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Old January 31 2014, 09:15 PM   #1
Dale Sams
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Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

1) How can neutronium even exist except in space? On a planet, it would drop right to the core, wouldn't it?

2) The only reason to go to maximum warp before hitting a planet or Borg Cube would be so you can't be stopped. "Nothing" can go faster than light. The minute you hit, you aren't going faster anymore and I would think the impact is subject to .999+ of the speed of light. You're not getting extra oomph by going faster than light.

Besides, no explosion can be greater than the amount of mass converted to energy, and a shuttle going .999999 of C is going to knock the planet out of orbit and shear off the atmospheres of nearby planets.

Question: How big an explosion would the entire mass of the Earth converted to energy be?

3) How would red matter even work? You can't make a singularity out of nothing that would have any kind of effect. I guess you can pseudoscience handwave making Vulcan collapse on itself (somehow), but that's not going to make a black hole any bigger than a thimble is it? And the Narada isn't planet sized. It should have collapsed in the blink of an eye.
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Old January 31 2014, 10:05 PM   #2
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
1) How can neutronium even exist except in space? On a planet, it would drop right to the core, wouldn't it?
Strictly speaking, neutronium cannot exist at all except in the extremely high density and temperatures found in the centers of neutron stars. Remove that temperature and pressure and it "pops out" into ordinary matter, probably explosively.

That, of course, assumes neutronium is even a real thing, and that is FAR from certain. The Star Trek substance called "neutronium" is probably something else entirely.

2) The only reason to go to maximum warp before hitting a planet or Borg Cube would be so you can't be stopped. "Nothing" can go faster than light. The minute you hit, you aren't going faster anymore and I would think the impact is subject to .999+ of the speed of light. You're not getting extra oomph by going faster than light.
You are if a piece of the target is inside your warp field for a fraction of a second before you crash into it. In which case, the chunk of your ship that is inside the warp field is displaced forward at FTL velocities, disconnecting rapidly from or colliding with the parts of the ship that are NOT traveling FTL. You're basically taking a big chunk of the enemy ship and slamming it into the rest of it at warp speeds, and all of that before any part of your hull actually collides with it.

Actually, by some accounts this is how disruptors basically work: weaponized warp fields that take a big chunk of the target and accelerate it away from the rest of the ship.

Besides, no explosion can be greater than the amount of mass converted to energy, and a shuttle going .999999 of C is going to knock the planet out of orbit and shear off the atmospheres of nearby planets.
Not even close. A 2-ton shuttlecraft traveling at the speed of light has a kinetic energy equivalent to about 21.5 gigatons of TNT. That would be devastating for the planet and all, but nowhere near the kind of energy you'd need to significantly change the planet's orbit and not even close to the energy needed to affect other planets in the same system.

3) How would red matter even work?
Its a substance that exists in multiple dimensions at once, so that only part of it is actually visible in the four space-time dimensions. The rest of the substance is curled up into the higher 6 or 7 dimensions where it interacts more strongly with gravity than it does with electromagnetism.

Hence any given mass of red matter is always spherical: it's being compressed into a sphere by its own gravity. Red matter is a lot more responsive to gravity than other substances (e.g. people, ships, etc) because most of its mass is locked up in those higher dimensions where gravity is the dominant force. It takes a HUGE amount of mass to produce gravitational effects that are as strong as electromagnetic ones; the drop of red matter Ayel took from the Jellyfish would be equivalent to the mass of a small planet.

The "singularity" forms because red matter still weakly interacts via electromagnetism, it just takes a much stronger force (say, the mass of an entire planet crushing down on it) than it normally would.

Put more simply: normal matter interacts very strongly via electromagnetism and very weakly through gravity. Red matter interacts very strongly through gravity and very weakly through electromagnetism. When you combine red matter and normal matter, you end up with a large mass that interacts very strongly through gravity AND electromagnetism. The mass of the planet increases, and in short order so does its density. Density increases the gravity at lower depths, which in turn increases the density further, etc etc etc.

The only real question is how come Vulcan didn't explode when the red matter was consumed and the singularity was turned off. I suspect there's a little baseball-sized dot floating around where Vulcan used to be into which the entire mass of the planet has been compressed.
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Old January 31 2014, 10:52 PM   #3
Dale Sams
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

[QUOTE=Crazy Eddie;9191716]
Dale Sams wrote: View Post

2) The only reason to go to maximum warp before hitting a planet or Borg Cube would be so you can't be stopped. "Nothing" can go faster than light. The minute you hit, you aren't going faster anymore and I would think the impact is subject to .999+ of the speed of light. You're not getting extra oomph by going faster than light.
You are if a piece of the target is inside your warp field for a fraction of a second before you crash into it. In which case, the chunk of your ship that is inside the warp field is displaced forward at FTL velocities, disconnecting rapidly from or colliding with the parts of the ship that are NOT traveling FTL. You're basically taking a big chunk of the enemy ship and slamming it into the rest of it at warp speeds, and all of that before any part of your hull actually collides with it.

