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341 – Space: 1999 – Journey to Where

Journey to Where?  Journey to Where.  Is it a question, or is it a statement?  What are the deep philosophical differences between those two interpretation?

You won’t find out in this episode, as Ben and Eugene ask the question, or respond to the statement, “journey to where(?/.)”

4 thoughts on “341 – Space: 1999 – Journey to Where”

  1. A little bit about time:

    Generally speaking, two events in time and space can exist separately, and really can only be causally related somehow if there distance isn’t so great that light could not have traveled the gap during the time difference.

    But there are some “wrinkles” that make this harder to interpret.
    For one, if you are moving near to the speed of light, you will be perceiving time differently than at some other place that your are considering to be more or less stationary (such as the Earth, though, yes, the Earth is moving, just nowhere near the speed of light).
    In particular, several years for you may be decades back on Earth.
    A similar effect occurs if you are very close to an object with strong gravity (though here, you have the problem of probably being ripped apart by such an object before you get much of a chance to worry about time). This idea is explored somewhat in the film Interstellar (a little long for me, but the science was good, and the “weirdness” at end was interesting, if not a bit derivative from 2001, etc.) .

    My guess is that what they are trying to imply in Journey to Where is that that the Moon is traveling very fast, and fast enough for “time dilation” as mentioned above, and therefore a year for Alpha is like decades back on Earth. But this is really impossible. Though, I suppose in a world where the Moon can escape the Solar System without being blown apart, perhaps you can make the Moon travel near to the speed of light?!
    In any case, that only explains how they could have a different concept of time in the two places. Communication between the two times doesn’t really seem possible…unless….

    Another possibility, which makes more sense for other episodes but not so much this one (at least not as stated by the characters) , is that they traveled through a wormhole….essentially a short cut in space and time and really one of the only ways in modern general relativity that you can go back in time.

    So, they got bit of science right, but in detail, when applied to the situation it doesn’t really make sense or is physically impossible or extremely impractical (if the moon accelerated to such high speeds, how did anyone survive, unless it was accelerating slowly? But if that was the case, it went unmentioned by Victor in Year One and Maya in year two.
    Although, they do often say “the Moon is on an unpredictable trajectory”)

    That was long winded and more than what anyone likely wanted to know, but kind of gets at at least some of the problems in this particular time travel episode. We can save “grandfather’s paradox” and all that for another day…

    1. Long, thoughtful comments are always appreciated here. I thought you might have one or two things to say about this particular episode.

      We recently completed recording for the next episode, the Taybor, and got into a discussion about hyperspace – not a detailed one, but what fascinates me about shows like Space: 1999 is “who knew what, when?” That question can be applied to this episode, too.

      Trying to imagine that you’re a 1975 writer, trying to imagine 1999 technology and science, I ask the question: Why neutrinos? I know that a few years ago, someone produced some, since debunked, results that indicated neutrinos might travel faster than light, but that was years after Journey to Where was written. I thought the “special” thing about neutrinos was that they were near massless and thought to be able to pass through matter unimpeded.

      Which, now that I think about it, puts paid to the idea of a galactic eclipse blocking communications.

      Apart from that, why would you try to use neutrinos for interstellar communications? Wouldn’t something like tachyons that were (are?) thought to travel faster than light make more sense. (I recall the faster-than-light properties of tachyons were the basis of James Blish’s Spock Must Die novel from earlier in the 70s.)

      …and if we had something that travelled faster than light, how could we turn that into a medium for sending a signal? It seems like it couldn’t be a traditional radio-like waveform. Something digital? Some sort of manipulation of quantum state? If the sender and the receiver were moving a different relativistic speeds and therefore experiencing time at different rates, would the message, when it arrived at the rapidly moving moon be all slowed like an old tape-recorder running at the wrong speed?

      The physics of relativity gives me a headache whenever I try to wrap any kind of sense to it.

  2. Yes, tachyons (the idea has been around since 1969) make more sense, and could be what they were trying to get at, but either the writers didn’t like the “sound” of tachyon in the script,or the advisers and writers didn’t really know enough about it to use it.

    However, tachyons, though making more sense for communication, make less sense for teleportation through time unless they do something like send a message that says “here is how to make an exact copy of Koenig, Carter and Russell…” and the some sort of computer reassembles them from matter in the past based on this message. In any case, they clearly didn’t think about it enough! But in this case, there’d have to some sort of advance device in the past to do all of this,
    and that seems implausible for travelling to 1300 on Earth.

    Neutrinos have been well known for decades. They were proposed in 1930 or so, and detected around 1960, I think. However, some properties remained mysterious until very recently (such as mass, and whether or not there were different types of neutrinos, and whether they could change their type, etc.). I think it was those unknown factors that gave writer liscence to suppose they had properties related to time travel.

    Well, I won’t get into my problems with The Taybor, though it does bring up a couple of interesting scientific points, especially where hyperspace and androids are concerned.

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