A new study from the University of Göttingen, Germany, shows that it can be easier than previously thought to travel faster than light. “It is a step away from theoretical physics and closer to engineering,” says researcher Erik Lentz.
The question of superluminal transports, ie those that go faster than the speed of light, has long fascinated research. If we are to be able to travel as far as other solar systems, it is absolutely a necessity, because otherwise the journey would take at least hundreds of years.
The only problem is that it is very difficult. Or maybe downright impossible. According to Einstein’s theories of relativity, it is not physically possible to travel faster than light, at least not in any way we now know.
But the new study, signed by Erik Lentz at the University of Göttingen and published in the scientific journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, claims that it is possible. This is done by constructing what are called solitons. A soliton is defined as a compact wave that retains its shape and moves at a certain speed.
Can travel to Proxima Centauri in a few years
Based on Einstein’s theories, Lentz concludes that solitons can be used for superluminal travel using conventional types of energy. This method uses the “structure of time and space, arranged in a soliton” to come up with a solution to the challenge of such rapid movements.
If enough energy can be generated in a practical way, this means that the travel time to our nearest star outside the solar system, Proxima Centauri, could be measured in a few years. With the space technology used today, a simple journey would take 50,000 years.
Inside the solitone, time would pass at the same rate as time outside. This means that one would get around the twin paradox, the theory that a twin that moves faster than light would age much slower than the twin that stayed on earth.
Consumes enormous amounts of energy
So, when can these discoveries be used to actually travel faster than light? It will take a while, according to the researcher himself. The reason is that the method would consume an enormous amount of energy.
– The energy that would be required to travel at the speed of light with a spaceship with a radius of 100 meters has about 100 times the mass of the planet Jupiter, says Erik Lentz in a press release.
The focus is now on solving the energy problem.
– This work has taken the problem of travel at a higher speed than light one step from theoretical physics, and closer to engineering. The next step is to figure out how to reduce the astronomical amount of energy required by today’s technology. Then we can build the first prototypes, says Erik Lentz in the press release.
The scientific article can be read here, which, however, requires a login.