Beam me up Scotty ! … Coming Soon … Maybe

If you have been reading my blog regularly, you will know that I usually like to blog about technology from movies coming into real life technology. And the holy grail of technology for most nerds or would be nerds, like me would be the Star Wars and Star Trek movies. Although I am not such a big fan of these movies, (although Star Trek was good) I believe that someday in the future some technologies from the franchise might just come true. Like the Teleportation device that the movies display.

Yes, you read it right, Teleportation. Sending objects from one place to another without really having to travel in the traditional sense; only electronically like sending an email. Once called “spooky action at a distance” by Einstein, quantum entanglement is a fascinating property of quantum mechanics that may one day lead to unlocking the secrets of teleportation. Quantum entanglement describes what happens when two or more particles become inextricably “entangled” so that when something affects one, it affects the others – regardless of the physical distance between them. Scientists have been able to link particles for a few years, but recently a group of researchers from the Australian National University devised a method to make it easier to do so using far less equipment than before.

Recent developments in quantum physics have made the possibility of teleporting matter a theoretical possibility while warp drive still remains a fantasy concept. However, the amount of energy required to move a person and all the other problems that go with it (engineering and ethical) leave quantum teleportation a bit to be desired for practical use. So far, according to team leader Jiri Janousek, the team has been able to use their new method to measure changes to a beam of light from another, entangled, beam of light. They are currently hoping to advance the field of quantum computing with their method, but Janousek says that, by extension, it could be used for teleportation as well. But don’t expect to go home for the holidays via teleportation this year; Janousek says that it will probably be another 50 years or so before we see this type of technology used outside of laboratories.

Michio Kaku, admired futurist and theoretical physicist, sat down to talk with Popular Science about the science of Star Trek and what may or may not become science fact some day. Most interesting was his take on warp-speed travel. To some extent, scientists have already worked out how it might happen. Mexican relativist Miguel Alcubierre examined the question and came up with the solution of bringing the stars to the traveler rather than taking the traveler to the stars: essentially folding space to make the distance traveled much shorter. It’s not a perfect theory, but the fact that it’s being seriously considered by the scientific community is a step toward someday testing that theory.

The idea of Teleportation is not new, it exists from the time of the Bible, yes you read it right; in the gospel of John 6:16-24 which says:

“When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake of Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.”

“The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.”

The lake mentioned here is the Sea of Galilee which averages about 6 miles across. So according to the text above the disciples rowed about 3 1/2 miles across (which means they were somewhere in the middle) and then Jesus appears, walking on water (another miracle) and once they took Him into the boat they immediately appeared at the shore. So Jesus instantly teleported the boat, the twelve disciples another 2 1/2 miles to the shore. Well, so there you go, if all these guys in various labs are working really hard, then very soon we might all be realizing a dream that we as humans have had for over 2000 years.

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