I have wondered and marveled -as have so many people- at the truly astronomical numbers associated with chemical rocket powered space travel to the nearest star systems. As per this article
Example figures given include; ...a velocity of 35,000 miles/hr (56,000 km/hr). At that rate it would take 81,000 Years to reach Proxima Centauri.
If there are no earthlike worlds at Proxima Centauri, one must look even further, and the time and distance quickly surpasses 350,000 years and more for just a journey of a few lightyears even further than Proxima Centauri.
I came up with a new means of comparison; for south seas Pacific Islanders, crossing the Pacific Ocean in an outrigger canoe could be measured in just a few months.
Likewise, for camel jockeys traveling the China-Mediterranean Sea intercultural trade routes, it is a matter of months.
In considering crossing the sea of stars, we're still not even on a par with the Pacific Islanders and camel caravans; not even close.
A few months back, I went through a sort of 'gee whiz' phase of admiring the Sombrero Galaxy, which is about 30 million lightyears from the Milky Way.
In comparing the speeds of starships in Hollywood movies, I soon realized that even at an FTL speed of one lightyear per second, at which speed you could reach Alpha Centauri in 4.3 seconds, it would take 100,000 seconds -or about 1.157407 days- to cross the Milky Way, but 0.95066216 of a year, or 30 million seconds, almost one full year, to reach the Sombrero Galaxy. A whole year. And by the way, now the astronomers are telling us that the Sombrero Galaxy is receding from the Milky Way by the mysterious and inexplicable expansion of space itself.
edit: Astronomers and various professionals have seemingly always maintained that Outer Space vacuum is a virtual 'null void' with absolutely 'nothing' in it. This always bothered me for some reason, although I could never say exactly why. It was just a nagging suspicion in the corner of my mind that there must be 'something' there, to give it dimension. Otherwise, how would the planets and stars 'know' where they are and where they're going (not to mention where they've been ((i.e. with delayed, lightspeed progression of gravity waves)) )? Now, we're being told there really are different invisible 'fields', one kind of field for each kind of subatomic particle. Momentum seems to me to be another mystery, in which these fields flawlessly endow moving objects with the energy of motion, and pass it along from 'here to there'. I feel this most intensely whenever I see something like a speeding test vehicle video that has been frozen split-seconds before impact, then moved forward in ultra slow motion. As if magically, the vehicle exhibits giving up the 'stored energy' of all that mysterious, invisible, magical 'momentum' as it smashes into the barrier.
As for 'empty Space', then there's also the fact that if you can look in any direction and see stars and galaxies, it means the photons are interpenetrating every supposedly 'empty' patch of Space. Also, I have a suspicion that FTL travel still awaits pending the discoveries of future super science breakthroughs.