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The Theory Of Relativity What does it mean for space travel?

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finaldesign1405241487

Everyone is going Star Wars crazy and no one is here to give a stand and say something like: "Star Wars is a movie - an imagined fantasy that most probably cannot be real in our life. So ditch the imagnination and go on with your life!"

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Ok, first of all, you are thinking way off now... People watch the movies for about what 55-65 years now... That's not a loong time, but did you know that when first car is invented, car's speed was aprox. 25 km/h and people think that if car could go 100 km/h human body in car will be destroyed by it's speed. (!) Now, same thing with airplanes, breaking the speed of sound, diving into deep sea, jumping with parachute, landing on Moon!!!

Now people are crazy and they like to think something is impossible just because they are scared of unknown... What people think now about man landing on Mars? Mostly people think it's pretty impossible, because the lack of technology. But the aren't aware about how fast technology advances forward.

You look at STAR TREK episode now, and you may say: "Blah! That warp speed is imposible" But hey! What the people tought about some of the greatest philosophers in the world? That they probably crazy. And many of them was actually crazy. Why? Because they where crazy enough to think and invent stuff that noone else would dare to do.

 

So, don't make harsch decisions yet. Many, really many things still wait to be discovered by human race.


mitchellmckain

One of my points in starting this forum is because I peceive that a lot of the resistance to relativity was due to a lack of understanding of it. People dont understand that relativity is not an obstical to star travel. Just because we cannot go faster than the speed of light does not mean that we cannot go to the stars as quickly as we want. According to relativity we can cross the galaxy in seconds. It is just that we cannot expect to make it home for dinner afterwards.

yes, if we keep relativity in mind then we cannot travel faster than light as Einstein declared, but his own later investigations into quantum physics and seperate works by various minds reveals that when dealing with the bizzare laws of quantum physics, relativity and the speed of light as a limit break down

This is inaccurate. What breaks down is local realism. This is really a comination of things like the speed of light and determinism. But the weak link here is determinism not the speed of light. Some people cling stubbornly enough to determinism for philosophical reasons that they would rather toss the limit to the speed of light. But all of scientific evidence and logical consistency suggest it is determism that does not hold, and that the speed of light is unbreakable. Scientist now discard all unified field theories which have tachions (which go faster than light) as evidence that these theories are wrong.

however we see through repeated experiments in quantum physics that this does in deed happen sumtimes and information can travel faster than light, instantaneously in fact.

This is simple untrue. Bell's experiments does show that there is a connectedness to the universe which exceeds the speed of light but it connot be used to transmit information. There is no way to send a message faster than the speed of light.

quantum laws are now making it increasingly clear that the human mental consciousness directly interacts with the matter around it......ancient Chinese and Indian texts claim that the mind and matter are both two forms of the same one energy, something that quantum physics is starting to believe.

As much as some people would like this to be true. It is not. This is a misuse of the results of quantum mechanics. It absurd to think that consciousness is the determining factor in quantum mechanics that leads the existence of cats which are both dead and alive at the same time. However, with the downfall of determinism, of which quantum mechanics is definite evidence, science can no longer be used as a blunt club to disprove or scoff at the belief in that mental consciousness interacts directly with matter.

the way i understand all this then is such: -  due to relativity, we cannot ever travel faster than light, because we have a mass and as such our mass would need to be pushed infinitely to travel faster than light.....but the very components of light, photons, are massless!!!

thus we can travel to the stars provided we are massless,

I am afraid not. Massless objects travel at the speed of light. Nothing can go faster that the speed of light because it is really an infinite speed. To go faster than the speed of light is logically equivalent to traveling backwards in time.

how do we do that? we use our mind. 

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I have no objection to this. I believe there are such things as esp and such. I also believe that there very nature will always make them somewhat unreliable. We may one day be able to travel to distant galaxies with esp or something but I think that we will never be able to prove that we have done so.

MajesticTreeFrog

No one suggested going at the speed of light.  The question again is what is the limitation that relativity imposes upon space travel.  How soon can you get to a star 10 light years away?

 

It is a myth that scientist are eventually proven wrong by later scientists.  If that were true why do we still teach Newton's physics in school. It was never proved wrong. It was merely improved upon.  I think the same is the case with Relativity.  It will never be proven wrong. Something that works so well for so long doesn't get disproved.

