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Motivations for Intergalactic Travel

Updated on March 27, 2014

Motivations for Intergalactic Travel

Why would anyone want to travel to another galaxy?


Why would anyone want to travel into outer space?

Why would you want to go instead of just look?

Could a blind person appreciate astronomy?

Why would you want to look through a telescope instead of just going and seeing up close and touching?

Is there sound in space?

If I don't know anyone out there, then why should I go?

What will we eat?

What clothes will we wear?

Why are we waiting for someone else to get the project going?

Why isn't there faster progress?

Why are there no IGT associations or societies to join?

Why consider old ways of doing things?

Why do we call ourselves an exploring species when we do so little exploring?

Regular people think big ideas and think about the cosmos. NASA found this out the hard way when they wanted to end the Hubble Telescope. They got mail from all over the USA and around the world from average people outraged that NASA wanted to blind us and put out our eyes on the universe.


As you can see in the upper right corner, this lens is certified 100%.

Intergalactic Travel - APHEX TWIN - XTAL

from moon to Milky Way

(beyond the Milky Way that is)

Steven Wolfe, Ad Astra, 2004

"Remember, the space settlement dream was born in you so that you would strive for its fulfillment in this generation, not defer it to the next. It was, and is, a call to you to take some action in this lifetime; and if you are not meant to see it through to completion, then you must at least lay a foundation on which those who will follow can build."

Carl Sagan

"Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring--not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive... If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds."

-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

William E. Burrows

"The question to ask is whether the risk of traveling to space is worth the benefit. The answer is an unequivocal yes, but not only for the reasons that are usually touted by the space community: the need to explore, the scientific return, and the possibility of commercial profit. The most compelling reason, a very long-term one, is the necessity of using space to protect Earth and guarantee the survival of humanity."

-- William E. Burrows, The Wall Street Journal, 2003

Freeman Dyson

"There are three reasons why, quite apart from scientific considerations, mankind needs to travel in space. The first reason is garbage disposal; we need to transfer industrial processes into space so that the earth may remain a green and pleasant place for our grandchildren to live in. The second reason is to escape material impoverishment: the resources of this planet are finite, and we shall not forego forever the abundance of solar energy and minerals and living space that are spread out all around us. The third reason is our spiritual need for an open frontier."

-- Freeman Dyson, Disturbing the Universe, 1979

I. Acceleration of Progress


Acceleration of Progress

II. Steppingstone to travel to other superclusters



III. Research


cold-flow propulsion research

IV. Freedom



only Star Wars fans will understand the reference to freedom in space

space trucker

freedom in space


V. Survival

(of the human species)



one for the Trekkers

VI. Opportunity




VII. Spiritual




VIII. simple economics


Actually these illegal aliens have it wrong. The number is closer to $200 Trillion. Their website is --

- - (or as voters say, "It's the economy, stupid!" to warmongering politicians)

IX. Exploration

Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. He was also known as "le Commandant Cousteau" or "Captain Cousteau".






I think the artwork is cool. -- Toni


Okay, it is Disney (which means silly talking animals) but at least no weird Guild Navigator. And it had a really cool ship.


X. Destiny






Actually, Dubai is building this ecotopia right now. Why can't our politicians care about the environment?



Back in the Nineteen Fifties, vines and other plants growing on skyscrapers symbolized post-Apocalyptic abandoned cities of the dead. Now that we are sick of dead polluted cities, people deliberately grow plants on the top and sides of office towers and condominiums. Because they fetch higher rents than dead concrete.









XI. "Because it's there"

George Herbert Leigh Mallory (18 June 1886 - 8/9 June 1924) was an English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s. Mallory is famously quoted as having replied to the question "Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?" with the retort "Because it's there", which has been called the most famous three words in mountaineering.




XII. Pride & Prestige

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin


and US inability to get back to the Moon has pulled the plug on American pride. Thank God for private enterprise and space entrepreneurs.

editor's note -- that's the date of the photo not the moon landing


If China militarizes the Moon, you can forget any hope of peace in the Milky Way. Now once again children, why do we want to go to another galaxy?

XIII. Technological Parity with Extraterrestrials

Is wanting technological superiority over extraterrestrials a separate category?

DARPA: The Formative Years 1958 - 1975

It is dangerous when governments have better technology than the governed. It is better when the public views public servants as servants and not as masters. As for leadership, they have not gotten you into space. Instead government space programs expect you to be excited about some bureaucrat traveling somewhere on a mission to further remove your freedom.

