Future History: Space travel

One trend I’ve projected in my future history for the Shine Cycle, my fantasy series-in-preparation, is a continued development of our understanding of the universe, creating and benefiting from improvements in spacecraft.

Most science fiction set outside our solar system has used some form of hyperdrive, wormholes, or both. My projections include both late in the future history, but after some major revisions to our understanding of how the universe works. In particular, I project that relativity (among other theories) will be eventually contradicted by experimental results; in the timeline I’m constructing this is over two centuries from now. Whether this is because of a “local effect” (as suggested by a story in the April 1968 Analog), because current theories are a good approximation in most cases, or some other reason, I don’t know (though I’ll have decided on something if this comes up in a story set in our universe). One idea I have bouncing around my head is that time passes faster the farther you get from Earth.

I project that space exploration will continue, with (as in the past) spectacular successes, spectacular failures, and slow overall progress. On my timeline, I don’t expect a successful moon colony before the first decade of the next century, though that’s largely because of unrelated events and trends on Earth (some of which I’ll talk about in future posts). In the following couple of centuries, I project colonization (not always successful at first) of the Lagrange points, Mars, and the asteroid belt, followed by something like a generation ship being sent to try to colonize a nearby system. I expect that experiments done on such a ship would be the impetus for the theoretical framework changes that would lead to hyperdrive engines—and I expect at least a couple more failed hypotheses before a workable theory is produced.

The timeline I’ll use for my fiction is still in a great deal of flux, so I won’t be any more specific than that for now. But I still welcome your comments.


The next future-historical trend I talked about was computing.


One thought on “Future History: Space travel

  1. Relativistic mechanics extended the range of classical mechanics. Relativistic mechanics has been validated up to fantastic velocities.Maybe someday, we’ll discover a reason to refine relativistic mechanics. Maybe the Large Hadron Collider will find one. Count on modest changes when that happens–not miracles.

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