Faster Than Light Travel: Theory and Possibility

In summary, people seem to be getting confused about the various faster than light travel methods that have been proposed, and while it is theoretically possible, it is unlikely that we will ever be able to move faster than the speed of light through the normal, physical universe. However, there are a number of theories being suggested that could lead to this type of travel.
  • #1
bigbadbez
3
0
People seem to be getting confused with the concepts involved in some of the faster than light travel methods that have been theoretically proposed. No, it is not possible to travel faster than the speed of light through the normal, physical universe in our current understanding of physics. E=mc2 is very powerful and unbreakable.

However, there are a number of theories being suggested that could lead to fastr than light travel - "warp bubbles" are currently the most advanced of these, which have in fact been generated at very small sizes; yes it is unlikely that we will ever move beyond these given our current understanding of science, but I imagine that if you asked Da Vinci how his plans for a flying machine were going, he might well have answered "well I have no earthly idea how we might make this work, but I know it should be possible. We just don't have the power available to make this work for real". Yeah, it took three hundred years but once the idea was there, all that was needed was science to catch up with imagination.

I may be an unrealistic optimist, but I believe that the human race is capable of pretty much anything if we put our collective imaginations into something. It will take a long time, and require innumerable advances in technology that would be both unconnected and unimaginable to us today, but even so...
 
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  • #2
Is there an actual physics content to this, or will it be just a matter of opinion? If it is the latter, this thread belongs in the General Discussion forum, not in the physics forums.

Zz.
 
  • #3
But, I'm talking about having the effect of traveling faster than light, not traveling faster than light through "normal" spacetime.

So, what I am saying is that there may be a way to alter the structure of spacetime, "folding" it to compress before, and expand after, a fixed area of spacetime. This is the theory currently being investigated, based on an original supposition by Miguel Alcubierre.

Indeed, I also found a paper by Sonny White detailing the outlying concepts of his "warp field interferometer" experiments at NASA.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110015936_2011016932.pdf
 
  • #4
bigbadbez said:
However, there are a number of theories being suggested that could lead to faster than light travel - "warp bubbles" are currently the most advanced of these, which have in fact been generated at very small sizes

Do you have a citation for the claim that warp bubbles of any size has in fact been generated?

The Alcubierre solution to the field equations of GR (a while back I posted a pointer to his paper here) does describe a kind of "warp bubble" that would allow faster than light travel without violating these equations. However, consistency with the field equations is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for being physically possible.
 
  • #5
bigbadbez said:
But, I'm talking about having the effect of traveling faster than light, not traveling faster than light through "normal" spacetime.

So, what I am saying is that there may be a way to alter the structure of spacetime, "folding" it to compress before, and expand after, a fixed area of spacetime. This is the theory currently being investigated, based on an original supposition by Miguel Alcubierre.

Indeed, I also found a paper by Sonny White detailing the outlying concepts of his "warp field interferometer" experiments at NASA.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110015936_2011016932.pdf

Go back and re-read the original post that you made:'

bigbadbez said:
People seem to be getting confused with the concepts involved in some of the faster than light travel methods that have been theoretically proposed. No, it is not possible to travel faster than the speed of light through the normal, physical universe in our current understanding of physics. E=mc2 is very powerful and unbreakable.

However, there are a number of theories being suggested that could lead to fastr than light travel - "warp bubbles" are currently the most advanced of these, which have in fact been generated at very small sizes; yes it is unlikely that we will ever move beyond these given our current understanding of science, but I imagine that if you asked Da Vinci how his plans for a flying machine were going, he might well have answered "well I have no earthly idea how we might make this work, but I know it should be possible. We just don't have the power available to make this work for real". Yeah, it took three hundred years but once the idea was there, all that was needed was science to catch up with imagination.

I may be an unrealistic optimist, but I believe that the human race is capable of pretty much anything if we put our collective imaginations into something. It will take a long time, and require innumerable advances in technology that would be both unconnected and unimaginable to us today, but even so...

My point here is that this first post had very little physics content. It was based mostly on personal preference and opinion.

Secondly, even the very little physics part is incorect. E=mc^2 is NOT the reason why we have c as the speed limit. E=mc^2 is not even the FULL relativistic energy equation! You are missing the motion part of the energy! (read the Relativity FAQ subforum!). There is no obvious reason why we have c as the speed limit. This is a postulate of SR that we can only verify. We cannot derive it nor offer an explanation why it is what it is right now.

Finally, please review the PF Rules that you had agreed to. The sources we require to be used in this forum must either come from standard textbooks material, or peer-reviewed papers. If this document that you referred to has been published under the criteria that we require, please provide full citation to it. Otherwise, it cannot be used as a reference to justify/support your point.

If you wish to discuss the physics of such space-warping physics, AND are equipped to do so, then please create your discussion in the Special/General Relativity forum.

Zz.
 
  • #6
You assume that I'm not aware that the physical velocity of the Alcubierre drive would not be above c - this is wrong. I'm talking about the relative speed of travel, not the absolute speed of the vessel.

