Physicists Show Us What Hyperspace Travel Might Look Like. Is Ludicrous Speed Next?

By Rich Steeves January 16, 2013

Outer space is big. If you are setting a sci-fi TV show or movie in outer space, you better make sure your characters can travel faster than the speed of light or most of the screen time will be spent waiting for them to get from one star system to another.

But the creators of properties like Star Wars and Star Trek aren’t as concerned with showing actual physics on the screen as they are with making their products cool and entertaining. This means you could have characters standing on the bridge of the Enterprise as lights flash around them when the ship goes into “Time Warp Factor” mode (as in the first Star Trek pilot, “Menagerie”), which looked cheap and silly. Or, you might see Han Solo punching his Millenium Falcon into hyperspace with a swirl of stars, thrilling the audiences who first saw Star Wars in 1977. You might even have Spaceball One “going to plaid” as it moves at Ludicrous Speed.

These are all fictional ideas of course, made up by Hollywood not to convey what faster-than-light travel might actually look like, rather to illustrate how science works in an a more interesting way. Although science fiction isn’t based off of any facts or theories, scientists love to use these ideas as jumping off points for real research, so it should come as no surprise that a group of physicists decided to see what faster-than-light travelers might actually see.

Scientists at the University of Leicester decided that the Doppler Effect would cause a shift in the wavelength of the light emanating from stars, moving it past the visible spectrum. In other words, Han Solo, Captain Kirk (or Picard or Janeway or others, take your pick) would see nothing. In fact, the stars’ radiation would shift all the way to the X-Ray portion of the spectrum, and therefore the ships would need to include shielding against those rays. That is, in addition to shields that protect them from Imperial blaster fire or Klingon photon torpedoes. I guess traveling through hyperspace really ain’t like dusting crops…




Edited by Ashley Caputo

TechZone360 Web Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Top 3 Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite

By: Special Guest    10/2/2017

Microsoft Ignite wrapped up last week in Orlando. At the company's big conference dedicated to IT professionals and developers, 25,000 business custom…

Read More

Millennials Want Smart Home Tech More Than Anyone

By: Larry Alton    10/2/2017

Millennials are known for having very specific interests. They also hold a significant level of buying power in certain markets, particularly technolo…

Read More

SpaceX Names Satellite Broadband Service, Works FCC Connect America

By: Doug Mohney    9/29/2017

"Starlink" is the potential title for SpaceX's massive satellite network to deliver high-speed Internet access, reports Florida Today. The company has…

Read More

New Apple iPhone X as Much Hype as Innovation

By: Doug Mohney    9/28/2017

Apple is counting on it with the iPhone X -- the "X" symbolizing the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. Fans of the company are falling all over themselv…

Read More

Alexa and the PBX, Coming Soon

By: Doug Mohney    9/28/2017

This week, Amazon unloaded a ton of Alexa-enabled Echo gizmos, including the Echo Connect. Shipping on December 13, 2017 (just before the holiday seas…

Read More