"Our Star-Trek Future" --NASA Scientists Engineering a Warp-Drive Solution for Faster-Than-Light Space Travel (Today's Most Popular)
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October 28, 2013

"Our Star-Trek Future" --NASA Scientists Engineering a Warp-Drive Solution for Faster-Than-Light Space Travel (Today's Most Popular)

 

 

Alcubierre-warp-drive-2

 

Move over Star Trek! According to state-of-the art theory, a warp drive could cut the travel time between stars from tens of thousands of years to weeks or months. Harold G. White, a physicist and advanced propulsion engineer at NASA and other NASA engineers are trying to determine whether faster-than-light travel — warp drive — might someday be possible. The team has attempting to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it travels in a certain area, and then observing the change with a device called an interferometer.

“Space has been expanding since the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago,” said Dr. White, 43, who runs the research project told the New York Times. “And we know that when you look at some of the cosmology models, there were early periods of the universe where there was explosive inflation, where two points would’ve went receding away from each other at very rapid speeds. Nature can do it,” he added. “So the question is, can we do it?”

In 1994, a Mexican physicist, Miguel Alcubierre, theorized that faster-than-light speeds were possible in a way that did not contradict Einstein by harnessing the expansion and contraction of space itself. Under Dr. Alcubierre’s hypothesis, a ship still couldn’t exceed light speed in a local region of space. But a theoretical propulsion system he sketched out manipulated space-time by generating a so-called “warp bubble” that would expand space on one side of a spacecraft and contract it on another.

 

          Alcubierre-warp-drive-overview (1)

 

An Alcubierre Warp Drive stretches spacetime in a wave causing the fabric of space ahead of a spacecraft to contract and the space behind it to expand. The ship can ride the wave to accelerate to high speeds and time travel. The Alcubierre drive, also known as the Alcubierre metric or Warp Drive, is a mathematical model of a spacetime exhibiting features reminiscent of the fictional "warp drive" from Star Trek, which can travel "faster than light/"

Alcubierre-warp-drive-manifold“In this way, the spaceship will be pushed away from the Earth and pulled towards a distant star by space-time itself,” Dr. Alcubierre wrote. Dr. White, the NYT reports, has likened it to stepping onto a moving walkway at an airport.

Alcubierre’s theory, however, depended on large amounts of a little understood or observed type of “exotic matter” that violates typical physical laws.

In general relativity, one often first specifies a plausible distribution of matter and energy, and then finds the geometry of the spacetime associated with it; but it is also possible to run the Einstein field equations in the other direction, first specifying a metric and then finding the energy-momentum tensor associated with it, and this is what Alcubierre did in building his metric. This practice means that the solution can violate various energy conditions and require exotic matter. The need for exotic matter leads to questions about whether it is actually possible to find a way to distribute the matter in an initial spacetime which lacks a "warp bubble" in such a way that the bubble will be created at a later time.

Yet another problem according to Serguei Krasnikov is that it would be impossible to generate the bubble without being able to force the exotic matter to move at locally FTL speeds, which would require the existence of tachyons. Some methods have been suggested which would avoid the problem of tachyonic motion, but would probably generate a naked singularity at the front of the bubble.

Dr. White believes that advances he and others have made render warp speed less implausible. Among other things, he has redesigned the theoretical warp-traveling spacecraft — and in particular a ring around it that is key to its propulsion system — in a way that he believes will greatly reduce the energy requirements. But ”We’re not bolting this to a spacecraft,” he said of the technology.

Richard Obousy, a physicist who is president of Icarus Interstellar, a nonprofit group composed of volunteers collaborating on starship design, said “it is not airy-fairy, pie in the sky. We tend to overestimate what we can do on short time scales, but I think we massively underestimate what we can do on longer time scales.”

Dr. White likened his experiments to the early stages of the WW11 Manhattan Project, which were aimed at creating a very small nuclear reaction merely as proof that it could be done.

“Routine travel among the stars is impossible without new discoveries regarding the fabric of space and time, or capability to manipulate it for our needs,” says Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, said “By my read, the idea of a functioning warp drive remains far-fetched, but the real take-away is that people are thinking about it — reminding us all that the urge to explore continues to run deep in our species.”

 

            Alcubierre-warp-drive (1)

 

Still, one of the most dubious is Dr. Alcubierre himself. He listed a number of concerns, starting with the vast amounts of exotic matter that would be needed. “The warp drive on this ground alone is impossible,” he said. “At speeds larger than the speed of light, the front of the warp bubble cannot be reached by any signal from within the ship,” he said. “This does not just mean we can’t turn it off; it is much worse. It means we can’t even turn it on in the first place.”

The Daily Galaxy via New York Times and Dr. David Lewis Anderson/Anderson Institute

Image credit: With thanks to http://www.patrickshrier.com/tag/alcubierre-drive/


 

Comments

this model suggest that upon entering the warp, time within the spaceship is cut to weeks or months. but am curious about the earth time. when the passengers arrive back on earth will it be thousands of years into the future.

Since the ship inside the bubble isn't traveling at relativistic speeds, the weeks should observed by the traveler would be roughly similar to those observed by Earth. I would assume there would be some discrepancy between the relative speed of the ship inside the bubble (approx. 0), compared to Earth, which is traveling at a faster speed. At least, that's how I understand it.

