The Light Cage Limit to Interstellar Expansion

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C.R. McInnes (2002), JBIS, 55, 279-284

Refcode: 2002.55.279
Keywords: Fermi's paradox, SETI, interstellar travel

It has long been argued that an advanced space-faring civilisation must be gradualists who evolve and migrate within the limits imposed by resources and whose culture avoids conflict and exploitation. However, it is argued here that a relatively young civilisation which develops a set of technologies which enable it to engage in economic interstellar travel is unlikely to constrain its activities in this way and will experience rapid economic expansion and growth. In such a scenario the speed of light imposes a fundamental limit to the distance over which the civilisation can expand, providing a possible mechanism whereby interstellar expansion is self-limiting and possibly self-terminating.

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