The speed of light, often denoted by the constant “c,” is faster than anything that we know. Although there have been attempts to get certain particles to travel faster than the speed of light, like when scientists at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland tried to get a hold of neutrinos, no one has successfully broken this barrier yet (Metro). Why would humans want something to travel faster than the speed of light in the context of astronomy? Much has to do with space exploration. Being able to travel faster than the speed of light means that spacecrafts can travel more distance in a shorter period of time, allowing us to explore more space with less time.
Is there an alternative way to solve this problem? Well, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get a physical object to travel faster than light. The famous equation developed by Einstein, E=mc^2, says that mass is basically energy. In order for mass to accelerate and reach higher speeds, we need energy. And for mass to reach the speed of light would require an infinite amount of energy, which is essentially impossible.
So, what now? An interesting alternative involves the warping of space-time. It remains theoretical as of now, but may become reality in the future. Einstein’s theory of general relativity says that the presence of energy warps space-time. If space-time can be warped in such a way that “folds back on itself,” spacecrafts may be able to enter one part of the universe and exit the other, essentially taking a “cosmic shortcut” (Metro). This phenomenon has never been observed in real life and still remains in the science-fiction realm. But if technology ever becomes advanced enough to allow for such things to exist or if we happen to find a natural way to warp space-time in such a way, it would have huge implications on space exploration and lead to many new discoveries.
Source Used: Metro