Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Accelerated Objects and Warped Space
Name: Vincent
Status: student
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

As an object accelerates to the speed of light its mass increases. Why then when it reaches a certain mass does it not create a black hole or warp local space-time into a singularity?

According to theory, the body expands in the direction perpendicular to the direction of motion while thinning in the direction of motion. At near light speed you would get a very thin, very massive Frisbee(c) the diameter of hundreds of galaxies. There is plenty of space for the increased mass.

Of course, long before reaching such a speed and state, the body would have run into with some unpleasant results ensuing for the occupants of space ship and the target.

Bob Avakian


To make an object with any mass to accelerate "to the speed of light" would require an infinite amount of energy. An infinite amount of energy is not available. Another problem is radiation. When something such as a proton gains so much energy that its speed approaches the speed of light, some of the energy goes into internal structure rather than speed. This often results in radioactive decay: the high energy particle breaks into smaller particles.

If it were possible to accelerate a massive object close enough to the speed of light in a reasonable amount of time without destroying the object in the process, you just might get something quite unusual; however, such an accomplishment would not be easy to achieve.

Ken Mellendorf
Math, Science, Engineering
Illinois Central College

Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory