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Wouldn't traveling at the speed of light implode the universe

  1. May 5, 2005 #1

    since at the speed of light ( i know its not possible to reach ) you reach infinite mass that you wouldn't be able to stop and any objects you collide wiht would start to travel at the speed of light, and also would your infinite mass cause space-time to warp in such a way that other objects would gravitate towards you at the speed of light, and the very walls of the universe to implode. just making sure incase someone actually figuers out a way to make sure they dont kill us all
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2005 #2
    can some one tell me if this would happen or not?
  4. May 5, 2005 #3


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    Gold Member

    Well, if you could attain that speed ... which you can't.

    You can't because the energy required to accelerate you further increases as well. At some point you'll run out of whatever energy source is powering you. And it will happen before you gain enough mass to have any gravitational effect on anythning around you.
  5. May 5, 2005 #4
    I Know That! I Was Just Saying If You Had Infinite Energy!
  6. May 5, 2005 #5

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    While your relativistic mass will appear to increase as viewed from a frame in which you are moving nearly at c, your rest mass remains the same.

    Furthermore, since you are undoubtedly moving at close to light speed with respect to some frame (how does it feel to be moving so fast? :smile: ), and the universe hasn't imploded yet, this cannot be how things work. As far as how mass and energy couple to gravity in relativity, it's not so simple. Hopefully someone more expert that I can enlighten us.
  7. May 5, 2005 #6


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    To get that infinite energy, you would have to convert the universe into energy to power your craft. The universe's destruction would be directly your doing and would precede your mass reaching a significant amount. Destruction would not merely be a side effect of your velocity/mass.

    This isn't just splitting hairs. Look what you're asking: "...given an infinite supply of energy..." OK, that's not just assumed, and it can't be put forth without reconciling the dramatic and direct effect on your question.
  8. May 5, 2005 #7


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    Your question is what's known in philosophy as an "improper question". You imagine you have a universe excluding some object (it seems to be yourself) with finite energy and this object itself has infinite energy. Weird things would happen alright, but I can hardly think of a less interesting question to ask. It's like asking "Let's say conservation of energy no longer holds. Now what would happen?" Who cares?
  9. Apr 27, 2009 #8
    Hey how about we not stifle people when they ask questions, if you do not want to answer a question or find it to be useless, simply don't respond. With that said it is an interesting question. according to current physics theory, i.e. the big bang, the universe began as an infinitely small infinitely dense point. That is before it exploded :) . It is hard to comprehend infinite and it is even harder imagining infinite space in finite parameters. A black hole happens to be an object that has both finite( outside) and infinite quantities(inside). The idea of what the universe contains comes from reverse extrapolation, this was confirmed by the Wmap satellite, which gave us the contents and movement of the universe. It is very interesting if you have a chance to peak http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/news/index.html#microwavesky , but back to your question, like I said the idea of infinite energy or infinite space contained within physically finite parameters is not an impossibility, and in fact some of the behavior viewed by the Wmap satellite showed scientists that there is something out there acting upon our physical world that we are not aware of. Even further the idea something like "anti-matter" was believed to be insane not very long ago, anti-matter has since been proven and when it comes into contact with real matter results in complete obliteration and I think 100 or very close to 100 percent efficiency in it's transfer of energy. Though be careful with the term "Anti-Matter" which means different things to different types of academics. In the end, your question is very neat and theoretically not impossible. Scientists used and continue to use a similar idea to yours in combination with Einstein's theories to try and purposefully rip holes in space, time, matter etc. using just light energy, but if you want to travel faster than the speed of light their are much easier to attempt theories out there, that could happen "relatively soon" but they, for the most part go against the old physics idea of the shortest distance between two points being a straight line :). Sorry I dont believe I answered your question during all of my babbling, some scientists would say yes and some scientists say no. This was similar to the "End of the world" doom and gloom associated the hadron collider fired up not too long ago. The argument could be made if something reached the speed light, without infinite energy, than you would not have infinite mass. In my opinion as far as imploding the Universe I do not believe it could happen or would happen. Well before you have infinite mass the object would collapse in on itself. If not for Helio-Static equilibrium our sun would collapse in upon itself and in fact most likely, before a worm hole or death to the universe some sort of fusion would occur and what ever it was you were driving would become something similar to a star :)
  10. Apr 27, 2009 #9
    If you just think outside the box, it is possible to travel the speed of light. For example, light has been slowed down to 38 miles per hour in some experiments when not in a vacuum. It's also possible to accelerate a person to the speed of light in a vacuum because mass can be converted into energy (eg, a human can be converted into pure light). 'course, you'd be dead.
  11. Apr 27, 2009 #10
    Well the release of energy photons is what is observed as "pure light" though the current state of electromagnetic energy we release is not far from visible light 400-750nm. Be careful though I said some stuff not nearly that radical and received a warning. It's like the Church of Science up in this mother :)
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