If you remember back to the end of September, you might recall there being a stir caused by scientists at CERN who said they observed neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. This seemed to disprove Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity which held than any object with mass cannot accelerate past the speed of light. This discovery opened the door to all sorts of incredible possibilities from faster than light starships to time travel. At least until scientists working at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands identified a flaw in the experiment that caused the neutrinos in question to seem to be moving faster than they actually were. The problem, ironically enough, has it’s root in Einstein’s theory of Relativity. To time the neutrino’s trip, the scientists at cern used the time signal from an orbiting GPS satellite. According to the Dutch team this is where the error crept into the experiment. Since the satellite was moving relative to the experiment it introduced an effect called time dilation, which was not properly accounted for by the CERN team. Compensating for this effect, the speed of the neutrinos drops to bellow the speed of light, leaving Special Relativity intact.
The explanation seems reasonable enough to say “wow, that would have been neat” and move on living in a world where faster than light (FTL) travel is pure science fiction. It’s not even odd for scientists to pick apart each others discoveries, in fact it is an important part of the scientific process. Why then did I not end this post two sentences ago like other news outlets? Because of the very fact that time dilation is a well-known effect. So well know in fact, the clocks on GPS satellites are corrected for both special and general time dilation effects (GPS would not work otherwise). If you just thought “but wait, didn’t the scientists at CERN use the clock on a GPS satellite for their experiment?”, then you just hit the nail on the head. Now, I am no physicist so I can’t say for sure that this blows a hole in the Dutch teams debunking and puts FTL travel back on the table. Maybe the corrections made to the GPS satellite’s clocks are not accurate enough for this experiment. What this single fact does however, is make me wonder why someone would want to debunk the FTL neutrino experiment so quickly? For an answer we only need to look at the possibilities that faster than light travel may hold.
If researchers were able to harness FTL travel to build spacecraft, we may find new sources for what we believe are limited resources like gold, silver, water, oil, food and land. There are quite a few individuals whose entire wealth exists because they control what is “known” to be a dwindling resource. If FTL travel were to reveal that these commodities were not so limited after all, the world’s power brokers would stand to loose trillions. Imagine an interstellar gold rush brining tons of new gold on the market. You don’t have to be an economics major to know what that would do to the price of gold. What if owning your own land meant being willing to strike out and homestead a new world instead of indebting yourself to the banking industry? Do you think the ultra-wealthy would be willing to risk a new future that comes at their expense?
One of the best arguments against extraterrestrial UFOs is that to travel the astronomically huge distances between stars would take far to long to make the trip worthwhile or even possible at sub light speeds. It is a well-reasoned argument and kind of comforting. If it’s not likely that UFOs are from other planets, then they must be manmade and within our control. However, if faster than light speeds are possible then it would seem to reason a more advanced civilization could have conceivably mastered the technology necessary to zip between the stars and visited our planet. Even the possibility of that being true is HUGE. Suddenly we face incredible uncertainty and might start asking tough questions. Depending on the answers to those questions, there could be massive shifts in the world’s power base. It would seem then that it would behoove the ruling elite to maintain the status quo and ensure that the question of UFOs is left to the “nuts”.
Could then, there be a conspiracy to suppress CERN’s findings? Faster than light travel would be one of the biggest discoveries in mankind’s history and could bring about radical change. The implications of such a discovery could make trillions for some while costing others even more. The basic power structure that controls the would could crumble because of it. I have no proof that anything below board is going on regarding CERN’s research. It is quite possible that the adjustments made to compensate for time dilation in the GPS satellite clocks were not enough to give CERN’s experiment accurate results. It is also possible that the Dutch team made an honest mistake in their calculations and that FTL travel is still a possibility. However, I feel we must also consider the possibility, regardless of how remote, that scientific progress may very well be being manipulated to the benefit of the ruling elite.
On October 18, 2011
By John D
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