I promised I'd repost this once the new board was up, so here goes. It's not against the mainstream of physics, but it is definitely not astronomy:
Joe, on the old BABB, wrote on October 01, 2001 at 14:56:17:
Bell wrote this up in his book, Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics, p.67, in the chapter titled How to Teach Special Relativity. He says the rope breaks. The sci.physics.relativity faq seems to agree.Two rockets, aligned head to tail, are connected with a rope from the tail of Rocket 1 to the head of Rocket 2. Both rockets are at rest wrt each other and the rope. At time t = 0 (synchronized clocks) in the rest frame of the rockets, they both fire their thrusters (single thrusters at the tail of each rocket) such that they accelerate at 1g.
To an oberserver in the inertial frame, the rockets will undergo Lorentz contraction. Because they are both contracting, the distance between the rockets will INCREASE and the rope will break. This makes it appear to the oberserver that the rockets are getting farther apart. This does not match what an oberserver on the back rocket sees. To him (the oberserver on the back rocket), the rockets are undergoing the same acceleration starting from the same initial velocity at the same time. How can the front rocket be accelerating away?
Can anyone explain?
If the two rockets are, in fact, getting farther apart, this would seem to imply that putting two sets of thrusters on a rocket would doom the rockets to be torn apart if both thrusters are turned on.