Questions tagged [faster-than-light]

For questions about settings in which superluminal travel and/or communication is a possibility.

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61
votes
29answers
11k views

What realistic way could limit an FTL drive to only travelling between stars?

How could a Faster than light drive be limited to only travelling between different solar systems, and not within a solar system? I don't really want to allow travel between planets in the same solar ...
59
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23answers
14k views

How to prevent superluminal traveling idiots from wrecking half of the universe?

Linked but not a duplicate of this question. An example of the problem During the last Star-Wars movie, I was dumbfounded by the sheer stupidity of admiral Holdo's move, during this particularly ...
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26answers
9k views

FTL travel is impossible. How is interstellar trade possible?

Assume a universe depressingly like ours, in which special relativity holds. No hyperspace, no warp drive, no wormholes, and even the limited get-out clauses offered by real world physics either don't ...
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9answers
7k views

Are there any ways to allow some form of FTL travel without allowing time travel?

Faster than light travel is a really cool thing to have in sci-fi settings. It allows humans, in relatable time scales, to travel the galaxy and see a variety of worlds. It allows for conflicts ...
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11answers
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If an FTL spacecraft entered Earth orbit, how long would it take for humans to build a FTL spacecraft?

It’s just another average day in the life of modern day earth. Suddenly a transmission from orbit washes over the planet! Oh no! An alien race, calling themselves the “Thull”, has suddenly arrived in ...
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11answers
11k views

How much would we learn from observing an FTL starship fly by?

On a mythical world almost identical to our own, deep space telescopes notice as an object appears out near the orbit of Jupiter. In the instance after its appearance, the light which bounced off it ...
49
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14answers
8k views

Ridiculously Fast Supercomputer

Let's say that somehow, Earth suddenly acquired a computer with ridiculous speed. This computer can run a program described in a language of your choice, which can be described by a readme file that ...
43
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12answers
7k views

Does knowing a technology exists make it develop faster? [duplicate]

Let's say aliens arrive on Earth and demonstrate that Fusion is possible and leave (and don't tell us how). Would we develop Fusion technology faster without being told about how it works by the ...
42
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19answers
9k views

Standardisation of Time in a FTL Universe

Here on Earth, time standardisation was enabled by the invention of accurate time pieces which allowed us to create a global constant (GMT/Zulu time) and regional offsets. If we travel outside our ...
41
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4answers
4k views

Is there a scientifically sound faster-than-light travel system for a spaceship?

Recurringly in Sci-Fi spaceships manage to make it to lightspeed and above. Is there a scientifically plausible explanation of such capacity? How does it impact the spaceship's design and its ...
38
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9answers
6k views

Interstellar war without co-ordination, is fine timing important at these scales?

I've been working, on and off, on a universe with limited FTL based on the "one big lie" principle of sci-fi writing; travel speed averages just a hair over 4 times the speed of light, travel is ...
37
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11answers
11k views

How would two ships travelling at light speed communicate with one another?

Supposed we have a ship travelling at the speed of light, or very close to it, or over. A second ship is travelling behind it at the same speed. The second ship wishes to communicate something to ...
34
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19answers
4k views

Which current networking protocol would be the optimal choice for very small FTL bandwidth?

Possibly a dumb and outsider question, but my knowledge in the basics of computer networks is terrible. Imagine the possibly not too original concept, that humanity somehow manages to transmit data ...
30
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9answers
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Is there a scientifically plausible faster-than-light communication system?

In series such as the Hyperion Cantos and Ender's Game, there exist fictional faster-than-light communication systems allowing either instantaneous, or near-instantaneous transmission of information. ...
29
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14answers
6k views

Would 'cheap' FTL make powerful telescopes obsolete?

Imagine we have a faster-than-light drive which costs ~$250,000 USD per drive and can propel an ISS-sized craft at 1000 times the speed of light. It is reliable and has safeguards that stop it from ...
27
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19answers
5k views

Why are interstellar colonists lone rangers?

