Will We Ever Visit Other Stars?


Hey, Vsauce. Michael here. I’ve been watching
Bravest Warriors on Cartoon Hangover lately. It’s great, it was created by Pendleton Ward,
and in the show teenagers zip around the universe visiting star systems and planets and here
is my question: When will we do the same? Us humans, in real life. I mean, we’ve managed to put people on the
Moon, and land robots on asteroids, and Mars, and even Titan, a moon of Saturn. Interplanetary travel is scary cool.
But will we ever travel interstellarly? Certainly it will happen, right? I mean, Voyager 1 is
expected to reach interstellar space sometime this year, or maybe in the next year or two.
And it was launched way back in 1977. So, shows like Bravest Warriors are pretty much
just a glimpse of our future, maybe even one within our lifetimes. Right? Well, we’re going to need a DONG for this one. Something you can Do Online Now Guys. The Hayden Planetarium’s digital universe
allows you to explore a 3-dimensional map of our Milky Way. Now, there are about 81
visible stars within just 20 lightyears of our own Sun. The nearest is Proximus Centauri,
which is only 4.3 lightyears away. Getting there? Piece of cake. Piece of difficult
cake, because a lightyear is an incredibly long distance. It’s the distance that light
in a vacuum will travel in an entire year. And in just one second light can travel
so far as to circle the entire Equator of Earth…7 times. Now, a fast bullet can travel at about 1,500 m/s.
And Voyager 1 is traveling at about 17,000 m/s, relative to the Sun. Also relative to
the Sun, our Earth is orbiting at a speed of 29,800 m/s – that’s pretty fast.
But the fastest man-made object ever was the Helios 2 Solar Probe,
which traveled at a maximum speed of 70,220 m/s. Impressive, right? Well, even at that speed,
the fastest speed ever reached by any man made object, crossing this little ol’ gap
and reaching Proximus Centauri would take 19,000 years. But technology in the future is bound to be
improved, along with the maximum speeds we are able to obtain. Even using what we know
now, a solar sail could easily provide the acceleration needed to reach near-lightspeed speeds.
And our current understanding of physics theoretically allows for things like wormholes which, in
theory, could move a spacecraft from one point in space to another faster than light normally could. And who could forget the famous Alcubierre drive?
An idea that fits within most models of our universe, and proposes a way to deliver
a space craft to a distant object faster than light can get there – not by moving the spacecraft,
but, instead, by collapsing and expanding space itself. Things like wormholes and Alcubierre drives
are theoretical, but if they could one day become a reality, how far away might that day be?
It matters. And figuring out exactly when in time we should begin an interstellar
journey is called a Wait Calculation. Leave too soon and before a ship launched today,
full of frozen embryos, ever got to its destination it would be passed by astronauts who left
hundreds, or thousands, of years later, at a point in time when technology was advanced
enough to lap what we have today. Andrew Kennedy calculated that given the
pace of our progress, as far as travel velocity is concerned,
and Earth’s mean annual economic growth, the soonest human civilization might ever
reach Bernard Star, 6 lightyears away, is 1,104 years from today, which isn’t within
any of our lifetimes. It might also be a bit optimistic because it assumes that we not
only solve the problem of speed, but that we also solve problems like “how to survive
interstellar radiation for years?” or “how to avoid collisions with interstellar
material at high speeds?” It also assumes that before we achieve the
technology needed to successfully interstellarly travel, all of human kind isn’t wiped out
by some cataclysmic natural disaster. It may sound unlikely, but we’re not talking about
the near-future, we’re talking about thousands of years from now. Let’s put it this way.
Even given our current, slow means of space travel, it’s estimated that within 5 to 50 million
years, we could theoretically explore and colonize our whole galaxy. That’s a lot of time, though. In fact, statistically
speaking, within the next 500,000 years, it’s very likely that Earth will encounter a meteorite
nearly a kilometer across. Hopefully when that happens we have the prevention abilities
needed to keep ourselves safe. But given all of this information it’s easy to see why
the 2008 Joint Propulsion Conference concluded that it was improbable that humans would ever
explore beyond the solar system. It’s quite depressing to think that scenes
like this one from Shutterstock may be destined to only ever remain that – science fiction. Wait, how quickly is the camera moving in that clip? We’re used to seeing science fiction
scenes like this, but a Nebula tends to be lightyears across, which means that in this
