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Author Topic: The New & Improved Speed of Light?  (Read 6771 times)
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SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« on: 08-01-2005 11:50 »
« Last Edit on: 11-17-2008 21:47 »

**LONG POST WARNING**

Hello All,
Something has be rattling about my mind for some time now. We know from "A Clone Of My Own," "When Aliens Attack," and so on, that scientists in the Futurama universe have increased the speed of light gazillions of times.
"Gazillion's;" that's a technical term...

This is the plot device the writers used to move the plots forward without ridiculously long travel times between stars, galaxies, etc.

It's a snide tongue-in-cheek creative alternative to "faster-than-light" space travel, doesn't violate Relativity, cosmology, causality, blah, blah blah...

All of this has been discussed 'round and 'round before, elsewhere in these forums, ad infinitum, and I don't want to become embroiled in that again.

What I want to discuss is this:

So just how fast is the 'new' speed of light?

Having far too much free time on my hands

Being scientifically curious, I did a bit of research, and found no threads that quite address this issue. If this has been discussed before, I didn't find it. Kindly point me towards said thread, and I'll be on my merry way...

Until then...  big grin Here goes:

In "The Route of All Evil," Dwight and Cubert send the crew on a fake delivery to Dog-Doo 8. In other words, to the edge of the universe and back. From "Teenage Mutand Leela’s Hurdles," we know the PlanEx ship has a top-speed of 99% the speed of light.

The trip, there and back, takes a week.

Hmm, I says, hmm... Current cosmology tells us the edge of the observable universe is between about 14-billion and about 42-billion light-years.

That means the PlanEx ship travels between 28 and 84-billion light-years in a week.

Let's take the lower number, as it will give us a lower limit for the 'new' speed of light, and the math is a mite easier.

Now, rightly or wrongly, I'm assuming the ship flies straight out there, full throttle, turns on a dime, and flies straight back, also full throttle. It reduces the guesswork.

There are about 365.25 days in a year, and the trip takes 7 days, or 7/365.25's Oy! So much for easy math... of a year. 28-billion light-years in 7/365.25 years. Or;

28-billion light-years = 2.8 x 10^10th power,

Divided by 7 / 365.25th's of a year,

Divided by 99%...

A little arithmetic gives; 1.47685E+12 light-years per year.

That is, 1.46208 x 10^12th power, 1,476,848,484,848, or;

About 1.477-TRILLION light-years per year.

*Whoof* That's a helluva hurry!

This means, the 'new' speed of light is 1.476-trillion times faster the 'old' speed of light.

As I recall from high-school physics, the speed of light is about 186282.4 (1.862E+5) miles per second. That is, the current, or 'old' speed of light.

<Zoidberg>
Again with the arithmetic?
</Zoidy>

Gives us 2.75111E+17, or 275,110,880,193,939,000 miles per second, that is... uh... just a second...

1e+03= Thousands,
1E+06 = Millions
1E+09 = Billions
1E+12 = Trillions
1E+15 = Quadrillions
1E+16 = Tens of Quadrillions
1E+17 = Hundreds of Quadrillions
DAY-amn!


A smidge more than 275-QUADRILLION miles per second!
DAY-amn, I repeat for emphasis.

Does this stand to reason?
Did I miss something?
Is the round-trip distance all wrong?

Please point out any flaws in my reasoning, but if you do, please say what’s wrong, why, and how to do it right?

Oh, and just in case anyone’s interested, I’m ignoring Relativistic effects, as the ‘frame of reference’ is the universe, not the ship.

I’m done. You may flame when ready.  big grin
Just don’t hit me, I’m brittle...
futz
Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #1 on: 08-01-2005 13:23 »

Haven't heard anywhere that the universe is much older than 14 billion years. Spherical expansion would only give it a diameter of under 28 billion light years, since no matter can move faster than light speed it would probably be much less.

Also our galaxy could be closer to one side than the other much like our solar system is far out from the center of the Milky Way. But the joke may be that since the universe is infinite where you are is as close as you'll ever get to an edge or a center.
Worble

Delivery Boy
**
« Reply #2 on: 08-01-2005 17:09 »
« Last Edit on: 08-01-2005 17:09 »

Haven't read your posts, but if its any help, or you might have wrote it already.

From sun to earth surface, a beam of light takes 8 minutes to get here. FACT

not in futurama terms though, in real life.
Teral

Helpy McHelphelp
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #3 on: 08-01-2005 17:32 »

In "I Dated A Robot", the edge of the Universe was less than a days travel away (considering the other activities and the fact they spend the morning watching tv, an hour sounds likely), meaning the Solar system is placed way off-center in the Universe. Dog Doo VIII could just be a bit further up the edge.
canned eggs

Space Pope
****
« Reply #4 on: 08-01-2005 19:23 »

Or at the other edge.

