PDA

View Full Version : teleportation



profen4
11-20-2012, 06:09 PM
Okay, lets assume you can teleport. What altitude difference would be sufficient to cause injury. i.e. if you teleported from 500 m above sea level to sea level, would you be on the floor reeling from the pain in your ears?

Assume your body stay intact during the teleport - not like star trek.

Is there a difference in altitude that would likely result in death?

fdesrochers
11-20-2012, 08:07 PM
I have to say that I couldn't help but chuckle a bit that this was a question in the Experts and Intervewees board. To the best of my knowledge, only fragments of the theory behind teleportation have been proven, the actual mechanics and execution definitely not something you'll find an Expert or Interviewee on...

Likely best suited for the Sci-Fi and Fantasy board.

This all said, it really isn't something you see addressed very often and something you could likely explain away with handwavium - akin to the teleport beam automatically adjusts for pressure differentials, whathaveyou. Whatever fits the bill, really. If you don't want to go the way of Star Trek, likely the defacto template for teleportation, you can likely adjust to you liking.

profen4
11-20-2012, 08:12 PM
I have to say that I couldn't help but chuckle a bit that this was a question in the Experts and Intervewees board. To the best of my knowledge, only fragments of the theory behind teleportation have been proven, the actual mechanics and execution definitely not something you'll find an Expert or Interviewee on...

Likely best suited for the Sci-Fi and Fantasy board.

This all said, it really isn't something you see addressed very often and something you could likely explain away with handwavium - akin to the teleport beam automatically adjusts for pressure differentials, whathaveyou. Whatever fits the bill, really. If you don't want to go the way of Star Trek, likely the defacto template for teleportation, you can likely adjust to you liking.

Well, I was more looking for experts in things like the bends, and consequences of sudden atmospheric pressure changes on the human body. If you stroll around this board, you'll find quite a few simmilar questions, i.e. "If I wanted to build a car that could travel through lava, what kind of material should it be made of?"

veinglory
11-20-2012, 08:19 PM
I think the science base is clear: what degree of instantaneous pressure change would be sufficient to cause severe pain, and which would cause death. Maybe a diver would know?

Bufty
11-20-2012, 08:21 PM
If you body stays intact during the transportation then what you are talking about is not teleporting in the accepted sense -it's physically throwing you from one place to another and I doubt it would become popular for commuters or holidaymakers, or anyone at all because I doubt it would be surviveable...

The Star Trek method is the most obvious one to use and folk would simply accept it without any side-effects at all.

onesecondglance
11-20-2012, 08:39 PM
If you body stays intact during the transportation then what you are talking about is not teleporting in the accepted sense -it's physically throwing you from one place to another and I doubt it would become popular for commuters or holidaymakers, or anyone at all because I doubt it would be surviveable...

The Star Trek method is the most obvious one to use and folk would simply accept it without any side-effects at all.

The Star Trek Method (I like putting it in all caps, like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle :D) is to disassemble and then reassemble the atomic structure of the object / person being transported.

However, in some stories "teleportation" is achieved without disassembly by putting the object / person into another dimension and then pulling them back out. This is the official excuse explanation for Nightcrawler's teleportation ability in X-Men. Whilst this overcomes some of the practical problems of the Star Trek Method, and avoids the "just being whipped really really fast from one place to another" issue, one does have to consider the issue of finding a suitable local dimension not populated by Evil Monsters From Hell (as in Doom).

None of which helps with the original question. :)

veinglory
11-20-2012, 08:41 PM
The Star Trek method is the most obvious one to use and folk would simply accept it without any side-effects at all.

There would still be the side-effect of the new environment. I don;t thing even the Star Trek teleport adapts you body to whatever pressure, temperature etc is on the other side.

if you teleport into a vacuum, you die. This is a less extreme version of that.

I gather OP *wants* the side effect, not to avoid it.

Bufty
11-20-2012, 09:02 PM
I assume folk wouldn't routinely 'teleport' to somewhere without knowing what the effect of teleporting there is going to be on their bodies and 'suiting up' appropriately to compensate for whatever that effect was.

Since nobody can teleport in reality, I'm prepared to accept whatever I'm told in relation to that exercise in any given scenario.

What's the effect of air pressure on transportation from A to B via an unknown medium? :Shrug:

veinglory
11-20-2012, 09:44 PM
Yes, but the question is what degree of pressure change would require this precaution, or cause suffering/death if it is not taken.

IMHO it is a very simple, clear question. I just don't happen to know the answer.

Bufty
11-20-2012, 09:49 PM
Fair enough, but the means of teleportation must be a factor.

Torgo
11-20-2012, 09:49 PM
I always wonder with the transporter in Star Trek - say they're beaming Spock onto the planet's surface, and he shows up standing perfectly still on the ground. So he's stationary relative to the planet. But relative to the Enterprise, he might be whizzing along at thousands of miles an hour. Would I be right in thinking that the transporter would have to compensate for that somehow? (I bet the Trekkies have worked a theory out.)

Drachen Jager
11-20-2012, 09:49 PM
I used to dive extensively. The answer is that pressure does not change as much as you think it does. What pressure there is can easily be equalized by closing your mouth, pinching your nose and trying to exhale.

In diving, every 33 feet under water is a change of 1 atmosphere. 1 atmosphere is the same difference as between total vacuum and sea-level. You can dive 33 feet without pressurizing your ears and only feel mild discomfort. I know lots of divers who have been unable to pressurize their ears due to cold/flu and still gone below 33 feet without much pain (though not a lot below 33 feet).

Bufty
11-20-2012, 09:52 PM
Assuming the transporter beam is focussed on a landing spot....he's just going down the beam -no? Similar to an aircraft's laser targeting system.


posted by Torgo I always wonder with the transporter in Star Trek - say they're beaming Spock onto the planet's surface, and he shows up standing perfectly still on the ground. So he's stationary relative to the planet. But relative to the Enterprise, he might be whizzing along at thousands of miles an hour. Would I be right in thinking that the transporter would have to compensate for that somehow? (I bet the Trekkies have worked a theory out.)

Torgo
11-20-2012, 09:57 PM
Assuming the transporter beam is focussed on a landing spot....he's just going down the beam -no? Similar to an aircraft's laser targeting system.

Hmm, I guess? They do talk about a beam on Trek - it does seem to act directionally like that.

fdesrochers
11-20-2012, 09:57 PM
Well, I was more looking for experts in things like the bends, and consequences of sudden atmospheric pressure changes on the human body. If you stroll around this board, you'll find quite a few simmilar questions, i.e. "If I wanted to build a car that could travel through lava, what kind of material should it be made of?"

Well, I have to admit I missed the 'lava car' thread.

A Google search for "altitude changes effects" yielded a surprising number of finds, and some pretty interesting reading (i.e. found out more about this mysterious death zone in mountain climbing). Googling "decompression sickness" made me want to never (**ever**) come close to activities that would leave me open to these possible side effects. That is just a grissly way to go, one I imagine you might have a hard time justifying in your story, dependant on characters/villains involved.

I'm no expert in diving or mountaineering, but it appears that decompression sickness and pressure differentials are extremely more significant for underwater dives than altitude ascent/descent.

Drachen Jager
11-20-2012, 10:36 PM
Well, I was more looking for experts in things like the bends, and consequences of sudden atmospheric pressure changes on the human body. If you stroll around this board, you'll find quite a few simmilar questions, i.e. "If I wanted to build a car that could travel through lava, what kind of material should it be made of?"

As far as the bends, you can't get that from 1 atmosphere + or -. It takes several atmospheres. Even a crash ascent from 33 feet after being down for hours you won't likely give you the bends.

benbenberi
11-20-2012, 10:38 PM
Since there isn't actually any such thing as teleportation, I think you must have the freedom to define the experience in any way that gives the effect you want for your story. (The very fact that you specify "body remains intact during the teleport, not like star trek" means it's already very different from how a lot of readers will assume a generic teleport functions. You're the writer - you can make up whatever you want!)

