Questions for ‘Human teleportation? This century we’re stuck doing it virtually’  

An illustration of a person facing a giant black edged hole through which stars and a galaxy can be seen. The person's dark hair is windblown, they are raising their glowing right hand up to the portal.

The transporters used in Star Trek and other sci-fi movies teleported whole bodies throughout the universe. In the real world, that isn’t possible yet. But we can teleport images of ourselves for virtual interactions — both on Earth and out of this world.

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To accompany Human teleportation? This century we’re stuck doing it virtually  


Before Reading:

  1. What does it mean to teleport somewhere? How does this differ from ways we can travel today?
  2. What is virtual reality? Give at least one example of how virtual reality is being used today. If you don’t know of any, try an internet search to find out about one.

During Reading:

  1. In science fiction shows like Star Trek, what processes appear to happen when someone “beams” to another location?
  2. In 2013, how long did physicists calculate it would take to transfer enough data to teleport someone from Earth into space?
  3. What does it mean for two subatomic particles to be considered entangled?
  4. Where does virtual teleportation allow Laura Shackelford’s students to visit? Once there, what do the students need to learn?
  5. According to Shackelford, what are two ways that virtual teleportation makes field sites more accessible?
  6. Why did doctors send some people with tuberculosis to live in caves during the first half of the 20th century? How did that affect the health of those patients?
  7. Who virtually visited the International Space Station in 2021? What expertise does this person have?
  8. What is holoportation? Briefly describe how NASA’s holoportation method works.
  9. What are three things Josef Schmid did while “on” the International Space Station?
  10. List three ways that tourism companies have already used extended reality (XR). List three other places people could potentially visit using holoportation, as described in the story.

After Reading:

  1. In the story, Paul Weaver suggests that an advanced 3-D printer might be able to print a human body in a new location. Think about what types of information someone would need to send to such a printer and what materials the body would be made from. Do you think someone printed in this way would be the same individual as the person whose information was used to make it? Explain your answer. Would a person printed in this way be able to bring clothing, equipment or other materials with them? Why or why not?
  2. If you could teleport anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why? What would you do there? Would you go alone or take others with you? What would it take to visit this location using travel methods currently available today?