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Surprising Science

Sorry, Scotty’s Not Coming To Beam You Up

In case you were holding out any hope: Students at the University of Leicester have calculated exactly how long it would take to teleport a human from Earth to a point in circular orbit. The short answer: A really, really, really long time.

What’s the Latest Development?


Included in the most recent issue of the University of Leicester’s Journal of Physics Special Topics — a journal that encourages creative thinking among its student authors — is a paper that attempts to examine teleportation as a means of practical travel. The students based their paper on the ability of a person to “beam” off Earth to a point in orbit — a transporter room in a spaceship, for example. By reducing that person to the sum total, in bits, of their bodily data, they were then able to calculate the time and power needed to transmit that data into space. Their result, based on a bandwidth between 29.5 and 30 GHz: 4.85×1015 years. 

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What’s the Big Idea?

While other technologies commonly associated with “Star Trek” have found their way into this century, very few scientists, if any, ever believed human teleportation would be one of them. Even if it were possible to reduce a person to data bits and then reassemble them correctly, without more efficient methods of transmission it would take longer than the age of the universe — currently estimated at 14×109 years — to send a single person from Earth to a ship in orbit. Co-author David Starkey’s dry conclusion: “Current means of travel remain more feasible.”

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Read it at ScienceDaily


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