There are reasons for believing that faster-than-light (FTL) interstellar space travel may be consistent with the laws of physics, and a brief review of various FTL travel concepts is presented. It is argued that FTL travel would revolutionise the scientific exploration of the Universe, but would only significantly shorten the Galactic colonisation timescale from the 106 years estimated on the assumption of sub-light interstellar travel if the mass-production of FTL space vehicles proves to be practical. FTL travel would permit the development of interstellar social and political institutions which would probably be impossible otherwise, and may therefore strengthen the 'zoo hypothesis' as an explanation for the apparent absence of extraterrestrial beings in the Solar System.
Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- September 1995