Actually, by some accounts this is how disruptors basically work: weaponized warp fields that take a big chunk of the target and accelerate it away from the rest of the ship.

Besides, no explosion can be greater than the amount of mass converted to energy, and a shuttle going .999999 of C is going to knock the planet out of orbit and shear off the atmospheres of nearby planets.
Not even close. A 2-ton shuttlecraft traveling at the speed of light has a kinetic energy equivalent to about 21.5 gigatons of TNT. That would be devastating for the planet and all, but nowhere near the kind of energy you'd need to significantly change the planet's orbit and not even close to the energy needed to affect other planets in the same system.


I posted this in a different thread as a rebuttal to the amount of energy released by a light speed object hitting a planet.

http://what-if.xkcd.com/20/

However, I thought he was talking about a fist-sized diamond. But he was talking about a diamond 100 feet in diameter. So...yes...that's considerably more mass than a shuttlecraft.

Oh, and thank you for the other answers! Particularly red matter.

edit: God knows I haven't seen every episode of Star Trek, but I've never seen an episode that seems to show that dropping out of warp keeps the ship moving at anything approaching even a fraction of the speed of light. If anything, the opposite.

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Old February 1 2014, 08:45 AM   #4
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

Easy. Red matter is liquid neutronium.
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Old February 2 2014, 10:09 PM   #5
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post

You are if a piece of the target is inside your warp field for a fraction of a second before you crash into it. In which case, the chunk of your ship that is inside the warp field is displaced forward at FTL velocities, disconnecting rapidly from or colliding with the parts of the ship that are NOT traveling FTL. You're basically taking a big chunk of the enemy ship and slamming it into the rest of it at warp speeds, and all of that before any part of your hull actually collides with it.

Actually, by some accounts this is how disruptors basically work: weaponized warp fields that take a big chunk of the target and accelerate it away from the rest of the ship.

Not even close. A 2-ton shuttlecraft traveling at the speed of light has a kinetic energy equivalent to about 21.5 gigatons of TNT. That would be devastating for the planet and all, but nowhere near the kind of energy you'd need to significantly change the planet's orbit and not even close to the energy needed to affect other planets in the same system.


I posted this in a different thread as a rebuttal to the amount of energy released by a light speed object hitting a planet.

http://what-if.xkcd.com/20/
Which, while hilarious, is still inaccurate. xkcd is a blog, not a textbook.

God knows I haven't seen every episode of Star Trek, but I've never seen an episode that seems to show that dropping out of warp keeps the ship moving at anything approaching even a fraction of the speed of light. If anything, the opposite.
There are three possible ansers to that question, and it depends on the way warp drive is depicted or understood.

Answer 1: We know that starships have to push objects out of their way in order to avoid a collision at warp speed. This tells us that the ship will actually encounter those particles at those high speeds and the deflector is important to keep the ship safe. Colliding with a planet, the navigational deflector would be in the position of trying to push the planet out of the ship's way; although it would almost certainly fail, the amount of material it would displace while doing so would cause certain kinetic effects to occur. How much damage it causes depends on the power of the deflector (there's probably an upper limit to how much mass it can displace before it is crushed in the collision), but it is likely to be at least equivalent to the mass of the ship itself.

Answer 2: Action and reaction: since the deflector doesn't deflect the planet, it deflects the ship instead, with the result that the mechanical force is transmitted back into the ship, crushing the deflector and tearing the ship apart. In this case, the ship explodes at the moment of the collision; the planet is displaced somewhat, but the ship takes most of that energy and is blown apart. This would occur if the deflector was not "hard" enough to really affect the planet and might be the case for some weaker civilian vessels (freighters and shuttles, etc) which would explain why warp ramming is never used: if you had a ship with deflectors powerful enough to damage the planet, you'd be better off using it as a ship.

