It’s a question that physicists, philosophers, and science fiction writers have pondered for decades: how to travel from one place to another without travelling through the space in between.
Now a Kremlin-backed research program is seeking to make the teleportation technology behind Captain Kirk’s transporter a reality.
A proposed multi-trillion pound strategic development program drawn up for Vladimir Putin would seek to develop teleportation by 2035.
“It sounds fantastical today, but there have been successful experiments at Stanford at the molecular level,” Alexander Galitsky, a prominent investor in the country’s technology sector, told Russia’s Kommersant daily on Wednesday. “Much of the tech we have today was drawn from science fiction films 20 years ago.”
The Star-Trek style target is listed in the National Technological Initiative, a state-sponsored strategic development plan designed pour investment into research and development sector in a number of key sectors.
The $2.1 trillion (£1.4 trillion) “road map” for development of the cybernetics market to 2035 also includes developing a Russian computer programming language, secure cybernetic communications, quantum computing, and neural interfaces (direct connections between computers and human brains), Kommersant reported.
The goal is not as outlandish as it might seem.
In 2014, scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands showed for the first time that it was possible to teleport information encoded into sub-atomic particles between two points three metres apart with 100% reliability.
While teleportation remains a remote prospect, experts believe significant progress in quantum computing and neural interfaces is likely in the next few decades.
The program appears to be part of a new Kremlin drive to boost Russia’s IT sector and high-tech economy.
Mr Putin heaped praise on Russia’s IT sector earlier this week when he met a team of programmers from St Petersburg state university who won the 2016 international “programming olympiad.”
Russia has a talented programming community and a small but vibrant software sector that has produced several successful IT companies, including Yandex and Kaspersky Labs.
Western governments also believe Russia has leveraged its computing talent to put together one of the most fearsome state-sponsored hacking and cyber-warfare programs on the planet.