Transporter Room Star Trek Exhibit at Queen Mary Spruce Goose Dome, Long Beach, California

Teleport 'unfeasible' according to physics students

A group of University of Leicester students has calculated the energy, time and data capacity required to teleport one person from Earth to Space.

In an attempt to find a realistic basis for the plot-friendly Star Trek method of ship-to-ground transport, the four physics students focused on what would it take to teleport a human being from a location on the Earth’s surface to spacecraft in orbit directly above.

Their findings have been published in the University of Leicester annual Journal of Physics Special Topics.

“We decided to investigate the practicalities of teleportation as a means of everyday travel,” said team member David Starkey.

Before the teleportation process could be initiated, the teleported person would have to be represented in transferable data. In the case of any living object, such transferable data would be represented by the DNA, the students have concluded.

According to the calculations performed, each cell could be encoded into 1010 bits of digital information; it is sufficient to transfer the data only of one cell of each kind, as the single cell would contain enough information to rebuild the whole body.

The most challenging part of the process would be rebuilding the teleported person's brain. The complete information of that traveller’s brain would be required, which brings the total information content up to around 2.6 x 1042 b.

“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,” Starkey explained. “We also assumed that the maximum data-sampling rate, the NY Quist limit, was reached by both transmitter and receiver.”

After calculating the basic data defining the human being, the students moved towards calculating the time and power required to make the actual transfer from Earth to the chosen point in Space.

The results suggest that with the current state of the technology, teleport is not the most convenient means of travel. Assuming the 29.5 to 30GHz bandwidth would be used, the students calculated that to completely teleport a human from Earth to space would take up to 4.85x1015 years.

“Our results indicate the time-scales to complete a full teleport of an individual are a little too lengthy at this time. Current means of travel remain more feasible,” Starkey commented. In fact, teleporting a person would take 350,000 years longer than is the presumed age of the Universe.

The energy consumption to complete such a process depends on what bandwidth is actually used. To speed up the process, more energy would be required, resulting in greater power consumption.

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