Teleporting 1 person would take 350,000 times longer than known time

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Jul 31, 2013, 11:31 AM EDT

Turns out actual teleportation is the slowest way to travel, by quite a margin.

Ever since Star Trek planted the idea in everyone's head of beaming from a planet to a starship, or from a starship to a planet, or between two starships, we've wondered if and when such a thing will be possible. But according to a new study by physics students at the University of Leicester in England, even if we did have the technology, we might not want to attempt such a feat, because even if you started your teleport now, you would be in transit longer than the universe has been in existence.

"We decided to investigate the practicalities of teleportation as a means of everyday travel," said David Starkey, a member of the team, who are all final year of Master of Physics students.

"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.

"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."

The students calculated that the average human would be made up of 2.6 times 10 to the power of 42 bits (the basic unit of computing information, smaller than a byte), a number that includes your complete genetic code and all the stuff in your brain. Assuming we even had the technology to make teleportation work, the amount of time it would take to move all that information from one place to another would be dependent on bandwidth. If your teleporter was packing 29.5 to 30 gigahertz of bandwidth power, the students estimate the transfer would take 4.5 times 10 to the power of 15 years.

That's about 350,000 times longer than the universe has existed, and the universe has existed for somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 billion years. 

So, until we find a way to produce truly incredible bandwidth speeds, it's probably best to just take the shuttle down to the planet's surface.

(Via The Independent)