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As for the question about space travel, going to a star 10 light years away will take AT MINIMUM 10 years. However, to those ON the spaceship on that voyage (assuming the ship moves at lightspeed), the travel will seem instantaneous.

 

There are, however, proposed solutions for the problem of getting somewhere faster than light. Basically, they all involve freaky hax of the universe. For instance, it only takes that long to get there if you travel through the intevening space. If we can (through worm hole or other method) find a way to ignore intevening space, then we get there faster.

 

One proposed method involves quantum entanglement of large numbers of particles creating a FTL teleporter.

 

However, these methods are generally a long long long way off, and maynot even work. So, interstellar travel a la startrek may not be possible.


mitchellmckain

As for the question about space travel, going to a star 10 light years away will take AT MINIMUM 10 years.  However, to those ON the spaceship on that voyage (assuming the ship moves at lightspeed), the travel will seem instantaneous.

Yes that is right, accept that you should say near lightspeed, say 99.9999995% of light speed, which is close enough to make a 10 light year voyage last only a third of a day. So why not accept this fact and envision the future of space travel that this implies rather than making up ridiculous fantasies about space empires and such. Like maybe we don't need government in space. Let there be exploration and settlement and leave each other alone, which sounds good to me. What is it that people find so hard to let go of?

There are, however, proposed solutions for the problem of getting somewhere faster than light.  Basically, they all involve freaky hax of the universe.  For instance, it only takes that long to get there if you travel through the intevening space.  If we can (through worm hole or other method) find a way to ignore intevening space, then we get there faster. 

Yes and Star Trek had these transporters that take apart your atoms and reassemble them at your destination. All these ideas sound like fun science fiction, but there is no science or technology to make us think that any such thing will ever exist. In fact, relativity tells us that if such means did exist for large distances we would have the same kind of paradoxes that we have in time travel (You know killing your mother before you were born). So all these fantasies still require that relativity be wrong somehow.

One proposed method involves quantum entanglement of large numbers of particles creating a FTL teleporter. 

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There is not even a good idea in this one, just technobabble to impress those who know a little about quantum physics, but not enough.

Mahanon

We all kinda of know what the Theory of Relativity means for space travel.... but for instance what if it was wrong has anyone even stoped to consider that.I'm not saying it is wrong but everything we knew of formed from that theory would be wrong also wouldn't it guess we won't know until we get out there and start exploring.


DigitalDingo

We all kinda of know what the Theory of Relativity means for space travel.... but for instance what if it was wrong has anyone even stoped to consider that.
I'm not saying it is wrong but everything we knew of formed from that theory would be wrong also wouldn't it guess we won't know until we get out there and start exploring.

Actually everything the theory of relativity has said has been proven correct through experiments â except one! And I canât remember what it is⌠;)
As far as I remember it has something to do with gravity waves going through space. Can anyone correct me here?

But it is very clear that the theory of relativity sets some limits for our further space exploration. But it actually also says another quite interesting thing: the faster you go, the slower time will go. This means that if you travel with the speed of light the time will stop!
I know this is impossible, but think about it: if we could fly at the speed of light then we would not get any older â no matter how long time we will fly at that speed.
If we could get near the speed of light we actually wouldnât age very quickly. It would then be possible for one generation of humans to cover enormous distances in space. But of course we would need some source of energy to make us fly this fast.

Here one particle gets very interesting: the tachyon. Tachyons are so far only a theory, but many things indicate that these particles really exist.
Tachyons are very strange because of their mass: the mass squared is less than zero! (m^2 < 0).
Now people with a little understanding of mathematics would say this is impossible, and yes, it seems so. Thatâs why these particles are only a theory.
Now the interesting part of these particles is that they can travel faster than light. If they were found to be real they could probably help us, not to travel at the speed of light, but a lot faster than today.

But it is certainly a problem, that if you could travel faster than light you could go back in time. This is also a part of the theory of relativity, and it will make it quite difficult to observe and understand these tachyons.

And finally just a little funny poem I found: ;)

There was a young lady named Bright,Whose speed was far faster than light.
She went out one day,
In a relative way,
And returned the previous night!

    -Reginald Buller



MajesticTreeFrog

As I see it, long distance travel will only happen one of a few ways:The first is teleportation using quantum entanglement.The second is coldsleep-research here is very positive. Travel doesn't happen fast, but it does happen.The third is any of the space bending ideas: worm holes, jump gates, space fold generators. Frankly, I think the first is the most likely method to be eventually used, as it is the only one we know that might work and is also fast.


mitchellmckain

As I see it, long distance travel will only happen one of a few ways:

 

The first is teleportation using quantum entanglement.

