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Would it only take decades to reach nearby stars via Truespace? From what I know of modern science, it would take thousands of years to reach the closest star to us, Alpha Centauri. Then again, it takes us about a year to reach mars, whereas the vindicator closes the distance in seconds.

-Fadookie 20:08, 9 Oct 2004 (CEST)


I would chalk it up to sci-fi technology.

-- SvdB 20:42, 9 Oct 2004 (CEST)


I did some research, and it only takes nine months to get to mars on a Hohman Transfer Orbit (assuming you make the launch window, which occurs about every 2 1/2 years). It takes the Vindicator around 15 seconds to reach mars on maximum thrust. It takes us about 21,772,800 seconds. I couldn't find the distance between earth at the start and mars at the end of such a transfer orbit, but I derived the average distance of mars from earth by averaging its minimum and maximum distances. Mars is, on average 228.5*106 km, ot 228.5 Gm (gigameters). I'll use a basic formula to figure their comparative rates, distance=rate*time. So: 228.5 Gm = r * 15 sec. The TrueSpace rate of the vindicator is therefore about 15.23 Gm/S. I'll do the same caluclation for our current rockets. 228.5 Gm = r * 21,772,800 sec. Our current spacecraft move at the rate of about 0.00001 Gm/S.

Okay, got the rates. Now the hard part- shit. As it turns out, Proxima Centauri is slightly closer, but I'll use Alpha Centauri anyway. It's about 3.8x1016 m away, or 380,000,000 Gm. I'll plug in my rough figures with the same distance formula. This doesn't take celestial motion into account, so it'll be way off, but it should give us an idea of how long it would take. We'll do the Vindicator first: 380,000,000 Gm = 15.23 Gm/s * t. That means it should take the vindicator about 24,950,755 seconds, or about ten months. One of our modern rockets would take 380,000,000 Gm = 0.00001 Gm/s * t, so 38,000,000,000,000 seconds or 1309 milennia.

Wow, I spent way too much time on that. Still, it answers my question. It would take the Vindicator at least ten months to reach the closest star via TrueSpace.

-Fadookie 21:20, 9 Oct 2004 (CEST)


I think an assumption is being made here that is skewing the debate: that "real time" is the same as "game time". One "game day" is about 30 seconds of "real time", meaning a 15-second trip ends up taking 12 hours of "game time". That's still fast enough to be well into science-fiction territory, but your equations will need to be adjusted downward.

Nic 21:44, 9 Oct 2004 (CEST)


Oh, I forgot about that! Let me factor that in to the rate calculations. If you say 15 sec. of game time is 12 hours of real time, it would take the vindicator 43,200 seconds to reach mars. On that basis, 228.5 Gm = r * 43,200 sec so the vindicator travels at a rate of 0.0053 Gm/s. Now, to find out how long it would take to reach alpha centauri: 380,000,000 Gm = 0.0053 Gm/s * t - that's around 716981132078 seconds or over 24 milennia. That sounds closer to reality.

-Fadookie 22:51, 9 Oct 2004 (CEST)


"Closer to reality." Heh.

BTW, use the "+" button to reply rather than the "edit" button, it makes conversations much easier to follow.

Nic 23:04, 9 Oct 2004 (CEST)

Bad physics[edit]

In reality, spacecrafts don't move at a constant speed. If you travel to a far off destination, you'll spend half of your time accelerating, and the other half decelerating. The further your destination is, the faster your average speed. And since you'd probably be accelerating to a very high speed, you'll need to take relativity into account too. - SvdB 01:48, 10 Oct 2004 (CEST)

Yeah, I knew there was stuff I didn't factor in when using something as simplistic as the distance formula. Still though, I think these figures should be somewhere in the ballpark of the time of travel, give or take a few melennia. Yes?
No. These things are not negligable. In fact, if you want to talk about how long it takes, you need to take into account that time will go faster aboard the moving spaceship. At least from the perspective of Earth. -- SvdB 23:10, 10 Oct 2004 (CEST)
The speed given (24,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri, or about 1/6000 C) isn't fast enough for time dilation to manifest itself. The question of acceleration and deceleration is a bigger one, but in any case we can ignore it if we take the Vindicator's speed in-game to be average velocity, since the Vindicator has no problem slowing down and parking in orbit around a planet when we run into it at full speed. (The game pretty obviously oversimplifies many aspects of space travel to make playing the game easier.)
Any average speed can't be assumed if we really take acceleration into account, since it would depend on the distance traveled - the farther you go, the longer you can accelerate and faster the speed. And yes, the game obviously throws most of the physics into wastebasket, it's an adventure/exploration game, not a spaceflight simulator.
In any case the whole question is moot; *any* reasonable TrueSpace speed will take prohibitive amounts of time to reach even the nearest star. (The earlier figures for going to Alpha Centauri in a few months are impossible, since they break the speed-of-light speed limit; traveling at or close to the speed of light will get you there in four years minimum, and going that fast will mean millions of years have passed on Earth when you return.)
You've got time dilation backwards. It does not speed up the time on Earth, it slows it down on the ship. If you travel to Alpha Centauri at near light speed, four years will pass on Earth, and a much shorter time will pass on the ship.
The significance of HyperSpace is that it's a way not only to travel faster but to skip all the problems of time dilation et al. by giving us a completely different playing field -- new frame of reference -- to connect stars up in. The HyperSpace "Sirius" may actually be 20,000 LY away and have existed 30 million years ago in TrueSpace(-Time), but HyperSpace makes all that irrelevant.