Answer 3: Abrams Trek, warp drive is basically the folding of space in something a very similar to a wormhole, in which case the ship in question would probably pass right through the planet without anyone noticing.
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Old February 2 2014, 11:54 PM   #6
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Which, while hilarious, is still inaccurate. xkcd is a blog, not a textbook.
xkcd is written by people who are well-informed about their subject matter. I'm questioning this statement of yours:

A 2-ton shuttlecraft traveling at the speed of light has a kinetic energy equivalent to about 21.5 gigatons of TNT. .....
Can you please back up your calculation with some justification. I'm unfamiliar with any method of determining the kinetic energy of a shuttlecraft (or any mass, for that matter) travelling at the speed of light. This is because -- as I'm sure you know -- it violates the basic foundations of special relativity.

A shuttlecraft could conceivably travel at some arbitrary speed CLOSE to that of light, of course, such as v=0.9c, or v=0.999c, or even v=0.9999999999999999999999c. But each one will yield vastly different, and increasing, kinetic energies. And it's quite easy to show that the relativistic kinetic energy goes to infinity as v approaches c.

So, please elaborate on the discrepancies between your figures and those of xkcd.
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Old February 3 2014, 02:58 AM   #7
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

WarpFactorZ wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Which, while hilarious, is still inaccurate. xkcd is a blog, not a textbook.
xkcd is written by people who are well-informed about their subject matter. I'm questioning this statement of yours:

A 2-ton shuttlecraft traveling at the speed of light has a kinetic energy equivalent to about 21.5 gigatons of TNT. .....
Can you please back up your calculation with some justification. I'm unfamiliar with any method of determining the kinetic energy of a shuttlecraft (or any mass, for that matter) travelling at the speed of light. This is because -- as I'm sure you know -- it violates the basic foundations of special relativity.
I used about 299,999,000 m/s for the calculation. And I don't take relativistic mass into account because it's bullshit.
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Old February 3 2014, 03:36 AM   #8
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
I used about 299,999,000 m/s for the calculation. And I don't take relativistic mass into account because it's bullshit.
But 299,999,000 m/s isn't c. Not even close, insofar as the equations are concerned. The kinetic energy goes to infinity as v approaches c.

And I didn't say anything about "relativistic mass". That's a very archaic and incorrect interpretation. Mass is a Lorentz invariant. But that doesn't change the fact that relativistic kinetic energy diverges. It's a consequence of the Lorentz transformations, conservation of four-momentum, hyperbolic geometry, or Little Group, whichever you prefer.

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Old February 3 2014, 08:15 PM   #9
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

WarpFactorZ wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
I used about 299,999,000 m/s for the calculation. And I don't take relativistic mass into account because it's bullshit.
But 299,999,000 m/s isn't c. Not even close, insofar as the equations are concerned. The kinetic energy goes to infinity as v approaches c.
Yeah, that's the implication of relativistic mass. The kinetic energy trends towards infinity because at those high velocities the mass of the object is theorized to increase. WITHOUT relativistic mass increase, kinetic energy does not increase abnormally.

It's a consequence of the Lorentz transformations
Which gives a different value depending on which frame of reference you're measuring from, and thus isn't a measure of actual kinetic energy transferred in the collision. It's relevant insofar as the Lorentz transformation and the relative OBSERVED energy states (e.g. blue shift, where an approaching object is radiating a lot more energy than it would if it were stationary) but not kinetic energy on contact.

IOW, the extra energy of an object moving close to the speed of light is being transmitted to an observer in the form of the doppler shift. The reason it trends to infinity is because the closer an object gets to the speed of light relative to the observer, the more compressed his outgoing wavefronts (again, relative to the observer). If he were to REACH the speed of light, than the waves in front of him would all bunch up into a solid wall of energy of infinite amplitude. THAT is what the equation is measuring; it's not the kinetic energy of the object, it has to do with the light between the object and the observer, and it is PURELY relative.
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Old February 3 2014, 10:31 PM   #10
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Yeah, that's the implication of relativistic mass. The kinetic energy trends towards infinity because at those high velocities the mass of the object is theorized to increase.
No, the mass of an object does not increase with velocity. A 1 kg object is 1 kg, irrespective of the frame of reference. As I said: mass is a Lorentz invariant quantity. Increasing velocity implies increasing relativistic energy. The notion of "relativistic mass" is antiquated, and is a physically-incorrect interpretation of the time-component of the energy-momentum four-vector.

WITHOUT relativistic mass increase, kinetic energy does not increase abnormally.
Huh? Every particle physicist on the planet disagrees with you, because these effects are well-tested every time a particle accelerator is turned on.

...
Which gives a different value depending on which frame of reference you're measuring from, and thus isn't a measure of actual kinetic energy transferred in the collision. It's relevant insofar as the Lorentz transformation and the relative OBSERVED energy states (e.g. blue shift, where an approaching object is radiating a lot more energy than it would if it were stationary) but not kinetic energy on contact.
This is just plain wrong and eschews every tenet of special relativity.

