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 UFOs and The Speed of Light

One of the main reasons that skeptics give for not accepting the existence of extra-terrestrial UFOs is that the distances to the stars are too great. The speed at which an object can travel is limited by Einsteinís relativity theory to the speed of light. Although this is extremely fast by earth standards (186,000 mph) it is just a snails pace when compared to galactic distances. It would take a UFO spacecraft several lifetimes at that rate to travel to even the closest stars.

 However, a couple of recent experiments challenge this light speed limit. There was an interesting report in the New York Times about these experiments. In one of the experiments, researchers from the NEC Research Institute located in Princeton, New Jersey sent a pulse of light through a chamber filled with cesium gas.



The scientists measured this pulse of light to be travelling at an estimated speed of about 300 times the speed of light under normal conditions. The beam travelled so fast that part of the light reached its destination before it left its origin!

The official report from NEC has not yet been released because the experiment is still under review. It is believed that the weekly peer-reviewed Nature, a science journal, is undertaking this task of reviewing the experiment. In the mean time, an NEC spokesperson, Kazuko Anderson, has confirmed that the report appeared in the New York Times is accurate.

The other study of note was originally published in the Physical Review of Letters. In this study done at the Italian National Research Council of Florence, scientists sent rays of light a distance of one meter in the direction of a curved mirror. The mirror sent these rays back at an instrument designed to measure their speed. The part of the rays that came from the mirror's center were found to be 5% to 7% faster than the normal speed of light. However, this increase in speed was only found to occur when the light travelled short distances.

These experiments are likely to have an eventual impact on technology such as computer chips and communications, but in the mean time there is no planned practical use for this information. Particularly, there is not currently any way to transfer knowledge about the speed of light into a means of making objects of significant mass travel at these speeds.  

In terms of UFO technology however, it is easy to see how a more advanced civilization could have used this principle to construct spacecraft that are capable of travelling at speeds exceeding the speed of light. While this does not prove that UFOs originate from distant stars, it does answer a popular objection to their existence.