Even though research on the subject is still on the fringes of mainstream science but will natural phenomena that carries information faster than the speed of light be the future of astronomy?
By: Ringo Bones
Many a scientist who criticize SETI – the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence – using radio waves as a “dead end” because the 186,000 miles-per-second is just too slow for practical interstellar, never mind intergalactic, communications seems to be currently ignored by the mainstream global scientific community. And so are those who are currently investigating into superluminar phenomena in nature that allows data and information propagation across free space faster than the 186,000 miles-per-second / 400,000 kilometers-per-second speed limit of the speed of light. But if a naturally occurring phenomena – or an intelligently cleaver coaxing of it – that allows data transfer and communication faster-than-the-speed-of light not just represent the future of SETI but also of all branches of astronomy as well?
Hints of a faster-than-light data communications that might occur naturally has not only been speculated but also inferred in scientific investigations ever since physicist began exploring the limits of Albert Einstein’s General Relativity when it was published back in 1916. Astrophysicists during the early 1970s had uncovered – based on data suggested by the Standard Model quantum mechanics particle accelerator results at that time – that during the few seconds after the Big Bang, the universe might have expanded many times faster-than-light, perhaps even sever billion times faster, but most of them point to a faster-than-light hyperinflation expansion space of the early universe several seconds old despite current particle accelerators are still not powerful enough to replicate such conditions.
Mainstream astronomy’s most exotic – I.e. weirdest telescopes / astronomical instruments have hinted superluminar / faster-than-light phenomena since their operation. Various neutrino detectors that are buried a couple of miles beneath the surface of our planet has since shown that supernova neutrinos often arrive before the light of the star undergoing supernova explosion. Case in point is the Supernova 1987A that was seen back in 1987 whose neutrinos from the supernova’s Large Magellanic Cloud location arrived to Earth 3 hours before optical telescopes saw the supernova back in February 23, 1987 because shockwaves from stars going supernova travel 10,000 times slower than the neutrinos before the shockwave blows the entire star despite neutrinos still travelling at 186,000 miles per second.
Speaking of other exotic / weird astronomical instruments that suggest the existence of superluminar / faster-than-light propagation of information in free space, the LIGO – which stands for Laser Interferometer Gravity-Wave Observatory, the National Science Foundation’s current most ambitious – and NSF’s current most expensive science experiment at 367-million US dollars (2002 dollars) has since been upgraded after it failed to detect any gravitational waves during its operation from 2002 to 2010. The upgraded super-LIGO is slated to detect concrete evidence of gravitational waves produced by very energetic astronomical phenomena – like the ones produced via the collision between two neutron stars or the collision of two black holes – as predicted by Albert Einstein’s General Relativity when it was published back in 1916. But does LIGO’s failure to detect gravity waves borne of mainstream astrophysics’ assumption that the force of gravity propagates across the cosmos at 186,000 miles per second – i.e. the speed of light?
During the early 1970s, a US Naval Observatory associate professor Thomas Van Flandern performed a calculation which he later published in “Physics Letters A” titled “The Speed of Gravity – What Experiments Say” which demonstrated that the force of gravity propagated at least 20-billion times faster than the speed of light and may propagate instantaneously across the universe. Given that Prof. Stephen Hawking had noted in his A Brief History of Time that the force of gravity propagates at the speed of light across the universe, does the discrepancy between the two warrants a more thorough investigation of naturally occurring superluminar / faster-than-light phenomena?
Is mainstream science in general – at present – extremely skeptical when it comes to conducting experiments / research / reexaminations of empirical evidences of natural phenomena suggesting the existence of faster-than-light information and signal propagation across free space? Well, currenly accepted ones suggesting the existence of faster-than-light information / data propagation, like Albert Einstein’s Quantum Entanglement in which he nicknamed as the “spooky action at a distance”, Quantum Tunnelling, the EPR Experiment Paradox – i.e. the Albert Einstein Boris Podolsky Nathan Rosen Experiment Paradox – all date back from the 1930s and more recent experiments suggesting the existence of superluminar phenomena that warrant further investigation seems to be quickly swept under the rug by mainstream science.
If proven to be true, superluminar phenomena / faster-than-light phenomena which could form the basis for Superluminar Astronomy / Faster-Than-Light Astronomy could well revolutionize the science of astronomy as we know it. Not just by changing our overall picture of the universe but also having the ability to control robotic spacecraft on distant planets as if they were just a few miles away using a data transfer / signal transfer method faster than the speed of light. Imagine being able to control those robotic rovers on Mars without the 20-minute delay due to the 186,000 miles-per-second speed limit of the speed of light which takes radio waves as much as 20 minutes to reach the surface of the planet Mars; Or being able to finally join the “Cosmic Internet” that allowed the free sharing ideas of intelligent beings across the universe using signals that allow the transfer of information and signals several billion times faster than the speed of light across the vast emptiness of interstellar space.