The speed of light in a vacuum is 299 792.458 kilometers per second – for convenience, the number shall be rounded up to 300 000 kilometers per second. It is very fast. The sun is 150 million kilometers from Earth, the light from it comes to Earth in just eight minutes and twenty seconds. Is there anything which can be faster than Light? the answer is ‘NO!’
Why Nothing Can be Faster than Light?
Could some of our creations to compete in the race with the light? One of the fastest man-made object among ever built, the space probe “New Horizons”, whizzed past Pluto and Charon in July 2015. He reached the ground speed 16 km / c. Much less than 300 000 km / s. Nevertheless, we had tiny particles that move very quickly. In the early 1960s, William Bertozzi at MIT experimenting with electrons accelerated to even higher speeds.
Since electrons are negatively charged, they can disperse – or rather, to push away – using the same negative charge to the material. The more energy is applied, the electrons are accelerated faster.
One would think that you just need to increase the supplied energy to accelerate to a speed of 300 000 km / s. But it turns out that electrons simply can not move as quickly. Bertozzi Experiments have shown that the use of more energy does not lead to an increase in direct proportion to the velocity of the electrons.
Instead, it was necessary to put huge amounts of extra energy to even slightly change the speed of the electron motion. It was close to the speed of light is getting closer and closer, but had never been Faster than Light.
Imagine a small movement to the door, each of which transcends half the distance from your current position to the door. Strictly speaking, you can never get to the door because after each of your steps you will have to stay the distance that must be overcome. About this problem Bertozzi encountered while dealing with their electrons.
But light is composed of particles called photons. Why are these particles can move at the speed of light and electrons – not?
“As the objects move faster and faster, they become more and more difficult – the heavier they are, the harder they dispersed, so you never will type at the speed of light,” says Roger Rassoul, a physicist at the University of Melbourne in Australia. “The photons have no mass. If he had plenty of, he could not move at the speed of light. ”
Photons are special. They are not only missing mass, which gives them complete freedom of movement in the vacuum of space, they also do not need to be accelerated. The natural energy that they possess, moves in waves, like them, so at the time of their creation they already have the maximum speed. In some ways easier to think of light as energy, rather than as a stream of particles, although, in truth, is the light and the one and the other.
However, light travels much slower than we might expect. While Internet technology like talking about communications that operate “at the speed of light” in the fiber, the light moves 40% slower in the glass of the fiber than in a vacuum.
In reality, the photons move at the speed of 300 000 km / s but faced with a certain interference, interference caused by other photons that are emitted by atoms of the glass when the main light wave passes. To understand this may not be easy, but at least we tried.
Similarly, in special experiments with individual photons able to slow them down is quite impressive. But for the majority of cases, it will be a fair number of 300 000. We did not see and did not create anything that could move as fast or even faster. There are special moments, but before we touch them, let’s touch on another of our question. Why is it so important that the speed of light usually performed strictly?
The answer lies with a man named Albert Einstein, as often happens in physics. His special theory of relativity explores the many consequences of its universal speed limits. One of the most important elements of the theory is the idea that the speed of light is constant. No matter where you are and how fast moving, light always travels at the same speed.
But this implies a few conceptual problems.
Imagine a light that falls from the flashlight on the mirror on the ceiling of a stationary spacecraft. The light coming up, it is reflected from the mirror and falls on the floor of the spacecraft. For example, it overcomes a distance of 10 meters.
Now imagine that the spacecraft starts to move with the tremendous speed of thousands of kilometers per second. When you turn on a flashlight, light behaves as before: shines up, gets in the mirror and is reflected on the floor. But to do that, the light will have to overcome the diagonal distance, rather than vertical. In the end, the mirror is now moving rapidly along with the spacecraft.
Accordingly, the increased distance that overcomes the world. For example, at 5 meters. Leaves 15 meters in general, not 10.
In spite of this, although the distance increased, Einstein’s theory argued that the light will continue to move at the same speed. Since the rate – is distance divided by time, times the speed remains the same, and the distance increased, the time must also increase. Yes, the time has to stretch itself. Although it sounds strange, but it has been confirmed experimentally.
This phenomenon is called time dilation. Time moves more slowly for people who move into the fast moving vehicle, with respect to those who are immobile.
For example, time is 0.007 seconds slower for astronauts on the International Space Station, which is moving at a speed of 7.66 km / s relative to Earth, when compared with people on the planet. Even more interesting is the situation with the aforementioned particles like electrons that can move close to the speed of light. In the case of these particles, the degree of deceleration is enormous.
Steven Kolthammer, an experimental physicist at Oxford University in the UK, points to the example of particles called muons.
