NATICK, Mass. (April 1, 2016) -- Army scientists have successfully "teleported" a fully equipped squad from a Massachusetts research and development facility to a training area in Germany, the Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) announced today.
The nine human research volunteers, fresh out of Advanced Individual Training, were participating in experiments in the Doriot Climatic Chambers at NSSC when they disappeared and moments later materialized at the Grafenwoehr Training Area, completely unharmed. The chambers are capable of replicating any climate or weather in the world but have never before been used in this manner.
Teleportation, made famous in the "Star Trek" television series and movies, had been -- until what the Army is calling the "Natick incident" -- a hypothetical way of moving objects from place to place. American writer Charles Fort is reported to have coined the word in 1931.
Officials at Natick were elated by the event, which promises to one day revolutionize the way that American troops and equipment are transported around the globe. It also could ultimately make overseas bases obsolete as forces are instead moved from U.S. soil to remote trouble spots in the blink of an eye.
"No one is more impressed by this than I am," said Benjamin Storm, who manages the 61-year-old climatic chambers at Natick. "One moment, I was chatting with the young Soldiers, and the next, they all vanished into thin air."
The Soldiers were dressed in combat gear for the revolutionary experiment and being monitored by Storm and his colleagues when they were sent from one continent to the other. Still photographs of the event were captured in the chambers and have been released by the Army.
After thorough medical examinations at an Army hospital, they were flown back to the U.S. and returned to duty at Natick.
"It's one thing to see Captain Kirk or Mr. Spock do it at the movies, but it's another to have it happen to you in real life," said Pvt. Kelley McCoy, one of the teleported Soldiers. "I felt a little tingling and the next thing you know, I'm in Bavaria. I always wanted to visit Europe, but I figured that I'd go by plane."
Storm and other Natick researchers are now poring over mountains of data from the development in hopes of replicating it. Meanwhile, the Army quickly established a Teleportation Study Task Force, which will be based at Natick. Leading scientists from private industry and academia worldwide are converging on the chambers to lend whatever assistance they can.
According to Storm, a device not unlike the "flux capacitor" seen in the "Back to the Future" movie series was employed during the experiment. This led to immediate speculation that the Army was also working on time travel, but time travel requirements of generating 1.21 gigawatts is no trivial feat.
"We're only concerned with place, not time," said Storm, a twinkle in his eye. "This development could change the entire course of human history."
The Task Force expects to report its initial findings by April Fools' Day, 2017.