Military is fine when they are protecting us from invaders but there are no invaders. We all knew when Germany invaded Poland and when Pearl Harbor was attacked. The very fact that the government has never publicly acknowledged any intelligent life beyond Earth means:

1. There is no intelligent life out there. It might be discovered by SETI in the future but for now, we are alone in the universe. This is the logical view.

2. The government has identified unidentified flying objects. It keeps it secret because if the aliens know we know, then they will attack. This is the crackpot view because the government is notoriously incompetent and therefore could not keep this, the biggest secret of all time, secret for long. Moreover, if the human race is under attack then you need the entire population keeping an eye out for invaders. That Orson Welles panic stuff is overblown. It would be like covering up Pearl Harbor. Why? Why would you cover it up when you need to mobilize the human population instead of aiding and abetting the enemy? And if the government is in cahoots with the alien invaders (like in The X-Files), then that gets even further into La-La Land. This is the crackpot view.

3. Ancient interstellar travelers visited Earth in the past but have not returned since they did not want to run into Erich von Daniken or be worshipped by Robert Dione or other New Age types. However, these visitors did inspire a lot of architecture including ancient observatories and led to the field of archaeoastronomy. The problem with this Eurocentric-tinged view is that Africans being black and First Americans being red could not possibly have constructed pyramids because they weren't white. It is an insultingly racist view though not couched as such but it pervades much of New Age culture -- especially the Starseed or Star People crowd which holds that blue-eyed blonde Nord genes mean that your momma and poppa were from space not like these inferior darker skinned humans. This belief system does not quite take into account redheads, tanned Europeans, very light-skinned Asians, and those pesky Alien Greys who pilot the flying saucers, transport the Alien Nords and pretty much call the shots because the Nords are too busy having sex with human abductees (particularly ones from South America).

In sum, we are alone and except for deflecting any asteroids that might cause property damage to our homes before we depart for parts unknown, the military along with the rest of government needs to step out of the way and stop snooping into our private affairs -- which of course, is the reason we are leaving. World peace means the world does not need the military any more. And neither does the Solar System or the Milky Way. But since only a simpleton would believe that government actually _WILL_ leave us alone, we need to get out of the galaxy to get some peace. And turn our creative energies to something other than war.

XIV. Individual Reasons

Editor's note -- If you have ever been over to the big Guide to Intergalactic Travel lens, then you know how overprotective I can be of the project. I will put my foot up the derrière of anyone who might drag down or slow up progress. This includes crackpots, people wearing aluminum hats, and believers in "Space Brothers". After all those alleged rectal exams and abductions of children? They really are gullible nuts. No wonder the Air Force and "Men In Black" watch them. They would be the first traitors of the human race!

believer: "You need the plans to Earth's defense? Sure, I'll help you get those. Those Pentagon guys are too uptight anyway. Now can I have future sex with those stacked Nord babes?"

sinister Gray: "Sure, I'm through screwing you."

I want to believe too -- but not like Fox Mulder. I'd like to think humans are capable of getting professional psychological help instead of descending into complete psychosis and mental disintegration (like most of our so-called leaders on this mad house of a planet).

That said, in this lens I let down my hair and am a little less of a mother hen. This is called being inclusive. Everyone has their own reasons for being interested in intergalactic travel.




No that is not me.


XV. To transition from a Western Culture - through non-warring true civilization

to supercivilization and beyond.

Let's face it: we humans are barely above the level of savage. Severe critics point out that most indigenous tribes in remote parts of the world don't have wars. If anything, we are devolving as a species as we get more technology. We write fiction that flatters our egos and tells us that we are better than "naked savages". We aren't. The body count of world wars one and two is proof that we are barbarians at best.. The existence of terrorism which did not exist in the Stone Age is further proof. Tea Party members who bring guns to Town Hall meetings and threaten bodily harm to elected officials is further proof. The shooting of a Congresswoman talking to people at a supermarket. We could list a million other examples. If you need more proof, then perhaps you should not be here if this discussion is over your head.


Galaxies congregate in groups like The Local Group of which the Milky Way is a part. Groups congregate in clusters like The Local Cluster. Timothy Ferris in the landmark book "Galaxies" believes that clusters congregate in clouds like our home The Ursa Major-Canes Venatici Cloud. Clouds in turn congregate in superclusters like our Virgo Supercluster.

I won't go into complexes, filaments or other universes. But I do think that any civilization capable of intersuperclustral travel qualifies as a supercivilization.