King Neptune
11-20-2012, 10:55 PM
As I recall it, there are three ways to teleport people: the Star Trek method in which the body is broken down then reformed, the hyperspatial method, and a third method that I can't remember in detail. In several stories Larry Niven described a system in which there were masses in various places arounf the world into which excess energy would be dumped. If someone was teleporting from the Andes to London, then something had to be done with the excess rotational velocity (rotational velocity in the Andes would be more than 1000 MPH, wwhile in London it would be about 500 MPH). That difference would either be in spedd at the end of the teleport, of it would be converted to heat. In either case it would be enough to kill.

veinglory
11-20-2012, 10:58 PM
Since there isn't actually any such thing as teleportation, I think you must have the freedom to define the experience in any way that gives the effect you want for your story. (The very fact that you specify "body remains intact during the teleport, not like star trek" means it's already very different from how a lot of readers will assume a generic teleport functions. You're the writer - you can make up whatever you want!)

I can't say I agree. There is a correct and incorrect answer to the question of body would react to an instantaneous pressure change.

You can choose whether or not you care about being accurate, but there is a wrong versus right answer to this question.

profen4
11-20-2012, 11:13 PM
Thanks for the thoughts, guys. I'm still in the contemplation stage for this story, but I was thinking something more like worm-holes, or something like that.

I was thinking if the body didn't have time to adjust, there could be a rather painful experience to go from, say, 400m below sea level to the top of a mountain 1000M above sea level, but then I was thinking about skydivers and they fall pretty far, pretty fast and their bodies are fine, though maybe they have to equalize too? (I've never sky-dived before)

benbradley
11-20-2012, 11:14 PM
This kind of thing can happen in real life. A pressurized airplane can suddenly lose pressure at high altitude. This may be very uncomfortable, causing people's ears to pop. I don't think it would kill unless the air is so thin one couldn't get enough oxygen.

Going the reverse, into a higher pressure, shouldn't be any more of of a problem. Either way, the "compartment" used to teleport someone could maintain the original air pressure, and slowly change the pressure over several seconds or minutes to make for a comfortable change.

Whether the person is "intact" or "disassmembled and reassembled" doesn't really matter - this would be a problem either way. In Star Trek they always conveniently transported to areas with exactly one Earth atmosphere of pressure, and one Earth gravity.

As I recall it, there are three ways to teleport people: the Star Trek method in which the body is broken down then reformed, the hyperspatial method, and a third method that I can't remember in detail. In several stories Larry Niven described a system in which there were masses in various places arounf the world into which excess energy would be dumped. If someone was teleporting from the Andes to London, then something had to be done with the excess rotational velocity (rotational velocity in the Andes would be more than 1000 MPH, wwhile in London it would be about 500 MPH). That difference would either be in spedd at the end of the teleport, of it would be converted to heat. In either case it would be enough to kill.
I recall those Niven stories, and immediately understood the conservation of momentum problems the transporter had to solve (else your body would be hit the side of the room at the other end at hundreds of miles per hour). It's both the speed and direction that need to be changed when transporting between distant points on Earth.

Torgo
11-20-2012, 11:20 PM
I recall those Niven stories, and immediately understood the conservation of momentum problems the transporter had to solve (else your body would be hit the side of the room at the other end at hundreds of miles per hour). It's both the speed and direction that need to be changed when transporting between distant points on Earth.

Ah, thanks - that's what I was asking about, essentially, conservation of momentum. Similar to the time travel wrinkle, in that going back thirty years from that one spot in Hill Valley might drop you into the other side of the solar system to where the Earth was back then.

benbenberi
11-21-2012, 12:54 AM
I can't say I agree. There is a correct and incorrect answer to the question of body would react to an instantaneous pressure change.

You can choose whether or not you care about being accurate, but there is a wrong versus right answer to this question.

My point is more to the validity of needing an answer to the question at all -- if you define your teleportation process such that it automatically compensates for or eliminates the pressure change, the body's reaction to a change is irrelevant.

If (for story purposes) you *want* a reaction, you can define your teleportation process in such a way that it produces the type of reaction you want. (e.g. do you want your character to have their ears pop hard? do you want them to get the bends? Well of course they do, everyone knows that you get the same pressure change effect teleporting 10 feet up as if you just went from 5 atmospheres to vacuum!)

