This is a fascinating question that gets at some of the intriguing consequences of Einstein’s theory of special relativity. Special relativity shows that the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of their motion relative to the light source. This has some very non-intuitive implications when considering light and motion.

## The Speed of Light is Constant

The first key point is that the speed of light in a vacuum is always measured to be 300,000 km/s (186,000 miles/s) by all observers, regardless of their motion relative to the light source. This is one of the fundamental postulates of Einstein’s special theory of relativity. So if you were traveling at the speed of light and turned on your headlights, you would still measure the speed of those photons to be 300,000 km/s.

## Light Speed Travel and Time Dilation

Now, according to special relativity, it is actually impossible for any object with mass, like a spaceship, to reach the speed of light. As an object approaches light speed, its mass approaches infinity, meaning it would take an infinite amount of energy to accelerate to light speed. But just as a thought experiment, let’s imagine you could travel at very close to light speed in a spaceship with headlights.

Due to the effects of time dilation, time would pass much slower for you on the ship compared to a stationary observer. This means that while only days or weeks pass for you, decades or centuries would pass on Earth. So if you turned your headlights on at light speed, the light would still move away from you at light speed, but it would be severely redshifted – meaning its wavelength would be stretched out – due to the time dilation effects.

## What a Stationary Observer Would See

Now let’s think about what a stationary observer watching your near-light speed spaceship fly by would see. For this observer, the light leaving your headlights would still move at light speed away from them. However, due to the relativistic Doppler effect, the light would be strongly blueshifted – its wavelength would be compressed – as you travel towards the observer.

Interestingly, as you passed by the observer, the light they see would shift from blueshifted to redshifted almost instantaneously. So they would see two flashes of light – one blue flash as you approach and one red flash as you zoom away. This is because the light emitted by your headlights would be traveling at c (light speed) in your spaceship’s reference frame, but the light travels at c in the observer’s frame as well.

## Causality is Preserved

This thought experiment shows some of the surprising effects of relativity of motion on light. But ultimately, the speed of light remains the same for all observers. So even if you traveled at light speed, a stationary observer would never see the light from your headlights move faster than c. This preserves causality – meaning that cause and effect remain properly ordered in different reference frames.

## Conclusions

- The speed of light is always measured as 300,000 km/s by all observers, regardless of motion relative to the source.
- It is impossible for objects with mass to reach the speed of light due to infinite mass energy requirements.
- If near light speed travel were possible, light emitted would be redshifted to the traveler but blueshifted to stationary observers.
- Light always travels at c from all perspectives to preserve causality.

While light speed travel remains impossible, speculating about its consequences provides insight into the counterintuitive properties of space and time according to relativity. This thought experiment reveals the strange but self-consistent rules that govern the universe at velocities approaching the cosmic speed limit.