Interstellar Travel: Approaching Light Speed

  • Published on: 21 December 2016
  • Is interstellar travel doomed to remain in the realm of science fiction? Sticking to near future space propulsion only, how close can we get to the speed of light?

    This video looks at the current spacecraft speed records with Apollo 10 holding the record for the fastest manned spacecraft, New Horizons probe for the fastest Earth escape velocity and the Helios probes for the fastest heliocentric velocity. But Solar Probe Plus will beat that when it launches in 2018. While Voyager 1 doesn't set any speed records, it was the first spacecraft to leave the solar system, so therefore the fastest solar system escape velocity by default.

    For beating these speeds, this video explores what is possible in the near future only, so no antimatter, Alcubierre drives (warp), ramjets, etc... The EM drive is left out until it's proven with actual reproducible results in space.

    Project Daedalus and the updated Project Icarus represent sound concepts for fusion spacecraft. IKAROS was the first successful demonstration of solar sail technology but hopefully the planetary society is not far behind with their LightSail cubsat (not covered in this video).

    But what appears to have the most potential to reach the nearest star to our own, Proxima Centauri and it's newly discovered planet Proxima b is Breakthrough Starshot. Thousands of super lightweight laser sail nanocraft will be launched into space then the light beamer, a ground based laser array will propel these spacecraft to 20% light speed within minutes.

    *All sources used in researching this video are listed in the end credits*

    Music: "Inspired" Kevin MacLeod (
    Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
  • Runtime : 9:14
  • light speed speed of light interstellar travel project icarus project daedalus alpha centauri proxima centauri solar sail breakthrough starshot jimiticus space propulsion interstellar travel possible interstellar probe space travel spacecraft interstellar propulsion methods em drive can we travel to other solar systems? can humans survive interstellar travel? can we travel to other planets? can we travel to other stars? faster than light


  • Jimiticus
    Jimiticus   2 years ago

    As a follow up, you can watch my latest video on how the Sun can be used as a gravitational lens to get a high resolution image of an exoplanet for the first time. This would be even better resolution than breakthrough star shot is capable of.

  • Donut Religion
    Donut Religion   43 minuts ago

    100 Gigawattts to get that fast? It only takes 1.21 Gigawatts for time travel.

  • king_has_no_cloths kul

    1/10 th of speed of light should be possible by the end of this century. Also use gravity of heavy bodies.ion emission and using gravity of big bodies. Meaning you could get accelerated by 10 times than earths orbits near the sun.

  • Robert Poggi
    Robert Poggi   11 hours ago

    I always question the statement that something can't be done. Does that apply to everyone and forever? How would you prove that? Please don't jump all over me I understand the current state of our science.

  • Douglas Wayne
    Douglas Wayne   11 hours ago

    Even if we could build spaceships that could travel at, say, 95% the speed of light, it is still too slow for interstellar or intergalactic travel.But there is a way, if we can think outside the box.But how?Here's how:Take the simple formula that describes velocity.Velocity = Distance / TimeCurrently, the only way we know how to cover large distances is to speed up.But what if we can somehow turn off time?If we negate time, then it doesn't matter how far the distance, it would take no time to get there.Ok, so how do we negate time? Can time even be neutralized?The answer lies in Einstein Theory of Gravity, which describes time as a fourth dimension resulting from the presence of gravity, which curves the fabric of 3 dimensional space into the 4th dimension of time.In other words, if we could negate gravity, we can turn off time!!!!Recently, scientists detected gravitational waves.If gravity is a wave then, like all waves, it can be neutralized by generating an identical wave pattern that is 90 degrees out of phase with the original and Voila, levitation!Indeed, this is how UFOs are observed to fly.Study them for clues instead of dismissing them as woo woo stuff.

  • Jack Allen
    Jack Allen   16 hours ago

    This is the wrong approach, fold space-time into itself and step across. instantaneous travel.

  • Fortzub
    Fortzub   21 hours ago

    Do it. Why arent they doing it?

  • Mike McGomer
    Mike McGomer   1 days ago

    This is the Kittyhawk age of space powered craft. I can see something like this in a jet engine kind of leap. It's coming.

  • david prince
    david prince   1 days ago

    Of course, do not forget the mass\time conundrum as speed approaches the speed of light.

  • g00gle minus
    g00gle minus   1 days ago

    wait a minute, how does solar sails work again? so the mass of the suns beams hits the sail and pushes on it, aka mass pushing on mass.. lets see if my math isnt too rusty, you take the impact velocity + the mass or weight (im not a scientist) of the light beam hitting the sail, since its hitting everywhere at ones that creates a massive impact surface and since the sail is so big, we just need to find the weights of all the interactions, so the spaceship itself was 300kg and the surface to catch the light beams was 1km.So uh whats the mass of the light beams again, anyway for fun math as i dont know the mass or weight of the sun beams, lets just for show say that the whole mass hitting the sail weights 300kg, and the speed is speed of light, so then the ship would then accelerate to the speed of light on first hit, and since the beams afterwards will be same speed it wont accelerate past that... if only i knew the mass\weight of the light beams and how much total mass they hit with every second or something so i could start some easy calculations on how much acceleration they would add.