It's a rigged question - the answer can be whatever you want, because the parameters are entirely fictional.

Smiling Ted
11-21-2012, 07:24 AM
Of course, teleportation doesn't exist.
That being said, you can develop it out using the fewest number of "gimmes" available. If you're interested in that approach, you should check out Larry Niven's classic essay, "The Theory and Practice of Teleportation."

Anaximander
11-21-2012, 05:28 PM
I don't think there's enough pressure differential in the Earth's atmosphere to cause the bends. As previously mentioned, underwater you can experience many atmospheres of pressure. In air, you have just the one (obviously). That shouldn't be enough to affect blood-gas levels hugely. Take a look at the Stratos jump - Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,000 feet, at which point the ambient pressure is about a third of one percent of what it is on the ground. Baumgartner went from that to full atmospheric pressure in nine minutes - not instantaneous, but definitely not gradually enough to count as the rest stops that deep-sea divers do to avoid the bends.

So, extrapolating from that, and the fact that 128,000 feet is WAY higher than any point on the Earth's surface, I'd say that the bends is not a problem. The only real danger would be to their ears. If your teleportation method transports the air inside the character's ear along with them, then they'll get quite a pressure difference, which would hurt, but a simple hold-nose-and-blow would equalise that the same way that divers do it (in mild cases, it'll fix itself, either immediately or as soon as they swallow). Again, the atmosphere doesn't give enough of a differential to be really dangerous - passenger aircraft have lost cabin pressurisation at flight altitude and the passengers were ok (some earaches and headaches for those who couldn't equalise, such as those with head colds).

The other issue would be that thinner air has less oxygen, so your character might notice shortness of breath if they teleport to somewhere considerably higher after spending an appreciable length of time at a lower altitude. There's some literature about discussing acclimatisation of mountaineers, and similar stuff regarding athletes competing in venues at higher altitudes than where they normally train. The reverse is also true; coming down a long way may result in slight light-headedness, like when you hyperventilate.

In summary, I reckon you could teleport anywhere without worrying too much about altitude - equalise your ears when you arrive, take a few deep breaths if you've gone up, breathe gently and slowly if you've gone down, and take it easy for a few minutes. Other than that, the biggest danger you have from extreme altitude changes is finding out that you've teleported somewhere with no ground beneath you. Interesting side issue there: if you find yourself in mid-air, and teleport away, do you keep your speed? If you fall for more than a few seconds, teleporting to the ground could break bones...

blacbird
11-22-2012, 12:11 AM
Actually, one of the possible effects on the human body of too rapid a change in pressure regime, at least from high pressure to low pressure, is the bends, a great and sometimes fatal fear of deep divers. High pressure causes nitrogen to be absorbed in the blood, and sudden release of that pressure causes the nitrogen to be released from solution likewise. Horribly painful, and can kill.

caw

benbradley
11-22-2012, 12:48 AM
I don't think there's enough pressure differential in the Earth's atmosphere to cause the bends. As previously mentioned, underwater you can experience many atmospheres of pressure. In air, you have just the one (obviously). That shouldn't be enough to affect blood-gas levels hugely. Take a look at the Stratos jump - Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,000 feet, at which point the ambient pressure is about a third of one percent of what it is on the ground. Baumgartner went from that to full atmospheric pressure in nine minutes - not instantaneous, but definitely not gradually enough to count as the rest stops that deep-sea divers do to avoid the bends.
I saw the video and heard the commentary, he was in a SEALED suit like a diver's suit or spacesuit when capsule depressurized and he walked out and jumped. I don't know what point he took off the helmet, but he obviously did before he landed.

The problem here isn't the bends, but I find it hard to believe you could survive long in 1/3 of 1 percent of sea level air pressure, even if breathing pure oxygen. With pressure that low, there's not much oxygen entering the lungs.

In summary, I reckon you could teleport anywhere without worrying too much about altitude - equalise your ears when you arrive, take a few deep breaths if you've gone up, breathe gently and slowly if you've gone down, and take it easy for a few minutes. You could transport into a sealed container with the air pressure matched to where you came from, and it then slowly decrease or increase pressure (over seconds or minutes, depending on how great the distance is) to match the location.

Other than that, the biggest danger you have from extreme altitude changes is finding out that you've teleported somewhere with no ground beneath you. Interesting side issue there: if you find yourself in mid-air, and teleport away, do you keep your speed?This is similar to the discussion of Larry Niven's transporters - If you're transporting more than a few miles, the transporter needs to compensate for the different direction of motion of different points on Earth. If it knows how fast you're going, it can compensate for that too so that you're standing still at the end of the transport.

Anaximander
11-22-2012, 10:51 PM
I saw the video and heard the commentary, he was in a SEALED suit like a diver's suit or spacesuit when capsule depressurized and he walked out and jumped. I don't know what point he took off the helmet, but he obviously did before he landed.Ah yes, I'd forgotten that detail. Still, regular skydivers aren't in pressure suits, and they have no trouble. They tend to go from 12-14 thousand feet, if I remember correctly (EDIT: a quick Google search confirms this), which is high enough for me to be confident that the Earth's surface doesn't give enough of a pressure differential to not cause the bends.

Canotila
11-23-2012, 11:01 AM
Maybe not the bends, but elevation sickness is still very real and affects plenty of people. Some friends flew with their children from sea level to Lima, Peru in one day. Once they arrived their 5 year old became extremely ill and had to be hospitalized. They and their other child were fine, so it doesn't affect everyone equally. She had symptoms like a really bad case of the flu.

It happens when going from a low elevation to a high one, and some people are naturally more susceptible. Try looking up hypobaropathy.

In some cases it can be fatal if it develops into high altitude pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs, mountaineers die of it every year), or high altitude cerebral oedema (brain swelling).

blacbird
11-23-2012, 12:05 PM
I find it hard to believe you could survive long in 1/3 of 1 percent of sea level air pressure, even if breathing pure oxygen. With pressure that low, there's not much oxygen entering the lungs.

The oxygen isn't the problem in this situation. The atmospheric pressure is. 1/3 of 1 percent of sea level pressure is pretty much a vacuum. Your bodily fluids would begin to boil and kill you very quickly.

Three Soviet cosmonauts died in just this fashion back in the 1970s when their re-entry capsule lost its pressure seal. It landed just fine. But they were all dead inside.

caw

Anaximander
11-24-2012, 12:53 AM
The oxygen isn't the problem in this situation. The atmospheric pressure is. 1/3 of 1 percent of sea level pressure is pretty much a vacuum. Your bodily fluids would begin to boil and kill you very quickly.

Three Soviet cosmonauts died in just this fashion back in the 1970s when their re-entry capsule lost its pressure seal. It landed just fine. But they were all dead inside.

caw

It's worth noting that this can be averted. NASA has had cases (in 1965 and 1966) in which astronauts have been inadvertently exposed to hard vacuum. Human skin is gas-tight, so while the fluid in your ears, nose, throat, lungs and on the surface of your eyeballs would boil, your blood would not, so you wouldn't explode (contrary to popular belief). There's some debate over what would happen if you were cut and bleeding; I don't know enough about vacuum physics or medicine to comment with much authority. You'd swell to roughly twice your size though, ending with something roughly analogous to Bibendum the Michelin mascot. Reports conflict as to how painful this is.

Anyways, you'd have about 10 seconds of consciousness - about the length of time it takes for your brain to use up the oxygen it's getting. Don't bother trying to hold your breath because the pressure differential would rip the air from your lungs and damage something in the process; even if you managed to not exhale you'd rupture something important somewhere. The estimate is that you'd have around a minute, maybe a minute and a half after passing out before death.

Somewhere I have an excerpt from the Cooke and Bancroft paper from 1966 that I picked up in a lecture on orbital mechanics and spaceflight; I'll see if i can find it, but have a google about for it.

blacbird
11-24-2012, 01:32 AM
At Dachau, among the many ghoulish experiments were subjecting Jewish prisoners to pressure chambers in which the atmosphere was essentially pumped out, to see the effects and at what pressure a human would die.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0015_0_14634.html

caw