We May Be Able to Teleport to Other Planets by the End of the Century

Tuesday, 08 September 2015 - 5:39PM
Science of Sci-Fi
Astrophysics
Physics
Tuesday, 08 September 2015 - 5:39PM
We May Be Able to Teleport to Other Planets by the End of the Century
Many technologies from Star Trek have already become a reality, from cell phones to the holodeck to the tricorder. But as it turns out, a real-life transporter may not be too far away, as theoretical physicist Michio Kaku of City University, New York insists that we will likely be able to teleport to the Moon or Mars by the end of the 21st century.

Opening quote
"A lot of things you see on Star Trek will in fact be possible - like the teleporter," Kaku told Express. "You know the expression 'Beam me up Scotty,' we used to laugh at it. We physicists used to laugh when someone talked about teleportation and invisibility, something like that, but we don't laugh anymore we realised we were wrong on this one."
Closing quote


Kaku has famously stated that the transporter would exist in real life within a century back in 2008, but he now has more concrete evidence to support his claim, as quantum teleportation, or teleportation of information between two quantum bits, was achieved by scientists for the very first time in May. Although this is a far cry from transporting actual matter, let alone an entire human being, this is at least proof that teleportation is possible.

Opening quote
"Quantum teleportation already exists. In fact, we took a film crew and went to the University of Maryland and actually filmed an atom being teleported," said Kaku. "It zapped across the room from one chamber to another. So at an atomic level we do it already. It's called quantum entanglement."
Closing quote


Kaku asserted that the entire concept of teleportation- disappearing and reappearing, being in two places at once- is theoretically possible due to the "spooky" nature of quantum mechanics. 
Opening quote
"Electrons do this all the time - they are called transistors. Light does it - it is called a laser beam."
Closing quote


Kaku believes that the next step will be to teleport photons to the Moon in 2020, when a manned mission is tentatively expected to arrive once again, and that we will teleport the first molecule within a decade. Then, the same process can be adapted to accommodate larger objects until we achieve the feat with animals, and then humans. As it is theoretically possible, he describes it as nothing more than a particularly involved "engineering project" that is "likely to be solved in time."

However, many scientists fundamentally disagree with Kaku that the successful teleportation of information indicates that it's possible to similarly transport actual matter. While information can be teleported using quantum processes, teleporting atoms requires breaking down the binding energy of electrons around nuclei, which means that a human being would need to be entirely deconstructed and dematerialized in order to be teleported. As a result, many theorists believe that it would, at the very least, be impossible to teleport a living thing without killing it.

And even if we did manage to teleport a human being, successfully dematerializing all of his or her atoms and reassembling them somewhere else, it would bring up many metaphysical questions. Would that person have died during the teleportation process and then come back to life? Would he or she be the same person, or a clone? Kaku attempted to tackle these questions a few years back, but they are not easily resolved.

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We May Be Able to Teleport to Other Planets by the End of the Century

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