While it takes just seconds in 'Star Trek', academics have now determined that it would actually take a very long time to beam Scotty up to the USS Enterprise. And not because you'd have to invent a teleporter, and somewhere to teleport to, first.
According to a team at the University of Leicester, teleporting the data required to recreate a human being with current technology would actually take several times the age of the universe.
Fourth year Masters physics students James Nelms, Declan Roberts, Suzanne Thomas and David Starkey write in their paper, "Travelling by Teleportation", that any transmission of data involves a trade off between the power used to send it versus the time it takes to transmit.
Sending more data, or faster data, requires more power to be consumed.
And by working out the data involved in recreating a human - which is roughly 10 to the power of 10 bits for the cells alone, and far more for the full brain content bringing the total to 2.6 x 10 to the power of 42 bits - they worked out how long it would take to send the information from Earth to a point in space.
The result? If the bandwidth used is a reasonable 29.5 to 30 GHz, the transfer would take about 350,000 times the current age of the universe - which is about 13.8 billion years.
"Current means of travel remain more feasible," said Starkey.
"We employed several approximations to determine the amount of data required in bits to fully store a human genetic code and neural information, and the signal to noise ratio of typical signalling equipment. We also assumed that the maximum data sampling rate, the Nyquist limit, was reached by both transmitter and receiver.
"Our results indicate the time scales to complete a full teleport of an individual are a little too lengthy at this time."
That's not to say that one day it won't be possible. Improvements are being made in teleportating data from Earth to Space, so who knows? It's just that to send you to the Space Station without a rocket we'll need an insane amount of energy, lots of time, or more probably both.
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