Unfortunately, humans had been traveling only to the Moon for the farthest distance. Surely the imagination of numerous people had been thriving with ideas that involved going very far away into space – to other solar systems and even other galaxies. While those were just sci-fi scenarios, the good news is that they can become a reality in the near future.
Of course, you might say that it’s impossible considering that space agencies like SpaceX are struggling to find out ways for sending us to our neighboring planet Mars. But the method that we’ll be talking about doesn’t even depend on our technology too much.
A wormhole is the answer
If you’ve seen the Interstellar movie from 2013, than you could consider skipping this part of the article. Although it was just a sci-fi movie that had some unscientific claims like traveling back in time as soon as you fall into a black hole, there was plenty of scientific truth in it. The main one could be considered how the wormhole was presented: a formation capable of providing a shortcut through spacetime, without occurring naturally. There’s no need for speed once you hop into a wormhole – you can find yourself in another solar system in just minutes or maybe even seconds after you embark for the trip. Of course, we also have to take into account the fear of the unknown, as few astronauts would actually be willing to engage in such a mission. And paying them with all the money in the world couldn’t be enough, because whatever conditions could there be on the destination, chances are practically zero for the astronauts to make out with dollars or euros.
Where are the aliens?
The problem for getting ourselves a wormhole in our solar system, just like the character of Matthew McConaughey from Interstellar did, is that someone has to build it for us. And while humanity doesn’t have the necessary tools to do it, we can only rely on hypothetical intelligent beings from another planet. Of course, this is a wild scenario like finding a needle in a million haystacks, considering that there aren’t any reliable stories about intelligent extraterrestrial beings ever visiting us. But judging by how unimaginably big our Universe is, we have a slight chance to encounter someday intelligent aliens if they exist. Of course, they may not be friendly, they may hate Facebook, and we could not be able to communicate with them in any way. But finding intelligent creatures from another planet can mean our only possible ticket towards another solar system.
But how could we find the aliens besides simply waiting for them to crash on Earth with a spaceship? Astronomers had been placing their bets throughout the history by sending different signals into space, sending probes on other planets, and capturing images from the far regions of the Universe by using powerful telescopes. While there’s no trace of intelligent extraterrestrial beings just yet, don’t lose hope, because again: there’s a huge freaking Universe that we live in. Its estimated diameter is around 93 billion light-years, and only the observable Universe had been taking into account for this measure. Only God knows how much bigger the rest of the Universe is, from where light didn’t have enough time to reach us during those 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang.
The Universe expands even faster than the speed of light. While you may ask ‘didn’t Einstein say that nothing can possibly surpass the speed of light?’, than you are perfectly correct, and we’re not here to contradict the illustrious scientist one bit (may he rest in peace!). But when he said ‘nothing’ he was referring to anything within the Universe itself. He didn’t exclude that there could be different laws that govern what exists beyond the Universe or even its outskirts.
Light-speed spacecraft are not really an option
If by some chances anybody manages to invent a spacecraft that travels at the speed of light, using it to travel to other planets cannot really be an option. The problem is that even time is relative, as Einstein proved it with its General Theory of Relativity. This means that time flows a lot different at the speed of light than when you’re sitting still or traveling by plane, for example. Time slows down a lot during light speed, which means that it would take plenty of years for us on Earth to receive any information from someone traveling with its spaceship at the speed of light. If the traveler returns after several minutes of his cosmic journey, he would find people on Earth older with several decades. And of course, some of his friends and relatives could be dead. Nobody is willing to wait that long for someone to tell us what he found on other solar systems or other galaxies.
Therefore, traveling by light speed isn’t an option, and we cannot surpass that speed, as it’s the maximum allowed by the laws of physics. But how about traveling to other solar systems using our current technology? First of all, the closest solar system to ours is Alpha Centauri, and it’s located at a staggering distance of 3 to 4 light-years away. Our fastest spaceship, the Parker Solar Probe, reaches 153,454 miles per hour. You can easily figure out with a little math that it would take more than a human lifetime to reach the nearest solar system to our own.
There you have it, our only chance to travel to other solar systems fast is a wormhole. And while it’s like finding the needle in a million or a billion haystacks, it’s still the only chance we have.