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Thread: Energy, Mass and Speed

  1. #1 Energy, Mass and Speed 
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    Aug 2011
    Hello Everyone,

    I currently got an idea in my head that I really need to let go, so I am sharing it with everyone so I can get the whole picture and think about something else. I'm very interested in science, but I don't know all these theories and formulas that makes our world awesome.

    My idea is based on the fact that we cannot travel faster than light because it would require an infinite amount of energy. Now let's assume for the example's sake, that we are in a spaceship going 99,99% the speed of light. What would happen if we start running (or push ourself) towards the front of the spaceship? I assume that the speed of your body will become slightly faster than the speed reference of your spaceship.

    Now if we translate this into a bigger scale, if we build a container within a pressurised container and simulate a second vacuum, would we be able to achieve speeds faster than light inside that second vacuum?

    A little bit like this :

    If this doesn't work, what would happen to an human if it's moving forward inside an object going at 99,99999999..% the speed of light?

    Then what if this second vacuum is used to launch another vehicle? Would it "kaboom"?

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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    This is a situation that involves the addition of velocities theorem.

    In Relativity, you can't just directly add velocities the way you would under Newtonian Physics, instead they add by the rule of:

    Where u and v are the velocities to be added and w is the resultant velocity.

    So let's say that your outer shell is moving at 99.99999999% o f c to some outside observer.
    You start moving forward in the shell at 99% of c relative to the shell, as measured by you or the outer shell.
    The outside observer will measure your velocity with respect to him(as will you) as being 0.99999999999949748743716093027954...c

    Nothing stops you from walking forward at any speed with respect to the ship no matter how fast the ship is moving with respect to someone else, they will however never see you as moving at greater than c with respect to them.

    One thing to keep in mind is that there is no absolute motion, only relative motion. You can be moving at .99c relative to one person and 1 meter/sec relative to another and both measurements are equally valid; neither being a more correct than the other.

    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone

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  4. #3  
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    Being very visual, I have little trouble illustrating it. But that would mean that for an external observer in space not moving at all, object C contained in a vaccum in Container B that is inside container A won't go faster than object A.

    So let's say object A is going 0.9c, and the object C goes at 0.9c in a independant vacuum located into object B (that is contained by A)... Object C won't go faster to the observer than the Object A.

    Assuming object C doesn't quit object A and stays within his vacuum container, and that both have different energy sources.
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  5. #4  
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    May 2008
    mickoes. The idea is that time dilation slows you down and slows down your sense of time so though you are moving at almost light speed (let's say 1 mph below it), you may think you are running at 10 mph (in your frame of reference) so breaking the light barrier but actually because of time dilation you are moving much, much slower, say one mile per week.

    Does it need infinite energy for matter to break the light barrier? Maybe not.

    We have discovered particles, probably single protons, with energies of 3x10^20eV (The LHC can manage only a puny 7x10^12 eV). Over a light year in a race with a photon, they would arrive just 46 nanometers behind it. Over 20 million light years, they would be less than a meter behind a photon.

    So it is tempting to think that with more energy, maybe ejected from a hyper-nova, they might be faster than light?
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  6. #5  
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    Apr 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by mickoes View Post
    Object C won't go faster to the observer than the Object A.
    Did you read what Janus wrote? He calculated the speeds of the outer shell, and the object moving inside the shell, with respect to the observer. They were not the same speed.

    Try reading this.
    Special Relativity Adding Velocities
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  7. #6  
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    Aug 2011
    Harold, by Googling and looking for explanatory videos (I'm very visual for these kinds of things) I understood why my above theory is not possible; more precisely I learnt about the time dilataion element.

    I'm still quite interested in Alcubierre's drive, I'm far from understanding it.. but it's coming.

    I'll be back, mark my words!

    Thanks for your help guys.
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