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Re: starship-design: This and that.

"Kevin \"Tex\" Houston" writes:
 > The Transition past the C barrier might not be so dificult.  for a
 > single particle, all you'd need to do is get it to make a small
 > tunneling jump.  for example,
 > 1) Accelerate to near light speed (99.99.... %) as close as you can.
 > 2) make a quatum jump of only a very short distance which happens in
 > zero time.

This seems to be a common fallacy.

Quantum tunnelling allows particles to pass through a potential
barrier. but such tunnelling doesn't involve any fundamental change in
the properties of the particle.  If the particle's wave function has an
observable probability of appearing outside the potential barrier, then
that probability can be observed.

The asymptotically rising energy and momentum of a particle as it
approaches c isn't anything like a quantum potential barrier.
Furthermore, to go from traveling just below c to just above c requires
a fundamental change in the properties of mass.

If you've also read the quantum mechanical treatment of tachyons (posted
in the old LIT site, and taken from the sci.physics FAQ) then attempting
a QM treatment of tachyons either results in tachyons that travel FTL
but which can't be localized, or in particles that can be localized
which still travel slower than c.  Either way they're not useful for