[Paleopsych] Space.com: Teleportation: Express Lane Space Travel
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Sat Jul 9 15:49:08 UTC 2005
Teleportation: Express Lane Space Travel
Senior Space Writer
Think Star Trek: You are here. You want to go there. It's just a matter
Thanks to lab experiments, there is growth in the number of "beam me up"
believers, but there is an equal amount of disbelief, too.
Over the last few years, however, researchers have successfully
teleported beams of light across a laboratory bench. Also, the quantum
state of a trapped calcium ion to another calcium ion has been
teleported in a controlled way.
These and other experiments all make for heady and heavy reading in
scientific journals. The reports would have surely found a spot on
Einstein's night table. For the most part, it's an exotic amalgam of
things like quantum this and quantum that, wave function, qubits and
polarization, as well as uncertainty principle, excited states and
Seemingly, milking all this highbrow physics to flesh out point-to-point
human teleportation is a long, long way off.
Well, maybe...maybe not.
A trillion trillion atoms
In his new book, Teleportation - The Impossible Leap, published by John
Wiley & Sons, Inc., writer David Darling contends that ""One way or
another, teleportation is going to play a major role in all our futures.
It will be a fundamental process at the heart of quantum computers,
which will themselves radically change the world."
Darling suggests that some form of classical teleportation and
replication for inanimate objects also seems inevitable. But whether
humans can make the leap, well, that remains to be seen.
Teleporting a person would require a machine that isolates, appraises,
and keeps track of over a trillion trillion atoms that constitute the
human body, then sends that data to another locale for reassembly--and
hopefully without mussing up your physical and mental makeup.
"One thing is certain: if that impossible leap turns out to be merely
difficult--a question of simply overcoming technical challenges--it will
someday be accomplished," Darling predicts.
In this regard, Darling writes that the quantum computer "is the joker
in the deck, the factor that changes the rules of what is and isn't
Just last month, in fact, scientists at Hewlett Packard announced that
they've hammered out a new tactic for a creating a quantum
computer-using switches of light beams rather than today's run of the
mill, transistor-laden devices. What's in the offing is hardware capable
of making calculations billions of times faster than any silicon-based
Given quantum computers and the networking of these devices, Darling
senses the day may not be far off for routine teleportation of
individual atoms and molecules. That would lead to teleportation of
macromolecules and microbeswith, perhaps, human teleportation to follow.
What could teleportation do for future space endeavors?
"We can see the first glimmerings of teleportation in space exploration
today," said Darling, responding to questions sent via e-mail by
SPACE.com to his home office near Dundee, Scotland.
"Strictly speaking, teleportation is about getting from A to B without
passing through the points between A and B. In other words, something
dematerializes in one place, then simply rematerializes somewhere else,"
Darling pointed out that the Spirit and Opportunity rovers had to get to
Mars by conventional means. However, their mission and actions are
controlled by commands sent from Earth.
"So by beaming up instructions, we effectively complete the
configuration of the spacecraft. Also, the camera eyes and other
equipment of the rovers serve as vicarious extensions of our own senses.
So you might say the effect is as if we had personally teleported to the
Martian surface," Darling said.
Spooky action at a distance
In the future it might be possible to assemble spacecraft "on-the-spot"
using local materials. "That would be a further step along the road to
true teleportation," Darling added.
To take this idea to its logical endpoint, Darling continued, that's
when nanotechnology enters the scene.
When nanotechnology is mature, an automated assembly unit could be sent
to a destination. On arrival, it would build the required robot explorer
from the molecular level up.
"Bona fide quantum teleportation, as applied to space travel, would mean
sending a supply of entangled particles to the target world then use
what Einstein called 'spooky action at a distance' to make these
particles assume the exact state of another collection of entangled
particles back on Earth," Darling speculated.
Doing so opens the prospect for genuinely teleporting a robot
vehicle--or even an entire human crew--across interplanetary or, in the
long run, across interstellar distances, Darling said.
"Certainly, if it becomes possible to teleport humans," Darling said,
"you can envisage people hopping to the Moon or to other parts of the
solar system, as quickly and as easily as we move data around the
If indeed we are to become a space teleporting civilization, what about
other advanced civilizations circling distant stars? Perhaps they have
already mastered mass transportation via teleportation?
One might even be drawn to consider that mode of travel in connection
with purported UFO visitation of Earth.
"Any strange comings and goings are candidates for teleportation,
although you would obviously have to eliminate all mundane explanations
first," Darling responded. "According to reports, some UFOs do appear
and disappear quite abruptly, which would fit in with the basic idea of
teleportation," he said.
Darling said that interstellar teleportation would be one way to
circumvent the light barrier, "although, as we understand the process
now, you would need to make a sub-light trip first to set up the
teleportation receiver and assembler at the destination."
Quantum teleportation, Darling pointed out is the kind we can do at the
subatomic level in the lab today. And that requires equipment at both
ends to be able to work.
"Extraterrestrial intelligence that is thousands or millions of years
ahead of us will certainly be teleportation experts," Darling advised,
"if the technology can be implemented at the macroscopic biological
What possible outcome, then, from ET successfully tinkering with
"We might expect advanced aliens to be occasionally beaming in to check
on our progress as a species," Darling concluded.
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