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Close to FTL

  1. Oct 25, 2013 #1
    Im writing a story in which it is possible to travel very close to the speed of light. Lets say for the moment that this is some kind of wormhole drive.

    My conceit is that, due to a quirk of physics, its possible to traverse space almost instantly while time passes for everyone else, so a ship might arrive at its destination in a few seconds, but a time comparable to the time it would take to travel there in a direct line at the speed of light would have passed for the observer.

    Im thinking the equivalence is not exact as theres anomalous topologies when attempting to go anywhere in a straight line, etc.

    Its a wormhole drive because i want to avoid all the speeding up, slowing down and deflector shields.

    Does that sound marginally plausible? If yes, what can you infer from such a technology? Maybe side effects or interesting phenomena?
     
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  3. Oct 25, 2013 #2

    mfb

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    That's exactly how special relativity works. You don't need wormholes, just use some really powerful propulsion methods and some sufficiently advanced technology to handle the acceleration effects.
    Maybe some local warping of space-time just to get the acceleration/deceleration? Not sure if that would work, but for science fiction it should be fine.

    Wormholes could give the same relation between time, but then they can be used for time travel (just go in the opposite direction).
     
  4. Oct 25, 2013 #3

    russ_watters

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    Wormholes are also essentially instantaneous, but for everyone, not just the traveler.
     
  5. Oct 25, 2013 #4

    Bandersnatch

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    The ramifications of this idea have been explored in Joe Haldeman's Forever War and Ursula K.Le Guin's Hainish Cycle of novels, off the top of my head. You might want to check these out.
     
  6. Oct 25, 2013 #5
    I assume since the ship would feel almost no time passing at all, thats not classic time dilation right?

    I mean, time does pass for the object travelling at close to light by acceleration and deceleration. But in this near instant start/stop, it would almost not pass at all.

    Am i correct that these are two different things?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2013
  7. Oct 27, 2013 #6

    mfb

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    Why?

    If acceleration goes fast enough...
    Sure, with 1g of acceleration, you need months (both in planet and ship frame) to accelerate to relativistic speeds.
     
  8. Oct 28, 2013 #7

    Ryan_m_b

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    There are plenty of examples of science fiction featuring near-light speed travel. Wormholes are theoretical objects in which stuff can enter one mouth and come out the other instantly so it doesn't really fit your setting.

    You could propose some sort of technobabble like a warp drive that can't exceed the speed of light but allows spacecraft to accelerate at thousands of Gs whilst the passengers feel nothing. There are examples of that in SF already.
     
  9. May 13, 2014 #8

    DHF

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    As Mfb and Ryan_m_b have said, its all about acceleration. If you hand wave through the technology needed such as inertia dampeners and Ludicrously powerful propulsion and shields then you could have instantaneous travel from the traveler's perspective. for example if they are headed to Alpha Centuri and they accelerated at 10000000000G then the trip would only last about 0.08 seconds as far as they are concerned but almost 4 and a half years will have passed for Earth.
     
  10. May 13, 2014 #9

    mfb

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    This thread is several months old and fulltime did not post here in all this time.
     
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