Relativity mania

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  1. A starship leaves earth at a constant acceleration rate of 1G.

  2. After the ship has flown five light-years, the people on board the ship have experienced 4.85 years of time passing. Earth has experienced almost six years of time. (I think.)

  3. Every day a message is sent from the earth to the spaceship via radio.

So here’s the question. From the perspective of the spaceship, how often are those daily messages received? Although time on the spaceship is passing slower relative to time on the Earth, it also takes the radio message a year to travel one light-year.

Or to put it another way, the ship is now five light-years away from Earth. If I sent them a message five years ago, Earth time (i.e., one year after they departed), when did they get it, from the perspective of their ship’s clocks? And if I sent them another message the day after that, when did they receive that message? 24 hours later? 23 hours later? 25 hours later?

My head hurts.

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This page contains a single entry by Jason Snell published on November 28, 2008 4:40 PM.

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