It seems that mere stealth technology is not enough; the United States Air Force wants to get from here to there without even traversing the space in between. Are they looking for a Star Trek(TM) transporter? Or maybe even a farcaster from science fiction writer Dan Simmons' awesome novel Hyperion, which lets you step from one planet to the next?
Not quite: but, lest you think that our friends at DARPA are the only ones interested in science-fictional possibilities, the USAF recently took delivery of a new study regarding the military potential of teleportation.
The Teleportation Physics Study was done by Eric Davis of Warp Drive Metrics. Its purpose -
"This study was tasked with the purpose of collecting information describing the teleportation of material objects, providing a description of teleportation as it occurs in physics, its theoretical and experimental status, and a projection of potential applications. The study also consisted of a search for teleportation phenomena occurring naturally or under laboratory conditions that can be assembled into a model describing the conditions required to accomplish the transfer of objects."The author broke down the various possibilities in this way:
- Teleportation - SciFi: the disembodied transport of persons or inanimate objects across space by advanced (futuristic) technological means (adapted from Vaidman, 2001). We will call this sf- Teleportation, which will not be considered further in this study.
- Teleportation - psychic: the conveyance of persons or inanimate objects by psychic means. We will call this p-Teleportation.
- Teleportation - engineering the vacuum or spacetime metric: the conveyance of persons or inanimate objects across space by altering the properties of the spacetime vacuum, or by altering the spacetime metric (geometry). We will call this vm-Teleportation.
- Teleportation - quantum entanglement: the disembodied transport of the quantum state of a system and its correlations across space to another system, where system refers to any single or collective particles of matter or energy such as baryons (protons, neutrons, etc.), leptons (electrons, etc.), photons, atoms, ions, etc. We will call this q-Teleportation.
- Teleportation - exotic: the conveyance of persons or inanimate objects by transport through extra space dimensions or parallel universes. We will call this e-Teleportation.
"The first solution can be found from the class of traversable wormholes giving rise to what I call a true "stargate." A stargate is essentially a wormhole with a flat-face shape for the throat as opposed to the spherical-shaped throat of the Morris and Thorne traversable wormhole, which was derived from a spherically symmetric Lorentzian spacetime metric that prescribes the wormhole geometry."Unfortunately, despite a lot of very impressive math, he seems to settle on p-teleportation as the most likely recommendation for further study, saying
"P-Teleportation, if verified, would represent a phenomenon that could offer potential high-payoff military, intelligence and commercial applications. This phenomenon could generate a dramatic revolution in technology, which would result from a dramatic paradigm shift in science. Anomalies are the key to all paradigm shifts!"I know what you're thinking; more wasted government money. However, a quick look at the distribution list thoughtfully included at the end of the report shows that a copy was sent to Gregory Benford, physicist and highly respected sf author. Maybe we'll get a good story out of it.
In the meantime, read what it would be like to step through a wormhole; check out Frank Herbert's description of a vortal tube from his 1969 novel Whipping Star.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)