The physics of Star Trek by Lawrence M. Krauss
By Lawrence M. Krauss
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Extra info for The physics of Star Trek
Thus it is absolutely essential that (a) light speed be avoided, in order not to put the Federation out of synchronization, and (b) faster-than-light speed be realized, in order to move practically about the galaxy. The kicker is that, in the context of special relativity alone, the latter possibility cannot be realized. Physics becomes full of impossibilities if super light speed is allowed. Not least among the problems is that because objects get more massive as they approach the speed of light, it takes progressively more and more energy to accelerate them by a smaller and smaller amount.
If we drop a ball on Earth, it will always fall. If I sit at this desk and write from here to eternity, my buttocks will always suffer the same consequences. Be that as it may, it would be unfair simply to leave the inertial dampers hanging without at least some concrete description of how they would have to operate. From what I have argued, they must create an artificial world inside a starship in which the reaction force that responds to the accelerating force is canceled. The objects inside the ship are “tricked” into acting as though they were not accelerating.
The ingenious writers of Star Trek, on whom you depend, have not yet invented inertial dampers, which they will introduce sometime later in the series. You have been defeated by nothing more exotic than Isaac Newton's laws of motionthe very first things one can forget about high school physics. OK, I know some trekkers out there are saying to themselves, “How lame! Don't give me Newton. '” All I can say is that we will get there eventually. Travel in the Star Trek universe involves some of the most exotic concepts in physics.