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Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Universe in 101 words: The Lightspeed Barrier

The Enterprise: Inspiring physicists to look for loopholes.

Nothing goes faster than lightspeed. Why? 

It’s because of something noticed over a hundred years ago: Lightspeed measures as 299,792km/sec, whether you’re stationary or doing 299,791km/sec. Every experiment shows it always measures the same. 

Weird, but triple checked as true. 

The explanation? If someones's speed is close to 299,792km/sec, compared to yours, time appears* to run slower for them. That's not all: 

• They get shorter.
• They get heavier. 

Close to 299,792km/sec these effects get incredibly strong – and slowing of time slows any acceleration. Things very near lightspeed appear frozen, squashed, and super heavy. They can't accelerate. 

Going faster will mean cheating… 

*I'm saying 'appears', because to them you're the one that's slow and squashed.

Above: For some more details here's Fraser Cain of UniverseToday.

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