clip we’re traveling at least the speed of light, if not faster.
Would it really look like that? I covered this briefly in my black hole video,
but not completely. If you were to travel at the speed of light, or near the speed of
light, the universe ahead of you wouldn’t look like it usually did. First of all, your
field of view would increase. It would appear as if the universe was receding away from
you as you accelerated. At the same time, all of the light reaching you would be blueshifted
until you were left with this. You may have seen this on Vsauce 2. It’s the cosmic background
radiation blueshifted all-the-way up into the visible range. MIT Game Lab offers a free, downloadable game
that puts you in an environment where the speed of light can be lowered all-the-way
down to typical walking speed. You can experience all of the visual effects I just discussed,
but I wanted to know what it would look like if the speed of light was where it is, and
I took a journey from Earth to the Moon. So, I enlisted my friend Liam from World of
the Orange and New Music to put together a simulation of what it might actually look
like to accelerate to nearly the speed of light and then slow down,
during a trip from Earth to the Moon. Enjoy. Whether or not you should believe that all
the right factors will come together and humans will one day travel that quickly or reach
interstellar destinations largely comes down to whether you want to be an optimist or a
pessimist. But what we’ve accomplished so far is quite amazing considering how weak,
flimsy and vulnerable the human body is in the vacuum of space. Bad Astronomer and SciShow have great videos
discussing this topic. And now, thanks to the brilliant team at Bravest Warriors, I’m
going to go to space. But not while wearing a Vsauce suit, no, no, no, I’ll do it naked.
Whoa. Ok, not that naked. And also maybe some muscles?
Yep, so that’s pretty much what I’d look like. The moment I’m exposed to the vacuum of space
my body would not inflate and explode. Now, the body is a very nicely contained system.
But those parts of me that aren’t well contained…they’ll be the first to go. The air in my lungs and
digestive tract would quickly rush out. Moist, soft tissues would rapidly lose water.
My mouth and lips and eyes would dry out and swell. As water was pulled to the surface
of these things it would vaporize, and the decrease in its pressure would cool my mouth
and eyes to near-freezing. My body would inflate to about twice its normal size as gasses in
my blood came out of solution, slowly evaporating away, cooling the surface of my skin.
Oh, and the blood vessels in my eyes would likely burst, spilling blood into my eyes which,
along with all the other fluid in my eyes, would be rapidly vaporizing on the surface,
freezing and drying them out. Within about 15 seconds I would go unconscious
because oxygen wasn’t reaching my brain. And, as far as I’m concerned, that would be the
end of the entire ordeal. For another 90 seconds or so I would still, technically, be alive,
but I wouldn’t be aware of it or remember any of it. My dead body would remain, internally,
quite warm for a while because in the near vacuum of space there isn’t much matter to
conduct of convect heat away from me. Instead, I would really only lose heat through radiation,
a much less efficient method. It would take hours for me to cool down to the temperature
of space, and by then, I would be nothing but a dried-up piece of slightly bloated and
stretched, dessicated human jerky. If I was exposed to the Sun’s full-on radiation,
not filtered by the usual atmosphere of Earth, I would be a grossly sunburnt piece of jerky. In case that makes you hungry, let me give
you some nutritional facts: 200 pounds of human meat, in outer space, would eventually
become about 120 pounds of freeze-dried jerky. And given what would be left of me that would
be edible as a snack, I’d be worth about 115,000 calories. Maybe humans are the only intelligent life
in the universe. But if you believe that intelligent life could have arisen on other planets,
an interesting idea occurs: The Fermi Paradox. Enrico Fermi calculated that given the number
of planets believed to exist in our galaxy, at least some of them must have been habitable
to life as we know it. And, in many cases, millions and millions of years before life
on Earth even existed. So, if interstellar travel, traveling between
stars and different solar systems, really is possible for intelligent life to do, why
have we not been visited by aliens yet? Well, maybe we have been visited. Maybe they’re
here right now and we just can’t perceive them. Or maybe we haven’t been discovered.
Or maybe we are alone. Or maybe we’re just not worth visiting… So, what are you waiting for? Live your life
in a way that makes traveling lightyears just to hang out with you worth it. And as always, thanks for watching.

