I'm sure you've heard of "E = mc2" ? This famous Einstein equation tells you how much energy you get when you convert matter into energy. "E" is energy, "m" is mass and "c" is the speed of light.
If we use metric units, a full grown man masses about 85 kilograms. The speed of light is pretty close to 300,000 kilometers / second or 3 X 108 meters / second so plugging these numbers in gives us an energy of 7.65 x 1018 kg-m2/sec2 or 7.65 x 1018 Joules. In case that means nothing to you, it's equivalent to 1800 megatons of TNT (about 90 good, old-fashioned H-bombs).
Not exactly the kind of experiment you want your husband doing in the basement.
This device works by scanning you and recording the position of every particle in your body, disintegrating you and sending you and your data to the receiver, which reassembles you.
So for each atom in your body you need three numbers (x,y,z) to indicate location, plus another number to indicate what kind of atom it is and maybe one more to indicate the atom's state (ionized, etc.). All these numbers represent about 20 bytes (in computerese) of information. Take that times the number of particles in your body (something in the neighborhood of 3 x 1027 atoms) and you get 6 x 1019 gigabytes of information storage required each time. A good, top of the line computer (for March, 2000 -feo.) comes with a hard drive that can store about 20 gigabytes. You'd need 2.8 x 1018 computers (enough for every person on Earth to have more than 465 million computers each). Think of the download time! Each transmission would take so long it'd be quicker to walk.
As of March 2012, a good top of the line personal desktop computer can store 128 gigabytes on its RAM alone and 3 terabytes, or 3000 gigabytes on its single hard drive.
One 3 terabyte hard drive per computer is equivalent to the year 2000 population of 6 billion people now require a little over 33,100,000 computers each or 3.3 x 106.
Also, and this is crucial to all computing, consider that amount of information further packaged by a lossless compression algorithm. Since such computer technologies have existed for decades and continue to improve, this is well within the realm of possibility, even a likely necessity. At this rate, and with the ever increasing speed of technology, we should be ready for human teleportation by 2018.
UPDATE: August, 2015
This drive, preparing for mass production, will go on sale as soon as the major operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) can handle that much storage space on a single drive. Or, by the time you read this.
In addition to its size, it is also the fastest drive ever made for commercial use, thanks to its latest 48 layer flash drive contained within the 3.5 inch SSD.
In my last update of March, 2012, the fastest SSD drive was capable of handling 90,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second - how many tasks can be performed in a second). Most consumer SSDs perform at 10,000 IOPS.
The new consumer model Samsung 16 terabyte SSD drive handles a minimum of 2,000,000 IOPS - over 200 times faster than current laptop SSD consumer models.
So let's put this new data into perspective.
Back when this Science Moment was written in 2000, a desktop computer topped out at a max of 20 gigabytes per hard drive. Kelly determined that you'd need 2.8 x 1018 computers to store the amount of info required to transmit a single person. Referencing a total world population of about 6 billion people in 2000, he figured it out to around 465 million computers per person.
In 2012, staying with that 6 billion person figure, a computer with the latest 3 terabyte (3000 gigabyte hard drive) brought that per person number down to 150 million computers per person.
For our latest update, we now have the 16 terabyte drive (16,000 gigabytes). That much space on a hard drive is equivalent to a year 2000 person having 800 single hard drive computers. At 16 terabytes, the single hard drive computer per person metric has now dropped to about 620 thousand computers per person or 6.2 x 105.
Hella steep? Sure! But consider that in the space of only 15 years, that is a minus of over 464 million computers (2.8 x 1018) per person.
Since just 2012, that is a cut of nearly 150 million computers per person! In just three years!
An actual matter transmitter would be based upon a wide range of figures and technology, of course, much of which probably hasn't been invented yet. But based solely on whether or not our hard drive tech could handle the storage capacity of matter transmitter machines sending humans, my original prediction of storage readiness by 2018 is on course.
When you talk about teleporting someone from London to Montreal, you have to worry about momentum: Conservation of momentum, that is.
At the equator the earth is spinning at almost half a kilometer per second. The farther north you go the lower
the velocity but the real problem is that London and Montreal are
at different latitudes and therefore moving at different velocities.
The difference looks small on a map but in fact it works out to
about 130 km kilometers per hour or roughly 80 mph.
Also, moving at the speed of light over that distance, Henri arrives in Montreal before he's through leaving London.
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