Light Speed Realities

Even if, as in Star trek, warp speed was equal to the speed of light, and every factor up the scale was a tenfold increase in velocity, so that warp ten was 100 times light speed, then the earth-type planets found in deep space recently would still be 150 years journey time away.

OK, the big news of the day has been that maybe, just maybe, Albert Einstein was wrong and the speed of light is not the ultimate velocity within the universe, but how significant is that really?

Let’s face it, with light speed being 700million miles per hour, you could cross the entire solar system in no time at all, but that is hardly going to be very effective in terms of space travel proper.

Even if, as in Star trek, warp speed was equal to the speed of light, and every factor up the scale was a tenfold increase in velocity, so that warp ten was 100 times light speed, then the earth-type planets found in deep space recently would still be 150 years journey time away.

The idea that travel between the stars could happen in days or weeks is simply nonsensical, in terms of time. Most stars in the cosmos are so far apart that travelling between them, even at warp speeds, would take human lifetimes, so the chances of our species ever colonizing deep space seem fairly remote, without some major changes in the laws of physics as we currently know them.

Science fiction writers and scientists have long speculated on the existence of so-called wormholes, providing passages through time and space that enable travel over vast distances by bending the very fabric of the continuum, but this is the realm of theoretical quantum physics.

When reality bites, however, humanity has to accept that the limitations placed upon us by relativity physics are all but insurmountable, when it comes to deep space exploration. This becomes even more problematic when one stops to consider that the universe is expanding all the time, pushing those longed-for destinations ever further away.

Like everybody else who dreams of conquest of the cosmos, I find the news of this POSSIBLE de-bunking of relativity theory very exciting, simply because it opens up such a wealth of possibilities – no doubt those science fiction writers are salivating – but the joy has to be tempered with the reality of this supposed discovery, that even if he research gets proven, warp speed in our lifetimes is always going to be the stuff of fiction though our grandchildren might experience it.

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9 Responses to “Light Speed Realities”
  1. holdkunal Says...

    On September 24, 2011 at 1:39 am

    wonderfully posted..

  2. Bill M. Tracer Says...

    On September 24, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Hey Tony,

    I like your stuff, but I’m afraid you got some of your facts incorrect in this article. The closest star system is Alpha Centauri, which is made up of three stars. Of these 3 stars, Proxima or Alpha Centauri C (α Cen C), is now placed at the distance of 1.29 parsecs or 4.24 light years from the Sun, making it the closest star to the Sun, and thus also to the Earth, unless of course we count the Sun and that is the closest star to the Earth, at about 93 million miles from the Earth. I only add this part about the Sun, since you related that distance in relation to the Earth, when you said, and I quote, “…the nearest star to earth is a mere 34 light-years away…”.

    Check out this Absolute Astronomy fact page about the entire Alpha Centauri system, A B and C.

    By the way, this link is not a spam, since I personally had nothing to do with it’s creation. I just did a search and found this page this evening. I knew of course the data contained within this page, or at least much of it, but I located it in order to support what I am saying here about this star system. If you just do any search on Alpha Centauri you can find any number of pages that will back up this data.

    Your 34 light years number is simply incorrect.

    As a further note, please understand that I leave you this comment with no malice or any negative emotional aspect. It is only for the pure logical purpose of presenting the correct facts, and nothing more. So please do not take this as any kind of an attack, for it is not such a thing, at all.

  3. Bill M. Tracer Says...

    On September 24, 2011 at 2:18 am

    I did some of my own calculating, and if we go with this 100 times the speed of light concept, then getting to Proxima Centauri, at 4.24 light years distant it would take approximately 15.476 days. That is a rough estimate, and not on a leap year, by the way. On a leap year it would take 15.5184 days. He he.

    That is of course a joke about the leap year you know.

  4. Bill M. Tracer Says...

    On September 24, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Actually to further play with this leap year thing. Since 4.24 light years would actually include 1 leap year, then if we add 1 day to the total number of days, and then divide by 100, that number of days would be more like 15.486. But then I’m sure that light years are very probably not set up to really include leap years, (or would that be leap light years), so actually the point is moot.

    I’m probably spending too much time on this joke about leap years and light years, and should be spending this time writing my own articles.

  5. dazzlejazz Says...

    On September 24, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Oh Bill, you took the words right out of my mouth!

    Nice share though Tony.

  6. Sheila Barnhill Says...

    On September 24, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Be patient Tony. A lot of the Star Trek technology HAS been put to great use already. I mean, heck, look at the cellphones we have now. And I think that the medical practices on that show is where we actually need to speed up on the development. I just love the idea of those hypo sprays. And surgery was almost obsolete on that show.
    Scientists have been working on making warp speed a reality for a long time and it would still take time to perfect. But it will happen eventually. I just wonder if it will be in our lifetime.They are working on “Beaming” as well.

  7. Bill M. Tracer Says...

    On September 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm


    You should have corrected your article by now.

    Why haven’t you?

    In my earlier comments, I pointed out the true facts that you got wrong in your article. It now behooves you to correct them. If you don’t then you are being dishonest.

    If you don’t believe me, then you should do your own research. If you do, then you will find that I am telling you the truth, when I say that 4.24 light years to Proxima Centauri is indeed the closest star system to our own, not 34 light years as you incorrectly contend. To not correct this error in your article after it has been pointed out to you, is irresponsible journalism, period. That is not an opinion, but a fact.

    Triond provides us with the tools to “fix” errors in our articles after they are published. I’ve personally used the fix feature many times to make corrections to my own articles, after I have come to realize errors that needed to be fixed. It is really quite easy to do fixes, so there is no excuse for you to not make this appropriate correction. After all, don’t you care about your articles being accurate and valid? You should.

    I await your reply, and your correction of this article.

    Have a Nice Day,


  8. tonyleather Says...

    On September 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Dear Bill. the error mentioned no longer features in the piece., not that I think it was THAT big a deal? Cheers.

  9. Bill M. Tracer Says...

    On September 30, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Glad to see it Tony,

    Oh, but when a title says the article speaks of “Realities” then accuracy is indeed very important.

    Be Well,


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