To confirm that it takes a lot of energy to make
an object move at near-light speed, all you have to do is look
at the electric bill from a particle accelerator.
|Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.
Photo: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service
Particle accelerators use an electric field to make electrons
and other subatomic particles move at near-light speed. At the
end of a linear accelerator, an electron can be moving at 0.999 999 999 95 times the speed of light.
An electron is tiny, but getting a bunch of electrons moving takes
a lot of energy. When SLAC, the Stanford Linear Accelerator in
California, is powered up, it consumes about 50 megawatts. That’s
enough power to supply 50 000 homes.
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