100 comments

  1. these videos will forever be a part of my high school experience. coming back to these videos take me way back…

  2. Ive been to several diffrent planets and I came from Lyra 😻, sadly it was distroyed in a ongoing war. There is a more natural way to travle the stars with out tec. To figure out how start studing a bit of metaphysics.

  3. If we become a type III or IV or V civilisation on the kartashev scale maybe even type II civilisation going to another solar system will be like walking outside your house unless it is type II then it is like going to another country

  4. You said it would take a thousand years to be able to visit other stars and five hundred thousand years for a meteorite destroy us, so wouldn't humans have a chance of 499 in 500 scenarios to be able to visit other stars? I think that is quite optmistic.

  5. we were born too early to explore the universe

    we were born too late to explore the earth

    we were born just in time to explore the dankest dank memes

  6. Humans will never explore out of the solar system. That will be another humanoid that evolved from homo sapiens. Hell there would be different humans on different planets.

  7. I have two explanations as to why we have ‘not been visited’

    The first one is given how violent we are as a race, no alien race in their right minds would want to make any kind of contact with us.

    Contradictory to that, it is entirely possible that although they are not here RIGHT NOW, they in fact HAVE come here in the past, because there are a few things that wouldn’t make a lot of sense if they hadn’t, for example, why did the Aboriginals for example have paintings of alien spacecrafts? And how the hell did Stonehenge get built? While it can be debated that it wasn’t aliens, it sure as hell wasn’t human beings, we didn’t even have stone tools back then for crying out loud!

  8. I don't know about you Michael, but when I try to understand intellectually stimulating concepts, I prefer to B.O.N.G.

  9. Maybe aliens can’t see us yet because by the time they see us we probably still look like dinosaurs or apes. Or we’re unreachable to them, or invisible? Also could you make a similar video like this next year? Would be a great update

  10. Vsauce, if a satellite moves further away from us but continues to transmit radio waves to earth is the signal still received in real time? I'm curious since the way light travels is slowed by distance but even though in our time we receive light that is thousands of years old it is received on the same scale and so if we look at 1,000 year old light now, and then 10 minutes later we still see light 10 minutes later.

  11. 4:39 … You know I disagree with that number & the reason is because … The gap of years doesn't always necessarily means "More advancement"

    The thing that really counts is the dedicated effort & resources which is being invested to improve the technology …

    The massive amount of learning and development which was made in a decade for the Apollo missions is one of the prime examples that gap of years doesn't guarantee more advancement, It's the dedicated effort in a specific domain that really counts …

    Our future would have problems of its own & So, It's not guaranteed that we would keep on pouring in the resources in space research organisations.

  12. Michael is circumcised. Little pink head on the animation. Can never be unseen when you understand that sutch details are intentional. Wery intentional

  13. Here's a little math problem for ya.
    Assumptions: Michael is an average human, with a net worth of 115,000 calories. And that average human needs ~ 2000 calories per day. And that each human on average lives 80 years, and each couple produce two children. And that the human population is 7.5 billion. And that tomorrow, a viral mutation causes the entire human population to become obligate cannibals.
    Question: how long until we go extinct?

  14. Nowadays rich people live in some cool mansions but in future rich people live on asteroids or something that are made out of diamonds and poor will still be living on earth

  15. After watching this video,i take my bike cycle and i am riding on full speed to reach interstellar space. see you soon.

  16. There may not be 'life', even if you believe other beings are out there.
    As far as we know, survival may be possible without our categorisation of life. We say that 'life' has to:
    Move
    Respire
    Sense
    Grow
    Reproduce
    Excrete
    (need) Nutrition
    For all we know, beings on other planets may not need to respire, for example. They may have perfect bodies that use all nutrition intake, and no excretion is needed. They mey not even need nutrition, or be able to sense things. The lighting on the planet mey be surrounding; plants wont need to move to optimise respiration, or growth. The may have evolved to not meet one of these conditions, as they are as perfect as they can get without these definitions, but would still be recognised as alive by the explorers if they dont closely study them. Our definition only really works on our planets environment, its too specific a way of defining life.

  17. we cant go there for real but we can go there in theory , and i have go there in theory and can say its beautiful here 😁😁

  18. When you look at earth thousands of miles away you would see such bright lights coming from it. How come aliens haven't visited it yet?

  19. hA HA HA !! stupid !!! Denial is the reality that must be most aggressively denied to avoid collapsing the house of cards that keeps us functioning. The most amazing thing about human overshoot is that we do not discuss it. tHERE ARE, numerous proofs, of God, intelligent design. Which college professors are prohibited from teaching, intelligent design. There's another meaning of 'Denial' in psychoanalytic theory, where it is a psychological defense we all use at times to reduce our anxiety when it feels particularly disturbing. Everyone is in denial about something; just try denying it and watch friends make a list. For Freud, denial was a defense against external realities that threaten the ego, and many psychologists today would argue that it can be a protective defense in the face of unbearable news.
    1. Your denial does not make it false, . You are blinded to the truth
    2. You know the truth, but deliberately deny it.
    3. You want to protect your delusional reality.
    4. Many have seen the imaginary devil. Many have seen the imaginary God. BUT NO HAS SEEN GRAVITY !!!
    5. You bet the farm, on your denial =. bet the farm. To risk everything on a venture that one thinks will be successful. Primarily heard in US

  20. Well if it’s easy than anyone can achieve it. In theory there may be many planets with life but only a small portion have the civilisation advanced enough for interstellar travel.

  21. I’d say we could reach barnard’s star within by 2095 our technology is accelerating its acceleration Very fast thousands of years ago we first discovered fire now every year we have some big discovery I say 2095!

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