Would we ever be able to travel faster than light?

Asked by: ramramgeorge
  • "Impossible" is harder to achieve that FTL

    First off, Relativity is a "Theory" in the scientific sense, not the commonplace one. It has been proven, GPS wouldn't work without it.

    However, the first question that comes to my mind when asked if we will ever be able to travel faster than light is 'what do you mean by travel?' Depending on your point of view we already ARE traveling faster than light. We are moving away from some points in our universe faster than light. But I doubt that's the idea behind the question.

    'Can we start at point A and get to point B faster than light can?' That is what I think most people mean by the question. But since we know it IS possible to move away from something faster than the speed of light (or to have space expand faster than light) then it seems it should be possible to do the opposite.

    With that criteria a Star Trek transporter would enable FTL travel, but I doubt that's what most people mean by the question. They are more likely thinking of the Enterprise going from one star to the next at warp 5 (to keep with the cheesy Star Trek references). Personally I don't think the how is as important as the result. But let’s stick with us climbing in a spaceship (Millennium Falcon anyone?) on Earth and travelling to Pluto (it’s a REAL planet dammit!) in an hour-long trip.

    What we know of physics, or think we know, at the moment suggests that it is NOT possible. But throughout history we, as a species, have said things were impossible until we were proven wrong. A possible Einstein quote - "we all know that something is impossible, until it happens to the ignoramus who does not know and proves that it is nevertheless possible." And that’s my basic argument.

    I have no idea how to go FTL, but the statement that it will NEVER happen is a much larger thing than humans, over the next 100-100,000 years, figuring out how to travel faster than light.

  • I Think We Could, but We'd Have to Cheat a Little...

    We do know that there are objects in space that bend and warp space time, so we know it is possible to do so. Now, one of the most popular hypotheses is the Alcubierre Warp Drive mentioned above by YellowPandaBear.

    The thinking goes: IF we acquire the technology to bend and warp space/time, then we could conceivably generate a warp bubble. The bubble would surround the space craft, and pull space/time in toward the front while pushing it out toward the back. The ship itself could also be travelling as close to the speed of light as possible, but never exceeding it. Such a method of warp drive could conceivably achieve faster-than-light travel, but without breaking any laws of physics.

    Think of running full sprint down one of those moving corridors at the airport. You may be running as fast as you can, but the ground is also moving, so you'll make it from point A to B much faster than your fastest time without the moving floor. Same idea.

  • Relativity is a theory

    Relativity is still a theory, and has not been conclusively proven. In fact, it can probably never be proven convlusively. Relativity is merely the best description of the world that we have today. In the future, a theory may be discovered that better describes the world, and that allows faster than lighth travel

  • There is a Possibility... Sort of

    It is theoretically possible to travel faster than the speed of light by using an Alcubierre drive. There are a couple of catches though. It requires the use of a type of exotic matter which so far is not known to exist. It also requires immense energy and there are several technical issues involved with the safety of the flight. Also, with an Alcubierre drive, the vessel that is equipped with it isn't technically travelling but rather the space around it is so you don't really break the universal speed limit.

  • I Agree With Robert

    Only possible through a space-time warp, and then it wouldn't even be travelling at the speed of light. And even that would be indescribably difficult, if not impossible to do, even with advances made over the next couple thousand years. Theoretically, a space-time warp exists at the center of every black hole, but the factors required to emulate the gravitational intricacies of a black hole would likely require more energy than has ever been produced by mankind- unless there is a way around this obstacle- another "cheat", if you will.

  • Defies physical law

    No, unfortunately, c is a cosmological speed limit. As one approaches the speed of light, one gains infinite mass and time dilation slows the pace of time infinitely.

    However, it may be possible to cover distances faster than the speed of light through various "cheats." It could be possible to develop a warp drive capable of bending space around a vessel. Thus, the vessel does not exceed the speed of light, but traverses more space than the speed of light would allow on a direct path. This is, hypothetically, allowed by the laws of physics given a large enough energy source. It's currently unknown if it would truly be possible, but it remains an area of research interest.

    It may also be possible to use wormholes to shorten the necessary distances to travel.

    Finally, quantum entanglement may eventually be a possible means of transporting *information* faster than light, and sufficiently sophisticated machines on both ends could use this to create a sort of matter-energy transportation in which an exact duplicate of the traveller is assembled at the other end.

    So, no, faster than light travel is impossible, but we needn't give up yet on the possibility of approximating FTL travel in order to reach the stars. It might just be because I grew up on Star Trek, but I remain optimistic.

  • Not at all

    You would have to have 0 mass to travel even the speed of light... The closer you get to the speed of light, the more mass you gain as your acceleration slows to infinitely near zero. The bottom line is that the speed of light cannot be reached by objects with mass. Light itself is just waves in an electromagnetic energy field.

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L.D says2014-04-25T13:12:52.587
Very interesting answers. We are the pioneers of warp drives and faster than light traveling. Legendary times we live in!