STARCHILD III - "THE LONG WAY HOME" (BACK STORY)

TERRA: Most SciFi stories are based on a made-up technology that the reader or movie-goer must accept in order to make the story work. As unbelievable as this story might be, it is based on hard science that is known today. The exception to this story being that there is presently no evidence that there is or ever was, life forms similar to humans on Earth, known to exist in the universe.

CATCH: The major catch to finding life in other parts of our galaxy, one might believe, is of the great distances that exist. Well, not really. The catch or the culprit in the equation is time. The brief period of modern man's knowledge has only been a micro-second in the billions of years that cosmic space has been around. Thus, in the times before and after our presence here in the universe, giga-billions of civilizations could have evolved and died off. There may not presently be any civilizations in our local neighborhood of stars during the same micro-seconds of time that we are here and searching for them.

THEORY: Einstein's theory of relativity (E=MC2) stated Energy is equal to Mass (or density and size. On Earth, it would be weight times the Constant (or a stated velocity, assumed presently to be the speed of light) squared. To over simplify, it states that any object with a mass will weigh an infinite amount of pounds as it is accelerated to the speed of light. Thus, a traveling object becomes so heavy that it cannot exceed the speed of light. Time is a veritable in this equation. Time remains normal in the object that is accelerating, but relative to it's point of departure, a greater length of time elapses. Therefore, time slows or may even stop relative to the traveling object. This has been proven with atomic clocks and space missions. Astronauts are actually a few seconds younger when they return from space than when they left Earth. Of course, they do not come anywhere close to approaching the speed of light in modern space flights.

TIME: Based on applying the theory of relativity, backward time travel is not possible, but forward time travel is possible.

SPEED: At the present time, no one knows what effect traveling at the speed of light would have on the human body or even if the human body could survive at speeds halfway to the speed of light. However, as time might remain normal within the traveling object, there may be no effect. The Earth itself is hurling through space at a great speed. Thus, putting humans into hibernation for space travel would only be required at speeds well below the speed of light.

RELATIVE: If a fighter aircraft is flying at 600 mph and fires a missal from the aircraft that flies at 800 mph, is the missal traveling at 800 mph or 1,400 mph? The answer is "relative to what?" Relative to the fighter that fired the missal, relative to the ground or relative to the object being fired towards. What if a spacecraft already traveling at or near the speed of light (remember that relative to itself, the spacecraft is sitting still) could the spacecraft now launch a missal (or itself) at the speed of light? If so, then the object launched would be traveling at twice the speed of light, at least relative to where the spacecraft started.

FLUX: How can we travel really fast? Well, have you every put a nail close to a strong magnet? It jumps over to the magnet so fast that you can't see it move. Without other forces like air, gravity and friction working on the nail, it could move even faster. The answer to adequate power to launch a spacecraft at ultra high speeds is not more powerful rockets. It is probably a propulsion device like a graviton, magnetron, flux gate or anti-gravity field generating device of some kind, similar to the nail and the magnet. You make-up the name.

JUMP: How is the light speed scenario handled by the SciFi writer? Well, they makeup something like hyper-light-insertion or jump-to-light-speed. The star field blurs and everything turns into black space. How this is accomplished is not ever really explained. Nor is how they keep from running into the occasional sun, planet or asteroid explained. Some writers use the warp-drive concept which folds flat space into an accordion like piece of paper and have the spacecraft punch through it like a pencil through the folds of the paper. Still other writers find wormholes, natural short cuts through space. All of them seem to walk around inside the spaceship in some form of artificial gravity occasionally hitting bumps in the space road that throws them out of their chairs instead of splattering them up against the bulkhead like a bug on a windshield.

MASS: Popular scientific belief holds that our universe is a mass which is expanding outward from a central point (the big bang). Other less scientific theories hold that the universe is circular. If you started at one point and flew for an eternity, you would end up back where you started from. This author's personal theory is that the universe might be shaped in the form of a capital Mobious coil. No one really knows for sure, but it's a really big place.

DEVICE: Staying with simple physics, we know that a magnetic field will work in space. The device we will use (let's call it a Fluxtron, for lack of a better name) will create an artificial magnetic field just ahead of the spacecraft. In our story, the spacecraft (the Starchild) is a vertical take-off, super-sonic, high altitude, six seated aircraft. The craft will be fitted with the newly developed Fluxtron device which is about the size of a five gallon can. This device could be installed on a trash dumpster and it would still work.

