Note: this is an extremely simplified version of how teleportation and quantum entanglement works. If you are interested in learning more there are many articles on the web that are more in-depth.

Teleportation is a staple of future technology in media. Movies and TV shows like The Fly and Star Trek are known for their use of teleportation. Now, teleportation is less of a fantasy and more of a reality.

In 2016, researchers in China teleported the first photon into space. This was huge because it was the longest distance scientists had ever been able to teleport a photon. It utilized quantum entanglement, cryptography, and teleportation. While this isn’t as exciting as organic matter, it was a step in the right direction. In theory, scientists can use quantum entanglement to teleport people.

For context, quantum entanglement is when two objects share a unified quantum state. This means the objects are linked no matter how far apart they are. The way you link the objects is where it gets a bit complicated. For the objects to be linked, the state of one of the objects is dependent on the state of the other and vice versa. For example, if you had two cats (let’s call them cat A and cat B) and cat A is dead, that means cat B is alive. Now the cats are quantum entangled.

This doesn’t explain how teleportation works but it is the first step to being able to theoretically teleport a cat. Quantum entanglement is the transmission mechanism in teleportation. This means it is what will be used to ensure the cat gets to its destination. In its simplest form, entangled object 1 (cat A) acts as a scanner while cat B acts as a printer.

According to physics, if you successfully scanned what you were trying to teleport, a cat, once it reaches the printer, the original will no longer exist. This eliminates most of the moral and ethical questions tied to this type of teleportation.

The last trick to teleportation is that the scanner strictly acts as a way to scan the blueprints (genetic codes, atomic makeup, etc.), so where your printer is located you need to have the building blocks of that object to reconstruct it. This means if you teleport a cat, the cat where the scanner is will be molecules and there will be a cat where the printer is.

While we still have a very long way to go before we could teleport a cat or a human, we have the tools to make it theoretically happen. There’s still a lot that is unknown about quantum mechanics and how they work but, eventually, this classic science fiction trope could be a reality.
If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend starting with this video.