The muons are unstable: they quickly disintegrate into smaller particles. So fast that most muons leaving the sun must disintegrate upon reaching the Earth. But in reality, the muons arrive at the Earth from the Sun in the colossal volumes. Physicists have long been trying to understand why.
“The answer to this riddle is that muons generated with such energy that is moving at a speed close to light, – says Kolthammer. – Their sense of time, so to speak, their internal clocks run slow. ”
Muons “survive” longer than expected, with respect to us, thanks to the present, the natural curvature of the time. When objects are moving quickly relative to other objects, their length is also reduced, compressed. These effects, time dilation and length reduction, are examples of how the space-time, depending on the movement of things – me, you, or spacecraft – with mass.
What it is important, as Einstein said, the light is not affected because it does not have mass. That’s why these principles go hand in hand. If things could move faster than light, they would obey the fundamental laws that describe the operation of the universe. These are the key principles. Now we can talk about a few exceptions and derogations.
On the one hand, although we have not seen anything that moved faster than light, it does not mean that the speed limit is theoretically impossible to beat in very specific conditions. For example, consider the expansion of the universe itself. Galaxies in the universe are receding from each other at a speed much higher than light.
Another interesting situation concerns particles that share the same properties at the same time, no matter how far away from each other. This so-called “quantum entanglement.” The photon will rotate up and down randomly choosing of the two possible states, but the choice of the direction of rotation will be exactly reflected in the other photon elsewhere if they are confused.
However, in both these examples, it is important to note that no information is moved faster than the speed of light between the two objects. We can calculate the expansion of the universe, but we can not see objects in it faster than light: they disappeared from sight.
As for the two scientists with their photons, though they could get a result at the same time, they could not give it to know each other faster than light travels between them.
“It does not create any problems for us, because if you are able to send signals faster than light, you get a bizarre paradox, according to which information can somehow go back in time,” says Kolthammer.
There is another possible way to make travel faster than light is technically possible: cracks in space-time, which will allow the traveler to avoid the usual rules of travel.
Gerald Cleaver from Baylor University in Texas, says that one day we will be able to build a spacecraft traveling faster than light. Who moves through the wormhole. Wormholes – a loop in space-time, fit perfectly into the Eynsheyna theory. They could afford the astronaut jump from one end of the universe to the other by an anomaly in the space-time, some form of cosmic shortcut.
An object traveling through the wormhole, will not exceed the speed of light, but can theoretically reach the destination faster than light, which is on the “normal” way. But the wormhole can be generally inaccessible to space travel. Could there be another way to actively distort space-time to move faster 300 000 km / c relative to someone else?
Cleaver also explored the idea of a “motor Alcubierre”, proposed by theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre in 1994. It describes a situation in which the space-time before the spacecraft is compressed, pushing it ahead and behind it expands, also pushing it forward. “But then – Cleaver said – there were problems: how to do it and how much you will need energy.”
In 2008, he and his graduate student Richard Obouzi calculate how much you will need energy.
“We presented a ship of 10 meters x 10 meters x 10 meters – 1,000 cubic meters – and calculated that the amount of energy needed to start the process, will be equivalent to the entire mass of Jupiter.”
After that, the energy must be continually “add” to the process is not completed. No one knows whether it will ever possible, or what will look like the necessary technology. “I do not want to be quoted later centuries, though I predicted something that will never – Cleaver said – but I do not see solutions.”
So, traveling faster than the speed of light are fantastic at the moment. So far the only way to visit the exoplanet with life – into a deep hibernation. And yet, not all that bad. In most cases we are talking about visible light. But in reality, the light – it’s much more than that. Microwaves and radio waves to visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays, and gamma-rays emitted during the disintegration of atoms in – all these fine rays consist of the same: photons.
The difference in energy, and therefore – in wavelength. Altogether, these rays make up the electromagnetic spectrum. The fact that radio waves, for example, moving at the speed of light, extremely useful for communications.
In his study Kolthammer creates a circuit which uses photons to transmit signals from one part of the circuit to the other, so it deserves the right to comment on the usefulness of the incredible speed of light.
“The fact that we have built the infrastructure of the Internet, for example, and before him, and radio, based on the light, has to do with the ease with which we can transmit it,” he said. And he adds that light acts as the communication power of the universe. When the electrons in the mobile phone start to shiver, photons are emitted and lead to the fact that the electrons in the other mobile phone are also shaking. Thus was born a phone call. Tremors of the electrons in the sun also emits photons – in large numbers – which, of course, forms the light, which gives life on Earth is warm and, um, light.
Light – is the universal language of the universe. Its speed – 299 792.458 km / s – remains constant. Meanwhile, space and time malleable. Perhaps we should not think about how to move faster than light, and as quickly navigate through this space and this time? Mature to the root, so to speak?