A recent BBC news article with the title "Milky Way galaxy is warped and twisted, not flat" caught my attention. It goes on to say:

Our results show that the Milky Way Galaxy is not flat. It is warped and twisted far away from the galactic centre. Source

While this is an interesting headline and story, does it have any real impact to space travel in our solar system or to nearby star systems?


1 Answer 1


No, at least not to the specific questions that were asked - to travel within our solar system or to nearby star systems (which, let's go ahead and assume just means star systems that we could reach within a human lifetime, presuming that Breakthrough Starshot works).

The galaxy is warped in the sense that some stars have large orbital inclinations source based on images found there. This would have major implications in terms of required plane change maneuvers to reach those stars...but you'd also have to have a spacecraft that is capable of travelling that far in the first place. Plane change manuevers require tremendous energy compared to basic orbital transfers, but one would still have to imagine that we wouldn't do a Hohmann Transfer orbit to a star far enough away to require such a substantial plane change. So...I'm sticking with "no" even though technically "yes" if you are thinking about strict delta V.

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    $\begingroup$ +1. By the time this answer becomes "yes" it seems safe to guess that there will be many other discoveries with greater impact on interstellar travel. $\endgroup$ Aug 2, 2019 at 20:16

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