 

The second is coldsleep-research here is very positive.  Travel doesn't happen fast, but it does happen.

 

The third is any of the space bending ideas: worm holes, jump gates, space fold generators.

Frankly, I think the first is the most likely method to be eventually used, as it is the only one we know that might work and is also fast.

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But why do you say this? You demonstrates that people put more faith in science fiction than science. And the reason is probably only that they understand it better. A sci fi book that accepts the reality of relativity at least as far as travel is concerned is "Speaker for the Dead" by Orson Scott Card. Go one step further and give up on the idea of instantaneous communication and space empires and other such nonsense and then we can try to imagine the future as it might be. Ok so ftl travel would be nice, but so would magic spells to turn garbage into food. Makes more sense to focus on what is possible, don't you think?

mitchellmckain

But it is very clear that the theory of relativity sets some limits for our further space exploration. But it actually also says another quite interesting thing: the faster you go, the slower time will go. This means that if you travel with the speed of light the time will stop!I know this is impossible, but think about it: if we could fly at the speed of light then we would not get any older â no matter how long time we will fly at that speed.
If we could get near the speed of light we actually wouldnât age very quickly. It would then be possible for one generation of humans to cover enormous distances in space. But of course we would need some source of energy to make us fly this fast.

We would not get older because it does not take that long. Relativity affects time and space not the aging process. The point is that relativity does not limit further space exploration! We can get anywhere as fast as we would like. What it does interfere with is our ability to make space empires which just makes for fun stories like star trek.

Here one particle gets very interesting: the tachyon. Tachyons are so far only a theory, but many things indicate that these particles really exist. Tachyons are very strange because of their mass: the mass squared is less than zero! (m^2 < 0).
Now people with a little understanding of mathematics would say this is impossible, and yes, it seems so. Thatâs why these particles are only a theory.
Now the interesting part of these particles is that they can travel faster than light. If they were found to be real they could probably help us, not to travel at the speed of light, but a lot faster than today.

Tachyons are not a theoretical particle proposed by today's physics. They are predicted by theories which are considered flawed and incomplete because of this prediction. None of today's scientists believe that tachyons really could exist. It is just an idea that sci fi shows like star trek could use to entertain you with its techno babble.

But it is certainly a problem, that if you could travel faster than light you could go back in time.

That is correct, which is why none of today's scientists believe that ftl travel could ever be possible. Going back in time makes fun stories but it is a logical contradiction.

DigitalDingo

We would not get older because it does not take that long.  Relativity affects time and space not the aging process.  The point is that relativity does not limit further space exploration!  We can get anywhere as fast as we would like.  What it does interfere with is our ability to make space empires which just makes for fun stories like star trek.

You're right, I should have thought of that with the aging... :P
But I still don't agree with you saying "We can get anywhere as fast as we would like." The theory of relativity forbids that - which you fully agree with later... B)

Tachyons are not a theoretical particle proposed by today's physics.  They are predicted by theories which are considered flawed and incomplete because of this prediction.  None of today's scientists believe that tachyons really could exist.  It is just an idea that sci fi shows like star trek could use to entertain you with its techno babble.That is correct, which is why none of today's scientists believe that ftl travel could ever be possible.  Going back in time makes fun stories but it is a logical contradiction.

Are you sure of this? I could have sworn that many scientists saw the tachyons as a possible solution to many observations, including the accelerating expansion of our universe.
But nevertheless in 1973 Philip Crough and Roger Clay fell over an interesting observation using a large particle detector. They saw what some expects to be a superluminal particle (a particle that travels faster than light).
This result has never been reproduced so we canât make any conclusions upon that. My intension was only to show, that some people still believe in these particles.

Can I hear somebody say: â1973? Thatâs a ****ing long time ago!â?
It is. But as recently as in 1996 the scientist Erasmo Recami came with the conclusion, that it actually is possible for tachyons to have real mass.

