Oh holy shit. THIS. THIS is why NASA’s important, people.

Tech

You know that scene in the film Contact where the “Machine” is spooling up, its three spinning rings kicking out crazy light and an electromagnetic field powerful enough to pitch nearby Navy battleships sideways, as Ellie (Jodie Foster) waits, terrified, in her tiny spherical craft above the space-time bedlam, to plummet into the vortex?

Yeah, that’s not exactly how NASA’s envisioning faster-than-light space travel, but…wait, NASA’s working on faster-than-light travel? Isn’t that impossible?

(MORE: Ultrafast Chips that Run on Light: Nanoswitch Breakthrough Brings Us Closer)

Of course it is. Nothing can travel faster than light, right? To do so would violate the special theory of relativity, which stipulates that you’d need an infinite amount of energy to accelerate a particle with mass to light speed. We’ve all heard this pretty much since we were kids. Has someone finally proven special relativity wrong?

Not at all…

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