Dr. Kevin Knuth – Relativistic Space Travel

Dr. Kevin Knuth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics at the University at Albany. He is a former NASA research scientist having worked for four years at Ames Research Center in the Intelligent Systems Division designing artificial intelligence algorithms for astrophysical data analysis.

On March 19th Dr. Knuth gave a presentation at the first Anomalous Aerospace Phenomena Conference in Huntsville Alabama, sponsored by the Scientific Coalition for Ufology. I was there for the talk and knew immediately that he had to be on the show. Knuth’s paper, “Constraints on Societies Engaged in Relativistic Interstellar Travel,” used current relativistic theory to examine the issues faced by a race if they achieve near-light-speed travel.

Chart from Knuth’s lecture.

For anyone who can achieve this level of technology, Knuth says that many possibilities open up: At speeds approaching light, one could travel halfway across the galaxy in just about 110 days of experienced time on a ship, although, according to general relativity, the time experienced to those standing still would be so great that their civilization would have been dead for many thousands of years when upon return.

Knuth points out that, if a civilization became nomadic spacefarers, they would essentially live for millions of years in galactic time, but experience a normal lifespan of 60-70 years on their ships. We spoke about the implications of this scenario for the UFO subject. We also delved into the changing attitude of science toward UFOs and related subjects, and how this has changed with new discoveries about exoplanets and scientists who are beginning to look at data more than entrenched beliefs in a search for greater understanding.


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4 Responses to Dr. Kevin Knuth – Relativistic Space Travel

  1. Great show! I really enjoyed this one. Thank you both for the good food for thought 🙂

  2. rob says:

    Dr Knuth is a really interesting guy (any relation to the computer science genius?), thanks for the cool chat.

    Re: Relativistic travel and UFOs – this was a centerpiece of Spielberg’s Close Encounters. The people taken by the aliens were flying round with them at close to the speed of light so decades passed by the time they got back to Earth. It doesn’t mention how long their trip was in personal time but as they all seemed to be wearing the same clothes as when they were taken and didn’t look too disheveled one might surmise their trip might have only been a few days or so.

    Almost forgot, is tangentially related and a weird little curio that Greg might like. You’ve probably heard of trashy celeb gossip site Crazy Days and Nights. They print assorted celebrity fluff with just enough fantasy and outright mistruths to avoid any legal trouble.

    Friend mentioned this CDAN ‘blind item’ to me, had a look and was easily identifiable as the Robert Emenegger story aside from the twist ending. It stood out because whoever wrote this appears to have done their research and this isn’t the sort of thing they usually publish.


    Not sure if you’ve seen before. I remembered your interviews with Mr Emenegger and thought you might like. 🙂

  3. Alex says:

    Great and thought provoking show! I don’t think I heard you mention this, but relativistic space travel was part of the big secret revealed in the original Planet of the Apes.

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