Teleportation and faster-than-light travel. Is it possible? If so, how? If not, why not?
Not a morning person? But you have to travel for hours to reach your destination, be it work or just a meeting with friends. Imagine avoiding getting up 3 hours earlier and going to your destination within a few milliseconds. It seems impossible but so incredible.
1. Teleportation and Faster-Than-Light Travel
1.1. Limitless Amazing Possibilities!
Suppose it was possible to teleport and go anywhere faster than 299 792 458 m / s, that is, the speed of light. Diving in and exploring the limitless possibilities of teleportation and faster-than-light travel is fascinating. Let’s explore:
- Imagine the satisfaction of rolling under your warm duvet, on your lovely soft bed in the morning without any sense of guilt or anxiety. Isn’t this the utopian dream of every night owl?
- Traffic jams will not be a trouble for you anymore. You can just exit your car and reach that important meeting or place in milliseconds. That is the power of teleportation.
- You can save money by having no travel expenses. The cost of buying a car, maintaining it, and the rising petroleum charges will not be a hassle as there is no need to travel for hours. You can go anywhere and at any time that you wish to.
- Teleportation will be of great help in case of emergencies. Numerous lives are lost due to the late arrival of the paramedic, ambulance or police forces, and or fire trucks. Help can be provided immediately, and necessary actions will be taken accordingly.
- During times of conflict, teleportation and travel at speeds greater than the speed of light will make it possible to save the lives of millions upon millions of innocent people. Cities can be evacuated and people who are harmless citizens can go to a haven where they can seek shelter.
- Natural disasters kill numerous people everywhere, all across the world. This can be prevented if the people can immediately escape the place before a tsunami wave or electrified poll hits them.
- If the technology that could guarantee safe teleportation was available, time, one of the greatest and most limited resources could be saved. Imagine a student could have devoted 3 hours to studying instead of being pushed in public trains to go to their educational institute.
- Teleportation of perishable goods like milk, vegetables, and such will ensure less cost of production. This will also lead to less waste, especially since wagons and trucks carrying such goods get delayed sometimes, due to climatic changes or road blockages.
- There will be no need of climbing stairs, especially for people who have arthritis or are physically disabled. They can teleport and transfer themselves to whichever floor they want.
- You will never be late to the celebrations or events that are important to the people you care about. Also, you can easily see and taste your mom’s amazing dishes no matter how far you live away from home.
- Operations will be easier as no lump of cells or tumor will be inaccessible for operation because of its location. After all, teleportation technology won’t be limited to humans only.
- Every day, trash can be taken without causing too much trouble or getting the thief out of the home. There is no need to argue over who is responsible for taking out the garbage.
- There will be no need for delivery charges as gifts and goods can be teleported to the receiver within seconds.
- Anyone will be able to go anywhere, be it underwater or out in vast space. Now, if a shark awaits you or a sea horse or you bump into an asteroid, it will be a different story.
- Billions worth of money and resources will be saved from space expeditions. The cost of traveling from Earth into outer space can be done within a matter of a few milliseconds.
1.2. Possible Disadvantages of Teleportation and Faster-Than-Light Travel
Perhaps, in a utopian world, the possibility of teleportation and faster-than-light travel sounds idealistically perfect. However, imagine if a person with ill intentions gets to master this ability, it might become a curse instead of a blessing. How can it be dangerous? Let’s see below:
- Numerous people will lose their jobs and become unemployed. Starting from drivers to your local delivery man, almost everyone who depends on travel or transportation as their source of income will become unemployed.
- Robbery, theft, and fraud will become rampant as it will become absolutely easy and quick to enter privatized areas or people’s houses.
- The journey will lose its meaning. Reaching the destination is more meaningful and enjoyable when you undergo the journey. Thus, putting an end to the journey just to reach the destination will be quick but soon turn out to be boring and bland.
- Your entire body will be converted into an infinite mass of energy, which will be equivalent to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Thus, teleporters and those around them are not guaranteed to be safe.
