Infinite Mass and the Universe
Name: Jesse C.
I know that the closer you get to the speed of light the more mass
you gain...so if you get infinitely close to that speed than you have infinite
mass or something like that. Well, if you have infinite mass, that means you
have infinite gravitational force, right? If that is true, does that mean you
become the center of the universe since all things would then be infinitely
drawn to you? Would then everything be forced to fit inside your center of
gravity? Wouldn't you then become the thing that the universe is inside of?
Kind of a stretch, but I am curious to know what having infinite mass would
be like. I would think that having infinite of anything would then mean that
the normal effect of that property would then become infinite as well. Like if
I could write infinitely fast than I would fill an infinite amount of pieces of
paper instantly. Does that principle extend to gravity? Would having infinite
mass mean that you would me the universe because if you have infinite mass,
doesn't that mean that there can be mass no where else? How could you add
something to infinity? Wouldn't all mass have to be contained within your
infinite stores of it? Please let me know. Thanks.
Several factors prevent this problem from ever happening: First, it is not
possible to accelerate an object to infinite mass. It would require infinite
energy. As the object gets closer to the speed of light, as the object becomes
more massive, pushes and pulls from around it have less and less effect on it.
Second, the universe might be drawn to it but not for long. As objects sped up,
the first thing would appear to slow down. It would then appear to have less
mass again. Third, the other objects would have to build up to the speed of
light before they could even try to catch it. This would require more energy
from the original object than it had. For one star to bring a galaxy up to
the star's speed is not physically possible.
You do not need to worry about such a situation. Only massless objects travel
at the speed of light. Strangely, objects with zero mass always travel at the
speed of light. One of these, of course, is light. Another is a gluon within
a nucleus of an atom.
Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College
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Update: June 2012