XVI. Peace

XVII. Philosophical


XVIII. Colonization


Space Colonization

XIX. The Age of Galactic Man

(or Age of Galactic Woman)

"Man" is is used in the generic sense to include both genders. Age of Galactic Human does not have the same ring to it.

In case you don't know, this is in contrast to our current age of the star child and we all know babies crap their diapers. The diapers in this case being the Earth that we have fouled with pollution.

"The earth is the cradle of humankind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever." -- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 1895

XX. Absolutely everyone can contribute useful ideas

(not just engineeers and economists)

If the idea of the human race (or at least those humans interested in intergalactic travel) working as a collective to make IGT happen in less than twenty years excites you, then your input is wanted. We doubt if any interstellar or interplanetary manned project could make that boast.

It does not matter if you are a housewife, a janitor, a child, an aborigine in the Outback of Australia, or a garbage collector; if you have an idea that we can use, then we want to hear it. Don't be discouraged or think that you are "just a nobody." Failure is not an option. We have to do this and do it on schedule. 2027 No excuses. Don't use the word "impossible" around us.

Did you know that an ordinary elevator repairman suggested an idea for improving a particle accelerator to a laboratory? The university hired him.


a conference


XXI. Ambition


XXII. Social Benefits

Exploration and advances in transportation historically have gone hand in hand with progress.

XXIII. Consequences of failure to do the IGT project

If IGT is a benchmark of what the human species can do when it sets its mind to it, then failure to even try would mark a steady decline of the human race as we abandon one hopeful goal after another until we eventually go back to the Stone Age and living like animals. World War Three, Four and Five would do that as Albert Einstein suggests.

XXIV. Preparation for first contact with extraterrestrials

An episode of Star Trek; The Next Generation concerned Commander Ryker captured while on a First Contact mission. The leader of that fictional world might have been afraid or backward but he made the point that once First Contact was announced to his world, they would just become another voice in a chorus of millions of voices.

The clock is ticking away and it is probably not our clock. Some federation out there might be looking us over right now. If we made a technological leap forward now, then we might have some say in our destiny. Otherwise, we may have _NO_ say in our destiny since there is no guarantee that others out there are friendly or sympathetic. Interplanetary travel? Big deal. They may be coming interstellar distances. Interstellar travel? Okay but what if they have been traveling in the Milky Way for centuries? Then we would be centuries or even millennia behind them -- and our own history teaches us what happens to technologically backward people.

There is only one way. Intergalactic travel. While we still can make that choice.

XXV. Challenge




Pope Pius XII

"God has no intention of setting a limit to the efforts of man to conquer space."

quotation from the USA's top rocket scientist and the man who made sure we got to the moon

"Don't tell me that man doesn't belong out there. Man belongs wherever he wants to go - and he'll do plenty well when he gets there."

— Dr. Wernher von Braun, in 'Time' magazine, 17 February 1958

quote from Plato

"Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another."

— from 'The Republic,' 342 B.C.


"But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?"

- President John F. Kennedy

The image is from The Decision to Go to the Moon:

President John F. Kennedy's May 25, 1961 Speech

before a Joint Session of Congress

John F. Kennedy "Landing a man on the Moon" Address to Congress - May 25, 1961

Michael Collins

"It's human nature to stretch, to go, to see, to understand. Exploration is not a choice, really; it's an imperative."

Michael Collins

"To go places and do things that have never been done before - that's what living is all about."

my mom is an astronaut

Arlington National Cemetery: - final resting place of Navy flight surgeon Laurel Clark

"When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system."

— Laurel Clark

Gene Roddenberry

"Let me end with an explanation of why I believe the move into space to be a human imperative. It seems to me obvious in too many ways to need listing that we cannot much longer depend upon our planet's relatively fragile ecosystem to handle the realities of the human tomorrow. Unless we turn human growth and energy toward the challenges and promises of space, our only other choice may be the awful risk, currently demonstrable, of stumbling into a cycle of fratricide and regression which could end all chances of our evolving further or of even surviving."

-- Gene Roddenberry, Planetary Report Vol. 1, 1981

Stephen Hawking

"To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit."

Margaret Mead

"I grew up with the notion that the frontier had shaped our characters and that there was no frontier any more.... What we had to have were frontiers in literature, scientific research, human welfare. That was a beautiful figure of speech. I used it for years, but the first time somebody really talked to me about space colonization and what it might be like to really put a colony out there that could do as it liked, I discovered that a little real new space in which you could put a new society was much more exciting than pushing back those figurative new frontiers.... Space means greater well-being for our children and adventure, an outlet for all the things we thought there wasn't any outlet for, and a belief that the frontier isn't closed, that there are endless possibilities and we don't need to be discouraged by the population explosion, and we don't need to feel that life is going to get duller and duller so it isn't worth living."

