The idea of teleportation—typically depicted in movies, books, and TV shows as vanishing in one place only to reappear fully formed in another—is a science fiction staple. Humans likely won’t be able to beam across space and time anytime soon, but experts say that the futuristic concept is actually rooted in real-life quantum physics.

In the TED-Ed video below, Sajan Saini, the education director at MIT's AIM Photonics Academy, explains the science of teleportation and addresses the question of whether we’ll ever be able to harness it to transmit objects across the universe.