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"Tunnel in the Sky"
Great Heinlein, tome, Bryan!...one of my favorites along with "Stranger in a Strange Land" (of course), and "Time Enough for Love." And I often think of Heinlein's concept as the ultimate answer for space travel whenever the subject comes up. But now, it seems, it may be more than just conjecture. With the new theories of Dark Matter and Anti-Gravity developing (really Einstein's abandoned theory of the "cosmological constant" revisited!), forces so strong that they bend and consume even light (and may be faster than the speed of light!), the glint of plausibility of traversing these vast distances begins to gleam on the horizon. (My brain cells begin to rupture whenever I start to contemplate these magnitudes...you know, what's outside the universe? the Big Bang exploded where?...I have to pull back and grab a handful of soil just for reassurance). So, yes, Bryan, in about 1,000 years or so, hold on to your hat! Who knows, with the help of cryogenics you might still be here, there!, wherever!
By the way, there's a good article on this in the current "Time" 6/25.
And I'll never forgive Ronald Reagan for drastically cutting NASA's budget, and rolling back the manned space progam (and indirectly causing the Challenger disaster due to the lack of funding). I firmly believed at one time that by 1990 we would have manned flights to Mars, and colonies on (and maybe even vacation flights to) the Moon. But it wasn't to be...it WILL eventually, but how soon now...who knows?
OP One of my favorite subjects for speculation. :) Actually, the concepts themselves aren't too brain-rupturing for me. The idea of virtual particles, De Sitter space, anti-gravity, superfluid helium - I can deal with that (at least, the popularizations). It is the true enormity of the whole thing that boggles me. I have on my "computer wallpaper" Hubble Deep Field WFPC2. It shows some galaxies in the foreground as small discs, some as big as a button on your watch. In the background, you see smaller and smaller ones, and eventually you see a set of dots so small and dim they aren't even star sized. They're *all* galaxies. Each galaxy is billions of stars. (shudder) I get a religious awe every time I contemplate it.
As Sagan put it, an awful waste of space if there isn't *something* else out there.
Yeah - Reagan spent so much on SDI (and now Bush will do the same with NMD - same stuff, different name) he killed the space program. (sigh)
I'll check out the article, thanks.
You are only wretched and unworthy if you choose to be.
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