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Can We Beat the Speed of Light in Communications?

The Author is an experienced Telecommunications technician teaching ICT at a Polytech Institute.

My Proposal On How To Break the Light-Speed Barrier in Electronic Communications

The Tri-Union of Space, Time and Matter

I always imagine that the vast empty space of the universe is like an immense bubble in a cosmic ocean of skot [some kind of thing]. This bubble in the ocean of skot is inflated by the presence of matter in it.

I always imagine too that at the moment of creation, matter existed, and space and time are merely a consequence of its existence as the bubble of our universe.

These two analogies help me grasp two radical views about an Einsteinian universe. First, the space of the universe is finite but unbounded. Second, space and time are part and parcel of the existence of matter.

Matter in the universe – be it solid, liquid, gas or plasma – includes every physical entity from cosmic nebulae, gas, dust and cosmic debris; moons, planets, stars, asteroids, comets, black holes, quasars, dark matter and all else that add up to the giants of creation, the galaxies.

If all these matter are removed completely from our universe, space and time will inevitably vanish. The reason is that space and time exist only in connection with matter, and are impossible without it.

Space, time and matter form one fundamental unity that makes them inseparable, interwoven and mutually dependent. Their inter-relationship helps us to solve some otherwise insoluble problems because a change in one cannot take place without affecting the other two dimensions. For instance, matter must occupy space, and if stationary, it would be aging in time. When it moves, it does so at the expense of energy of matter and space over time. In summary, matter, an occupier of space, is a manifestation of atomic oscillations and so includes time – the ticking clock of all living and non-living matter.

Scientists cannot adequately explain exactly how space, time and matter are related. This interrelationship is the twine that interweaves them together, and once disentangled, a theory will be formulated that will unify them into different aspects of one phenomenon.

This theory will be like the fundamental theories that now enable us to relate electricity, magnetism and light as all electromagnetic in nature. And if this interwoven secret lies at the subatomic level, unravelling it at that level would mean deciphering the genetic code of the universe.

Most astronomers believe the moment of creation began 15,000 million years ago. According to the theory, a “cosmic egg” of immeasurable energy exploded, and 10-43 seconds later, gravity broke free from a single unifying force that previously existed. Matter, gravity and electromagnetism came into existence, rushing out in all directions and creating space. With gravitation as the main ingredient for universal structure, our universe was born and developed according to the laws of geometric mathematical necessity.

We now live in a systematic order of the solar system, nine planets orbiting the sun, which is one of the millions of stars scattered around an organized galaxy called the Milky Way. The Milky Way then, is one of the galaxies strewn across our universe.

Scientists do not know what caused this primeval explosion but evidence of an expanding universe and a white noise cosmic background radiation are the remnant testimonial effects of that uncaused first cause.

The Speed of Light

Most people who use mobile phones and other telecommunications devices do not realize that they are communicating at light speed which, in free space, is 186,200 miles per second or approximately 3x108 meters per second or 300,000 km per second and is denoted as c. This speed is so fast that you could circle the earth seven times before one second is up. Obviously, you can see from that speed that any noticeable time delay in mobile phone conversations, for instance, is usually caused by other factors such as satellite up and down link, microwave links, repeaters, electronic processing and whatever else between you and a talking friend.

The electromagnetic band of frequencies mostly used in communications are radio waves, microwaves and visible light, and they all travel at the same speed called the speed of light – at 300,000 km per second. (If I may use that as I am used to the metric system of units.)

The speed of light was Einstein’s starting point in his Special Theory of Relativity as the maximum speed of interaction in the universe, and that nothing physical can travel faster than the speed of light. It is a universal constant and limit – let alone beating this speed limit itself in communications, as it is the speed of the radio wave, the carrier of information. It is also from the speed of light that he gave his famous equation e=mc2 which you all know is Energy equals to mass times the square of the speed of light.

To list the whole bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, they are as follows in increasing order of frequencies and inversely, of decreasing wavelengths: micros pulsations, radio waves, microwaves, infra-red rays, visible light rays, ultraviolet rays, x-rays and gamma rays.

Radio waves and part of microwaves are used in communication so both regions are often called radio. Visible light rays are a tiny part of the region that has the frequency with enough energy to affect the retina of the eye and cause the sensation we call light. Having the speed of light, radio waves and visible light rays are now chosen for their relevance at this point in this article.

That one second light takes to travel 300,000 km is called a light second. So when it is said a distance of one light second, it is meant to be a distance of 300,000 km.

A light minute is a distance of 18 million km and a light year - the distance light travels in one year is 9.46 million million km.

Now we can see that as distance become great in astronomical terms, the vastness of space and time becomes a barrier and comes into play against the speed of light.

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From a relativistic point of view of the universe, it is not only matter that cannot be transported at speeds greater than that of light, but also any meaningful symbol that is used to convey information. Since the speed of light is constant, it is subjected to this space-time barrier.

When we look up to the heavens on a clear night, not only the vastness of space confronts us, but it also takes us back in time. The distant heavens that we see are the past because light is reaching our eyes after some decades to millions of light-years travel.

