Could someone travel the universe in his or her own lifetime?
If we were to create LIGHT SPEED, do you think that we would be able to travel the universe?
You wouldn't even need to be able to travel at the speed of light in order to travel the universe in your own lifetime. Relativistic time dilation causes time to move more slowly on a spaceship that's traveling close to the speed of light than it does in the outside universe. So in fact, if you had a spaceship that was able to travel at speeds arbitrarily close to the speed of light (but not quite AS fast as the speed of light, which appears to be impossible), then you'd have no problem reaching distant galaxies and still being alive to tell about it. (Of course, millions of years would have passed in the outside world, so don't expect to come back home and find your friends and family alive. But time inside the spaceship would have passed so slowly that it would feel like very little time had passed for you.)
There are a slew of practical problems with this idea. How do you generate enough energy to reach such speeds? How does your ship avoid getting pulverized by tiny grains in space that would impact your ship with enormous energy? How do you accelerate so fast without squashing any human beings onboard the ship? But if you could somehow come up with solutions for each of these problems, it would work.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
- Is time travel possible?
- What is time dilation?
- Is there such a thing as hyperspace?
- Why doesn't light from distant galaxies reach us instantaneously?
- Traveling at light speed, how long would it take to get to the nearest galaxy?
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 37873 times since December 11, 2003.
Last modified: December 11, 2003 6:39:10 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)