from energy back into mass.

Step 4) Profit.

From your your own point of view you 'jumped' from point A to point B.

The only difference is that the place you jumped into was 'shifted' in time by XX.

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Pint

@rvt

Step 1) Project your thoughts to distant star system.

Step 2) Thoughts being massless, you arrive instantly.

Step 3) Converse with the advanced beings who abide there.

Step 4) Be back in time for the pub.

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@Mystic Megabyte

Step 1) Go to pub earlier

Step 2) Drink a lot.

Step 3) See aliens.

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@Mystic Megabyte

I prefer Ly Tin Weedle's approach.

The only things known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Weedle. He reasoned like this: you can’t have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles - kingons, or possibly queons - that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expounded because, at that point, the bar closed.

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“Our calculation for what an observer on Earth could detect predicts a very unusual signature that is unlikely to be caused by any naturally occurring object in the known universe,"

But there are naturally occurring relativistic objects in the form of cosmic radiation. So why do we not detect such a signature?

Or is this how Raytheon were hoping to detect incoming aliens at UK borders?

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Build it out of dark matter

Since we don't know anything about its properties, I'm going to decide for the purposes of this post that it will cause all normal matter and photons to bend around it like water going around a ship. Just as scientifically valid as the people saying "deflector dish".

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Re: Build it out of dark matter

But then, how would you find it after you'd parked it?

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Re: Build it out of dark matter

"But then, how would you find it after you'd parked it?"

With the key fob, of course. *CHIRP CHIRP*

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Coat

Re: Build it out of dark matter

was the pilot dead for tax purposes and the controls black on black with black warning lights?

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Re: Build it out of dark matter

I'd better put on my peril-sensitive sunglasses right now.

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Joke

Re: Build it out of dark matter @Stevie

In the same way as you know when you've run out of invisible ink!

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On the wrong track completely...

Everyone knows that the big bang started in a parallel universe and burst into ours, where there was nothing to start with. There are an infinite number of parallel universes of different sizes, scales and shapes. To travel great distances in our universe is just a matter of popping over to another universe that has a different scale and temporal flow, travelling a short distance and them popping back into our universe st the distant destination. No near-light speed needed, no deflectors, no cryogenic chambers, no Bussard Scramjets, no wormholes. All you need is a sidestep! We don't have these yet but something else might!

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If the are approaching at or obove light speed we would see any warning signs until they arrived with the space ship or after it.

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When a ship is near light speed, its arrival is also its departure, or nearly so. Unless something very solid arrests its motion. Small moon or bigger should suffice...

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But hang on, what if...

I create a Dark Matter energy field around my space ship, won't that allow me to slip seamlessly through all other particles and photons without interaction?

Ref: article the other day on two galaxies smashing together and DM passing seamlessly through with no interaction.

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Mushroom

Raytheon

Isn't Raytheon the name of a Tefal-foreheaded alien from 'This Island Earth'?

He probably travels by interocitor.

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says

If you are interested in rocket design and the problems with space travel such as the one mentioned in this article then get yourself to Winchell Chung's Atomic Rockets website:

http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/index.php

Prepare to be somewhat depressed when you are repeatedly told "no, you can't do that" however.

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Anonymous Coward

No inclusion of the effects of dark matter and dark energy

Amateurs

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Re: No inclusion of the effects of dark matter and dark energy

It's a truly awful paper. But no problem in the maths jumps out. Of course, that could be because the presentation of the equations is so shockingly bad.

And the idea of a CMB reflection signature is novel.

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Boffin

Call the Wiz on This One

Any alien civilization with a million year technological head start on us will simply click their heels together three times and repeat "There's no place like Gamma99375n600772Xc32199B".

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Alternative to Warp Drive

I always quite liked the idea of Harry Harrison's Bloater Drive: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill,_the_Galactic_Hero#Bloater_Drive

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ZSn

old

Sorry to rain on everyone's parade but this particular 'problem' has been done to death enough times that it is a physics undergraduate trope. Sheesh - and I used to think that Raytheon were competent.

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Boffin

They'll use magic

Or something sufficiently advanced that it will be indistinguishable from it.

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Two words

Bussard Ramjet

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Re: Two words

Five words: does not work.

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[waiting until the photons and dust can be removed by laser equipped space sharks at the pointy end of the ship.]

(waits for someone to point out the flaw).