- Teleportation will require you to destroy or disintegrate your whole body first to reform and rebuild yourself again. If unsuccessful, this can lead to disfiguration or paralysis. This process might not be comfortable for many.
- Teleportation on a mass level can lead to chaos. Imagine there is no one waiting in line and everyone teleports to the same cafe or bank at the same time. It will be crowded, leading to mass confusion and difficulty in management.
- Crimes will be easier to commit and escape from without being caught. Anyone can teleport, move faster than light, and go undetected while committing crimes. Alibis will lose their importance and criminals will be undetected without any suspicions.
- Different costs of living in different countries will not be a problem. You can just teleport to a country where the good or service you want is cheaper than the price in your country. This will cause upheaval to the overall world economy.
- Competitions in running, trekking, cycling, racing, and such will start lacking good competitors as people will become used to immediately reaching their goals.
- If teleportation and faster-than-light travel become a reality, car companies will lose their function in society and merely become status indicators.
1.3. Scientific Impossibility – Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity
When an object tries to move at a speed that is closer to the speed of light, its mass becomes limitless and so does the energy needed to move.
This is practically impossible with the current technology. Let alone a human being, this is dangerous for any object if it is to stay intact.
PBS Nova explained, If you were able to convert each and every one of the atoms contained in a paper clip into pure energy while retaining any and all mass, the paper clip would produce [the amount of energy that is equal to] 18 kilotons of TNT. Its dimensions are comparable to those of the bomb that obliterated Hiroshima in 1945.
1.4. What if it is Possible? How?
Quantum entanglement involves the linking or connection of particles across vast distances. Researchers in China had actually proven this to work when they successfully teleported a particle to space.
They did this by transferring the characteristics of a particle to a satellite in outer space. In order to conduct the experiment, photons were radiated from a ground station in Ngari, (located in Tibet) to China’s Micius satellite. This satellite is orbiting above Earth, at 300 miles distance.
When two particles are ‘in sync’ with each other, they are entangled. They will stay in sync no matter how far apart they are. However, the entanglement or link could be broken if one of the particles collides with something else—like an object, a beam of light, or anything else. Thus, the whole process of teleportation and faster-than-light travel can be challenging. No wonder it is still not possible to teleport humans!
Quantum teleportation is based on a hypothesis. In 1935, this hypothesis was presented by physicist Albert Einstein and his colleagues (Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen). It was called the EPR paradox.
According to the laws of quantum physics, it is possible to get two particles and separate them in space so that they would continue to share their properties, as two fractions of a whole.
Thus, any action or change on or in one of them would instantaneously have an effect on the other one. This “spooky action at a distance”, in the words of Einstein, seems to be capable of exceeding the limit of the speed of light.
Imagine bumping into particles (of other teleporting humans even!) as you are moving as billions of atoms across space and time. Essentially, in order to teleport, your body needs to disintegrate to become innumerable atoms and travel across to your destination to be reborn or rebuilt again.
Does it sound scary or exciting or both? Perhaps, practice will make you perfect. Great luck might be needed for the first few attempts though.
2. A World with Teleportation and Faster-Than-Light Travel
Remember the vampires in the Twilight series or your favorite Avengers character? It would be fantastic if you could move and groove like that.
Thinking about such a marvelous wonder feels powerful. Now, imagine what it would feel like to be able to do it in real life. Amazing and brilliant and powerful!
The main difference between fantasy and possible reality is it is not matter or the mass that travels, but rather the information carried by the atoms that make up your body.
If teleportation of human beings ever becomes a possible reality, in the future, then this concept will apply to this technology.
Thus, if you live in such a world, the air will be mixed with various scents of dispersed atoms of innumerable people teleporting somewhere.
Also, you must become used to jump-scares as people will materialize in thin air out of nowhere.
On the other hand, you need to get used to people seeing you appear out of nowhere. This might be uncomfortable for you if you are an introvert.
