Spaceship travelling at the speed of Light

I know it’s been asked a thousand time, but if a spaceman was in a spaceship travelling at the speed of light and he were to turn his headlights on, what would he see?

It’s a meaningless question. If you’re traveling at the speed of light, you have to become light (or the equivalent). Further, you can’t accelerate any object with mass to the speed of light, since it mass becomes infinite and all the energy in the universe can’t get it up to that last little bit.

If you were traveling at .9999+ of the speed of light, there’d be all sorts of relativistic effects. It would appear to you that the universe was squished down, for instance. If you turned on the lights, it would appear to you that they were working normally.

“East is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.” – Marx

Read “Sundials” in the new issue of Aboriginal Science Fiction.

Also, covered by Uncle Cece. Frazer, pal, it’s always nice to get fresh blood on the board, but your going to have to learn to use the search engine.

Cecil’s answer:

…and I’m going to have to learn to use conjunctions, dammit. “You’re” not “your”.

Contraction faction, what’s your action? Joinin’ up words with apostrophaction…

:::Stomps around the room:::

Damn!, damn!, damn!, damn!, damn!..

Ok, let’s put something serious in here.

So spaceships can’t reach lightspeed. But is there some very high tau sublight speed limit as well? It seems to me that as relativistic mass goes up and ship gets foreshortened, it’s getting denser. At some ridiculously high number of 99.9999…s, would the ship collapse into a black hole?

From the viewpoint of someone else, that’s what it would look like, sorta.

But from the viewpoint of the spaceship, everything would be normal.

Relativity is just plain weird.

Here’s the basic problem – whenever you look at light, it’s always going exactly speed-of-light faster than you are. No matter how fast you move, it’s always faster than you by exactly the speed of light.

That’s known and measured. All the other funky stuff comes from doing the math that’s based on that fact.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

Frazer seems intent on only asking questions that have already been answered by Cecil or are crude ripoffs of tired comedy routines.
This practice requires effort and research - I believe we have a willful troll on our hands here.

What shall we do with this situation?

GQ Mod

Lumpy. I learned in HS Algebra from a way cool teacher that .9999(bar) equals 1. He gave me an equation that proved it, but I lost the equation. If anyone wants to day I’m wrong, go ahead. But anyway, that would make your example equal to the speed of light.


We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.

Hmmmmm…I dunno, Nickrz. What’s your take on the situation?

Hey, why do pigeons bob their heads when they walk?


Burn her!

"I prefer shows of the genre, “World’s Blankiest Blank.”

I suspect Nickrz is correct. How about we send all replies to Frazer’s email?

Dopeler effect:
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

I would think the best way to handle this situation is to give a one-line (correct) response (preferably by pointing to one of Cecil’s columns) and then let the thread sink to the bottom of the pond.

If Frazer is really a “troll”, then s/he will quit after realizing that s/he doesn’t get a lot of attention.

La franchise ne consiste pas à dire tout ce que l’on pense, mais à penser tout ce que l’on dit.
H. de Livry