The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is expected to test its flying saucer on June 4. The technology is reported to be envisioned for flights to Mars as well as those which are human expeditions. The implications of space travel are profound: our federal government can potentially make it available to all Americans. By doing so, it would make our society beholden to Washington, perhaps in perpetuity.
The president of the United States can promise so much: universal health care without disruption, revisions to a law without Congressional approval, job recovery for millions of displaced workers, retribution for the greedy one percent, bringing Wall Street to heel, the route of Al-Qaeda, an objective investigation of Benghazi, an Internal Revenue Service dedicated to fair play, a sixty nation coalition to fight ISIS, and a National Security Agency committed to privacy. Alas, and as Sonny and Cher said, “The beat goes on.”
The obvious question is if the government is the source of so many good things for so many, why can the president not also offer something close to eternal life? Many have sought it — the Crusaders portrayed as guarding the Holy Grail, and the sixteenth century Spanish explorer, Ponce De Leon looking for the legendary Fountain of Youth, to name two examples.
The United States executed the Manhattan Project to end World War II, and later Project Apollo, putting a man on the moon in 1969. Now the private sector is on the verge of offering travel in outer space. The U.S. has the means to develop massive projects, so should not the White House commit to another bold stroke?
Propelling travelers at near the speed of light within government built space ships could be that grand initiative — greatly limiting the aging process as we know it. We are witnessing a revolution in physics, going beyond the relativity and particle theories of the 20th century. Tiny particles are now being accelerated at near speed c, the speed of light, simulating conditions during the Big Bang, when the universe was created over 13 billion years ago.
So now is the time to leverage modern physics, and who better than the president to do it? A president known for his desire to transform the nation and all that surrounds us could present his program to almost guarantee immortality at the next Super Bowl or State of the Union address.
It is well known that if a man or woman can travel near the speed of light, known as speed c, they will not be seen to age nearly as much as their counterparts on Earth. This concept is known as time dilation, a part of basic physics that has withstood the test of time itself. Think of it: the closer one gets to flying at 186,000 miles per second, the less others on Earth see one age in the process. Speed c is often viewed in physics as a maximum speed, and anything having mass can only get near it and not equal it.
For those interested in the math, this well-accepted theory of special relativity holds that the time spent in outer space is equal to the time on Earth times the square root of one minus V squared, where V is the percent of the speed of light achieved by the space traveler. If the spacecraft transports twin A at 99 percent of the speed of light to a galaxy 20 light years away, as seen from Earth only 5.6 years elapse for that traveler’s round trip — while twin B who remains on Earth ages 40 years. Viewed from Earth another way, after a round trip to a star 120 light years away, the space traveler would have aged almost 34 years, although three lifespans on Earth would have passed, assuming a life expectancy in today’s terms of eighty.
At speeds exceeding 99 percent of speed c, twin A ages less and less in relation to twin B. Should science someday propel a body with mass at speed c, a game changing revolutionary achievement, the space traveler would be seen to never age at all — so it may only get better.
The implications are vast. Americans would observe the potential for much longer lifespans due to government largess, assuring dependence on Washington for all time. Potential critics might argue that the government is using smoke and mirrors to enhance the loyalty of citizenry, but these techniques are nothing new — and it is all relative anyway. While other things can of course kill you besides aging, this would provide a much longer lifespan for so many, and happily, the government would be your friend.
There would no need to limit this benefit to voters who would be grateful to the government for light years to come. Indeed, Congress and Cabinet officials could line up for space travel, ironically opting in — to have the same benefits as all Americans.