Can Objects Travel at the Speed of Light?

In summary, the commonly-understood law that "no object can travel at or above the speed of light" is derived entirely from an inability of said object to accelerate to the speed of light. This is because an object with zero rest-mass must travel at the speed of light, and objects traveling faster than light would violate causality.
  • #1
KingNothing
881
4
I am not an expert on Physics and have for the past year been engulfed in work, so I am very rusty. I read a comment online recently that essentially said the laws of physics simply prevent any object from accelerating to the speed of light (infinite energy required?), but do not say that an object traveling at the speed of light would necessarily be violating physical laws.

Is it true that the commonly-understood law that "no object can travel at or above the speed of light" is derived entirely from an inability of said object to accelerate to the speed of light?
 
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  • #2
Hi KingNothing! :smile:
KingNothing said:
Is it true that the commonly-understood law that "no object can travel at or above the speed of light" is derived entirely from an inability of said object to accelerate to the speed of light?

Yes.

An object of zero rest-mass must travel at the speed of light.

Any object that was created with speed faster than light would have to stay faster than light (for the same reason … it can't be accelerated down to the speed of light) …

however, such objects would violate causality, so we believe they can't exist. :wink:
 
  • #3
Thank you kindly Mr. tiny-tim!
 
  • #4
Your Majesty is most gracious. :smile:
 
  • #5


I can confirm that the commonly-understood law that no object can travel at or above the speed of light is derived from the fundamental laws of physics. According to Einstein's theory of relativity, the speed of light is a constant and the maximum achievable speed in the universe. This means that no object, regardless of its mass or energy, can reach or exceed the speed of light.

As the commenter mentioned, this is due to the fact that an infinite amount of energy would be required to accelerate an object to the speed of light. This is because as an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases and it becomes more and more difficult to accelerate it further. This concept is known as relativistic mass and is a fundamental principle in understanding why objects cannot travel at the speed of light.

It is also important to note that the laws of physics, including the principle of the speed of light, have been extensively tested and confirmed through numerous experiments and observations. Therefore, it is not just a matter of an object being unable to accelerate to the speed of light, but rather a fundamental limitation of the universe as we currently understand it.

In summary, while it may be theoretically possible for an object to travel at the speed of light, it is not physically achievable due to the fundamental laws of physics. As scientists, it is our duty to continue exploring and pushing the boundaries of our understanding, but we must also recognize and accept the limitations set by these laws.
 

Related to Can Objects Travel at the Speed of Light?

1. Can objects with mass travel at the speed of light?

According to Einstein's theory of relativity, objects with mass cannot reach the speed of light. As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases infinitely, requiring an infinite amount of energy to accelerate it further.

2. What can travel at the speed of light?

Only massless particles, such as photons, can travel at the speed of light. Light itself is made up of photons and therefore can travel at the speed of light in a vacuum.

3. What is the speed of light and how is it measured?

The speed of light, denoted by c, is approximately 299,792,458 meters per second. This value is considered a fundamental constant in physics and is measured using various methods, including the time it takes for light to travel a certain distance or the frequency and wavelength of light.

4. Can anything ever exceed the speed of light?

According to our current understanding of physics, it is not possible for anything to exceed the speed of light. As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases and the amount of energy required to accelerate it further becomes infinite.

5. How does the speed of light affect time and space?

Einstein's theory of relativity states that as an object approaches the speed of light, time slows down and space contracts. This is known as time dilation and length contraction, which have been proven through experiments and are important principles in modern physics.

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