-- Anthropologist Margaret Mead,

"Does it Matter What Women Think About Space," Space Digest, 1960

"Many people are shrinking from the future and from participation in the movement toward a new, expanded reality. And, like homesick travelers abroad, they are focusing their anxieties on home. The reasons are not far to seek. We are at a turning point in human history... We could turn our attention to the problems that going to the moon certainly will not solve ... But I think this would be fatal to our future... A society that no longer moves forward does not merely stagnate; it begins to die."

-- Anthropologist Margaret Mead,

"Man on the Moon," Redbook Magazine, 1969

Barbara Marx Hubbard, 1997

"If Earth is considered a closed system, there will be less for all forever. The frontier is closed, the wilderness is gone, nature is being destroyed by human consumers, while billions are starving. The future indeed looks grim, and there are, ultimately, no really long-range, positive solutions, nor motivation for making the sacrifices and doing the hard work needed now, unless we understand that we are evolving from an Earth-only toward an Earth-space or universal species."

Gerard K. O'Neill

"Clearly our first task is to use the material wealth of space to solve the urgent problems we now face on Earth: to bring the poverty-stricken segments of the world up to a decent living standard, without recourse to war or punitive action against those already in material comfort; to provide for a maturing civilization the basic energy vital to its survival."

-- Gerard K. O'Neill, The High Frontier, 1976

Keith and Carolyn Henson

"Many of the problems that we have today may not have solutions on Earth. The solutions may lie only in leaving the planet behind. There's no way we can avoid tearing up the countryside for ores, for fuel, for raw materials here on Earth--short of everybody dying off."

-- Keith and Carolyn Henson in Worlds Beyond,

editors. New Dimensions Foundation, 1978

G. Harry Stine

"If the Third Industrial Revolution is not a realistic forecast, perhaps it is the fate of all intelligent, self-aware species in the universe to blaze like a supernova for one brief instant of climactic glory before sinking into a final nuclear dark age. But I don't think so. I prefer to believe that there is more to the human race than that. We have come far. There are those among us who will not be daunted or denied a better future or an ultimate destiny among the stars. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in Politics, 'We think our civilization near the meridian, but we are yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star.'"

-- G. Harry Stine, The Third Industrial Revolution, 1975

black hole feeding on galaxy





Why can't humans travel to other galaxies?

Wiki Answers is wrong in that the answer is good but inadequate. The problem is not distance per se. Why can't you travel to another continent? Perhaps you lack the money for an airline ticket or you don't have a passport. Why can't you travel to the moon? We have the technical means but there do not exist moonships any more like during the Apollo project back in the late Sixties. NASA got rid of the Saturn rockets and even mislaid the blueprints to them. Eventually humans will build other craft and return to the moon.

Why can't humans travel to other galaxies? It should be obvious that it is more a problem of infrastructure than anything else. The engineering problems could be solved by engineers, the financing problems could be solved by investors, and there only remains for ordinary people to do the motivating.

Will it ever be possible to travel the universe to other galaxies? - Will there ever be a chance to send things out of our galaxy to other ones?

Good question.

Why can't NASA travel to other galaxies? - Is it too expensive, takes too long, too risky?

“One person who used the name Infinity said: “Because as of yet we lack the ability to manufacture anti-matter.”

James Matheson: “The only reason NASA won't go to another galaxy is due to relativity.”

poldi: “Too far, takes too long.”

D:. “The closest star in the sky is 10 light years away.”

Gary B: “Too far away.”

davie j: “There is space debris that if they hit the shuttle they would go right through it!”

Raymond: “If we could travel between stars at 100 km/s = 223,000 mph (which is much faster than what we can achieve now), it would take 3,000 years to go ONE light-year.”

boink : “It's impossible because we would have to travel at the speed of light to get there.” [Editor's note – We've heard that word impossible before. What happens to people who use that word a lot?]

guyster: “They are *way* too far away.”

Keyur.G. Suthar: “Every thing Too expensive,Too risky and takes too much time even if you launch from earth before you reach anywhere most of the astronauts may die”

Flying Car: “Way too far.”

shevek12: “Nearest galaxy takes light 2.5 million years to reach.”

Pink4eve: “its kinda risky.”

The people above point out the problems but the question was why can't NASA . . .

