July 12th, 2011


Mental Masturbation

I was going to do another science post, but that lead to another science post. I was just playing around with numbers and something just doesn't add up. Maybe you smart folk out there can tell me where my logic is flawed. Perhaps I dropped a decimal point somewhere or I'm confusing meters for kilometers.

I was thinking about what it would take to get a spaceship to Alpha Centauri, our nearest stellar neighbor. No, it wasn't inspired by "Lost in Space" but actually the comic strip "Non Sequiter" which had an arc about space travel last week. Anyway...I was thinking that the best answer would be a ship that would undergo constant acceleration. Ion drive? Solar sail? Something else? I was thinking that an acceleration of 1G would be reasonable since our bodies experience 1G every day. That would be 9.8m/s^2. If there are 31,536,000 seconds in a year, by the end of a year your speed would be something like 309,000,000 m/s. If the speed of light is 299,792,458 m/s, we're talking about hitting warp speed! Something is not right here! Where did I screw up? Is a 1G acceleration just way too great? Help me, geeks!