Johns Hopkins University physicist William Edelstein has some bad news for us geeks:
Faster Than Light Travel will kill you.
Edelstein's new study looked at what would happen on a hypothetical starship traveling at 99% of c, the speed of light. At such velocity, the stray hydrogen atoms drifting in deep space would smash into the starship at such speed and in such numbers that protons would be stripped away from the atoms and pass through the metal and the bodies of the crewmen inside. This would create a radiation exposure for those crewmen fatal to human beings. (For the truly geeky, the fatal dose is "6 sieverts" but the crewmen would be exposed to about "10,000 sieverts per second." I have no idea what that means, but the math looks pretty bad.)
I know, I know. The USS Enterprise has "shields" to protect it. Edelstein doubts that an electromagnetic shield could be built to block the subatomic particles in the radiation.
He seems like such a kill-joy, given that an engine capable of producing 99% of c velocities is also considered impossible. Why is he assuming we can have the engine, but no "shield?" Me, I would assume that such technology would require some mysterious, near magical, understanding and control over Unified Force.
Edelstein posits that such extreme radiation doses also would be fatal to all forms of life, thus, no little green men from Alpha Centauri, or reptoids, are visiting us currently.
So, is this the end of our dream of FTL Travel?
We still have wormholes to consider. Star Wars ships utilized "hyperspace" for FTL travel, and while it was never clearly defined, it was supposedly another dimension. WH40K gives us the Warp or Empyrean sea -- also an alternate dimension, though considerably more dangerous. What about folding space?
Ultimately, the problem with all forms of Hard-Sci Fi or realistic FTL travel is the resource expenditure. Even the best theories require an almost inconceivable amount of energy to effect the travel.