Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th May 2009 22:24 UTC
Geek stuff, sci-fi... Today, the new Star Trek film has seen its official premiere here in The Netherlands tonight, and in honour of that, I figured an article on Space.com about the possibility of faster-than-light travel would make a good fit on OSNews. The article is quite technical, so bear with me on this one. I hope I get everything right.
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RE: Comment by Laurence
by vasper on Fri 8th May 2009 10:50 UTC in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
vasper
Member since:
2005-07-22

Nitpicking I know, but technically this isn't FTL travel. Nothing can travel FTL. Warping space just brings two points closer so you don't have to travel faster than light.


Actually tachyons travel faster than light. Also light speed can vary, so... nitpicking it... it is relatively easy to travel faster than light... speaking relative that is... (last phrase copyright Rimmer from Red Dwarf).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 8th May 2009 11:02 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Other than that, what is the definition of "faster than light travel"?

No matter the technique, if I get from point A to B faster than a beam of light can... I'm travelling faster than the speed of light. Whether I'm using space-time bubbles or not.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by boldingd on Fri 8th May 2009 19:36 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
boldingd Member since:
2009-02-19

"Tachyons" aren't real. I can't tell if you where saying that some entity called a Tachyon routinely moves faster than the speed of lite in the real world - which is false - or if Tachyons travel faster-than-light in Star Trek. Fun fact: if a Tachyon existed in the real world, it would be carrying an infinite amount of (kinetic) energy, and would therefore be completely impossible to stop. It would also be doing any number of odd, insane things. The laws of physics do not work very well when you start talking about wandering about faster than the speed-of-light-in-a-vacuum.
In the real world, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum, period. Your point about the speed of light lowering in a medium is well taken, tho: light does travel more slowly through a medium, and it is possible to beat a light-pulse through a medium, in certain scenarios.

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RE[3]: Comment by Laurence
by gustl on Sun 10th May 2009 10:27 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Laurence"
gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

beating light which travelling through a medium is very usual.

You just have to put some beta-emitting material into water. Beta radiation consists of electrons of a certain (high) speed, which is higher than the speed of light trough water.

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RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by Drumhellar on Fri 8th May 2009 21:59 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Actually tachyons travel faster than light.


Tachyons are a hypothetical particle predicted by super symmetry. While super symmetry is useful as an attempt to describe what the universe was like during it's first microseconds of existence as well as trying to unite gravity with the other forces (weak, strong, electromagnetic), the fact that it predicts a faster-than-light particle is viewed as one of it's major flaws.

Also light speed can vary, so...


No, it doesn't. the speed of light is constant, no matter your frame of reference. If you travel at 99% the speed of light, and shoot a beam of light in front of you, it travels away from you at ~300k km/sec relative to your speed. Aim backwards, it travels away from you at ~300k km/sec. Those two beams will arrive at stationary individuals at ~300k km/sec. This happens because, as you approach the speed of light, you increase in mass, your large mass gives you a powerful gravity field, and time slows down in powerful gravity fields.

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RE[3]: Comment by Laurence
by tobyv on Tue 12th May 2009 00:34 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Laurence"
tobyv Member since:
2008-08-25

the speed of light in a vacuum is a constant.

light travelling through other materials (such as water) goes slower, allowing other particles that aren't slowed - neutrinos, i think don't slow in water - to go 'faster than light', at least for a time.

Reply Parent Score: 1