As the idea of space travel is discussed, the thought of actually reaching distant locations comes into focus. Outer space is very vast, with any prospect of going to a planet within our solar system, or anywhere beyond it, becoming somewhat difficult to conceive. However, there are scientists and related researchers currently collaborating with ideas on how to reach areas far, far away within speculatively reasonable amounts of time.
A lot of conjecture has surrounded the thought of using the Saturnian moon Titan as a base site. Saturn itself fluctuates betweeen 794 million miles and 979 million miles from Earth. A trip to our solar system’s fifth world, as based upon Voyager technology, is projected to take a little over three years. Yet, work is being done to experiment with methods that will allow for reaching extended distances at reasonably faster speeds.
Travelling into outer space inevitably leads to the topic of interstellar travel. The nearest planet which is not in our solar system is located around the star Epsilon Eridani. This world is roughly 10.9 light years, or 63 trillion miles, from Earth! It is a gas giant, which is not a habitable planet for anything that we currently recognize as life. However, it could have moons that are habitable, which possibly could be homes to something alive!
Right now, we do not have the technology to reach interstellar distances in any reasonable amounts of time. Getting to Mars is estimated to be a nine month journey, just one way. It is the closest location from Earth that humans would venture to explore. The planet fluctuates between 34.6 million miles and 249.4 million miles from our world, so reaching this planet will require precise timing and trajectory to get to and from it at reasonable rates.
That is just to Mars! Current scientific studies are saying that it will take between 85 years and 81,000 years to reach to reach the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, which is roughly 4.22 light years to 4.37 light years away. This is based upon the use of various forms of propulsion that could be used with a manned vessel from Earth. No information about worlds to explore within orbits of that location have been discussed.
There are speculations about habitable worlds within the Gliese 581 system. This red dwarf star is twenty light years from us. It has an estimate of six worlds in orbit around it. At least three of them have been speculated as candidates to be habitable for some forms of life. The worlds Gliese 581c and Gliese 581d are said to be similar to Mars, having been decimated by greenhouse effects. This would not allow these planets to support life. Yet, Gliese 581g is being reviewed, as it is supposed to orbit Gliese 581 at a position between Gliese 581c and Gliese 581d. It is situated within the habitable zone, possibly having liquid water.
The Gliese system is twenty light years from Earth. That is 11,720 trillion miles away from us! Based with our current technological capacity, this trip would take 180,000 years! Yet, of course ideas with conjuring reasonable and faster methods of travel using scientific methods are being studied. This includes nuclear propulsion, antimatter propulsion, and fusion rocket travel. Manipulations with light speed are proposed, allowing Gliese to be reached within twenty-three years. Other speculative ideas include time dilation, which is the manipulation of space-time in conjunction with the distances between the locations of travel.
As for right now, we are not even getting back to our own moon. Most of this talk about interplanetary, or even interstellar travel, is high conjecture. Granted, there is a lot of factual information about the actual possibility for completing this manner of feat, yet several obstacles currently prevent it from getting into full gear. A large aspect is the cost of all of what would be needed to go forward with such a task, and I have not looked into what sites are saying about how anyone would propose to pay for any efforts toward actual space travel.