I am Younger because I am Faster!

Space the final frontier.  How many times have we heard this phrase while flipping through the channels on our TV, or watching a Star Trek episode?  Space really is a frontier all by itself, but what really make it interesting are the laws that put it together.  Laws we think we know, laws that we have no idea about, and maybe there are no laws at all.  The one thing that is quite interesting about space/universe is the one law we are so sure about that if it is broken all our other laws mean nothing.  Light, or rather nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.  Albert Einstein theorized that it was impossible to travel faster than the speed of light.  Others have said that it would take all the energy in the known universe to travel faster than light, and being that we would never be able to harness all the energy in the universe, in turn would render FTL travel impossible.  I, myself, do not like limits, but if I have to follow one I guess I will follow this one for now.  What I really want to dive into is things that happen when we approach the speed of light.  How time and space actually warp, and how this would affect a society of people, like us.

The first interesting phenomenon that happens when we start traveling extremely fast is space starts to warp.  This would seem understandable to a normal person because it is something we can see in our everyday lives.  The faster we go the weirder things will start to look.  We cannot expect anything to look similar when we are going super fast.  Traveling at 70mph in a car looking at a point out a car window we can start to see some distortion effects.  Things do not look exactly the same as they do if we were standing still.  Another example would be watching light pass through water or thick glass.  Light actually slows down when it passes though different materials and we are able to see some distortion effects.  There are many different examples of light distorting in our everyday environment, but where it gets interesting is time.  When we travel faster and faster not only space gets distorted but time does as well.  Space-time as it is called.  Time warping is something that is difficult for people to get their head around.  This is because it causes some paradox shifts in our society if we really think about it.  Now what do I mean by time warping?  The simplest way to put it is that time is not constant, as so many of us believe.  Time actually does not progress at the same speed everywhere.  The closer we get to the speed of light the slower time progresses.  So if I was traveling close to the speed of light and someone else was standing still it would feel to me like 5 or 10 seconds have passed when actually 5 or 10 hours have passed.  Wow!

The actual reasons why this happens is not exactly known, it could be because of gravity, a force we still do not fully understand, is trying to balance the differential bubble that gets created when objects are not stationary or to simplify the reasoning, light is constant so everything else must fluctuate to function.  Not to focus on the reasoning why time is not constant, the fact that time is not constant is what is really mind boggling.  One example that I have seen of this actually taking place is with satellites orbiting earth.  Satellites orbit our planet at an extremely fast speed, still only a drop in the bucket to the speed of light.  Even though the speed is so much slower than light it is still much faster than our daily lives down on earth.  Each of these satellites have a clock on them and the clock runs ever so slightly slower than the clocks on earth.  So in this example, our GPS systems which calculate our positions by exact time measurements have to be tuned with their velocity in mind so that we can calculate what the actually time difference is here on earth.

So how does this affect us?  Well today it doesn’t because we all are on planet earth traveling roughly the same speeds in the same environment but what happens if we have the ability to travel the cosmos.  The ability to live on different planets, traveling at different speeds, things start to get interesting.  Does a people settled on one planet that is traveling 5 times faster than people settled on another age slower?  It would seem that this is the case.   Which planet would you rather live on?  It would seem that traveling close to the speed of light really shakes up the universal ideas that we as a people accept.  Time is constant, but is it?  To a human on planet earth time appears to be constant but appearances can be, and in this case are, deceiving.

How traveling close to the speed of light will change our society cannot be predicted.  What we do know is that it will cause a paradigm shift in the way the human race understands time, and behaves because of it.  But remember, this will only happen if the theories of Albert Einstein are true.

modern day physics = this man


Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm  Comments (3)  
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Religion and Aliens

So a post on religion and aliens, what, even remotely, do the two have to do with one another. Well, I raised the question in the new questions part of H.E.P. If aliens were to show up one day with no idea of what god is, does that mean god does not exist? I find this to be a fascinating question. So what does happen if aliens show up? Do we through out our belief in an all powerful being?

Some religions, I would have to think we must through out right away. Religions that say we are in-fact all made in gods image. Well, what do we do then when a group of little orange things start communicating with us telling us our beliefs make no sense at all. Spooky. If we were so lucky as to be visited by beings from another world, that are nothing like us, it really would be an appifiny for our society. Some people would tell us that the end of the world is now coming, others would want to do anything to join with the extraterrestrials. People would probably tell me that this is the work of the devil and we should not believe it. I do not have a lot of faith in “people”.

The funny thing is I am not so sure we could go on believing in our religions the same way we do today. The fact of the matter is that if we every do come across beings unlike ourselves with no belief in afterlives and gods we really have to look upon ourselves to do the same. Religion has really been based on an earth centric belief system. As time has gone on and we have been able to explore more and more of the universe we have integrated new beliefs into our religions. For example god create earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Now we believe he created the universe in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Also now that we as people have moved on from the earth centric views of the universe we do not believe that god created everything in 6 literal earth days.

I do not believe we will be able to so easily incorporate aliens into our religions. Of course I say this because religions I am more familiar with (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) would not jive very well with extraterrestrials with no beliefs what so ever. I have not done enough investigations into the other great world religions but I have a feeling most would be turned upside down if something like this were to happen.

Assuming someday that we are visited by aliens do we then try to push our religious beliefs onto them like we did in the new world? I am sure it would not work out quite as well as we would hope. Do we change our religion into one that says only earth peoples have a god and we are the only ones that get to abide by the Almighty’s wishes? That doesn’t sound quite right. So when you get down to the nitty gritty the question it really is a interesting question. At first look someone might say, “Duh of course this doesn’t change any of our beliefs why would it?” but when you look into the question yes, a lot does change.

If you would like to comment please do so, and also remember if you would like to answer the question of aliens and religion it is in the questions part of H.E.P. and you can answer the actual question there.


Orange Alien
Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 11:05 pm  Comments (6)  
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