CRAFT: We need to provide an environment, landing capability and some comfort for our human passengers so we will use a high altitude aircraft. In addition to the Fluxtron, which is crudely mounted to the floor in the aft of the aircraft, there are coils that must be installed around the object (in this case the airframe). This is to polarize the object similar to what is used on nuclear submarines to neutralize the magnetic field of their anomaly signature. When the Fluxtron is turned on it will create a magnetic field ahead (or any direction) of the craft. Thus, the spacecraft would always be trying to move (be attracted to) into the attracting field just ahead of it. A little like a carrot on a stick that it can never be obtained. In theory at least, nothing would stop the craft from going faster.

SPACE: How do we keep from flying through solid objects? Every object in space has a magnetic field around it. Suns (stars) have large ones, planets have smaller one and even asteroids have a small one. An autopilot that can detect these magnetic fields would adjust the position (heading) of the artificial field just ahead of the craft and stead a course away from the object. Space is not really very crowded. There is a lot of open space to explore out there.

FORCES: How does a human being (or more specifically, the anatomy of a person) react to traveling at speeds close to the speed of light? When the railroad train was first developed, it was questioned as to the ability of the human body to transition from horsecarriage speeds to speeds of thirty and forty mile per hour. This skepticism continued even through the speeds required to break the sound barrier with the Bell X-1. Based on our rudimentary rocket knowledge to date, it seems to be that the human body only responds to relative acceleration and deceleration forces. Thus, the human body, at any speed, appears to function normally so long as the velocity is not changed.

DOPPLER: What would a person expect to experience when approaching the speed of light? From theory and rudimentary experiments, light appears to curve. This was proven during an eclipse based on an early prediction that Einstein had made. In other words, you can begin to see around corners before you get there. Secondly, there is a light wave shift which is the same as the Doppler effect is to sound. It is known as the red-blue light spectrum shift. Therefore, a person traveling at or near the speed of light would experience distorted vision. They would also see red discoloration looking in one direction and blue discoloration when looking the opposite direction. Would the human body get infinitely heavier? The answer is simply, unknown. It appears that because their anatomy is relative to their speed (and if the velocity is not changed rapidly) that relative to their present position, mass would remain unchanged. What about that old clinker "time"? What may begin to occur, some theorize, is a God-like view of time. Both the past, present and future would all be seen at the same time.

WHERE: Let us briefly discuss traveling to another planet or culture. Survival in a strange place dictates that a living being of any kind must adapt to that specific environment. For example, we could take you out of your present environment and drop you in the middle of the Amazon forest. You may know how to drive a car, you may even be able to repair one, but until you or someone builds roads and an automobile, this knowledge is not of much value to you. You may know how to cook on an electric stove, you may even know how an electric stove works, but until you or someone mines and melts the iron and builds an electric power plant and runs the wires to you, you better start building a campfire. Such is the plight of the Travelers in our story. They must survive on a similar, but never the less alien planet until technology can catch up with their needs.

TECHNOLOGY: Unlike your typical SciFi characters, the Travelers in our story are not able to take an old radio receiver and build some kind of space transporter device. All technology rides on the backs of the technology before it. First, you make a stone ax to cut wood, then you build fires. Next you identify iron, then you forge steel and so on. Much later, you can make a computer chip.

LANGUAGE: It is very likely that humanoids, much like us, could evolve on a planet like Earth. In fact the more similar the planet is to our Earth (size and distance from it's sun, etc.) the more likely it would be that evolution would follow a similar path. However, it is not likely that customs and languages would be the same. Simple proof of this are the many differences right here on Earth. For the sake of our screenplay, we will have the characters speak English on their home planet. When they encounter a new culture, they will at first seem to speak a language similar to a Slovak tongue. They will also use hand gestures. Very quickly, their language will change to English again. Actually, this is not too unrealistic. This author has traveled in several foreign countries and after a very short time, one is using and understanding many local phrases. At least, we don't have to deal with the age old problem of the Germans speaking English with a German accent.

SCENARIO: Finally, we must consider technological development. As a civilization advances towards higher and higher forms of technology, the ability to destroy one another and their environment increases geometrically. The question is whether or not a highly advanced civilization will destroy itself at some future point in their development or do they overcome and master technology in order to survive and go on to develop an even more advanced civilization. The story will end with what is only this author's best guess scenario.

WHICH: After the story has ended and in reflection, one should ask; was Terra, Earth or was Earth, Terra.

Return to "Starchild" index