The Speed of Light

The speed of light is the absolute fastest speed anything in the universe is capable of traveling at. Energy (including light), information, and matter can only travel at or below this speed, which is exactly 299,792,458 meters per second or 186,282 miles per second. Could you imagine a world where humans travel from place to place at the Speed of Light?

Unfortunately this will never happen. The interesting thing about light is that it travels at the same speed in a vacuum for everyone who is observing. An example is to say you were able to chase the speed of light at 186, 281 MPS. After one second you would not be 1 mile behind the speed of light, you would actually still be 186, 282 miles behind. Even if you went in the opposite direction this light beam still travels away from you at exactly 186, 282 miles per second. No matter which direction, how fast, or how slow you are traveling light will always travel away from you at an exact difference.

If you were to open your san diego garage door early in the morning and wait for the sunrise you would probably just record what time you saw the first crack of dawn. You should know, however, that sunlight takes approximately 8.3 minutes to reach Earth from the Sun. While that may seem like a long time you should keep in mind that the Sun is 93 million miles away from the Earth. More interestingly, and arguably more imaginable, is the Moon. If you were to shine an incredibly bright light from the surface of the Moon towards your cincinnati garage door Earth, it would take only 1.3 seconds to reach us! So 1.3 seconds after flipping the switch billions of people on Earth would be able to see the light on the Moon. Fascinating stuff, huh?

One last fact about the speed of light: Humans will NEVER be able to travel at this speed. The laws of physics state that the faster something moves the harder it is for this object to go faster. So while we may be able to travel at 99% of the speed or light, or even 99.99% the speed of light, we will literally be trying to travel with infinity the amount of weight compared to a lower speed. That number will never be able to be reached. Unfortunately that last .001% will never be reached. We human beings will just have to live with this fact.

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