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TrekToday - Beam Me Up Rumsfeld?

Beam Me Up Rumsfeld?

By Michelle
October 6, 2005 - 10:19 PM

The United States military is studying the feasibility of teleportation, "beaming up" people such as Osama Bin Laden or sending defense teams to difficult-to-reach locales.

The Scripps Howard News Service has picked up a story which quotes Ranney Adams, a spokesperson for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base, as saying it would be ideal if the military could send soldiers to remote spots via teleportation. "But we're not there [yet]," he added.

The Air Force spent $25,000 last year on a study of teleportation physics to consider means of transporting people and cargo through space, though physicists said that the obstacles in terms of energy expenditure and data transfer are enormous.

"I would say that something is wrong with the way the Air Force allocates its research money, at least on this topic," said Phil Schewe, the chief science writer at the American Institute of Physics. He noted that experts can foresee using teleportation for encrypted data, but transporting large objects, let alone living beings, is a long way off.

But Center for Strategic and International Studies fellow Pierre Chao said that scientific advances required risks in funding. "The devil's bargain that you're going to take if you're going to exist in that cutting-edge [scientific] world and use taxpayer dollars is that you're going to be investigating some pretty goofy things," he said.

The encoding of the contents of a human body would require 10 to the 28th kilobytes of computer storage capacity, or 100 quintillion commercially available hard drives. Moreover, to dematerialize one human being the way Star Trek does it "would require...the energy equivalent of 330 one-megaton thermonuclear bombs."

The original article is at Scripps Howard News Service.

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