Friday, November 21, 2014

'Interstellar' movie poses some interesting scientific questions

Two of us checked this movie out yesterday, as it deals with topics that are increasingly coming to the fore in speculation of how ufo's could travel from one part of the universe to another.  One of the basic problems with the concept of interstellar travel is that distances in space are huge and outside the solar system they are measured in light years - the distance that light, which travels at 300,000 km/second, will go in a year, or 31.54 million seconds.

So-called 'worm holes' providing a quick shortcut between two places in space are a theoretical way of overcoming the problem if they exist naturally or can be created.  In this movie, scientists discover a worm hole near Saturn and send manned explorer craft to go into it and find out what lies beyond.  Even reaching Saturn takes spacecraft over four years in the conventional fashion.  Nevertheless, off they go and the astronauts get to discover a few interesting things including a couple of promising planets and a black hole.

The theoretical issues aren't necessarily going to appeal to a general audience, so an emotional story line is required and there is one, although it tends to get in the way a bit for those into the former.  The movie is nonetheless good food for thought about how things could really happen - for example, can ufo's compress space ahead of them?  What power would be required for that and where would it come from?  Antimatter is often suggested, but it's just not feasible for the technology that exists and is likely to exist on Earth. Anyway, there are several webpages on this subject, the wikipedia one is here

No comments: