SciFi to SciFact: Warp Drive

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The warp drive is a staple of every Star Trek series and while it’s generally been regarded as science-fiction, new research shows that warp drive could actually become a reality to help humanity explore outer space.

At a recent 100 Year Starship Symposium at NASA, the possibility of a working warp drive was postulated.

The proposed warp drive system would manipulate space-time to move a starship by taking advantage of loophole in the laws of physics that prevents objects from moving faster than light A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested by Mexican physicist Miguel Albubierre in a 1994 article, but recent calculations shows such a device would require huge, prohibitive amounts of energy.

Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.

“There is hope,” Harold “Sonny” White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center said Friday (Sept. 14) at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting to discuss the challenges of interstellar spaceflight.

An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shape spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind…

But recently (Harold “Sonny” White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center) calculated what would happen if the shape of the ring encircling the spacecraft was adjusted into more of a rounded donut, as opposed to a flat ring. He found in that case, the warp drive could be powered by a mass about the size of a spacecraft like the Voyager 1 probe NASA launched in 1977.

Comments

  1. Joe Klemmer says:

    All I want to say is…

    MAKE THIS HAPPEN NOW!!!

  2. I really REALLY want this to be made in my lifetime. I can’t stress this enough.

  3. ALibertarian says:

    This sounds an awful lot like the ship design in the Honor Harrington series of novels by David Weber.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorverse

  4. Now all we need is an inexpensive source of matter that only exists in theory.

  5. Do we have to be human to comment? Humanity on this planet isn’t doing so well.

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  6. http://www.buildtheenterprise.org/

    Hopefully they’ve heard about htis also. I was thinking a few days ago after watching a repeat of the show about how Star Trek changed the world and thought that Warp Drive would probably be the one most important thing that the show could have caused to come into existance for all of mankind. It already lead to the development of cell phones and other technologies that really had not been thought of up until that time. I don’t think it will lad to world peace or anything but, the discoveries we could make by using this technology would answer so many other questions we’ve had about our very existance. Think of hw great it would be to be able to just travle within our own solar system with a manned crew on what is essnetially a Day trip.

  7. I remember back in the 1980s a friend of mine was involved in a major University’s government funded “energy research”. They had actually managed to create an atom of anti-matter for a vary small portion of a milisecond. He was excited as he told me it appeared 1 of the properties of anti-matter was an ability to “warp” the timespace around it. With help from a mathmatician from the project we figured how an Enterprise like warp drive could use anti-matter to warp the spacetime around the ship. While pure speculation at the time, we were excited to realize that an actual warp drive might be possable sometime in the far distant future.

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