IOW, the extra energy of an object moving close to the speed of light is being transmitted to an observer in the form of the doppler shift. The reason it trends to infinity is because the closer an object gets to the speed of light relative to the observer, the more compressed his outgoing wavefronts (again, relative to the observer). If he were to REACH the speed of light, than the waves in front of him would all bunch up into a solid wall of energy of infinite amplitude. THAT is what the equation is measuring; it's not the kinetic energy of the object, it has to do with the light between the object and the observer, and it is PURELY relative.
Again, completely fabricated. Kinetic energy and momentum have nothing to do with doppler shifts. Otherwise, they would be different depending on whether the object is moving toward or away from you with the same speed.
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Old February 4 2014, 08:58 AM   #11
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

WarpFactorZ wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Yeah, that's the implication of relativistic mass. The kinetic energy trends towards infinity because at those high velocities the mass of the object is theorized to increase.
No, the mass of an object does not increase with velocity.
Yes, I know that. Hence the ENTIRE REST OF MY POST.

WITHOUT relativistic mass increase, kinetic energy does not increase abnormally.
Huh? Every particle physicist on the planet disagrees with you, because these effects are well-tested every time a particle accelerator is turned on.
Particle accelerators increase a particle's kinetic energy by... well, accelerating it. The particles do not gain mass in that process either (as you just said yourself, mass does not increase with velocity).

Which gives a different value depending on which frame of reference you're measuring from, and thus isn't a measure of actual kinetic energy transferred in the collision. It's relevant insofar as the Lorentz transformation and the relative OBSERVED energy states (e.g. blue shift, where an approaching object is radiating a lot more energy than it would if it were stationary) but not kinetic energy on contact.
This is just plain wrong and eschews every tenet of special relativity.
How?

Kinetic energy and momentum have nothing to do with doppler shifts.
Yes it does. Doppler shift is the result of a high relative velocity; kinetic energy is a function of high relative velocity and an object's mass. So an object moving towards you at close to the speed of light seems to "gain energy" because the energy it's radiating towards you is contracted to a higher frequency (where higher frequency = higher energy). If that object was moving AT the speed of light, all of its energy would be contracted into what is effectively a single pulse of infinite energy.

they would be different depending on whether the object is moving toward or away from you with the same speed.
They ARE different. Red shift vs. blue shift, remember?
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Old February 4 2014, 06:14 PM   #12
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
WarpFactorZ wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Yeah, that's the implication of relativistic mass. The kinetic energy trends towards infinity because at those high velocities the mass of the object is theorized to increase.
No, the mass of an object does not increase with velocity.
Yes, I know that. Hence the ENTIRE REST OF MY POST.
No, you're suggesting that you can simply ignore relativistic effects in kinetic energy by plugging in the invariant mass to a classical kinetic energy equation. You cannot calculate anything meaningful this way.

Particle accelerators increase a particle's kinetic energy by... well, accelerating it. The particles do not gain mass in that process either (as you just said yourself, mass does not increase with velocity).
Mass does not increase with velocity, but relativistic energy does. And it does so in a manner that diverges as v approaches c. This is a consequence of the particle's four-momentum.

This is just plain wrong and eschews every tenet of special relativity.
How?
You're arguing that the Lorentz transformations render quantities meaningless by virtue of the fact they have different "values" in different reference frames. But the entire point of relativity is that, despite this coordinate-dependence, the LAWS OF PHYSICS are invariant.

Kinetic energy and momentum have nothing to do with doppler shifts.
Yes it does. Doppler shift is the result of a high relative velocity; kinetic energy is a function of high relative velocity and an object's mass.
You're confusing the apparent energy of a radiated photon (Doppler shift) with the energy-momentum of a moving mass. Two completely different things.

they would be different depending on whether the object is moving toward or away from you with the same speed.
They ARE different. Red shift vs. blue shift, remember?
So, an object receding with velocity v has less kinetic energy than the same object coming toward you with velocity v, because the Doppler shift says so? Think about that for a moment.

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Old February 4 2014, 07:57 PM   #13
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and try it one more time:

WarpFactorZ wrote: View Post
Mass does not increase with velocity, but relativistic energy does.
And my point is you (and many others) are erroneously assuming that relativistic energy takes the form of KINETIC energy, which is not the case. Once again, the increased relativistic energy is a conservation effect: photons emitted from a speeding object do not gain energy by accelerating, but rather, by blue-shifting.

