Ask Ethan: How can I travel through space without getting into trouble? (Synopsis)

"I really didn't have to work, shall we say, with Star Trek. It was a natural. When I opened my mouth, there was Scotty. It's like I tell people what you see in Scotty is 99% James Doohan and 1% accent." -James Doohan

So, your friend on the USS Enterprise beamed you aboard, took you on a relativistic journey at impulse speeds around the Solar System, and brought you back to your starting point. You find that less time has passed for you than your family who remained on Earth, yet you’ve traveled a much greater distance. How does this all work?

Moving close to the speed of light results in times and distances transforming, with lengths -- including the length of your starship -- becoming shorter in the direction of motion. Image credit: David Taylor of Northwestern, via http://faculty.wcas.northwestern.edu/~infocom/Ideas/einstein.html. Moving close to the speed of light results in times and distances transforming, with lengths -- including the length of your starship -- becoming shorter in the direction of motion. Image credit: David Taylor of Northwestern, via http://faculty.wcas.northwestern.edu/~infocom/Ideas/einstein.html.

How much energy does it take, what’s the science behind it, and how do you get your family to believe you when you tell them what happened to you? Some basic advice: give them times in their reference frame, admit to the drinking you actually do, and if you go someplace unbelievable, take a photo!

Ethan Siegel's upcoming new book, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive. Image credit: Quarto / Voyageur Press, CBS / Paramount, and E. Siegel. Ethan Siegel's upcoming new book, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive. Image credit: Quarto / Voyageur Press, CBS / Paramount, and E. Siegel.

To find out even more, and learn about my upcoming new book, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive, check out this week’s Ask Ethan!

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My iPhone already does way more than Kirk's tri-corder ever did. I defy someone to dispute this. Measure radiation? Diagnose disease? Analyze materials? It's even a communicator, too! Kirk needed a separate communication device.

By Art Glick (not verified) on 18 Feb 2017 #permalink

That's good to know. I'm sure I'll enjoy that one too.
Looking forward to it's release,
John

Wow, what am I missing? What does your comment have to do with Ethan's post or 'John from Baltimore"'s comment?
Has the comment been edited since you posted?

John is faking his science chops to pretend he's an honest broker in his diatribes aginst science being valid rather than the NOMA religious insistence of the christian apologists.

Go look at "John"'s attempt to show that science hasn't proven god, then go look at his attempts to pretend he's not a christian over on the kilothread.

You'll see from the youtube channel that his comment is completely unrelated to Ethan's post.It's just a fake scam of "respectability" he's trying out.

Currently teabaggie is trying to weasel out of a scientific hypothesis being provable by using science, if you can believe that!

It really made me LOL seeing that!

To read such diatribe as at the 1k4 thread would be a waste of energy; better off having a good evacuation.

It has gotten hilarious with teabaggies "Uh, can science be used to prove scientific hypotheses?" cockup.

But, hey, PM Ethan, PJ.

If the acceleration doesn't get you, the beer & deceleration might stand a good chance.

And as long as your beer isn't spilled. You need to buy inertial dampers first!

Though you don't really have to move fast or accelerate to move FTL via space warping. Warp the distance from Sol to Alpha Centauri to 1 mile and you can stroll there in 30 minutes.

@PJ wrote:

If the acceleration doesn’t get you, the beer & deceleration might stand a good chance.

That brings up an interesting question. In the piece Ethan writes that you'd be 12 minutes younger than if you hadn't made the trip. Is that just figuring Special Relativity, or is it also figuring the effect of General Relativity?

There are two ways to slow time. Speed through space (SR) is the focus of the article, but the effect of gravity (GR) which is indistinguishable from acceleration also slows time. If you're accelerating to that high speed and decelerating to match Earth, wouldn't there also be some GR time effects?

Denier, if you warp space so it's not there, you can even get away with being stationary, and you "ride the waves" without acceleration.

Personally I don't think that is going to be possible for a macroscopic body, but the maths as is allows it to happen.

@ #3
It has nothing to do with Ethan’s post or my comment. The off-topic YouTube video is representative of one who posts “… The definition of science is the testing and proving of scientific hypotheses! …”, showing that he doesn't know that scientific theories cannot be proved, but only disproved.

'Nuf said!

It has everything to do with your dishonesty, teabaggie. You claim to be against faith and disparage believers to distort reality and deceive everyone as to why you're here.

You aren't here to learn or even listen to science.

Hell, as eric found out and gave up on, you're not even here to listen to logic, never mind apply it.

