In this article, we will be discussing how long it would take to travel 120 light years. We will also examine the current limitations of technology and explore the possibilities for future travel.
What does 120 light years
A light year is the distance that light travels in one year, which is approximately 5.88 trillion miles (or 9.46 trillion kilometers). Therefore, 120 light years equals about 705.6 trillion miles (or 1,138.8 trillion kilometers). To put this into perspective, the nearest star to Earth (besides our sun) is Proxima Centauri and it is about 4.25 light years away. This means that traveling 120 light years would require a journey far longer than any we have attempted before.
Current technology limitations
With our current technology, traveling to 120 light years would be impossible. The fastest spacecraft ever launched by humans (New Horizons) travels at approximately 36,000 miles per hour (or 58,000 kilometers per hour). At this speed, it would take over 19,227 years to travel 120 light years.
To make matters worse, most spacecraft only designed to survive for a few years in space, so the long duration of such a journey would be difficult to tackle. Furthermore, the amount of food, water, and oxygen needed for such a long journey would immense, and the spacecraft would need to equipped with sophisticated life support systems to keep the crew alive. Currently, achieving such a feat is not possible.
Possibilities for future travel
Despite the current limitations of technology, there are many possibilities for future travel. Scientists and engineers are exploring new and innovative ways to travel faster and further than ever before. One idea is to use antimatter as a fuel source. Antimatter particles have the opposite charges of regular matter particles, and when they meet, they annihilate each other, releasing a tremendous amount of energy that could propel a spacecraft. However, currently, we do not have the ability to produce and store enough antimatter for practical space travel.
Another possibility is to use nuclear fusion as a power source for spacecraft. Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the sun and other stars, and if we can harness this energy, it could provide us with the energy necessary to accelerate a spacecraft to incredibly high speeds. Although this technology still developing and testing, it holds great promise for the future of space travel.
There is also the possibility of using wormholes to shorten the distance necessary to reach 120 light years. A wormhole a theoretical concept in which a shortcut between two points in space-time created, allowing for faster travel. However, this concept currently far-fetched as no evidence of naturally occurring wormholes has found yet, and even if they do exist, creating and manipulating them would require energies far greater than we can currently generate.
Theoretical travel limitations
Even if we could develop the technology to travel at incredibly high speeds, there are still limitations in physics that could make it impossible to travel 120 light years in a reasonable amount of time. One such limitation is the fact that as an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases infinitely. This creates the need for a greater amount of energy to maintain the acceleration of the spacecraft.
Moreover, the possibility of interstellar travel would still need to factor in the biological effects of long-duration space travel. For instance, exposure to cosmic radiation and micro-meteoroids along the journey, which can cause severe damage to the human body, would need to addressed. Better radiation shields would need to developed to provide adequate protection from harmful radiation.
The idea of traveling 120 light years raises a lot of questions such as what we will find on a journey that long or how future generations will finish the journey. The possibilities for interstellar travel are promising, and we cannot predict what the future holds. However, it is essential to remember that we must approach such endeavors carefully and take into account the limitations of technology and the risks involved in space travel. Even though science fiction inspires us, it is vital to approach space travel as an experimental pursuit and follow the progress in a carefully managed approach.