The recent news of neutrinos moving faster than light might have got everyone thinking about warp drive and all that, but really there is no need to imagine something that can move faster than 300,000 kilometres a second. Indeed, the whole idea is illogical.
Light speed, or 300,000 kilometres a second, might seem like a speed limit, but this is just an example of 3 + 1 thinking – where we still haven’t got our heads around the concept of four dimensional space-time and hence we think in terms of space having three dimensions and think of time as something different.
For example, while it seems to us that it takes a light beam 4.3 years to go from Earth to the Alpha Centauri system, if you were to hop on a spacecraft going at 99.999 per cent of the speed of light you would get there in a matter of days, hours or even minutes – depending on just how many .99s you add on to that proportion of light speed.
This is because, as you keep pumping the accelerator of your imaginary star drive system, time dilation will become increasingly more pronounced and you will keep getting to your destination that much quicker. With enough .999s you could cross the universe within your lifetime – even though someone you left behind would still only see you moving away at a tiny bit less than 300,000 kilometres a second. So, what might seem like a speed limit at first glance isn’t really a limit at all.
read more: universetoday
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