You're here because a question "Can science prove the existence of god" got passed on to you and you WILL NOT condone science being used to test your mythology for reality.

And the proof is right here:

(see 0:44, that's "john keyes", quite possibly related to brad keyes)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmgKfjr7T8Y

Yup, throws the bible under the bus if the claims don't stand to reality. Thinks "god is all around us in nature" gels with god being SUPERnatural. As Brian points out, he doesn't seem to know what the difference is: Man is not evidence of SUPERMan.

He's here to pretend that he's the Only Sane Man In The Room, and being picked on by "faithiests" (when he's a christian apologetic and fundamentalist in his faith).

Science is about truth and evidence, and teabaggie here doesn't care about either because his death cult has him terrified because he KNOWS that he doesn't believe, yet does believe in an eternal hell (because that's how his cult gains members: scare them shitless so they can't and won't think).

Q: How can I travel through space without getting into trouble?
A: Get 3 Klingon Bird's of Prey to escort you on your travels. That's what any decent Ferengi worth his weight in latinum would do ;)

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 19 Feb 2017 #permalink

On another thought.. that might get you into trouble should you run into any Romulans. Alernative solution... get a cloacking device (preferably romulan) and off you go.. trouble free journey through space

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 19 Feb 2017 #permalink

Wow, I have to agree with John #12. There is zero evidence linking John #2 to the video you post. This site does not verify names, email addresses, or location information. It is quite possible that more than one person claiming to be named John and claiming to live in Baltimore would post here. To prove my point, I have made this post with the same user name, but a different email address and obviously fictitious location.

Uh, what, ketchup? The same BS about god and the ability of science to prove or it, and precisely the same argument style and content, except overt, and precisely the same first name, location (it's Baltimore too)?

Not forgetting he's 100% evasive about it, only going (as he does) "You have no evidence of that!" which has fallen down several times, and only evaded being most of the time by him demanding precise wording and no interpretation of meaning from his words. (that by the way being the same technique as jkeyes1000 uses)

And you say "zero evidence"????

Weird.

Sure, you have no reason to check up, and I only found out because I wanted to get some refutation of one of the ridiculous lies he spouted ("everyone else" thinking that there was no way to prove god with science, apart from, say, Bill Nye and every atheist saying "Evidence" to being asked what would convince them of the existence of god), which also includes Brian Dalton, whose recent works were on evidence for/against god.

But zero?

Nah, that's a lazy assertion, ketchup.

Nothing in John #2's post has anything to do with god. You seem to be talking about another thread. I am talking about this thread. I stick by my 'zero evidence' claim. If there is evidence in John #2's post that he is john keyes, then quote the section from John #2's post. If you are talking about a different thread, then what evidence other than name and location (which are both very common, and can be faked anyway) do you have linking this thread with the one you are quoting from?

And yeah, so what if you find one post he doesn't talk about god? What, precisely does that prove?

Are you thinking that JohnKeyes1000 may be incapable of talking about anything else but god? But that wouldn't be the case, since his wordpress site talks about things completely unrelated to god.

So patently your theory has been falsified.

"I stick by my ‘zero evidence’ claim. "

Well even you don't manage that, ketchup.

Remember saying this?

"It is quite possible that more than one person claiming to be named John and claiming to live in Baltimore would post here"

So you really don't have a leg to stand on with "zero".

If you were honest or even "even handed", you could have said "unconvincing". But no, you went with "zero". A patently ridiculous claim, ketchup.

Is that just figuring Special Relativity, or is it also figuring the effect of General Relativity?

If the Enterprise is staying on Earth's orbital path, then the passengers aren't getting any more (or less) GR-related dilation from the sun. But being higher up in Earth's gravitational well (essentially, out of it) would mean the Enterprise passengers would age slightly faster than the people on Earth, but the difference would be on the order of nanoseconds. The special relativity contribution totally overwhelms it.

If you’re accelerating to that high speed and decelerating to match Earth, wouldn’t there also be some GR time effects?

AIUI acceleration would be a special relativity effect, no a GR one.

In the OP example the person is beamed aboard the starship, so there would be no acceleration effects. Assuming instead the ship stopped, picked you up, and then accelerated away to 0.4 c in a matter of a minute or so - with trek 'inertial dampeners' I'm not sure whether there would be and acceleration effect or not (do dampeners mean your body doesn't experience acceleration?), while without trek 'inertial dampeners' the question is probably moot, as reaching 0.4 c in one minute is an acceleration of roughly 200,000 g's.

Ugh ! SPLATTT !