The time is The Future. Humanity is spreading throughout the stars, aided by the invention of Schwarzschild gates. The gates allow for FTL travel by tearing open wormholes in space. There are three ...
26
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13answers
7k views

Law enforcement in FTL civilization

The civilization has discovered an semi-unspecified type of FTL drive and spread among stars, but only a small portion of the stars in the galaxy is explored, settled and administered. Beyond the edge ...
26
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10answers
6k views

Realistic 'hacks' that programmer may exploit in a brand new FTL comm system that was not securely written?

In my world one company has had a monopoly on FTL comms, making large beacons in each inhabited system. This company has worked to prevent knowledge that smaller FTL comms were possible, in order to ...
26
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13answers
5k views

The worlds between, the consequences of instantaneous FTL

For some time I've been working on a universe with non-instantaneous Faster-Than-Light travel, but I've decided to open a new universe with instantaneous travel. So I'm working on the differences that ...
23
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10answers
10k views

If FTL travel was invented tomorrow, would it change society? [closed]

Problem Movies like Interstellar or Star Trek would like to depict the ability to travel between stars, at speeds faster than light, as a technology which would revolutionize society and our everyday ...
22
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13answers
3k views

A mechanism for a level interstellar playing field

So, this is a trope common to any number of science fiction worlds: humanity emerges from its solar system to discover that there are a bunch of alien races out there, but, importantly, at least the ...
21
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4answers
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How could combat involving Alcubierre-drive starships occur?

In a setting with Alcubierre-drive starships (as per my answer here), it is inevitable that once the technology becomes common enough and enough different polities and organizations have such ships, ...
19
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21answers
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How to explain why humans weren’t encountered by alien species? [closed]

So, I’ve been writing a sci-fi novel that takes place a few centuries in the future. In the novels lore, it says that there was plenty of life throughout the galaxy, but humans were just contacted ...
19
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8answers
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What would an external observer see when passed by an Alcubierre drive ship?

My answer to the question Is there a scientifically sound faster-than-light travel system for a spaceship? involved an Alcubierre-drive starship. However, that then got me thinking. What would an ...
18
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5answers
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How would advanced aliens protect themselves from idiots with FTL?

Faster than light travel is Dangerous with a capital D. The main reason for this is because by the time you see something, you've already smashed into it and vaporised yourself, the target and any ...
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17answers
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How to Protect Against FTL Sneak Attacks

Background: Following the development of faster-than-light technology, humanity has spread across the stars and encountered many kinds of alien life. While the galaxy is mostly peaceful, occasional ...
17
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13answers
3k views

Science-based FTL drive

So I'm writing a story about a crew of scientists that explore the universe searching for a hidden knowledge in embed in the fabric of the space itself. More like to the Destiny's crew from Stargate ...
16
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13answers
7k views

What plausible reason could I give for my FTL drive only working in space

I’ve created a fairly fleshed out, detailed FTL concept. Basically, you have a circular starship, with a ring of tungsten encircling that, held in place by an antigravity ring beneath it. The rim of ...
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18answers
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What mandates travel in an interstellar society?

A while ago this question on medieval travel was asked. I looked at it again today and it got me thinking about situations that would mandate travel in other settings, in particular what would force ...
15
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5answers
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How could a civilization detect tachyons?

In an effort to work out a believable form of faster-than-light communications for my setting, I've ruled out a few things: wormholes (which are in use, but are too random in where they lead, to be ...
14
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12answers
2k views

How can I know where to point my spaceship?

Let's assume we have a working FTL drive and thus interstellar travel is possible, either by traveling at very high speeds or by instant teleportation (the two main subtypes of FTL drives in sci-fi). ...
14
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7answers
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How does a teleporter logically lead to time travel? [closed]

I've read a good number of FTL equals time travel questions and answers both here and on other sites, but for the life of me I just do not get the connection. Let's take a really simple case: say at ...
14
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1answer
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What would be the effects of traveling faster than light on a worldship?

Assuming a civilization has the technology and capability to build a worldship, a planet that doubles as a spacecraft, installs an FTL drive on it and has the energy to power it, what would the ...
12
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3answers
2k views

How does paradox-free FTL travel affect the details of my story or gameplay?