Most Americans know that government can't do much right. It's good at taking away freedom and privacy and not much else. In America, Democrats have to have that explained to them. America is dominated by a duopoly of political parties. Republicans meanwhile lack even the vision to pose the question in the first place. Like America itself, NASA lacks the vision, the money and the mission to do something of this magnitude. NASA has good engineers but since Von Braun, their attitude is “not invented here.” As a result, most of the space innovation is occurring outside NASA. NASA is risk averse and there is nothing wrong with that. Space travel should be safer than crossing a street – except that they have decided that space is too dangerous for you and me. Sorry, but I am an adult not a child. Matters of what is safe and unsafe should be regulated by the consumer product safety commission and FDA and National Transportation Safety Board. However, this is a matter not of what is dangerous but what is too dangerous – a subtle distinction where government is playing God rather than protector. The private sector should do the best safety engineering possible, explain the risks, get informed consent, provide seat belts, and airbags. Government should get out of the way.

Let's re-frame the question to: Can anyone travel to other galaxies? You may not be able to but someone else may be able to do it. You can't because you think you can't. Someone else can because they think they can. Simple psychology. And according to physicists, we have more effect on the universe than we care to acknowledge.

The Quick and The Dead

I'm not big into westerns but the expression: "There's the quick and the dead" means you move or you die.

Earth can waste time on wars and not reversing global warming or it can be ready when the universe comes knocking with an alien invasion, or the sun throwing a coronal mass ejection our way, or some other surprise. We won't get another wakeup call. Our species will simply get hammered. How soon we forget.

Without warning, a mystery object struck Jupiter on July 19, 2009, leaving a dark bruise the size of the Pacific Ocean. The spot first caught the eye of an amateur astronomer in Australia, and soon, observatories around the world, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, were zeroing in on the unexpected blemish.

Astronomers had witnessed this kind of cosmic event before. Similar scars had been left behind during the course of a week in July 1994, when more than 20 pieces of Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 (SL9) plunged into Jupiter’s atmosphere. The 2009 impact occurred during the same week, 15 years later.

If this had happened to Earth, you would not be reading this and I would not have written it because we'd be dead. Fine for you “oh well, what can you do” types. Not fine for us people who are not fatalists.

Video IP1 12 Comet Shoemaker-Levy collides with Jupiter

Comet Hits Jupiter 1994 - Shoemaker-Levy 9 - BBC Guide

Hubble Update 11 {16th of June 2010}: Hubble Scrutinises Jupiter for Answers

Frank Tipler, The Physics of Immortality, 1994

The Earth should be regarded as the womb of life--but one cannot remain in the womb forever.


Lovell quoting Tsiolkovsky

Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky

variant spelling is Tsiolkovskii

famous quote - (paraphrased by Tipler, Hawking and others)

"The Earth is the cradle of humankind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever."

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 1895

Intergalactic Travel

What is our destiny in space?

What is our destiny in space?

What is our destiny in space?

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From Here To Andromeda Part 1

Editor's Note -- First of all, this video does _NOT_ have my seal of approval. Mention UFO's and I think of two things: butterfly nets and straitjackets. So these people start off on a bad foot by calling their channel UFO-TV. And second, this video does _NOT_ have my seal of approval. I only added it to the end of this lens because it has pretty images (along with nutty ideas). Finally, this video does _NOT_ have my seal of approval. However, unlike Guide to Intergalactic Travel which has my highest traffic, this lens gets no traffic so no one will see this anyway.

If your idea is not posted, then it may be because of a traffic jam. Just be patient and try again. Posting here provides documentation that you had a particular idea first. Let's face it, the Patent Office and industry is just going to let your idea for IGT gather dust for a few millennia by which time your patent has expired and so have you. At least here we are listening and acting on your idea.

The rules are simple. No commercial plugs because this is not a social network for Madison Avenue SEO types to abuse. Multiple submissions are allowed and even encouraged as long as you are not repeating the same idea. Requests for private communications can be placed here. We will even delete your comment or idea if you request. Only logged in Squidoo members please (so join Squidoo to gain access, no need to create a lens). All blurbs must be approved before they go live so don't worry about embarrassing yourself. You are among friends. If you list your email addrress, I will assume you listed it so that I could contact you and I will delete your email address or URL before I post your idea. If you have a problem with these rules, that's okay. Just suggest better ones I will seriously consider them.

If your idea helps this project succeed, then you may earn a seat to go - (heck, you would deserve a seat, at least I think so and will say so)

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