An example is Vega, which is a visible star on the northern sky and is 26 light years away. If you look up and see it tonight, you will see it as it was 26 years ago because light reaching your eyes tonight has been has been journeying towards Earth for that long.

Used a carrier of information, radio waves have enabled us to overcome the space-time barrier on a global scale. Just by talking to someone half the planet away, communication seems instantaneous. It is the speed of light that enable us to communicate in real-time and allows us to converse.

Planetary distances from Earth may vary on their elliptical orbits at certain times. But let’s consider that the moon is 1.3 light seconds away, Mars is about 4.3 light minutes away and Uranus is at a light distance of 2.5 hours.

Do you think that in future, long distance travel, interplanetary or interstellar communications will be possible in real-time for us to converse?

It is not possible. For a start, it is impossible to converse with anyone between the planets. This leaves us with the option of broadcasting our information and then waiting for a return broadcast.

The delay in waiting depends on a round trip for the signal as two way communications doubles any light distance between them.

A transmitted message from Earth, traveling at the speed of light, will reach Mars after about 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Upon receiving this message, an immediate return broadcast will take the same time to reach Earth, totalling to almost 10 minutes after the initial transmission.

In order to mimic Earth-bound communications, how can we overcome the space-time barrier through the vastness of space and time?

It seems that to overcome the barrier of space, time and even the speed of light, instantaneousness is the only way out. This means that we must device a principle where we can communicate without the factors of space and time so that our transmission of information is instantaneous – not affected by space and time.

This will involve identifying an entity that exist universally that can be modulated [pulsed] in a way where the desired effect is instant transmission of information to anywhere or everywhere in the cosmos. This entity is likely to be used as a medium for the transmission of information rather than a carrier like radio waves. One of the prodigious entities that exist universally is the vastness of empty space – the universal barrier itself. Is space really an empty void?

All bodies in space have a force of gravity, the force that attracts other matter towards them. This force of gravity bends space. You can imagine gravity being like a heavy ball on a rubber sheet causing a slant on its surrounding surface. Anything close by will fall towards it. Gravity then is defined as a curvature in the fabric of the space-time continuum.

It must be noted that, like on Earth, gravity and the acceleration of free fall are the result of the attractive force between a body and Earth. Gravitation is used to describe the attractive force between all bodies in space and plays a major role in the dynamics and structuring of our universe.

Far away from all sources of gravity, space and time are said to be uniformly flat. Approaching a massive body such as star on a planet, you are moving into increasing curved space-time.

The fabric of the space-time continuum in the universe is intricately woven by the orderly presence of all matter in it, from curved space-time (gravity) and then interlinked by gravitation. Disregarding any violent activities by some body systems of matter for the moment, we can say that the space-time fabric of the universe is stable and in equilibrium.

Now imagine a non-spherical body is rotating. Since this body doesn’t have symmetry about its axis of rotation, as the larger part of it spins away with respect to any body of mass in the universe, it causes the space-time fabric to stretch. Spinning towards any body of mass, compresses the fabric of space-time.

These ripples or patterns of strains are called gravitational waves and are predicted to propagate with the speed of light. However, conservative theorists doubt this speed saying that gravity waves probably travel instantly or at some other speeds.

Being a subject that is more easily grasped intuitively, there is a logical reason to believe these gravitational effects travel faster than the speed of light, and the possibility of them traveling instantly cannot be ruled out. We must remember that space is like a rubber sheet and any variable strains in the space-time continuum caused by a body of mass (source) should cause an instantaneous interaction with all other bodies of mass in the universe. The reasoning here is that gravity seems to hold all body systems together in the universe in real-time [if it is not a remnant illusion of the distant past] despite the millions of light years in between. If not, then why are we still where we are in a space of galaxy and planetary systems?

Gravitational waves are very elusive to detect directly. I can only give my opinion that they are non-electromagnetic and our inability on how to make a device that can effectively detect them directly as two main reasons. In fact, the problem of the generation and detection of gravitational waves in a laboratory is for now somewhat academic. If that can be achieved, then it’s possible we can modulate gravitational waves to convey information in its own communications systems other than the electronic systems in use today. In this digital age, it can be used directly for binary digital pulses.

Do you think we can eliminate the factors of space and time in communications by modulating the very fabric of the space-time continuum? We can only wait for further experiments to establish once and for all the actual speed of these gravitational effects. Then we will know if we have an exit out of this space-time barrier for communications because, the only way out of beating the speed of light rests with gravity waves and its anticipated instantaneousness.

Whether it is communication or transportation, the barrier of space-time will remain a riddle for mankind. Faster than light speed communication is not an option. The speed of light is a universal limit. It is the maximum speed of interaction achievable within space-time, a fundamental link that when violated, reality would be irrational at a fundamental level with phenomenal effects such as time-reversal and visual effects-before-causes.

Probably in future, a way out of the barrier of space and time will be found. With that hope, I end this article with a quote from Robert Goddard, father of American Rocketry.

It is difficult to say what is impossible. The dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”

Our Universe is A Space-Time Bubble in a Dark Sea of SKOT (Some Kind of Thing)


© 2021 Rolf Roberson

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