[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: starship-design: crossing the light speed barrier?

Kevin Houston wrote:

> What if a ship, going just below light speed, could cause each
> of it's subatomic particles to tunnel in the same direction and
> at the same time.  Wouldn't the ship be traveling faster than
> the speed of light? 

Technically, yes, if you do it right. But how do you cause an entire
ship to quantum tunnel at once? Heisenberg's uncertainty principle would
give you problems.

> Firing retro rockets at that point, would
> cause the ship to travel even faster, and when we re-emerged
> from the tunneling, we would find ourselves going just a bit
> higher than light speed.

I have no idea what would happen in this case.

> could it be
> possible to make a macroscopic item behave quantumly, by making
> all of the object's atoms behave quantumly, at the same time and
> in the same manner. 

Absolutely. Its called a "Bose-Einstein Condensate." Do a search about
superfluid helium. But still, how do you get this to quantum tunnel? And
how do you convert a manned ship to a quantum entity without
killing/damaging the crew/ship? 

> Of course this level of control is not even remotely possible,

With a B-E condensate, if I understand it correctly, you need not
control each atom. The condensate behaves as one single quantum entity.
Therefore you may need to control only one entity. Personally, I believe
the best way to surpass C would be to engineer something like
Alcubierre's "warp drive", but to do that we would have to have some
means of warping space more than normal matter/energy can (due to
unphysically high energy requirements). If we can do that, we have a
chance. Or, you could find some way to bypass the whole problem, and
simply decrease the Mu0 and Epsilon0 of the vacuum around your ship,
thereby increasing the local speed of light. But it is not known how to
do this outside of a Casimir chamber.

That's my core dump.

Kyle R. Mcallister