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The increasing frequency of both natural and man-made catastrophes such as worldwide pandemics and climate catastrophes has re-validated the urgency to establish humanity as a multi-planet species. Indeed, the founding ethos of Elon Musk's private spaceflight company SpaceX was to make life multi-planetary, partly motivated by existential threats such as large asteroid strikes capable of wiping out life on our planet. However, one of the biggest challenges to making this dream a reality is how to get to distant stars and planets within a human lifetime.  

Consider that with conventional fuel rockets, it takes about seven months just to get to Mars, and a ridiculous 80,000 years to get to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, using our fastest rockets. This means that ordinary rockets are simply out of the question for interstellar travel, and something a little bit more out there is needed. 

Luckily, we might now have the answer to this space travel conundrum. 

 Once the exclusive province of science fiction films, space colonization has been moving closer to becoming a reality thanks to major advances in astronautics and astrophysics; rocket propulsion and design, robotics and medicine. Trekkies, along with the otherworldly technology featured in the Star Trek series, have helped define the science fiction universe. One of the most mind-boggling of these technologies from those shows is the "Impulse Drive," a propulsion system used on the spaceships of many species to get across the galaxy in amazingly short timeframes measured in months or a few years rather than centuries or millennia. 

And now scientists have unveiled the Holy Grail of Space Travel: A real-life Impulse Drive system able to achieve sub-light velocities using zero fuel propellants. After 30 years of tinkering and fine-tuning, a pair of scientists might finally be close to turning science fiction into science fact. 

And, NASA is taking the idea seriously.

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