As a young boy, I cried whenever my balloons slipped out of my hands. With arms outstretched, and in tears, I hopelessly watched my balloons disappear into the clouds, wishing it would come back to me.
But now I was amazed when I saw my son intentionally let go of his balloons one by one, overjoyed by each launch. He giggles in joy as he watches them fly ever higher. And then he stands in silence as they fly out of sight in the blue expanse of the sky, imagining all the places it would go.
This stark contrast in boyhood experiences has dug up the concept Interstellar Cyclers which I read some time ago.
Interstellar Cyclers are starships that basically go around in wide circles, lightyears in diameter, spanning multiple stars, and then eventually come back to their starting point for another round. This idea was fueled by the contention that "accelerating a starship, only to decelerate it again, is pure lunacy", as Karl Schroeder put it in his essay. Thus he proposed what he called 'Schroeder Cyclers', a starship that is initially accelerated from the Earth or a colony star to some percentage of lightspeed, and then eventually ...