Some scientists are saying that warp drive might be possible after all. Yes, it's obvious pandering to the Star Trek release, but be fair: these guys are career physicists. Star Trek was theirs to begin with, and now it's cool we should at least give them press. Especially when they want to talk about awesome things like faster than light travel.
Relativity states that it's impossible to move through spacetime faster than the speed of light - and many, many things have been observed which confirm this fact. Almost all of them, in fact. So the "simple" solution (for a sufficiently radical definition of "simple") is to move the spacetime instead. Then you're not breaking the lightspeed limit, you're just picking up a piece of reality and throwing it faster than anything can ever move.
Which may already have happened. Some models suggest that the universe's early rapid inflationary period may have included such superluminal speeds, so scientist Mark Millis says "Why can't we do the same?" And despite how modern physics is almost entirely composed of reasons why we can't do exactly that, it's still a great question.
"If it could do it for the Big Bang, why not space drives?" ponders Mark. Mainly because our drives don't conjure realities out of their exhaust ports, but we will be the first to say that incredible breakthroughs always sound insane before they actually happen. We are totally behind Mr Millis and his attempts to evade reality's restrictions; we'd just prefer people sounded more sensible when they discussed it.
Any discussion of Millis's admirable aims tends to degenerate into "wooboowubwub DARK ENERGY! wubwub" or "If collapsed stars can bend spacetime, couldn't future engines?" Sure, as long as the universe agrees that reducing decades of cosmological math into an analogy is a valid method of design. We're all in favor of realising there may be some incredible breakthrough (in fact, that's kind of our entire job), but waving words you got off the cover of Nature around is not the route to credibility.
Will we ever get off the Earth? We hope so - but if people here would smarten up a bit, we wouldn't actually have to.
Posted by Luke McKinney
Working on Warp Drive http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/090506-tw-warp-drive.html
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