"I still believe in e=mc², but I can't believe that in all of human history, we'll never ever be able to go beyond the speed of light to reach where we want to go," said Clark. "I happen to believe that mankind can do it."Well, it's just about as plausible as universal health care and the UN. I recommend we divert all our resources from those doomed endeavors to researching space travel.
"I've argued with physicists about it, I've argued with best friends about it. I just have to believe it. It's my only faith-based initiative." Clark's comment prompted laughter and applause from the gathering.
Gary Melnick, a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said Clark's faith in the possibility of faster-than-light (FTL) travel was "probably based more on his imagination than on physics."
While Clark's belief may stem from his knowledge of sophisticated military projects, there's no evidence to suggest that humans can exceed the speed of light, said Melnick. In fact, considerable evidence posits that FTL travel is impossible, he said.
"Even if Clark becomes president, I doubt it would be within his powers to repeal the powers of physics," said Melnick, whose research has focused on interstellar clouds and the formation of stars and planets.