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Posted by Zephram Cochrane/">Zephram Cochrane on February 16, 2000 06:01:01 UTC

Faster than light travel and faster than c travel are separate questions. Faster than c travel can be considered within the realm of general relativity. Faster than light travel(transfer of information that is) is a question of special relativity. Special relativity and this question is usually addressed at the college freshman or sophomore level in electromagnetism. This is fairly standard for any university. At that point one learns why faster than light travel is impossible. Lets say a source sends a faster than light signal as a pulse for instance. The pulse emission constitutes one event. The signal is received somewhere else and this constitutes a second event. Because it is a faster than light signal these two events are termed space-like events. Due to the relativity of simultaneity a simple velocity boost from one observers inertial frame to another switches the order of the events. Thus in some coordinate frame the effect or reception proceeds the cause or emission. So, if the traditional order of causation(cause proceeding effect) is always correct, then faster than light transmission of information is impossible.


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