Archive for November, 2013

While we all know how infallible Einstein was. Yet, all previous scientific genius has come into question as time passes. At some point, the whole issue of traveling at the speed of light, and Einstein’s assertion that this is the cosmic speed limit, will be seriously challenged. We might keep in mind two points: 1.) Just a few decades ago, the speed of sound was considered an impossible barrier, 2.) Einstein’s use of the speed of light as a constant, with mass a variable, was a convenience to completing mathematics, not founded on actual study of the velocity of photons, or the rubberiness of the properties of mass.  But lets put all this aside a moment and assume the speed of light is just really fast, and see if it’s even relevant.

There are a few things we know in fair certainty. One is that the human body cannot sustain high rates of acceleration for long periods of time. Aerobatic pilots can train to sustain upwards of 7G for a few seconds, military pilots very brief encounters slightly above that. With exceptional training effort, sustaining high G forces is a significant issue for humans in attaining the speed of light. Here’s why: The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. That’s 669,600,000 miles an hour, or 982,080,000 ft./s. If we were to accelerate at a rate of 1G (32 ft/s/s) it would take 1 year to reach the speed of light, 118 days at 3G, and 71 days at 5G – the upper limit of endurance of human physiology for short bursts. So, let’s assume that exceptionally trained pilots and crew could manage to withstand 3G for 118 days, it’s possible they could survive and attain light speed velocity (near light speed for those unable to get past Einstein as infallible). (more…)