This is a very interesting question. We always
have this kind of question when we learn that
there is a light barrier for any real matter. To
be honest, I am not an expert on relativity, I
still do not have a very good answer to it. But I
can share some of my thoughts.
Before I start, I would like to make an
assumption, the light barrier or speed of light
should be stated in vacuum. Since it is
known, the speed of light in medium is slower
than that in vacuum. Suppose we have some
type of special medium, such that the light
barrier in this medium is very small, then this is
not the question you want to know.
1) Light barrier: Einstein proposed one of
the principles for special relativity: no real
matter can break the light barrier in vacuum.
It seems to be true so far, since a lot of
experiments have been done, and verified
Einstein's special and relativity theories. Thus
for most of us we believe that the principle is
most likely to be true.
2) Things travel at the speed of light or even
faster. Of course, light itself is traveling
at the exact speed, which is the standard we are
comparing to. Even though, no real matter can
travel faster than light, there are things can
travel faster than light. Some example, phase
velocity and quantum entangled information.
It is probably not easy to explain these terms in
just a few words. The bottom line, these things
traveling faster than light are not real
matter, because there are information that can
spread faster than light. Photon (light) can
travel at the speed of light, because its rest
mass is zero.
(There are other possibilities that an object
can travel faster than light, for instance the
assumption of warping the space. But I am
not going to explore the details.)
3) Back to the original question:
First, can a person break the light
barrier? Very unlikely. The special
relativity imposes the following relation
E = m c2 /(1 -
where E is the energy, m is the
rest mass of an object, c is the speed of
light in vacuum and v is the velocity that
the object travels.
With v = 0, we have the famous relation
E = m c2.
If you accelerate v from 0 to c, the energy
will increase, and then eventually to infinity.
Therefore any real matter with "m" not equal to
zero can not travel at the speed of light, not to
mention breaking the barrier. Light can
travel at the speed of light, because its mass
Second, what if a person breaks the light
barrier, what happens? Unless you have no
mass, meaning no existence of you; or you survive
at such high speed somehow, carry an infinite
amount of energy, equaling or even greater than
the total energy of the universe. Now you
won't even notice the existence of time.
Everything looks eternal to you.
The last, everything I mentioned before is based
on what we learnt at small speed, from 0 to the
light barrier speed c. It is possible that there
is a different structure, or different universe
that everything moves larger than c, which breaks
the light barrier. So how would it look
picture could be totally different than we
described before. This is something very
me either. But I don't think we will get a correct
answer to it in the near future. Keep your
curiosity and hope we can get a good answer in the
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