At no time would the velocity actually increase above c using this principle. No wormholes are needed either. This is about compressing and expanding space-time in a controlled fashion, which is perfectly possible (theoretically) given current understanding of the Standard Model. The scientists studying the effect have reduced the projected required negative mass (antimatter) from a lump the size of Jupiter to 500kg. Thats after a couple of years' research, and they think they have worked out how to get lower than that. Another leap of that magnitude, and they'll be powering it with an elastic band and some gaffa tape...All I'm trying to do is say there is a possibility that this can be done - travel to another star system and back within a human lifespan. I did not say it would be done tomorrow, just that there will be a way to do it. I have demonstrated that there is ongoing research into the prospect, being carried out by a world-leading scientific institutuion following up on previous study and built upon fundamental principles. I say taht this leaves the idea plausible, if not in my lifetime. You say that I am incorrect - fine, prove it.
 
  • #7
bigbadbez said:
You assume that I'm not aware that the physical velocity of the Alcubierre drive would not be above c - this is wrong. I'm talking about the relative speed of travel, not the absolute speed of the vessel.
Oh, dear. The fact that you think there is such a thing as "absolute speed" does not speak well for you knowledge of relativity. Talking about relative speed is good, but relative to what?

At no time would the velocity actually increase above c using this principle. No wormholes are needed either. This is about compressing and expanding space-time in a controlled fashion, which is perfectly possible (theoretically) given current understanding of the Standard Model. The scientists studying the effect have reduced the projected required negative mass (antimatter) from a lump the size of Jupiter to 500kg. Thats after a couple of years' research, and they think they have worked out how to get lower than that. Another leap of that magnitude, and they'll be powering it with an elastic band and some gaffa tape...
You were asked before to give a citation for things like this. Please do so.


All I'm trying to do is say there is a possibility that this can be done - travel to another star system and back within a human lifespan. I did not say it would be done tomorrow, just that there will be a way to do it. I have demonstrated that there is ongoing research into the prospect, being carried out by a world-leading scientific institutuion following up on previous study and built upon fundamental principles. I say taht this leaves the idea plausible, if not in my lifetime. You say that I am incorrect - fine, prove it.
Saying that something is "possible" or "plausible" is what makes this speculation and so appropriate to the General Discussion forum. And you were the one who made the assertion- it is your responsibility to prove it. No one has said you are incorrect just that you need to give some support for such an assertion.
 
  • #8
"There is no obvious reason why we have c as the speed limit."

Maybe it is only my personal speculation, but isn't a good reason, that particle accelerators, rocket thrusters etc all operate with electromagnetic based interactions, is it nonsense?
(Rulers also expanded by EM forces, clocks count a number of EM interactions arent they? )

" The fact that you think there is such a thing as "absolute speed" does not speak well for you knowledge of relativity. Talking about relative speed is good, but relative to what?"

To me, speed compared to the frame of stars is something i would call absolute.
But correct me, where I'm wrong.

http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.1995-2599

I could found this abstract (i have no experience in finding correct reviewed citations). And an other washington.edu link written by John G. Cramer.

And that one http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1995QJRAS..36..205C

I hope they don't count crackpot.
 
  • #9
GTOM said:
To me, speed compared to the frame of stars is something i would call absolute.
But correct me, where I'm wrong.

You are wrong. Period. There is NO such thing as absolute motion.
 
  • #10
GTOM said:
To me, speed compared to the frame of stars is something i would call absolute.

There's no such thing as the "frame of stars". The problem is that when we speak of "the frame of something" that's just a convenient shorthand for "a frame in which that something is not moving". And because the stars are all moving relative to one another, there's no such frame.
 
  • #11
http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/cosmology/cbr.html

"The indication of the above image is that the local group of galaxies, to which the Earth belongs, is moving at about 600 km/s with respect to the background radiation. It is not know why the Earth is moving with such a high velocity relative to the background radiation. ""And because the stars are all moving relative to one another"

" when we speak of "the frame of something" that's just a convenient shorthand for "a frame in which that something is not moving""
Ok, then absolute motion is also just some convenient shorthand, compared to most convenient frame, for example the gradually shifting frame of the Solar system.
 
  • #12
This thread is closed.
 

Related to Faster Than Light Travel: Theory and Possibility

1. How is faster than light travel possible?

Currently, faster than light travel is not possible according to our current understanding of physics. The theory of relativity states that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. However, some scientists have proposed theories such as wormholes and warp drive that could potentially allow for faster than light travel. These theories are still speculative and require further research and experimentation.

2. What is the theory of relativity and how does it relate to faster than light travel?

The theory of relativity, proposed by Albert Einstein, is a fundamental principle of modern physics that explains the relationship between space and time. It states that the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of their relative motion. This means that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Therefore, according to our current understanding of physics, faster than light travel is not possible.

3. Are there any exceptions to the speed of light limit?

So far, no exceptions to the speed of light limit have been observed or proven. Some particles, such as neutrinos, have been measured to travel very close to the speed of light, but still within its limits. There have been claims of particles called tachyons that can travel faster than light, but these have not been confirmed and are not accepted by mainstream science.

4. What are some proposed methods for achieving faster than light travel?

As mentioned before, there are currently no proven methods for achieving faster than light travel. Some theories propose the use of wormholes, which are hypothetical tunnels through space-time that could potentially allow for faster travel. Another concept is the warp drive, which would involve manipulating space-time to shorten the distance between two points. However, these are still theoretical and require more research and experimentation.

5. How would faster than light travel impact our understanding of the universe?

If faster than light travel were to become a reality, it would completely change our understanding of the universe and open up endless possibilities for space exploration and colonization. It would also challenge many fundamental principles of physics and require us to rethink our current theories. However, it is important to note that achieving faster than light travel is still a long way off and may not be possible at all.

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