I’ve been considering various reasons that might inhibit space exploration, and I think I have found one that might explain why exploration using space ships/probes, might be impractical.
It is the Travelling Salesman Problem, which is NP-hard. So even if we travel faster than light, heat death of the universe would occur long before we visit all the stars in our galaxy.
There are two ways I can think of to get around this problem.
- Use extensive telescopy before deciding to go somewhere, and make sure you really want to go there. i.e. Don’t try to go everywhere.
- Use self replicating space probes instead of one probe.