Faster than light speed travel had evaded most species for a large portion of their space-faring careers. The Laws of Special Relativity seem to indicate that the faster one travels, the more energy and matter is needed to accelerate. Because of this, once you have reached the speed of light, you need an amount of energy equal to approximately every particle in the known universe thrown onto a giant flaming barbecue in order to go any faster.
Now, we all know that the Infinite Improbability Drive has had great success in faster than light travel by exploiting small semantic foibles in our comprehension of the universe and how everything works. Another example of this would be the Phargilor Kangaroo Relocation Drive. This engine has the unpleasant effect of ejecting the ship very suddenly through the fabric of spacetime and coming to rest far from the starting point – though it is very difficult to determine where you will end up.
For the last several decades, the Scientific Semantics Corporation has been working on a more reliable system. Their epiphany came when they were listening to a podcast about Zeno’s paradoxes. Zeno’s paradoxes are a set of philosophical problems supporting the doctrine that contrary to the evidence of one’s senses, motion is nothing but an illusion.
As we all know intuitively, before one can travel a given distance, it must travel a portion of that distance. Knowing that, we understand that in order to travel that distance, we must first travel a portion of that distance. Since this sequence goes on forever, it therefore appears that the distance cannot be traveled.The resolution of the paradox awaited calculus and the proof that infinite geometric series such as:
can converge, so that the infinite number of “half-steps” needed is balanced by the increasingly short amount of time needed to traverse the distances.
The first step in comprehending their breakthrough is to imagine an infinitesimally small distance. Let’s start with the shortest known measurement of distance.
The Planck length is 1.6 x 10-35 meters.
(That’s 0.000000000000000000000000000000000016 meters.)
Planck lengths are quite small. Scientists and most cosmic philosophers agree that there must be a shorter distance, but they’re not sure what that might be.
The Doubly Special Relativity Drive (DSRD) simply moves forward on the assumption that even if a Planck Length could be halved, that would just be silly.
The implications of this assertion are easy to see. Using the DSRD, we can simply travel in half-measures until we get within 1 Plank Length of our desired destination and call it “close enough.”
All that remains then is to double the distance and speed you would like to travel and punch in the calculations on the DSRD proprietary navigation core. This computer will tell the DSRD to travel half of the distance (within 1 Planck length) and stop. Then, you can utilize more conventional methods of propulsion for the remaining distance. You could, for instance, just take one very large step.
The Scientific Semantics Corporation has announced that a public demonstration of this breakthrough technology will be scheduled for approximately one-half the time from when you most expect it.