What If....

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April 20th, 2017 at 6:22:43 AM permalink
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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Posts: 10663
Quote: rxwine
What if...

in the future we develop new technology that enables us to create an enormous lens in space made of energy, not material which will enable us to view many exoplanets as if they were as close as the Moon?

A lens is merely an object that bends light, thus focusing it if properly shaped. Many materials can do this, but glass is the easiest to work with and to shape with high precision.

Energy can bend light, too. But it takes a lot of energy. Gravity bends light, for example, and gravitational lenses are a well-known astronomical phenomenon. But as yet, the only way to create gravity is to gather lots of mass in a small space. You could conceivably use a black hole or a neutron star as a lens, but three's no known way of handling such things.

Mass and energy are equivalent, though. Therefore a great deal of energy concentrated in one small place would generate gravity and bend light. But you need a really large amount of energy to obtain a small amount of mass-equivalent gravity. Since you get energy from material masses, the math doesn't work out.

Mass isn't all. Space matters. A black hole is a tad less massive than the star that collapsed into it, but has all that mass concentrated in a literal point. You could conceivably cram lots of energy into a space the size of a big atomic nucleus, say.

Now guess what can keep massive amounts of energy in a small space? Gravity.

If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
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