Interstellar highways sound like the works of science fiction novels. But the idea might be more real than you think. Scientists have discovered a “space manifold” that might open the doors to much faster forms of space travel.
According to a study published in the Science Advances journal, researchers in UC San Diego write about a connected series of arches within a space manifold. Dubbed the Arches of Chaos, these extend beyond the asteroid belt all the way to Uranus.
The series of arches were called a “celestial autobahn,” potentially taking what would normally be a 1,000+ year journey into a 10 year trip.
Confused? So were we. Let’s break it down to something a normal person can understand.
Space Manifolds are, in a way, a map of space. They are understandable representations of a more complex aspect of space. A common example is the world map.
The world is a large, surfaced, round object. Maps are flat, smooth, and colorful. We can use the details of the map to understand the more complex parts of the world (like the shape of oceans and such). Technically speaking, that’s a manifold. For space, this can also include aspects like the position of celestial bodies and their gravitational impact on objects.
So what are these arches?
As it turns out, the gravitational influence these bodies have generated can be seen in “arches” on certain manifolds. When timed and angled correctly, a rocket could “ride” these manifold arches in a way to induce ultra high speed gravitational slingshots.
So in short, researchers have found a collection of hidden gravity slingshots that could reduce far-range space travel to as little as a decade. This is a tremendous oversimplification and may not be the most representative of the science happening.
What’s this have to do with prepping?
While some may not realize it, space travel will play an integral part in the advancement of mankind. There’s a common fear that once we can live on other planets, Earth itself will become neglected. Focus will be put on the new planet while the citizens of Earth go ignored. This will make self sufficient living even more important.
Alternatively, advancements in space may encourage a new wave of war. Should precious resources be found on another planet, many national powers will push for getting it first. America has invaded countries for oil, imagine what they’d do for Unobtanium.
On the more wild scale: what if these are the pushes that bring us to meeting extraterrestrial life for the first time?
Either way, it’s important to keep informed about technological advancements, space-wise or otherwise.