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Can we travel faster than the speed of light?


Posted on Monday, 17 August, 2015 | Comment icon 21 comments

The speed of light is a significant barrier to exploring the universe. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
Professor Geraint Lewis believes that traveling at warp speed may actually be a viable possibility.
Right now the idea of traveling to planets orbiting distant stars is something that we can only dream about - even a spacecraft moving at just under the speed of light would take four years to reach the next closest star and over two million years to reach the next nearest galaxy.

The key to interstellar space flight therefore would seem to lie in finding a way to exceed the speed of light - something that conventional physics currently deems impossible. Or does it ?

According to Professor Lewis Geraint Lewis from the University of Sydney, the concept of traveling faster than light has been a part of Einstein's theory of relativity all along.

"If you look at the equation that Einstein gave us, it shows you can bend and warp space so you can travel at any speed you like in the universe," he said. "It's theoretically possible."

The main issue then, Prof Lewis contends, would be in the actual construction of a working warp drive - something that he believes would require material with a 'negative energy density'.

"It is not a material that we actually have in our hands, but there are signs that there are aspects of the universe that actually have this kind of property," he said.

"Empty space itself has a negative energy density. The big question is if we could mine it and shape it, we would basically have a warp drive there and then, but we just don't know if that's possible."

Source: ABC.net.au | Comments (21)

Tags: Star Trek, Warp Drive, Light Speed

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #12 Posted by monkeyman2269 on 19 August, 2015, 3:12
How would u avoid hitting **** at those speeds is the real question
Comment icon #13 Posted by Calibeliever on 20 August, 2015, 14:34
How would u avoid hitting **** at those speeds is the real question That is an interesting thought problem. If you're warping space around you, what is your relationship to the physical universe while the drive is engaged?
Comment icon #14 Posted by bison on 20 August, 2015, 15:04
The way I've seen it explained, one would be isolated from the universe, inside a warp bubble. There has been some concern expressed about the effect a space warp would have on objects in normal space. Perhaps the points in space in which a warp drive is activated, and then deactivated at the destination should be at a considerable distance from any planets. The way physicists talk about permissible (effective) speeds above those of light, is to call this global speed, while local speeds above those of light are prohibited by relativity theory.
Comment icon #15 Posted by smokeycat on 21 August, 2015, 9:43
Speed is never the problem it is the acceleration that would do you in. Not if you accelerate at 1g.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 21 August, 2015, 9:53
Not if you accelerate at 1g. If you accelerate constantly at 1g it would take you nearly 354 days to reach light speed.
Comment icon #17 Posted by smokeycat on 21 August, 2015, 10:18
If you accelerate constantly at 1g it would take you nearly 354 days to reach light speed. And if it was possible, you would of travelled around 0.5 light years... Just imagine being hit by some stray particle at near light speed.
Comment icon #18 Posted by zeek wulfe on 24 August, 2015, 3:06
The UFO investigator Stanton Friedman seems to think that building a spacecraft capable of a constant 1 g acceleration could be built now using nuclear propulsion. If such a thing was possible, then star travel in reasonable time frames might happen. Presumably, halfway to, let's say Alpha Centauri, the craft would be reversed to slow down. Mathematicians or physicists will tell us if such a thing is theoretically possible.
Comment icon #19 Posted by TonopahRick on 25 August, 2015, 3:14
Well let's see if it takes about a year to get to light speed at 1g it'll also take that long to stop if you do it at 1g right? The closet star is about 4 light years away so we're in for a long boring trip.
Comment icon #20 Posted by zeek wulfe on 25 August, 2015, 4:04
A long boring trip,to be sure. But it sure beats the 70 thousand years always predicted for a trip of this distance, about 4 light years. Even at half the speed of light mass of the craft would be far different than at the beginning of the trip. Interesting for theoreticians but nothing like this will ever happen.
Comment icon #21 Posted by solvingthemysteries on 6 September, 2015, 3:17
Light does not travel in a finite speed - it is instantaneous. Obviously, the question "surpassing the speed of light" does not arise. Snip


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