So I still believe scientists are taking this particle seriously.

mitchellmckain

You're right, I should have thought of that with the aging...  :P But I still don't agree with you saying "We can get anywhere as fast as we would like." The theory of relativity forbids that - which you fully agree with later...  B)

For the people on the ship they can get anywhere as fast as they would like, it is just for the for the people back on earth watching that it takes so long. So "would be space emperors" must either stay on a planet to rule it while space ships crawl among the stars like snails or go on the space ships themselves where the people on the planets can pretty much ignore him. Of course the scavenger like aliens in the sci fi hit "Independence Day" would certainly be a be a problem (at least if relativity were the only obstical).

Are you sure of this? I could have sworn that many scientists saw the tachyons as a possible solution to many observations, including the accelerating expansion of our universe.

Well the last class I had two years ago when I finished my masters in physics was a pretty up to date class on String Theory. And one of the key historical developments was solving the "tachyon problem" (which meant figuring out how to make sure tachyons don't show up in the theory).

But nevertheless in 1973 Philip Crough and Roger Clay fell over an interesting observation using a large particle detector. They saw what some expects to be a superluminal particle (a particle that travels faster than light). This result has never been reproduced so we canât make any conclusions upon that. My intension was only to show, that some people still believe in these particles.

The essence of science is that it can be reproduced. Here in Utah we had that cold fusion fiasco/scandal where some scientists had people convinced they had found evendence for cold fusion, but it turned out to be a scam. Reproducible results is the only thng that seperates science from fraud (or big blunders).

As for believing in tachyons I and all the physicists in the world are completely outnumbered by the star trek fans.

YudzzY

relativity is what differentiate us! like everyone is beautiful, but some are more beautiful and some less, hence its relative as you are talking to your distance topic! about the limits, well what has a definite limit?! thats is how life is! oh well..


mitchellmckain

Well I think this thread has proved my point that many people put more faith in science fiction than in science. Many people do not even bother understanding what limitations are implied by the theory of relativity before they are looking for some crazy way to get past the speed of light. Relativity does not restrict our ability to travel long distances in space. You can go accross the galaxy (100,000 light years) in as short a time as you like provided you can supply the enormous energy required and endure the tremendous acceleration. HOWEVER, if we restrict ourselves to reasonable accelerations and energy then it will take a few years to get anywhere (like the nearest star 4 light years away) just because it takes a couple years just to get near the speed of light at a reasonable acceleration (1 g = 9.8 m/s^2), but once this is done we can cross large distances fairly quickly.4 light years will take about 4 years on board ship10 light years will take about 6.5 years on board ship100 light years will take about 19 years on board ship1000 light years will take about 62 years on board shipSince there are over a hundred stars known to be within 20 light years, a 10 year trip can get us to many destinations. And if we can manage higher accelerations we can cut these times down tremendously. For example at four times the acceleration 39.2 m/s^2 we cut these times in half. But anyway the problems here are with engineering not with relativity!What relativity does mean for interstellar travel is that it is basically a one-way trip, in the sense that you cannot come back in time for dinner, or even for your friend's next birthday. Although you can get where you are going pretty fast, time passes much faster for those you leave behind. during the 4 light year trip about 6 years will pass on earthduring the 10 light year trip about 12 years will pass on earthduring the 100 light year trip about 102 years will pass on earthduring the 1000 light year trip about 1002 years will pass on earthRelativity isolates the locations from one another so that what happens at one location cannot effect another location for a long time. This makes things like government and trade very difficult and unlikely over inter-stellar distances. This rules out star trek and star wars but not interstellar travel.


Vicious_AD

I've been having a debate with a few friends lately about this sort of thing. I can walk on my hands, so I have deduced that standing on my hands, by the theory of relativity, is in fact me carrying the earth. Since there is no up or down in space, and there is no motion in space because relatively everything is in constant motion, then while the mass of the earth is drawing me towards it's center, it is coming towards me as well (both are moving towards eachother according to Einstein). Holding something is defined basically as stopping something from falling by impeding it with another material object. so since there is no "falling" in space, I am technically holding the earth as it holds me, right? Considering the earth and I as two material bodies rather than the earth being my home and planet, instead thinking of it as two marbles in the same ocean.Does anyone agree with this? I can't get some of my friends to understand.


yobster

am I right in thinking that time even passes at a different rate when you are on a train, or a plane?I remember reading that if you throw a ball in the air when you are on a train it will seem to be in the air for longer if you are watching from a stationary point..would this mean that time passes ever so slightly differently if I was jogging? could someone explain to me how this works? - or is it just one of those things which just happens, without any explaination.. I'm just confusing myself now. :P



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