Approaching Light Speed
Let's look at Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2 (or a slightly more complicated version of it) to explain the so-called "Mass-Energy Equation". But don't worry. The math looks worse than it really is, and it's really worth taking a couple minutes to think about it. The implications of this short equation may boggle your mind.
Consider the following:
This is the actual FULL version of Einstein's famous equation, but it is what we must look at to understand the implications of approaching light speed.
Let's take it step by step. You may think you suck at math and want to close this web page before you read another word. But I promise you it is not that bad. First, let's make sure we're on the same page:
The Left Side
Einstein uses "E" to mean Energy. His goal is to explain how much energy is contained in mass (or "stuff"). Basically, any piece of matter (or stuff) has a lot of "potential" energy locked inside it. His goal was to explain just how much energy that is. As you proceed, you will see the amount of potential energy is truly mind boggling.
At any rate, E just means "Energy".
The Common Right Side
Let's forget about the BOTTOM of the equation for a minute and just focus on the part everyone has heard about:
Here "m" means "mass", and "c2" means the "speed of light squared". Einstein says that when we multiply the two things together, it gives you the value for "how much total energy" is in that piece of mass.
The Complicated Right Side
The right side explains, mathematically, the implications of mass as it begins to go faster and faster, specifically - when it approaches the speed of light. Basically, the more "mass" (or stuff) you have, the more "potential energy" there is, meaning the more "locked up energy" there is.
If you could somehow unlock this energy, it would turn into heat and light. That is basically what happens when an atomic bomb goes off. The mass (or stuff) is quickly converted into energy and we see it as heat and light.
This can seem confusing for some people.
Mass is just some "stuff", anything really. It could just refer to a rock.
Weird Things Begin to Happen
Ramifications - Time Travel
This will then "seg-way" into my "Time Travel" article (since you can indeed travel into the future). I'll be writing the time travel article soon after I address the "light speed" topic here. -Greg Mallon (2009)
Light speed is FAST. I will discuss so-called "relativistic effects" of approaching the speed of light. Basically "weird things begin to happen", and it's pretty cool. Time actually begins to slow down, and your "mass" will increase as you approach the speed of light.
FACT: The speed of Light