For any person, the expression “at the speed of light” has become synonymous with the word “instantly.” Indeed, the scale of our planet does not allow us to catch the finiteness of the speed of light, however, quite a long time ago, physicists have established a limit value with which you can move through space – 299 792 458 m / s.
Is it a lot or a little? Of course, for our daily activities – more than enough. But if you look at the speed of light on a scale of the Universe, it becomes clear that the maximum speed of interaction is depressingly small.
NASA employee James O’Donoghue has clearly shown the limitations that nature has imposed on us. In the first video, he “launched” a bunch of photons at the equator. Really incredibly fast!
But the second video, where a beam of photons moves from the Earth to the Moon and back, makes us look at the swiftness of light a little differently.
And from the third video it becomes sad at all. Even to Mars – a planet on the surface of which terrestrial rovers move, photons fly depressingly long – at the moment of the closest approach of the Earth to the red planet, we transmit a signal there for 3 minutes and 2 seconds! Imagine a NASA operator, after pressing the control button of the rover, so that he made his selfie, he should wait more than three minutes until the robot starts to execute the command. Backward American technology? No, the maximum speed of interaction propagation!
There is no need to talk about more distant objects, such as the Voyager 1 probe. Recently, scientists were again able to start its engines – the signal to the “old man” went as long as 19 hours and 35 minutes, and yet he only slightly went beyond the boundaries of the solar system.
It turns out that on the scale of the Universe the speed of light is small, but this rule is true for those who observe an object moving at a similar speed from the side. For example, from the point of view of an observer on Earth, a spaceship flying at near-light speed to the nearest star will be forced to cover this distance for tens, if not hundreds of years. But for the crew of a spacecraft, where time relative to Earth will be slowed down, such a journey will take much less time – a couple of months or even weeks. And the faster his speed is, the less time it takes for him to travel. Theoretically, particles moving at the speed of light can even instantly appear at any point in the universe, despite the monstrous distances.