At any rate, it's definitely many many orders of magnitude faster than "old" light, because the Omicronians arrive at Earth pretty much immediately after receiving the Single Female Lawyer broadcast in "old" radio.
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #5 on: 08-01-2005 23:57 »

Hello All,
Thanks for posting.

@Futz:
True, most cosmological modles say the universe is on the order of 14 billion years old. One, the "Inflationary Modle," IIRC, says that for scientific reasons w-a-a-a-y over my pointy head, the universe expanded a lot faster than the speed of light in the first bits of a microsecond after the 'Big=Bang'. This is the modlel that tells us the universe could be up to about 42 billion light years in radius.
As for the universe being infinite... well... we just don't have the physics to say yet.
Still, it could be a gag, and I just don't 'get it'.  hmpf
Hey, my gray-matter is so dense it absorbs NEUTRINOS!

@ Worble:
Yep. 93 million miles divided by the speed of light: Do the math!  smile

@ Teral:
You are, as usual, correct. Thank you. If you have a better estimate for the round-trip distance, I want to hear it!  wink

@ Canned eggs:
No arguments. The whole estimate hangs on how long the trip in "ROAE" was, and as I said to Teral, if anybody has a better estimate, I want to know it!

Anybody else?   confused
futz
Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #6 on: 08-02-2005 10:37 »

It's always described as infinite in the modern era. I haven't heard of a revolutionary change in the definition. If you travel in a straight line long enough you'll wind up where you started. Think of the commonly used example of drawing a line on a Mobius strip. I've heard of "the Rules" being different in the initial microseconds of the the Big Bang but not of any Quasars or such being measured that far out. Please clarify if you can.
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #7 on: 08-02-2005 12:28 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by futz:
It's always described as infinite in the modern era... If you travel in a straight line long enough you'll wind up where you started.

Uh... not quite. IIRC, what you refer to is called the "Standard Modle." In it there's a difference between "infinite," and "unbounded." Think of the surface of a sphere as an analogy. Starting from any point, it is possible go in any randomly chose direction, travel the circumference, and wind up exactly where you started.

Did you find a edge? Nope.

My point; the sphere, while having no edges, does have a finite surface area. According to some theories, our universe is the 3-dimensional "brane" (as in skin, or membrane) of a higher dimensional shape.

But I'm certainly no expert in cosmology!  hmpf

 
Quote
I've heard of "the Rules" being different in the initial microseconds of the the Big Bang but not of any Quasars or such being measured that far out. Please clarify if you can.

I'm not sure I understand what you're asking.  confused

I'm told that in the initial 10E-43'rd of a second or so, the laws of physics as we know them hadn't gelled yet; allowing, among other things, the four forces of nature to behave like one force... or something like that...
Also, the universe was so-o-o-o-o hot to start out, whatever was there was far too hot (energetic) to condense into matter. Heck, I understand it took some hundreds of millions of years for the first stars to form.
So, Quasars? The last I knew, we hadn't figured out what they are, much less how they formed.

<Crickets chirp>  sleep

*Ahem*

So! Anybody have a better estimate of how far the Planet Express ship flew in the aforementioned week-long trip?   smile
futz
Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #8 on: 08-02-2005 15:04 »

Ah, real far.

Bah! Quantum sorcery I say.
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #9 on: 08-03-2005 12:27 »

*Sigh*

I was actually hoping for a numerical estimate.

Oh, and it's only sorcery if you don't have the science to explain it.

Hmm, sudenly, I think you're right: it IS quantim sorcery!   smile

Although some theories like "String Theory" posit vibrating loops of energy billions of times smaller than-

NRGH!  no no

Y'got me off on a tangent again!

Does anybody have a better numerical estimate of the P.E. ship's round trip distance?
  confused
futz
Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #10 on: 08-03-2005 12:49 »

Well if they changed it once maybe changing it at whim isn't a big deal. The PE ship drive is based on moving space around the ship, not the moving the ship through space. So the speed of light might not be related to the ship speed, other than time dialation is not a factor for the age of the crew vs. the rest of the universe.
Chug a Bug

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #11 on: 08-03-2005 16:30 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by futz:
Well if they changed it once maybe changing it at whim isn't a big deal. The PE ship drive is based on moving space around the ship, not the moving the ship through space.

Eh? I don't remember it mentioned that the PE ship used Warp Drive a la Trek?


