Blog Tags

Science of TRON

Listen to audio from the "Science of TRON" panel, featuring director Joe Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey, and science consultants Sean Carroll & John Dick. Learn More

slow light

Subscribe to slow light

Forget Warp Drive and "Faster-that-light" Space Travel: "Slow Light Is" Where It's At

Despite the fact that the speed of light is an absolute upper limit, faster-than-light space travel is deeply embedded in science fiction. Einstein showed that any object with mass cannot reach, let alone exceed, the speed of light. But science fiction tends to overlook this very inconvenient truth simply because the universe is so big. To reach Alpha Centauri, the nearest star after our own Sun, would take more than four years for a spaceship moving at the speed of light, and a jaunt across the full diameter of our galaxy would take 100,000 years. Knowing this, script writers imagine solutions like Star Trek’s “warp drive” that allow the Enterprise to travel around the galaxy at multiples of light speed, or “worm holes” that provide cosmic short cuts.