Probably the most famous equation in the world, but is it infallible? For those who, like me, aren’t physicists, it means the energy or fuel required (the E) to reach the speed of light is equal to the mass (the M) times the speed of light squared (the other bit). Therefore you would need an infinite amount of energy. Obvious, really. So how come only Einstein saw it?
It seems to me, given that our skies are full of visiting aliens in their flying machines, that the aliens have never seen this equation, because to get here, even from our own galaxy, would take thousands of years at sub light speed, yet they’re here.
So how did they prove that famous equation wrong? Obviously if I knew that I’d be very rich and famous. I do however know that the speed of light is variable. Only in a vacuum is it considered to be a constant. When travelling through a medium like water, or near a black hole, it slows down.
As travelling at the speed of slower light has no advantages, is there a similar increasing of light’s speed in other circumstances that someone could take advantage of?
Light can travel so fast because it has no mass. In that case, why doesn’t it travel even faster? It travels at a modest 299,792,458 metres per second (186,282 miles per second). Why though? What is the magic in that number that won’t let anything break it? If even light can’t travel faster than light, how can we? How can the aliens do it?
Clearly they can’t carry in infinite amount of fuel, even if their fuel takes up very little space. For example, an antimatter fuel tank would be tiny, you only need one atom of it at a time to collide with matter to get a big bang. The apparatus to contain it however would be huge.
How about not carrying any fuel? How would that work? According to scientists, all that empty space isn’t empty at all, it’s full of dark energy and dark matter. We can’t see, smell, touch or taste it, but they assure us that it’s there. It must be otherwise the whole universe would drift apart even faster than it is already.
I tend to be wary of things that can’t be sensed, it’s a bit like ‘the Emperor’s new clothes’. At first it was believed that black holes don’t exist because of course being black they can’t be seen in space. Now they’re common knowledge. While they can’t be seen, their effects can be detected in objects near them. Apparently it’s the same for the dark stuff.
Therefore the aliens may be using an engine that uses this dark matter or dark energy as fuel, thus they have an infinite supply of it. Sure, we think that’s impossible, but many things once thought to be impossible are now in everyday use. Who’d have thought a hundred years ago that someone would invent a machine the size of a bread bin that can warm a bowl of soup to boiling point in just three minutes by using microwaves?
Alternatively maybe they removed the M from the equation by somehow removing the mass of their ship, thus the equation would no longer apply. Everyone reporting seeing a UFO is insistent that it can perform impossible manoeuvres at amazing speeds, without making any sound. To make mass move at such speeds in our atmosphere would take huge amounts of energy.
The UFO that famously didn’t crash at Roswell and wasn’t carried off by the military isn’t hoped to be reverse engineered to discover how it works. I can’t help getting the idea that for us at our technological level trying to understand the workings of a UFO is like a monkey trying to mend a watch. Even the material that it wasn’t made of is beyond our understanding. We do now though have memory plastics that are light and shiny and when crumpled up and released they revert back to their original shape.
No chance that idea came from Roswell, I suppose. It’s a start. All that’s left to do now is learn how to make an engine and whatever stops the aliens being splashed all over the interior of their ship whenever they make one of those ultra high speed turns, because those sorts of Gs are impossible for us to survive, we pass out at about 6 Gs, though pilots can be trained to go up to around 10 Gs but only for a couple of seconds. The sorts of Gs created by a UFO in one of those fast turns is in the thousands.
Obviously in Star Trek they have the inertia dampener to prevent crew splattering. Sadly though, and it may come as a shock to Trekkies, Star Trek is fictional. OK, the cell phone was created by Martin Cooper as a result of being inspired by the Star Trek communicator, but we’re still waiting for someone to build a transporter that won’t turn us into mush.
Why won’t a transporter work? Well, probably a machine that can transport say, a brick, from A to B is possible but a brick doesn’t have things like a brain full of thoughts and memories that all have to be put back in before reaching B. How can a machine possibly recreate what took millions of years of evolution to perfect?
We don’t even know yet how human memory works. The transporter would also have to, upon depositing us at B, restart us with ‘the spark of life’ and that’s not easy, that usually only happens at conception. We don’t know how that works either.
So the equation stands. We may not like it but we can’t argue with it. Maybe tomorrow.