Wooter

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #12 on: 08-03-2005 16:41 »

I think Cubert mentioned it in A Clone Of My Own.
Chug a Bug

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #13 on: 08-03-2005 17:36 »
« Last Edit on: 08-03-2005 17:36 »

You're right, the universe moves around the ship. I stand corrected.
futz
Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #14 on: 08-03-2005 18:38 »

I think Trek warp drive is more like the "squeezing a wet bar of soap over and over again" method.
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #15 on: 08-05-2005 12:16 »

I seem to recall from the dim gray mists of time that Star Trek's 'Warp-Drive' moved the ship by bending, or 'warping' space; thus the name 'Warp Drive'. To do so (at least in the physics of Trek), requires a helluvalotta energy. So the thing is powered by a matter/ antimatter reaction, generating energy to the tune of E=MC^2.

Exactly how the PE ship's drive works has never been explained in any depth: That's part of the gag.

<Silence>

Hok-kay...   hmpf

SO, does anyone have a better estimate for the PE ship's round trip in ROAE?  confused

Anybody?

Hello?
  wink
futz
Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #16 on: 08-05-2005 13:08 »

You'd have to factor in how many Howard Johnson's there are between here and there. Other than that your estimate seems as good as any given the amount of available data.
bend_her

Professor
*
« Reply #17 on: 01-30-2008 04:18 »

My awesome archeology skills dug up this gem... and while I may not have an answer to the round-trip distance to the edge of the universe, I could posit that Dog Doo VIII is not the same distance away from Earth as the scenic "edge of the universe" that the crew visited in I Dated A Robot. This assumes that we can observe all of the universe, so while we may be at the center of the observable universe, we're not at the center of the true universe (whatever that is). That would "explain" the six-day discrepancy between the travel times in the two episodes. Of course, the universe could have grown or shrunk in that period...  big grin

Futurama Llama

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #18 on: 01-30-2008 08:12 »

It seems to me that Fry's misdoings or maybe just leisurly travel wasn't taken into effect. Maybe they stopped to get some food? Maybe the PE ship broke down? (like it ever has before) I'm just offering more variables here, which I'm sure you don't care for.
no.9 man

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #19 on: 09-24-2008 21:48 »

Space case loves to talk technical.
winna

Avatar Czar
DOOP Ubersecretary
**
« Reply #20 on: 09-24-2008 23:23 »

I think your estimates should be mostly correct given the amount of available information.

In the way Dog Doo 7 is introduced in that episode, it seems to be the thing furthest away from the Earth... and given Jurassic Bark, it would appear that Earth is very close to one edge of the Universe.

You then went off comologist guesstimations on the width of the Universe, using the low number of 14 billion light years to make it easier.  Assuming that the Universe hasn't stretched out much more than that in 1000 years (I think that's reasonable) and that your math is correct.... I really don't feel like checking because I'm lazy... then your estimates seem on correct.

This is of course also assuming that the PE ship travels only by speed.  A Clone of My Own clearly suggests the ship bends space around it, which might suggest that the speed of light isn't quadrillions of times magnitude higher than it is now.

I think there would be other drastic effects of making the speed of light that much higher.... everything else would go faster too, no?  I think that would be problematic.

Also, note that, if you took higher numbers (like the 42 billion light years for the width of the universe) into account than the speed of light would be even higher... if you assume Dog Doo 8 isn't quite the distance of the width of the universe away from Earth, then the new speed of light by your estimates would be slightly slower; so much slightly that I think it doesn't really matter given the size of the numbers.  If you introduce other variables... like not spending the entire week getting there and back, the new speed of light would probably be several more magnitudes higher, dependant upon how much time was wasted since it would significantly reduce travel time.

For what it's worth.... your estimations seem right on the money SpaceCase.

I don't think the new speed of light is actually that high though.  This is because the ship almost definitely bends space around it, which is probably a much faster and efficient system for travelling large distances quickly.  And because I think upping the speed of light that high would be detrimental to the universe.... if even possible.

Great discussion point though. big grin
Your Standard BendingUnit

Crustacean
*
« Reply #21 on: 09-27-2008 10:23 »

I think the whole bending the universe around the spaceship was a joke as, from a technical standpoint, it would be phenominally inneficient as a way for a spaceship to travel.

On the other hand, from a Futurama standpoint, since Farnsworth says that the PE ship gets 200% fuel efficiency, they would have an unlimited amount of energy at their disposal by putting dark matter in , using 100% fuel for moving, and 100% back into the "tank"(2 joules of dark matter -> 2 joules when moving, 4 joules when "idling"). It would increase by doubling each time the engine did whatever it did. I assume the only reason for scientists upping the speed of light is so that time wouldn't be slowed much for them.