It is understood that a way to prevent causality violation and time-travel while still having faster-than-light travel is to introduce a specific reference frame. This is explained in detail in this ...
11
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8answers
3k views

Is there a technological difference between going half light speed and near light speed?

Assuming a civilization has the capacity to build space vessels designed to travel from one solar system to another, what is the technological difference between traveling at 50% light speed and ...
11
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5answers
2k views

If you had a giant cutting disc 60 miles diameter and rotated it 1000 rps, would the edge be traveling faster than light? [closed]

As if there was a giant angle-grinder in space that slowly increased its speed. The question assumes that material exists to make this super-disk that doesn't rip apart. What happens as the edges ...
11
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6answers
3k views

Mapping the far side of the galaxy

Humans got a one time ticket to the other side of the galaxy, traveling $2r$ in just a few days (where $r$ is the distance from earth to the super massive black hole: 28,000 lightyears) The stars we ...
11
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3answers
1k views

What if time travel had to take into account spatial distance?

In this setting, humanity has advanced to the technological capability of extra stellar travel via faster-than-light drives. However, due to distances between inhabited areas being extremely large, ...
10
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13answers
3k views

Space Mechs or Tanks or Planes or Marines - Fighting in space without blowing up each other's starships

Suppose that there are 2 interstellar empires at war with one another, both armed with FTL drives which cannot be used within a certain radius of huge gravity fields, stars, gas giants, etc. Another ...
10
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8answers
1k views

How could an multi-world economy exist if FTL communication, but not travel, existed?

Imagine that we one day invent an ansible, capable of near-instantaneous FTL communication, but we can not transport physical matter any faster than light. Imagine also that we have gotten to the ...
10
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5answers
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When could space travel (including FTL of any kind) and other tech be common?

I'm looking for some data to create my own sci-fi setting, but I want to base it on real world as much as possible. Also, I don't want to come up with any arbitrary year like 3290 with no background ...
10
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10answers
2k views

Interstellar communcation with FTL

I am designing a world where humans have achieved FTL by means of the Alcubierre warp drive and are colonizing the stars. Originally I had communication pegged as being done with quantum entanglement ...
9
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3answers
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How can I locate myself in a random point of space?

Some Context I'm creating a universe where humanity has reached the stars. They've colonized a few star systems and, obviously, FTL drives are a common thing. They basically jump you to another ...
9
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4answers
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How would FTL travel appear through window of ship?

How would faster-than-light travel appear through window of a space vessel? All the movies and TV shows like Star Trek and Star Wars seem unrealistic: Star Trek credits: passing stars get bigger and ...
9
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1answer
662 views

Life at faster than light

Tachyons are a hypothetical particle that constantly move at speeds in excess of the speed of light. We haven't yet proven their existence, but neither have we disproved their existence (which is, as ...
9
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6answers
1k views

hypothetical criteria for non-paradox FTL

Many sci-fi questions here are derailed by complaints that the proposed version of FTL breaks causality. However, relativity-safe FTL concepts do exist. What range of conditions allow FTL (movement, ...
9
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1answer
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What would a ship with an Alcubierre Drive look like?

I am designing a video game in which Alcubierre Drives will be obtainable by the player. I would like this game to be somewhat scientifically accurate in this way. Specifically, I am interested in ...
8
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9answers
847 views

Can industry work on a poor import schedule?

I've been working for some time on a universe in which there is limited FTL consisting of short (up to five light years at a time) jumps between points in space. The jumps take no time at all for ...
8
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2answers
2k views

Can anyone explain this preprint physics paper for FTL travel?

I'm writing a Science Fiction tale, and I am trying to get something together on the FTL physics involved in the story. By chance I came across this paper, "A General Local Causality Principle of ...
8
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1answer
1k views

What would define the “speed” (and direction?) of an alcubierre like warp drive?

There seem to be honest scientific exploration in the field of the alcubierre warp drive if you believe some articles on the net. So to be a little bit scientific accurate in a story using it, I ...