3. Books and Movies Based on Teleportation and Faster-Than-Light Travel
To date, teleportation has been seen in sci-fi or fantasy movies, and books. Based on theoretically possible, or almost theoretically possible ways, only if you had one or two other things happen, sci-fi or fantasy genres make FTL(Faster-Than-Light) or teleportation seem achievable. Given below are a few of such futuristic works:
3.1. Star Trek
The universe, time, gravity, and space are all related, and any change in one changes the others. This is the basic concept of time dilation, in the theory of special relativity.
The “slowing down” of time is determined by an observer. Time passes differently for someone moving with a speed closer to that of light than it would for a stationary observer back on Earth.
For instance, if you travel to a star faster than light then it might take 6 years for you but someone on Earth will experience 10 years of their life. Thus, your 6 years will be equivalent to that person’s 10 years.
So, the theory is that space can be bent, stretched, twisted, or warped. Warp drivers used in Star Trek were based on the above-mentioned theory.
A warp drive bends space itself by constricting space in front of the craft and dilating it behind. This might be a possible reality in the future.
The story is based on the idea that the combination of matter and antimatter fused with some dilithium can create a subspace bubble outside the normal fabric of space-time.
With warp plasma ejecting out of your vessel’s nacelles, you can move faster than light to varying degrees. This is the famous “warp factor” you must have heard Starfleet captains talking about.
3.2. Doctor Who
Also called the Ship, the Box, or simply, the TARDIS, that is, the Time and Relative Dimension in Space machine is not a portal or a wormhole.
It is a time-traveling spaceship, which acknowledged that space and time were irreversibly connected.
It uses the function of a time vortex to travel through time. Also, it can travel through space without traveling through time, that is, to a different time in the past or future).
The working of the machine was shown excellently in Doctor Who even though it was not a big-budget operation by BBC.
The Doctor in the movies cruised all across the universe in this ship, from the Big Bang to the end of the universe. Capable of traveling between parallel realities, the craft was not exactly constructed for inter-dimensional travel.
Still, the movie showed the limitless expansion of fantasy in a sci-fi movie and how convincingly realistic it appears to the audience.
You must be familiar with the ‘shortest distance is a straight line’ theory where two dots are drawn on a piece of paper and then it is folded so that the points are touching each other.
A ‘wormhole‘ is like a bridge based on the previous-mentioned idea. Theoretically, a bridge or tunnel could connect two points in space, which are vastly distant, but traveling through one or more of the numerous extra dimensions.
This will look like space folded up and a path or tunnel exists that makes those two points come together. Thus, making teleportation and faster-than-light travel seem like a possibility.
The movie “Interstellar” relies on this theory of wormholes. The spaceship Endurance’s destination in the film is Gargantua, a supermassive black hole, which is fictional. Gargantua has a mass, which is 100 million times that of the sun.
3.4. Star Wars
Hyperspace is simply a fictional sub-region of space where the physical laws don’t apply.
Thus, instead of bridging two points like in the ‘wormhole’ theory with a tunnel of ‘normal space’ passing through some different dimension, move your whole ship or vessel into another dimension, and then come back into normal space and discover that you have traveled hundreds of light years in just a few hours.
In the Star Wars movies, various ships are equipped with hyperspace drives, from small personal fighters such as Poe Damerion’s X-wing to larger freighters such as the Millennium Falcon. Another alternative for lightspeed travel, hyperspace, is possible in theory at present.
4. Final Words
Every innovation was at first an idea and every theory seem practically possible once it comes into being. Thus, the future of teleportation and faster-than-light travel is not a perfect by-product yet but a work in progress.
Speculations and theories intrigue the topic as people from every category debate it. Be it a renowned physicist or an overenthusiastic student, everyone is fascinated by the seemingly amazing possibilities.
Surely, if the technology for teleportation and faster-than-light travel is a success in the future, it will be a groundbreaking innovation for the whole of mankind.
Till then, gather your snacks and enjoy the vast content of theories, debates, discussions, and movies based on the ultimate savior. Who do you ask? Of all grumpy people who strongly resent waking up in the mornings.