Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

9/18/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

New ideas suggest faster than light travel is not only possible but feasible too.

Star Trek may be closer than we think. Researchers now believe that faster-than-light space travel is not only possible, but quite feasible given the development of new technology. 

Much like a surfer on a wave, scientists now believe it is possible to surf waves in spacetime and to move faster than the speed of light.

Much like a surfer on a wave, scientists now believe it is possible to surf waves in spacetime and to move faster than the speed of light.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

9/18/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Speed of light, faster than light, travel, stars, space, surfing space, warp drive, warp speed, Star Trek


LOS ANGELES, Ca (Catholic Online) - It was Albert Einstein who explained to that nothing could exceed the universal speed limit, set by the speed of light - about 186,000 miles per second. This is because of the peculiar nature of physics. 
As an object accelerates, its mass also increases. To continue accelerating, an increasingly massive object needs more energy. At the point an object reaches the speed of light, it's mass, and therefore the energy to propel it, would be infinite thus requiring more energy than is contained in the universe.

However, there is another peculiar feature of the universe that scientists think they can manipulate to overcome this limitation. 

Space-time, is a 4th dimension that is understood well in physical models of the universe, and can be best understood as a sheet of fabric that stretches to the ends of the universe. In reality, this fabric occupies all three dimensional space, but a two dimensional imagining of it serves understanding best. 

Spacetime is not perfectly flat, but rather it is distorted by massive objects. For example, a planet warps spacetime around it much the same way a bowling ball would warp a sheet on a very soft bed.

Those dimples in spacetime are what causes planets to orbit the sun, and the moon to orbit Earth, and so on. 

Scientists have been able to accurately observe and measure these distortions, so they are well understood. 

Back in 1994, a Mexican physicist, Miguel Alcubierre came up with the idea of a warp drive that would run on less than infinite energy by distorting spacetime around a craft. Basically, the object would warp the spacetime around it, using exotic matter and a high-energy power supply to warp spacetime around it while keeping the spaceship itself safely wrapped in a bubble of normal space.

This warping would cause the ship to fall in the direction of the warp, or in this case, forward, without breaking the laws of physics. This is much like how a surfer rides a wave. 

Since the ship is flying in space, without any resistance to its fall, its speed could be several times faster than light. Researchers think it could manage about 10 times the speed of light. 

Such speeds would reduce the amount of travel time to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, to about 5 months. 

So why aren't we surfing space yet?

Alcubierre's concept still required a lot of energy, about the energy equivalent to the mass-energy of  Jupiter, and since we only have one of those lying around, and it's already being used, the concept was shelved. But recently, researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Flight Center think they may have a way to cut down on that requirement. 

By adjusting the shape of the ring slightly, they can make the design much more efficient, thus requiring the mass energy contained in a Voyager 1 space probe- sized object. This is within the realm of feasibility. 

Researchers now plan to test these ideas on a micro-scale, using lasers on tabletops to run the first battery of experiments. If those experiments prove successful, we could see faster-than-light travel within a matter of centuries rather than never. 

 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Technology

Apple dominates tech market as anticipation builds for iPhone 6 Watch

Image of The iPhone 6, expected to be released in September, is highly anticipated, and may be responsible for the slight increase in sales of iPhones.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Apple continues to do well in the market, as the company's flagship product, the iPhone, gained significant traction since March, and the Mac line of desktop computers also saw growth. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Apple sold 35.2 million iPhones over the ... continue reading


Latest claim: the universe might not be natural... Say whaa? Watch

Image of A map of the cosmic background radiation which permeates the universe. Note the

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The nature and structure of the universe is one of the most enduring questions of the ages. Even the Book of Genesis addresses the topic. Presently, scientists are using modern scientific tools and methods to probe these mysteries and the preliminary results are ... continue reading


What is Microsoft up to? After this rambling memo, even its employees don't know! Watch

Image of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is planning to eliminate almost 20,000 jobs by 2015.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Software giant Microsoft announced that it is going to cut 18,000 jobs by 2015-about 14% of the company's 125,000 employees, by far the largest amount of layoffs in the history of the company. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most of these layoffs-12,500-will ... continue reading


Mars Rover finds massive iron meteorite Watch

Image of NASA has now published the combined image. A preliminary analysis has been made of what the meteorite is made from.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What will they find next on the surface of Mars? Just recently, NASA's Curiosity rover came across a massive iron meteorite half buried in the sands of Mars. The space agency has dubbed the find "Lebanon." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The two-meter-wide ... continue reading


Ever wondered why North America doesn't have any elephants? Scientists have the answer Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the earliest American natives hunted to extinction, a precursor to modern elephants.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Clovis people, thought by many archaeologists to be the original native Americans, hunted to extinction the precursors to modern elephants that lived alongside them in North America, new scientific evidence suggests. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Jesuit Brother gains prestigious award for astronomy Watch

Image of Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno received the coveted Carl Sagan Award for 2014, by bringing an enthusiasm for science to the general public.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Jesuit brother has been awarded the Carl Sagan Medal for 2014 for his radio shows and public lectures on astronomy which helped generate interest in scientific inquiry among the general public. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The American Astronomical ... continue reading


Untouched by human hands: iPhone 6 made completely by robots Watch

Image of The machines that were introduced in 2011, known as

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Robots are performing more and more human-like functions in the worlds of industry, and it comes as little surprise that Apple is increasingly using automations in the constructions of iPhones. Human hands attached to real living humans in the past previously ... continue reading


New Google Glass app lets users know of imminent Israeli missile attacks Watch

Image of These alerts provide similar information to the Red Alert, which is an Israel app for smartphones and tablets, which recently incorporated the popular instant-messaging app

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a new app that sadly paints a distressing picture of contemporary life in the Middle East. The app, for Google Glasses, is capable of warning users in Israel of impending enemy rocket attacks. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Called Israel Missile Alerts, ... continue reading


IN THE DARK: Astronomers wonder what happened to 80 percent of the light in the universe Watch

Image of A $70 million instrument, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, designed by the University of Colorado Boulder and installed on the Hubble Space Telescope was used in the research.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The universe has gotten a lot darker. Astronomers have discovered an enormous deficit of ultraviolet light in the known universe and are at a loss as to why that is. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - They are forthright in saying that there is "something is ... continue reading


Psychiatric drugs may cause increase in ER visits new study suggest Watch

Image of 90,000 emergency room visits may have been caused by psychiatric drugs, a new study suggests.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nearly 90,000 emergency room visits have been caused each year by bad reactions to psychiatric drugs in the U.S. a new study suggests. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Anti-anxiety medicines and sedatives are among the most common culprits, and among adults over ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13
1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,2 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 36:6-7, 8-9, 10-11
6 your saving justice is like towering mountains, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:10-17
10 Then the disciples went up to him and asked, 'Why ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 24th, 2014 Image

St. John Boste
July 24: One of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales. He was born at ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter