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No object can exceed 1.08 billion km/h – the speed of light in a vacuum – because all bodies gain mass as their speed increases. At first glance, this idea seems absurd: How is it possible for us to get heavier as we move faster? The truth is that this effect is only noticeable when the speed is very, very high. Imagine that you could run at 1.07 billion km/h, equivalent to 99.9% of the speed of light. At that dizzying speed, its mass would increase astonishingly: a body weighing 80 kilos, let’s say, would have almost 2 tons! This happens because energy and mass are closely linked. According to the famous formula of the German physicist Albert Einstein, E = MC2 (where “E” represents the energy and “M”, the mass), if the energy of something increases, its mass will also increase. The secret is that when an object increases in speed, it means precisely that it has gained more energy.

One of the consequences is that the weight also increases and it becomes increasingly difficult to accelerate the body. If any object could reach the speed of light, its mass would be infinite. In that situation, it would take an equally infinite force to accelerate our object – but not even the entire Universe has that much energy. Light, of course, only achieves its dizzying speed because it has no mass. However, for all other objects in the world, mass will never let speed exceed this value.

**explaining einstein**

*Luminous fastness is the best example to understand the famous formula E = MC2*

Everyone knows the famous equation E = MC2, the most ingenious legacy of the German physicist Albert Einstein. If you ever wanted to know how it really applies, the case of the speed of light is the best example. The formula says that the amount of energy (E) an object contains is equal to its mass (M) multiplied by a number equaling the square of the speed of light (C2). Since C2 is a huge number, even a very small mass contains a huge amount of energy. Therefore, an object only has a perceptible gain in mass if its energy grows a lot. This happens when the speed increases to values very close to luminous speed. At 99.999% of the speed of light, a body is 224 times heavier, and at 99.99999999%, the increase is 70,000 times. On Earth, even in today’s fastest planes, this effect is impossible to observe because the speed is too small for the mass gain to be measured.