• Question: Do you think we will be able to go light speed at some point?

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      Asked by arturo-bartolome@stpauls. to katy, Lauren, Richard, Stuart on 16 Mar 2016.
      • Photo: Stuart Atkinson

        Stuart Atkinson answered on 16 Mar 2016:

        This is probably very unlikely if not impossible, unfortunately! Einstein showed as an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases enormously, meaning the faster it got the more energy you would have to give it to make it go even faster! At the speed of light its mass would technically be infinite! Other weird things happen at high speed – everything gets shorter, and time slows down. If you were able to travel at almost the speed of light for a year and came home, it could be that everyone you knew had grown old and were no longer living!!!

      • Photo: Lauren Laing

        Lauren Laing answered on 16 Mar 2016:

        Hi, great question! Like Stuart says: A lot of the scientific community believe that faster-than-light travel is physically impossible! No matter what the material, accelerating something to such crazy speeds simply can’t happen.
        There is one group though, working on the EmDrive resonance chamber who were believed to have unintentionally accelerated particles to faster-than-light speeds! I’m not sure if they proved this yet? Stuart may know more?

      • Photo: Richard Friend

        Richard Friend answered on 16 Mar 2016:

        Yeah, Stuart’s got this one covered! There was a bit of a kerfuffle in 2011 when they thought they’d found some particles which had travelled faster than the speed of light, but it turned out to be a calculation error. They were calling it an error even before any errors were found, as going faster than light breaks all kinds of rules in physics. One scientist even said that he’d eat his hat if the data was found to be correct! I think his hat is safe. And his stomach too!