The light cage limit to interstellar expansion

C.R. McInnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fermi's Paradox highlights the fundamental contradiction between the observation that there are vast numbers of Sun-like stars in the galaxy, but that apparently none has produced migrating civilisations capable of interstellar travel. Previous studies have attempted to explain this paradox by demonstrating that long-term interstellar migration over the galactic distance scale is an extremely slow, diffusion-like process. This paper will investigate near-term migration and the limits imposed upon it by rapid economic expansion and growth. It has long been argued that an advanced space-faring civilisation must be gradualists who evolve and migrate within the limits imposed by resources and whose culture avoids conflict and exploitation. However, it is argued here that a relatively young civilisation which develops a set of technologies which enable it to engage in economic interstellar travel is unlikely to constrain its activities in this way and will experience rapid economic expansion and growth. In such a scenario the speed of light imposes a fundamental limit to the distance over which the civilisation can expand, providing a possible mechanism whereby interstellar expansion is self-limiting and possibly self-terminating.
LanguageEnglish
Pages279-284
Number of pages5
JournalJBIS, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
Volume55
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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interstellar travel
civilization
economics
paradoxes
Economics
expansion
Light velocity
Galaxies
exploitation
stopping
Sun
Stars
resources
sun
galaxies
stars
resource
travel

Keywords

  • Fermi's paradox
  • SETI
  • interstellar travel
  • guidance systems

Cite this

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The light cage limit to interstellar expansion. / McInnes, C.R.

In: JBIS, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Vol. 55, No. 7-8, 2002, p. 279-284.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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