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Q: Doubling the speed of light ( Answered ,   4 Comments )
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 Subject: Doubling the speed of light Category: Science > Earth Sciences Asked by: azakai-ga List Price: \$10.00 Posted: 14 Dec 2005 08:52 PST Expires: 13 Jan 2006 08:52 PST Question ID: 605751
 ```Will using a digital mirror (or other mirror)that is traveling at the speed of light toward a light beam double the speed of the refelcted light?```
 Subject: Re: Doubling the speed of light Answered By: richard-ga on 21 Dec 2005 06:39 PST Rated:
 ```Hello and thank you for your question. Commenter kottekoe-ga is entirely correct in stating that the very foundation of special relativity is that the speed of light in a vacuum is always exactly the same. In your question, you assume that the mirror is traveling at the speed of light. This might be a physical impossibility (because no matter how little its mass, no less than an infinite amount of energy would be needed to accelerate it to that speed), but the answer is no different than if it were travelling at, say, 99.9999% of the speed of light. Anyway, the paper that I cite at the end of this answer reaches the same conclusion when the mirror does travel at the speed of light (as long as it isn't assumed to that speed). Physicists Albert Michelson and Edward Morley in their famous experiment actually measured the speed of light in two directions - - one direction where the speed of the earth moving through the universe would seemingly boost the beam of light and another, perpendicular to the first, where it would not. The light beam was found to be going at the same speed in both cases. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_light#Relativity Here is a more complete explanation of the phenomenon: SPECIAL RELATIVITY: LORENTZ TRANSFORMATIONS http://cmtw.harvard.edu/Courses/Phys16/l1_latex/l1_latex.html And here is a more technical paper on the subject. Note the author requires only that the mirror velocity "never the speed of light." Reflection of Light From a Moving Mirror:Derivation of the Relativistic Doppler Formula without Lorentz Transformations http://www.phys.ufl.edu/~malik/education/refl.pdf Search terms used: "special relativity" fundamental mirror speed light "special relativity" fundamental mirror speed light site:.edu Thanks again for bringing us your question. Google Answers Researcher Richard-ga```
 azakai-ga rated this answer: and gave an additional tip of: \$5.00 ```This is a simple answer to what I think is a complex question. The answer is as high level as science can explain. I still think that there is some experimentation that can be done here to prove that we can increase the speed of light. I am certain - I beleive in God - certain that we are able to increase the speed of light in a universe this size.```

 ```That is a question that remains unanswered and only theorized. A similar question is, "If I am traveling at the speed of light and turn on my headlights, what will happen?" tutuzdada-ga```
 ```The answer to this is known as well as anything in physics. As described in the other thread with the same question, the answer is an unequivocal NO. The very foundation of special relativity is that the speed of light in a vacuum is always exactly the same. The implications of this are profound and well established experimentally and theoretically.```
 ```There is a small problem in your assumption. As you increase the speed of the mirror its mass will also increase. that means it'll take more energy to increase the speed further. as the speed of the mirror approaches the speed of light the amount of energy required will tend to infinity.```
 ```This does not invalidate any of the detailed answer given by Richard which is well considered and exactly on point; however, you might be interested to learn that, at the very cutting edge of science, there is actually debate going on about whether ?constants? such as the speed of light, are actually constant. June 05 Scientific American has a good lay discussion titled ?Inconstant Constants? which you may find interesting. It is a fascinating topic and fun to think about, but please don?t read too much into the article, these scientists are talking about something very important to physicists but not something which has much bearing on the universe we have to live in daily. They are discussing far distant times, places, or other universes (M theory predicts as many as 10 to the 500th power) but, of course, if physical constants are different, you couldn?t be alive there since life as we know it depends on the same physical laws which led Einstein to his theories. By the way, any questions about what will happen "if you are traveling at the speed of light" aren't realy questions since, as far as we know, in this universe you can't travel at the speed of light so physicists don't really think about that sort of problem.```