Re: The Physics of Star Trek

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sun, 29 Aug 1999 18:29:53 -0700 (PDT)

On Sun, 29 Aug 1999 wrote:

> In a message dated 8/29/99 7:02:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:

Perhaps I should have said difficult, unlikely or expensive. To talk about moving photons around is one thing (and I agree is readily done). To talk about moving mass around (via E=mc^2) is entirely another thing.

Quoting the Physics of Star Trek, Chapter 5, pg 83: "Or, to put it *less* negatively, building a transporter would require us to heat matter to a temperature a million times the temperature at the center of the sun, expend more energy in a single machine than all of humanity presently uses, build telescopes larger than the size of the Earth, improve present computers by a factor of 1000 billion billion, and avoid the laws of quantum mechanics".

> While unmentioned, the subject of warp speed (faster-then-light travel) is
> seriously being studied, most notably by the esteemed Dr. Stephen Hawking.
While I appreciate the stories, I believe warp drive leads to time paradoxes. Recent work in time paradoxes I believe has shown them to be impossible. [I don't claim to understand this, since to me it is *all* magic physics.] At any rate, if Hawking is to solve the problem of warp drive he may very well face the problem of solving time paradoxes as well. I would not spend a lot of time considering this reality for one simple reason -- If FTL travel is "effectively" possible, and other life forms can evolve, then there is no reason we should still see stars. [Other species would have colonized/consumed all energy resources.]

So either -- (a) FTL travel is not possible; (b) the evolution of technological extraterrestrial civilizations is not possible.

I would place my bets on (a).