Faster than Light: Has it been Proven Possible?

Einstein’s Faster than Light restriction plays havoc when you want to travel around the universe. No wonder we haven’t had any visitors of late. Or at any time. We can’t travel fast enough for the vast distances. BUT NOW…scientist at the Gran Sasso facility in Italy has claimed to have recorded neutrinos that travel faster than light.   http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/sep/22/faster-than-light-particles-neutri.

Researchers at the Opera (Oscillation Project with Emulsion t-Racking Apparatus) experiment recorded the arrival time of ghostly subatomic particles called neutrinos sent from Cern a 730km journey through the Earth to the Gran Sasso lab.

This is shattering news, and although a neutrino is a far cry from a space ship, I immediately made the ship in my next book FTL capable. After all, it was an alien ship and they probably have refined the process somewhat better than the scientists on planet Alysia.

Even more intriguing is Heinich Paes’s theory of why the neutrinos were going so fast.

“Heinrich Paes, a physicist at Dortmund University, has developed another theory that could explain the result. The neutrinos may be taking a shortcut through space-time, by travelling from Cern to Gran Sasso through extra dimensions. “That can make it look like a particle has gone faster than the speed of light when it hasn’t,” he said.”

A shortcut through space-time? I think he has been peeking at my next book too.  Cosmic Entanglement  uses this concept, but puts the ship through a wormhole. Sounds like a rewrite might be in order. I’ll never get it published at this rate.

The New York Times says:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/science/25neutrinos.html

“Technically, relativity does allow some particles, known as tachyons, to go faster than light — in fact it forbids them to slow down to light speed. The hitch is that they would have imaginary masses, whatever that means. And there is also the possibility, in some versions of string theory, of particles’ taking a shortcut through another dimension. But allowing anything to travel faster than light would open up the possibility of all kinds of problems with cause and effect and even time travel.”

Time travel? Now we’re talking. The whole Alysian series bounces around in time, creating havoc within various time lines. It’s lots of fun.

But…before we get too excited and rewrite everything, there is the final paragraph in the Times article:

“Last week, in what sounded like the coup de grâce in some circles, Ronald A. J. van Elburg, an artificial intelligence researcher at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, suggested that the Opera group had failed to make a relativistic correction for the motions of the GPS satellites used in timing the neutrino beams. The resulting error, he said, amounted to 64 nanoseconds, almost exactly the universe-shaking discrepancy the Opera researchers were hoping to explain.”

Ah, such exciting times to have the door of FTL open even a crack. Is it too much to hope for?

In other news:

I read Boneshaker by Cheri Priest this past week. I have seen this book all over Portland and on Amazon. Steampunk is very big out here in the Northwest.

Cheri Prest, it turns out, is a Seattle author and she writes about Seattle. But she places her novel back before the Civil War in Seattle and then rewrites history. Okay, it’s fiction, but then it’s also fact. So it’s neither beast nor fowl and that bothered me. Most of the story concerns Briar Wilkes searching for her son, Ezekiel Wilkes, who has taken to the underground to vindicate his father. His father constructed a machine for the Russians capable of breaking through ice for mining in Alaska and the machine, the Boneshaker, goes haywire and tears up Seattle releasing yellow toxic fumes and digging big holes in the ground. Several close to known banks. A large wall is built around the area to contain the gas.Briar and son do a lot of crawling around underground where they meet several strange people who have made it their home and are changed by the toxic gas that pervades the tunnels. Zombie alert. If you are on the zombie, steampunk bandwagon, then this is the book for you. If you are like me and get excited about faster than light travel, then maybe this is not your cup of tea.

Now I have just downloaded Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. I’ll let you know soon what I think.

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