  • Phil Clarke
    Phil Clarke   1 days ago

    Whoever wrote the script for this video has no idea what they're talking about. The fact is you would not require any more energy to increase your speed by x m/sec whether you were cruising (relative to Earth) at a quarter, half or three-quarters of the speed of light.... your speed relative to Earth is irrelevant to the energy required to increase speed. If you cease accelerating you can consider your speed to be zero... unless you CHOOSE to compare your speed with Earth. And there's nothing to stop you increasing your speed indefinitely. Earth, however, will never be able to observe you exceeding the speed of light. Your time will pass at a slower rate than for Earth depending on your relative speed.

  • jaden summer
    jaden summer   1 days ago


  • Falk CS:GO
    Falk CS:GO   1 days ago

    Isn't hitting the target one of starshots biggest challenges?I mean this thing will need to be fired with such high precision, it is hard to imagine it will even come close enough to take any useful picture. Or is there any possibility using the sun to correct the trajectory.And what if it hits something along the way? I mean sure this thing is tiny, buy I imagine even a grain of dust being extremely destructive at that speed.

  • MrMaka1984
    MrMaka1984   1 days ago

    58,536 km/h buabbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabuauaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabbuahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • MrMaka1984
    MrMaka1984   1 days ago


  • MrMaka1984
    MrMaka1984   1 days ago

    Apollo buahahahhaaaaahahahahahahhhaaaaa buuhahahhaaaaaaaa bauuahahhaaaaaaaaa bauahaaaaaaaabuuahhhhhhbbuahahhabuuhahahhabuuhahhahauhhh hahahahahhhaaahhhhhhhhhaahahaaahhaaaabuuuahhaha uuuubbalahahahaaaaaaauubababauahhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhahahauuuuaaaaa baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    WEI JIE YAP   1 days ago

    won't they hit any obstacle on the journey to proxima centauri?

  • Robert Morris
    Robert Morris   1 days ago

    See? This why we need aliens to come visit. So we can knock them in the head and take their ship. It would be easy. They are all big heads and eyes and skinny little arms and legs. I've seen them in movies.

  • Danny A.
    Danny A.   1 days ago

    Imagine if we spent 90% of the budget we spent on weapons on space research and technology instead of the opposite

  • That Should Work
    That Should Work   1 days ago

    I bet its possible to travel faster than the speed of light

  • J S
    J S   1 days ago

    If reaching light speed means necessitating infinite amount of energy, then why is lighting a simple little match able to create light which travels at light speed? Obviously, the match does not produce infinite amounts of energy. So how does non-infinite energy source produce light that travels at light speed?

  • Thunder'sDad
    Thunder'sDad   1 days ago

    I've seen people reach nearly the speed of light. It's always when I ask them to help me move.

  • KroneYT
    KroneYT   2 days ago

    how to go faster than the speed of light1) build a ship that gets you to the speed of light2) go on the ship3) get the ship to go the speed of light4) get up and walk

  • mech cntr
    mech cntr   2 days ago

    @6:46 The graphic indicates the solar sale is 14mm x 14mm and has a mass of 310 kg. Did they mean 400 m x 400 m?

  • Michael Durwin
    Michael Durwin   2 days ago

    Sigh. Warp "speed" isn't a thing. Warp travel isn't actually really travel. Space is moved, not ships. "Space travel starts with a rocket" is part of the problem in trying to solve this challenge. People who discuss this stuff still think in terms of lighting fires. Teleportation (yes it exists), folding space (warp), moving outside of regular space/time (hyperspace). We should be launching solar sail or laser projected mini-ships toward every planet we think might have life. It may take over 100 years, but if it contained plans to build a simple communications device for us to speak.

  • Popeye Doyle
    Popeye Doyle   2 days ago

    Light Speed is an absolute farce. And you people believe this?

  • Ah Dindu Nuffin
    Ah Dindu Nuffin   2 days ago

    Nukelar? What's Nukelar? Can't you say Nu-clear? Aboot-Aboot bork bork

  • Mario
    Mario   2 days ago

    Even if you can go with the speed of light you can't avoid objects from space!

  • celticgibson
    celticgibson   2 days ago

    The only barrier to interstellar travel isn't the speed of light. It's the focus on cost. Until we scrap money, we are stuck here on the ground.

  • Gerard Lait
    Gerard Lait   2 days ago

    0:11.... light has masssssss... duhhhh that's y they created solar sails

    JAMES CONNOR   2 days ago

    Wrong.All wrong, all fantasy, all nonsense, all mathematics...All bullshit.THRUST? In a VACUUM???Impossible.

  • Kixx Spyster
    Kixx Spyster   2 days ago

    BULLSHIT... They Lie About Space To us... If the sum's GRAVITY pulls on all our PLANETS to keep them in line and orbiting around the sun, then how does a so called ASTRO-NOT float inside the Space Station? im sure the SUN'S GRAVITY that holds Earth in place would give a tiny small ASTRO-NOT smaller than a grain of sand GRAVITY so they wouldn't float around? Let me guess there's only no gravity inside the Space Station right? Dumbasses

  • OldAgitator
    OldAgitator   2 days ago

    God's Containment System for pesky human being infestation.

  • james keith
    james keith   2 days ago

    All a load of crap, USA and Russia fired multiple nuclear rockets straight up in an effort to break through Dome, and failed, all space travel is bunkum.

  • Lagg Buster
    Lagg Buster   2 days ago

    Unless you can block the effects of the Higgs/Boson Particle which means no mass for the spacecraft :)