An experiment revealing particles moving faster than the speed of light got us all excited, recently. Some scientists at CERN believed they had seen such particles, but wanted to wait until they had reviewed all aspects of their experiment before claiming what previously was thought to be impossible.
We need faster than light travel to make space exploration possible. Right now, it is totally impractical for people to travel to other solar systems. With star systems being thousands or millions of light years away, and with even near light-speed being technically impossible, our dreams of space travel are pretty well doomed.
The closest star to our system is over four light-years away. Even if we could travel at one-tenth the speed of light (we cannot), it would take over 40 years to get there. Forget coming back. There are no filling stations out there of which we are aware.
Oh, well. There goes all that beautiful science fiction, down the drain.
According to a Christian Science Monitor article the experiment was botched at CERN, the international research facility in Switzerland where they use a collider called the Large Hadron Collider. This huge underground pipe is several kilometers around in a circle, and they shoot super-charged particles to collide with various atoms and other particles to try to determine the ultimate make-up of matter.
The results of their audit of the experiment have now been published.
What did they find?
A LOOSE CABLE!
This has to be the biggest embarrassment in scientific history. It is not clear to me why they decided to issue a press release about faster than light particles.
The next time your government says it will spend billions of dollars on research, remember what can happen. Mostly, nothing.