Looks like the future’s going to suck. Sorry, everyone.
Photo: Everett Collection | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
If you’re anything like us – and if you are, we’re so, so sorry – then you, too, dream of one day getting the hell off this weird little planet and exploring the vast reaches of outer space, tripping easily between galaxies at speeds thousands of times the speed of light, interacting with strange new cultures, and meeting attractive green-skinned humanoids who say things like, “Tell me about this Earth custom you call kissing.”
Sadly, it turns out, that’s not going to happen. NASA scientists have conducted extensive studies into the possibility of creating a “warp drive” – an engine able to fling a ship between distant galaxies by literally warping the space around it – and, believe it or not, such an achievement is, technically, possible. The real problem isn’t with creating a gas pedal that can achieve such speeds - the problem is with the brakes.
Scientists from the University of Sydney found that even if science finds a way to achieve “warp drive,” they could not create the amount of power and energy required to safely stop a vessel once it reaches its destination. As a body moves through space at the speed of light, it collects high-energy particles – once the ship screeches to a halt (we know, it probably wouldn’t screech), those particles continue, thanks to inertia, to zoom through space with enough energy to crash into and destroy an entire planet. Which makes arriving at your destination somewhat problematic, obviously. Oh, inertia. It’s yet another reason to curse the name of Sir Isaac Newton (the other reason is for giving us Fig Newtons, which we can’t stop eating and are making us fatter and therefore driving up our health insurance premiums, the bastard).
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