Space Travel Part Four : Teleportation
This form of transmission would totally negate physical transportation, but it comes in many forms each with their own limitations.
The classic form of teleportation simply scans the subject for it’s structural information and then transmits that information to a receiver, which reconstructs the object from raw material. It could in theory be achieved by a range of sensor scans producing information that can be sent on a radio wave, and the information then used to somehow orientate matter in a reception tank. This creates two copies of the subject, so in the case of a person creates issues of personal identity. Technically the transmitted person should be the same person as the one in the transmitter, if they are truly identically reconstructed, so do they bilocate? Is there some difference between the two, some element that is not transmitted, or does the difference of material or location entail a different being? If so the transmitted person may just be a clone. On the other hand would they survive the process? This is crucial as the original may need to be deliberately destroyed in the process so that a transportation is achieved (the residual matter being used in future transmission). In this case we can avoid these difficult questions however because the process is now known to be impossible. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle makes the initial scan impossible. It may be possible to freeze the subject to absolute zero and then scan them (at this temperature momentum is zero and so the positions can also be known with certainty when scanned as despite the momentum then being unknown it can only be zero), however achieving absolute zero may be impossible and it will certainly kill a live subject. Other means have similar problems.
This method uses the strange properties of a Bose-Einstein Condensate (a gas at near absolute zero temperature) to facilitate a modified form of Classical Teleportation. Although still having some momentum a BEC gas achieves a strange harmonisation, in which it vibrations merge into a single frequency, essentially one atom, making it easily codifiable as quantum information. In this variant the subject to be transmitted is introduces to the BEC chamber and instantly assimilated into it, a process which releases a pulse of light containing all the quantum information of the subject. This is transmitted via a laser to a receiver where a second BEC chamber reconstitutes the subject. On thawing even a person should be transmittable. The same issues of identity remain, but the subject exists as original and copy, as long as the process is survivable, so experimentation is possible.
This method transmits pure quantum information via entanglement instantaneously. In simple terms two entangled pools of matter are used to to create exact copies of any subject. The subject is introduced to the sending pool, and entangled with it, and this causes an instantaneous non-local entanglement with the receiving pool no matter how distant. From this pool the subject can then be reconstituted. The original will be destroyed in the process, killing a live subject, but there are in potential two copies available from the entangled pools. The same considerations apply though. This entire process is far more difficult to achieve however and has been estimated to take centuries of development. So where as Classical Teleportation may become possible within 100 years or more years, it may not be until beyond the 25th century that Quantum Teleportation is a real possibility.
Note with Classical and BEC Teleportation even if possible the transmission is still only at the speed of light and so is only really practical within our solar system, and if lasers are used at much closer range compared to radio waves such as an orbit to surface jump or a lunar transmission. If the carrier wave is a gravity wave it may be possible to transmit it through M-Space and cover much greater distances, but this is still limited by energy and is unlikely to have an unlimited range.
Quantum Teleportation can be instantaneous across any distance however. A problem with all three is the need for a receiver, and so a physical trip is required before the teleportation and thus introducing another serious limit. The idea of a receiverless teleporter as used in Star Trek may be a fantasy. Its only possibility being based on the reality of some kind of natural morphogenic field that is also transmitted into the local field by sending its data along with the scanned information thus allowing the spontaneous formation of a copy of the original. But according to current theory this is unlikely but would be the only means of long distance teleportation.