But now my own theory is shot down because the PE ship needs to refuel its tanks with dark matter as in Love's Labours and a couple other episodes.

In the end, it's obvious how all this is possible. WIZARDS!
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #22 on: 09-27-2008 20:49 »
« Last Edit on: 09-30-2008 18:24 »

It seems to me that Fry's misdoings or maybe just leisurly travel wasn't taken into effect.

Maybe.

Maybe they stopped to get some food?

Maybe.

Maybe the PE ship broke down?

Maybe.

I'm just offering more variables here, which I'm sure you don't care for.

If you have a better estimate, I surely want to hear it - and I say this with a pure-heart and no chip on my shoulder! wink

Space case loves to talk technical.

What's your point? wink

I think your estimates should be mostly correct given the amount of available information.

Thank you for the "sanity check," Winna.
My last sanity check bounced...

In the way Dog Doo 7 is introduced in that episode, it seems to be the thing furthest away from the Earth... and given Jurassic Bark, it would appear that Earth is very close to one edge of the Universe.

So it would seem.

You then went off comologist guesstimations on the width of the Universe, using the low number of 14 billion light years to make it easier.

Some would argue that I just 'went off'... roll eyes

Assuming that the Universe hasn't stretched out much more than that in 1000 years (I think that's reasonable)...

As do I. Also, 1000 light years in 13.7 billion or so is so small we may safely ignore it.

... and that your math is correct...

That assumption, my friend, could get you into serious trouble. wink

This is of course also assuming that the PE ship travels only by speed. A Clone of My Own clearly suggests the ship bends space around it, which might suggest that the speed of light isn't quadrillions of times magnitude higher than it is now.

In ACoMO Farnsworth says that the ship “moves” the universe around it, not that it “bends” the universe.
If you have a better estimate, I want to hear it.
Also, I can see Bender getting all worked up over space being bent, and his not having anything to do with it. wink

I think there would be other drastic effects of making the speed of light that much higher...

I absolutely agree! But, the collateral effects of such an increase in the speed of light are beyond the scope of this discussion.
Sounds like good idea for another thread, though. [hint, hint] wink

Also, note that, if you took higher numbers (like the 42 billion light years for the width of the universe) into account than the speed of light would be even higher... if you assume Dog Doo 8 isn't quite the distance of the width of the universe away from Earth, then the new speed of light by your estimates would be slightly slower; so much slightly that I think it doesn't really matter given the size of the numbers.

It's simple arithmetic.

If you introduce other variables... like not spending the entire week getting there and back, the new speed of light would probably be several more magnitudes higher, dependant upon how much time was wasted since it would significantly reduce travel time.

No data.
If you (or anybody, for that matter) have better numbers, I want to hear them.

For what it's worth.... your estimations seem right on the money SpaceCase.

Thank you.

I don't think the new speed of light is actually that high though.  This is because the ship almost definitely bends space around it, which is probably a much faster and efficient system for travelling large distances quickly.

You seem to be describing traveling large distances by accessing a higher dimensional space.
This or 'bending space' does not seem to be supported by canon.

And because I think upping the speed of light that high would be detrimental to the universe.... if even possible.

Detrimental?
Try flamin' CATASTROPHIC!
This opens up a Pandora's box of truly scary possibilities - Which, again, are beyond the scope of this little discussion.

Great discussion point though. big grin

Thank you. I hope you're enjoying it.

I think the whole bending the universe around the spaceship was a joke as, from a technical standpoint, it would be phenominally inneficient as a way for a spaceship to travel.

First: Yes, it was a joke.
Second: As mentioned above, it was "moving the universe" around the ship, not "bending."
Efficiency is not the main point.
Take conventional rocket propulsion for comparison. The payload is moved through space by throwing mass in the opposite direction.
At its absolute best this process puts only half the energy present into the payload.
IE. It’s only 50% efficient.
The reason we use it is that there is no viable alternative!

On the other hand, from a Futurama standpoint, since Farnsworth says that the PE ship gets 200% fuel efficiency... But now my own theory is shot down because the PE ship needs to refuel its tanks with dark matter as in Love's Labours and a couple other episodes.

I think the whole theory is undermined because Farnsworth is a senile, crackpot, who can hardly remember what he had for breakfast, much less intergalactic space-propulsion theory!

In the end, it's obvious how all this is possible. WIZARDS!

[Zoidberg]
Oy!
Again with the wizards?
[/Zoidberg]
 wink
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