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Facepalm

fitting the lasers to the sharks is problematical, also what type Bull or great White etc

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Anonymous Coward

Brown trousers time

Look, I'm trying to navigate at faster than the speed of light, which means that before you see something, you've already passed through it. Even with an IQ of 6000, it's still brown-trousers time.

Okay, the article was about relativistic speeds less than the speed of light, but I still like that line ;-) And it still applies in a way -- by the time you've detected CMBs, at relativistic speeds they've already done their damage.

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If Raytheon couldn't program a computer to control our borders, they've no chance of coming up with the correct answer to a scientific problem

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There always will be limitations

And there will always be some wacko genius who just goes around them.

For instance: right here on El Reg

NASA tests crazytech flying saucer thruster, could reach Mars in days

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Facepalm

Re: There always will be limitations

Oh, you think that bullshit is serious and not clickbait?

"I VIOLATED CONSERVATION OF MOMENTUM ALL BY MYSELF! YEAH!!!"

Let me laugh even harder.

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Re: There always will be limitations

So you are smarter than NASA?

Please laugh all you want. Oh yes, please do. I promise I won't try to torture you by also mentioning quantum entanglement.

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Re: There always will be limitations

So you are smarter than NASA?

No, but I'm not stupid enough to believe that all of physics from the ground up needs to be rewritten because some idiots didn't pay attention in class when error bars were explained.

quantum entanglement

Amazingly, that kind of thing can be tested anywhere, consistently and we have the math to describe it (even if it did take von Neumann to write the primer). That "NASA" retardation, not so much.

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Obviously the technology that we have no real understanding of would be completely baffled by something we do understand... Take that stupid aliens!!! and when they do get here they will be completely overwhelmed by the common cold too, because invading aliens would never see that coming... Or they might invade our water planet when they are in fact allergic to it...

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Ok, so these unexplained ultra-high-energy cosmic ray (UHECR) particles are produced by alien hoons doing near-c donuts somewhere out there in the local supercluster.

Damn those Xxzyipgaaalokeeaens and their goddam hotted-up space chariots!

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I find it fascinating how 'fizzysists' decide that something isn't possible, because it isn't part of the Standard Model.

Quite apart from the fact that black holes shove the Standard Model up their infinite cavity, it's just ridiculous and very.. well, human, to think that if WE don't know how it's done - then it can't be done.

Space flight was deemed impossible because humans could not possibly withstand the rigors of space.

The Horseless Carriage was deemed impossible because noone could think of how to make something move without oats.

If only these men of science would just try to figure out HOW to do something, rather than spend time telling us why it CAN'T be done, we'd be living on Mars by now...

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What is strang is

I calculated just these subjects a decade and change ago.

Blue shifted radiation from the direction of travel would be hard gamma radiation. Re-emission of the absorbed gamma would cause everything from RF through pair production, with plenty of gamma being re-emitted. Exhaust energy would range from IR through RF.

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Oh if only I was a Steven...

I'd be working on far more interesting stuff!

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Which is why Star Trek uses deflector Shields?

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Playtime!

Use a small black hole as a nose cone. Or a confined plasma? Or howabout negative refractive indices? Can you negatively refect gravity (a wave is a wave)? Maybe just fling a wormhole and use it when it's close enough. Pre-ship blobs of quantum entangled matter and then change their state from HQ later to match a desired material form?

Of course it's far easier just to ditch the physical manifestation and send data. That's all everything is at the end of the day. You only need physics for your 'hypervisor'. Then you could use needle-thin vessels and assemble yourself at the end of the journey (whichever of your vessels survives the journey). Maybe use gravity and laser manipulation to induce amino-acid assembly in some remote planet's atmosphere then wait until they're able to pick up the phone and then 'call collect' e.g. the film Contact

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I thought the idea was everything was deflected into the maw of a fusion-reactor ramjet?

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Stargate has the answer

Dial Number

Watch wormhole open

Step through

Panic when you realise you have a wrong number

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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The good news is warp drive is still on the table.

The bad news is everyone waiting for you will be toast on your arrival.

The ugly news is this sounds like a great weapon.

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Re. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

I had this discussion with some folks on the LHC forum; the upshot was that the Wow! signal just might have been the radio leakage from dropping out of FTL.

Assuming an Alcubierre-like hypertime drive which uses superdense rotating normal matter in front to locally accelerate the expansion of the Universe for propulsion.

It could be that a Gen 0 (ie Phoenix) FTL might generate a certain RF pulse signature but an entire fleet of ships dropping out would have to do so sequentially or bad things would occur.

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