Gravitational waves might be able to transfer data

JC Torres - Oct 14, 2018, 11:05pm CDT
Gravitational waves might be able to transfer data

We might simply think of gravity as the things that makes apples bop us on the head or keeps us from floating away into space. Gravity, however, is almost everywhere. It might sound like a sci-fi B movie but movement, especially accelerated ones, can spend ripple thorough the fabric of space-time, almost like electromagnetic waves. Unsurprisingly, these are called gravitational waves and, like their electromagnetic cousins, we might be able to use them to encode and transfer data over long distances in outer space.

That’s the possibility that’s being confirmed by mathematicians from the People’s Friendship University of Russia, a.k.a. RUDN University. This theory is based on how gravitational waves are described as mathematical abstractions. It’s definitely heavy math but, in a nutshell, it might be possible to encode any information in those waves the same way an electromagnetic wave is used to carry radio signals.

This could have important practical implications in the field of space science and exploration. All wireless methods of communication degrade over time and distance. This is especially problematic in outer space where signals would have to travel over long distances between satellites and stations.

Gravitational waves, in contrast, travel at constant speed of light and aren’t significantly affected by the gravity of massive forms, unlike electromagnetic waves. Of course, it’s too early to start thinking of near instant data transfers in outer space, but this study could still open the doors to a more reliable mode of communication for the future.


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