Xenoa’s Route to the Future
Earth Archive File 1-004: Navigator Argus of the Dellingr answers questions about space travel for an educational special aimed at children and investors.
Voices: Charlie Van Stee, Kelsey Henry.
Illustrated Transcripts for every episode and in-between are available to all Patreon members.
And here is the plain text transcript:
Xenoa’s Route to the Future
NARRATOR: Hello, investors!
A chime sounds.
Music plays: a synth-y beat with uplifting xylophone.
NARRATOR: Oh, Doctor! Ms. Physicist!
ARGUS: (Mumbles) …Are…Is this where I talk?
NARRATOR: How fast does your space ship go?
ARGUS: Hello. I’m qualified to answer that. Yes.
Music cross-fades into science-y ambience.
NARRATOR: Just how fast can a space ship go?
ARGUS: Well, very fast. Faster than classic physics says it should, so… law-breakingly fast.
NARRATOR: Are you saying you’re a criminal, Dr. Argus?
ARGUS: Uh no? oh, uh, I’m…I’m criminally good at space travel. You could say.
NARRATOR: But just how fast is fast?
ARGUS: The Dellingr, the ship I’ll be navigating, will be traveling to a star system 200 light-years away.
NARRATOR: Lightyears measure distance, not speed, Doctor.
ARGUS: Yeah, yeah. Yes. The time it will take to travel that distance will appear different for everyone on Earth than it would for my crew on the ship.
NARRATOR: You’ve piqued my interest.
ARGUS: We won’t arrive until roughly 200 years in the future according to an observer on Earth.
NARRATOR: Wait a minute.
ARGUS: …Uh, but for me and my crew, the trip will be close to three years.
NARRATOR: How is that possible?
ARGUS: Well, six months of the trip will be spent in our solar system while we circle around planets until we leave the sun’s orbit.
NARRATOR: And the other two years and change?
ARGUS: Well, that will be at a much faster speed. So fast, in fact, that we won’t be able to communicate with Earth anymore.
NARRATOR: Why not?
ARGUS: Because for someone tracking the ship from Earth, the ship will look like it’s squishing itself until its flatter than a spaghetti noodle and getting impossibly heavier as it’s gaining speed.
NARRATOR: Sounds like something I would enjoy seeing.
ARGUS: As long as we aren’t communicating with Earth, we can go faster than it should be physically possible to, that’s what I meant earlier by breaking laws. Breaking laws of classical physics.
NARRATOR: Sounds dangerous.
ARGUS: It’s delicate work, but what’s so cool about the universe, is the way things work at a micro level, the quantum level, defies our understanding or logic, or assumptions, whatever you want to call it. And finding ways to use these principles on a macro level is well, the pinnacle of experimental science, so far. In my opinion.
NARRATOR: Did you say Quantum?
NARRATOR: This sounds awfully familiar.
ARGUS: The quantum level is where particles don’t always behave as particles, sometimes they behave as waves, and a bunch of other strange things happen.
NARRATOR: Milton mentioned observers and quantum entanglement earlier.
NARRATOR: Milton told me an observer could spoil the goo tanks. What does an outside observer of the ship spoil?
ARGUS: That’s actually a great question I think–
NARRATOR: THANK YOU!
ARGUS: …Um. What’s really cool about the flight path for our ship over such a long distance, is, well, the longer the trip the more problems we can run into, right?
NARRATOR: Oh goodness, say it ain’t so!
ARGUS: Well, as long as no observer is seeing us break rules about speed and momentum, they won’t see the ship breaking rules about position, either. Like particles behaving like waves on the quantum level, our ship can behave like a probability wave.
ARGUS: Our ship can test out all possible paths simultaneously, and as long as one path leads to our destination safely, then, well, we will arrive safely.
NARRATOR: You’re scorching my brain! How efficient!
ARGUS: Yeah! I know!
NARRATOR: Are you telling me that there are multiple futures and we can pick the successful one?
ARGUS: Not really, no.
ARGUS: Think of it less as multiple universes and more as one time…cloud that we can move around in. The future event of arriving safely will affect the past event of traveling to get there.
NARRATOR: So this colonization mission is a lock.
ARGUS: I wish. We’re doing everything we can to ensure at least one of these ships can make their goal.
NARRATOR: It just takes one.
ARGUS: That’s exactly what failsafes and redundancies are for.
NARRATOR: Sounds like this is a sure thing.
ARGUS: It’s not.
A heavenly choir sings.
NARRATOR: It’s in the bag. Thanks, Dr. Argus! I’ll be seeing you on the other end of this time cloud, when the colonization mission resurrects us as clones to live in eternal peace together on a planet built just for us.
The choir is cut short.
ARGUS: I mean, Earth kind of fit that label, and look at what we’re doing–
NARRATOR: –Don’t you have a ship to navigate?
ARGUS: …I’m sorry, are we done? Do I keep going–
NARRATOR: –Farewell, scientist, guide our future valiantly forward into the corners of space!
NARRATOR: Xenoa Luxury Space Resort.
NARRATOR: For tomorrow, from today.