99.9% the speed of light
What would happen if a object travelling at 99.9% the speed of light
managed to produce a sizable explosion in back of itself,
(of course shielding itself from the blast, using the blast as a
means of propulsion)
As far as I know the blast would have to add to the velocity of the
object and thus it would presumably go faster than the speed of light,
even though the particles in the object would theoretically not be able
to go this fast, the explosion should force the object faster, regardless?
No, your conjecture is not correct. In relativity, it is very hard
to increase velocity of objects that are already moving very fast. This
is what prevents any object from moving faster than light if it
started with a slower speed.
jasjeet s bagla
The reason is...as the object approaches c (the speed of light) its
effective mass increases so it takes more force to accelerate it.
Theoretically, any object with non-zero rest mass would have infinite mass at
velocity = c. Thus, nothing can exceed c.
Click here to return to the Physics Archives
Update: June 2012