We grew up amused by superheroes who teleport from one place to another and high gloss science fiction films, like Star Trek, which beam people through space. All those super powers got us excited then, and they still do today, but what really fascinated most of us was teleportation. Who wouldn’t want to have the ability to travel all around the world in the blink of an eye?
They say fiction will translate into reality at some point, don’t they? Invisibility is now experimented, with scientists trying to bend an object’s light out of sight. Telepathy is an even more explored field, because of our never ending fascination with the human brain. However, teleportation is on another level, for it involves physical transfer of matter through vacuum, to an intended destination. Imagine the amount of quantum physics involved in this spectacle.
The Science Behind Teleportation
Strictly, teleportation involves breaking matter down to subatomic particles and transfer it to another place, without physical movement. In a letter written by Albert Einstein in 1947, he mentioned that he cannot take quantum physics seriously as “physics should represent a reality in time and space, free from spooky actions at a distance.” Transfer of information is theoretically possible, but applying the same laws to atomic particles is another matter.
Quantum Physics and Einstein’s theory of relativity are not exactly contradictory. Still, it’s hard to produce results, and transferring quantum information at sub-atomic level is nothing more than just a theory. An experiment conducted at the University of Maryland showed that the success lies in about 1 of every 100 million attempts. Not impossible, but epically difficult.
Theoretically, it takes about 1 trillion degrees Celsius to break the bonds between an electron and the nucleus. The temperature alone is much hotter than the sun’s surface temperature. While subatomic particles are dematerialized at that point, they are now reduced to massless radiation. So, if we are going to apply this on an adult human being, the amount of energy needed to disintegrate him to unbounded subatomic particles takes about 100 1-megaton hydrogen bombs. Plus, it does not even include reassembling these particles. So a lot of energy will be needed just to teleport a person alone.
Scientists claimed they were able to teleport an atom with 100% accuracy. The experiment was conducted by Prof. Ronald Hanson, at the Delft University of Technology, in Netherlands. He held a premise that we are simply atomic particles strung together. Hence, it is theoretically possible to dismantle these atoms and teleport us to our place of destination. In his experiment, Prof. Hanson used a nitrogen atom locked in a diamond crystal and two electrons. To these were then coded four possible states, each corresponding to a quantum equivalent of a bit, called a qubit.
This particle was able to ‘teleport’ for about three meters, with 100% accuracy. His team showed that teleportation is possible, as far as information is concerned. While it lacks any practical use at the moment, this experiment served as the fundamentals of building ultra-fast networks between supercomputers. Imagine the speed of your local WAN compared to a 4G internet connection. That dwarfs even the most powerful ones we have today.
For now, his team plans to conduct a more ambitious experiment. They are currently attempting a quantum transfer between buildings that are 1.3 kilometers apart.
Is It Possible to Teleport Humans?
To be honest, our understanding of teleportation is as clear as that of black holes, at this point. Dematerializing matters surely consumes a lot of energy and data. We should also take into consideration that the human brain contains so much information that it takes a football field-sized computer to completely replicate its prowess. Remember, your entire being will be disintegrated into particles and the same exact ones should be reassembled at the destination point. Not only that, all your memories and your brain functions must remain intact after the process. Teleportation is similar to being killed and reborn, all in a short period of time. The timing must be precise through the whole of the process, because the slightest disturbance will really alter the state of your being. More importantly, who knows what might happen when an experiment goes wrong? You are relatively lucky if you come off with a missing limb or a different eye color, but things can really go south. Worse, you might not be reborn at all. Good luck getting locked in a quantum limbo for eternity, in that case.
Unfortunately, at the moment, we do not have the technology and the know-how to teleport matter visible to the naked. The technique also involves transferring us at the speed of light, and that alone clashes with Einstein’s theory of relativity. Sadly, technology is not the only limitation, but also the current rules of physics.
A more possible option exists, however. That is to project our consciousness into inanimate objects and us becoming the objects. NASA is currently exploring this possibility for space exploration in the future. It works by having our astronauts project their thoughts into a machine located somewhere too extreme for their survival. Who knows, in the future we might be able to travel through the Solar System, without wasting all those years.
There’s also a hypothetical scenario where DNA profile will be sent via DNA machine. It will be transmitted via radio waves through space, along with instructions on how to make a human being out of those codes. Assuming the planet where data lands has the technology to do that, it is not impossible for a version of you living in another side of the universe. Nonetheless, assembling the human brain proved really difficult to do, regardless whether you see it as a pile of information or a complex network of information.
A more pressing issue should be addressed, as far as teleportation is concerned. If we can dematerialize and repack human beings at a subatomic level, why settle for mere copies? Scientists must have thought at some point that we may actually produce improved versions of ourselves, if ever we are able to successfully teleport. We could transfer a person from one place, then produce an immortal version of him in the other point. That poses another matter, however. But, are we prepared to enter the level of godhood, in that case?
What do you think about the possibility of human teleportation in the future?