Sunday, February 08, 2009


Here's a conundrum for you SF fans and any astrophysicists out there. I'm writing a SF novel in which my method of travel is by folding space. For example, you want to go from A to B; both points are at opposite ends of say, a piece of A4 paper. Instead of traversing the whole paper you fold it until the A and B points meet and then you step across.

Right, say this method is feasible, how about this:

Messier 87 which was discovered by Charles Messier in 1781 is a large elliptical galaxy about 55 million light years from Earth. If 'something' happened there which was observable from Earth and it happened now then we wouldn't be able to see it for 55 million years because of the time it would take for the light to reach us from that 'something'. However, imagine we could fold space as described and between us and the event we had the equivalent of a string of Hubble-like telescopes which folded the information received in series, one to another, across the galaxy until it reached Earth, almost instantaneously. So, would we be able to witness the event in more or less the same time as it was happening by using this folding network?

Answers in less than a thousand sentences please :)


Swainson said...

Answer --> yes

It was slightly shorter than a thousand sentences.

Have you ever read Necroscope by Brian Lumley?

Harry Keough travels in much the same way you describe using the Möbius Continuum. Travel being instantainious across any distance/time.

Bob Lock said...

Hi Swainson,
No, I haven't read Necroscope but had a quick look over on Wikipedia and saw what you mean. It's something along the line I was thinking of but the Möbius Continuum method seems to open a door to multiple areas whereas my method would be from one fixed point to another.
However, I'll take a closer look at it, but you think that you would see the event happening in real-time then and there would be no time dilation or other problems with Einstein's theory of relativity?

Swainson said...

Bob, I get you now. I think your problem would be in finding the point in the distance.

A small example:
You want to travel to the sun from earth. The problem being the light from the sun at the earth is eight minutes old and what you are in effect looking at is where the sun was eight minute ago.

To use your example you would have to know where your position 55 million years ago was to be able to even find where Messier 87 would be now.

So long as you know the spatial co-ordinates you in the 4 dimensions it seems a reasonable method of travel.

A couple of other interesting time/traveling books: Charles Stross, Singularity Sky has an interesting take on time travel, dilation etc. It's a good book aswell.

Fred Saberhagen, Beserker Base. I think it was that one, anyway in it the people on a space ship travel to a distance of 500 light years to watch the destruction of a base. It struck me if they could travel faster than light they could move to a point 501 light years away and watch it again.

Just reading your post again would a parallel circuit of telescopes work better. In electrical circuits the resistance goes up for series r1+r2+r3 etc, where in parallel 1/r1+1/r2+1/r3 etc.

the whole idea of folding space seems to be a neat and plausible way to travel great distances.

I don't think I have too many sentances left. That's my tuppence worth from someone not exactly qualified to answer!!

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