Thus an object moving at high relativistic velocities does not gain energy or momentum abnormally. It cannot accelerate to C, of course, because in a Lortentz transformation -- much like the doppler shift -- the length of the object (or wave) cannot be contracted to zero.

You're arguing that the Lorentz transformations render quantities meaningless by virtue of the fact they have different "values" in different reference frames. But the entire point of relativity is that, despite this coordinate-dependence, the LAWS OF PHYSICS are invariant.
Yes, because one can only coherently apply the laws of physics FROM ONES OWN REFERENCE FRAME. If you're moving towards me at .5C, I can apply the laws of physics to determine what is true in my reference frame, within which I am stationary and you are moving towards me. In that frame, light emitted from you in my direction is blue shifted, you have 1.1PJ of kinetic energy.

So what happens when you make the same measurements from YOUR reference frame? You will NOT find that your outgoing emissions are blue-shifted, nor will you calculate that you possess 1.1PJ of kinetic energy. You're using a different coordinate system altogether, within which I am moving at .5C and have 1.1PJ of energy in your frame.

Which IS the central tenet of relativity: all reference frames are equally valid, even if their observations are different.

You're confusing the apparent energy of a radiated photon (Doppler shift) with the energy-momentum of a moving mass.
Not at all. I'm saying that BOTH energy gains are merely apparent, for exactly the same reason.

So, an object receding with velocity v has less kinetic energy than the same object coming toward you with velocity v, because the Doppler shift says so?
Relativistically, yes. You can only calculate the object's characteristics in your own coordinate system; the velocity of a receding object is a negative value.

If you think that's meaningless, I invite you to consider what would happen if the receding object suddenly grabbed you with a tractor beam and attempted to drag you along behind it. Doing so would cause you to accelerate TOWARDS the receding object until your relative velocities reach zero: literally, an inelastic collision running backwards.
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Old February 4 2014, 10:08 PM   #14
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
And my point is you (and many others) are erroneously assuming that relativistic energy takes the form of KINETIC energy, which is not the case.
Relativistic kinetic energy = Total relativistic energy - rest energy.

Many (many!) others, including me, agree on this fact because it is correct.

Once again, the increased relativistic energy is a conservation effect: photons emitted from a speeding object do not gain energy by accelerating, but rather, by blue-shifting.
It makes no sense to conflate photons with matter, they are defined differently -- your analogy breaks down immediately. Photons do not accelerate in a vacuum because they travel at one, and only one, speed. There is no frame of reference in which we can make a photon motionless. This leads to blue/red shifts.

Masses, on the other hand, can be accelerated, and in the process gain energy in the form of relativistic energy (of which kinetic energy is a part). The definition of four-momentum necessitates the form of the equations, which diverge in the limit of v -> c.

Which IS the central tenet of relativity: all reference frames are equally valid, even if their observations are different.
You miss the point. While observers in different frames might disagree on coordinates and classically-defined quantities, they DO agree on LORENTZ INVARIANT QUANTITIES. In this case, the invariant mass is the Lorentz invariant quantity. You measure me with a certain kinetic energy and momentum, and while I obviously don't measure the same (I'm at rest), what I measure is my mass (m). The quantity m^2 is invariant -- I measure m^2, and you measure m^2 = E^2 - p^2, where p is my momentum and E is my relativistic energy -- which includes (relativistic) kinetic energy.

Thus an object moving at high relativistic velocities does not gain energy or momentum abnormally.
Yes it does. Your statement is just wrong. I don't know what else to say. Experimental particle physics relies on this effect; it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Nothing to do with blueshifts, even from an analogy point-of-view. Have a read:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_o...y_and_momentum

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Old February 5 2014, 06:53 PM   #15
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Re: Neutronium, warp-speed projectiles, and black holes.

Not that you know or care what I'm talking about, but:

WarpFactorZ wrote: View Post
Which IS the central tenet of relativity: all reference frames are equally valid, even if their observations are different.
You miss the point. While observers in different frames might disagree on coordinates and classically-defined quantities, they DO agree on LORENTZ INVARIANT QUANTITIES. In this case, the invariant mass is the Lorentz invariant quantity. You measure me with a certain kinetic energy and momentum, and while I obviously don't measure the same...
And so you contradict yourself. Obviously, two moving objects are not going to measure the same kinetic energy for one another in their respective reference frames. While mass remains invariant, energy and momentum depend on the reference frame.

Anyway, the point is that as far as collisions between solid objects at high velocities, your measured energy will trend upwards towards infinity as you approach lightspeed; that is not, however, KINETIC energy, and won't be transferred as such.
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