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Water is compressible if supercooled to near absoulute zero and compressed immensly. But space is not matter, so the term "compress" can't even apply to it. one square inch of pure space is exactly the same in every way in terms of contents as one billion square miles. It cannot be compressed because it doesn't exist.
It cannot be compressed because it doesn't exist.
This statement may or may not be true.
^^ And that statement has been the subject of much debate. It all goes back to Newton's two rocks and a rope question. In an otherwise empty universe, would two rocks tied together pull the rope taught. That is, is "space" just an empty nothing in which stuff exist, or does is space actually a something that provides, among other things, a reference for location.
The current model, from Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, is that space actually is a "something", and it is pliable. In fact, it can be "compressed". I use the quotes because space it's a little more complicated than I've put it.
Space is not 'nothing.'.
"Interstellar" space isn't, sure. But I was referring to the hypothetical "empty" space. In other words, is space just distance between particles, or is it something tangible in it's own right. To which I believe the answer is (and I am no expert, mind you), that the current model says no, assuming the Higgs Boson exists.
If you talk about interstellar hydrogen then it isn't space that's being compressed anymore.
Space can be thought of as the absence of all forms of matter.
But doesn't general relativity cover the compression of space? As objects near the speed of light, space will compress longitudinally.
And the current theory of gravity relies on the idea that space itself is warped by mass.
Edited by JusSn on 11/30/2011 3:06 PM PST
The theory of quantum foam...
is but one possibility, which conveniently solves the question of turbulence.
There is no empty space; a true vacuum would be catastrophic for our universe - if it appeared anywhere it would herald an expanding sphere of annihilation with a shockwave moving outward at the speed of light which would destroy all matter caught by it, reducing it to true vacuum..
A vacuum metastability doomsday event wouldn't necessarily destroy all matter, just introduce them to a new set of physical laws. Or it might simply expand harmlessly, pushing our false vacuum along, or it might violently shove us out of the way as it expands; until we observe one, we can't know for sure.
Or the universe is "simulating" a warping space by some other means.
I disagree. I'm not an expert, but we know that mass within a system attempts to distribute itself evenly.
Mass flows into an empty space in an attempt to create balance in that system. Vacuums do not cause explosive outward force. (I suppose if too much mass entered the previously empty area, some of the mass may be forced outward again in an attempt to balance out the system, but that's beside the piont.)
Edited by Zanon on 12/17/2011 11:59 PM PST
I still don't follow your reasoning.
I accept this.
I still fail to see how a lack of matter sends a shockwave outward.
The vacuum in space is as close to nothingness as physically possible. But it has an average of one molecule of hydrogen per cubic meter of space (basically nothing).
The answer to the original question is, yes, the vacuum in space may be compressed, because there is (virtually) nothing in it to begin with.
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