Can we outdistance the Republicans with this technology?

Unfortunately no, James :) :P

Most the physics is using the speed of light, and even when talking of deforming space-time curvature they are keep disrespecting one very special parameter :
- The speed of deforming space-time, and the speed of regaining it's normal curvature.
Since whatever part of the universe we try to bend - it will be still a "local" part if the universe is infinite.
Therefore the whole universe will try to force regaining the normal curvature in the region of the bending.
Therefore if we can achieve a bending of a point from a distance to the current position and the space ship became a part of this point, in the very same time when the bending stop - the curvature will be restored and the space ship will end up in the initial location of the point, which is not "faster than light", but it is actually "instantly" almost disrespecting the distances.
Anyway there is a catch. Since the whole universe will try to prevent such a bending - the time to use the distorted region will be impossible small, and the amount of energy spend in a this very time will be abnormous.
And none obstacle shall lie between the initial point and the target point, because everything standing the line will be ripped apart.

Warm bubbles/holes are still a theory that even Alcubierre's own ideas are questioned by him and others, what it has to be proven is that Einstein is but won't continue to be the last word about the speed of light, as laws written/discovered not created by a human can't last forever, Amen !!

I've been a proponent of the Alcubierre Drive for a few years now, and I do think we'll reach the stars using it. First we'll send out robotic probes to find worlds suitable for personal colonization and exploration, and then we'll send people to do those things.

We'll also need to find a way to communicate in an FTL fashion. Robotic couriers is one solution, though I think quantum entanglement is more likely. (We might also make use of a nearby physical parallel universe where the speed of light is many times greater than in our own universe -- if such a thing exists!)

My personal hope is that these things can happen in my lifetime, and I can one day place my feet on an extrasolar planet. This is highly unlikely, especially since I turned 52 this year, but I can still hope.

I must say Bob the chances of you making it onto the surface of an extrasolar planet are better than you might imagine. If you can live to 80 then the year will be 2041. Since most futurists peg the Singularity sometime around 2035 or so, you even have 6 years to spare!

What if, as NASA has already used a 'SLINGSHOT' effect to accelerate a satelite, there may be a way to have a satelite enter into the 'slipstream' of a passing speeding boulder like alongside a truck on the highway, granted there is usually a debri field to navigate thru. Surely some of the space boulders are going places that are very far away and may be of interest, shooting multi-wavelength images as it travels on it's roadtrip exploring worlds unknown. Exiting the slipstream requires using the brakes, as it may take too much power to break thru the bow-wave. Hitch-hiking thru space, if they can then catch another boulder, may have been proposed before ?

Bob, I do hope that you will have a chance to fulfill your wish, or something that gets close to it. It is nice reading your comments now and then on DG.

"Requires the existence of Tachyons."

You can stop right there, considering one of physics greatest achievements was the elimination of tachyons to get the standard model to work in the first place.

Bob Lazar explained all of this back in the 90's claiming he had worked on alien craft at a place called S4 just off Area51. The exotic element needed is element 115 which did not exist at the time he made these tapes, but has now been confirmed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvmie0zxjzw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L85WMAArqqA

light speed without a type of warp will not get us very far in space. i find it hard to believe nature created this paradox without a solution. if it did, then whats the point. look but don't touch just does not seem right in the big picture of mans possibilities. we were designed to explore space, the solution is there, somewhere, and we will find it. those of you with the mathmatical ability, keep crunching the numbers, and those of us with the imagination of the possibilities will take the blows of critics, until the job is done.

We now have the technological capability to to make 1 G excellerated space flight a reality. It was said ( Mars 1) that it would take years to send gelonauts to Mars with the solar ion drive when in fact we could travel there in days or weeks and still be astronauts. Why do we have such high expectations for a warp drive to be possible in the near future when we refuse to use the tools we currently have to develop and colonize the solar system now; could it be that when JFK's vision comes to bear fruit the world will come to the reality of unlimited free energy. "NO" yells the big boys. How long do you think the masters can hold off the mission that human beings are here for ( Spreading the entire biosphere of the Earth into the cosmos)?

I have no tech background whatsoever but can we exploit gravity, and produce zero-Gs in front of craft so the front space can pull craft in?
I assume the bulk of the universe, dark matter/dark energy would react the same way as normal matter to gravity changes.
Tunneling through sounds as the most achievable way of propulsion or surfing, however one sees it.

Warp Speed Below The Speed Of Light. & Time Travelling method.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=U_v4zrHQiUI

a spaceship travelling faster than the speed of light,wouldnt it hit the dark matter or ordinary matter on its way.the solution to FTL drive would could come not from creating more more more more power but finding hidden dimensions that we simply arent aware of.

@fredl The warp bubble would simply displace any object that move below the speed of light. The bubble would probably have it's own spacetime.

Surely the technique is to remove impedance from free space. This would increase the speed of light in front of the craft, and so greater speed could be achieved before relativistic time effects become horrendous.

"engineering a warp drive solution"? Really? All I read was some highly theoretical parlor talk. No engineering at all. The headers here are almost as bad as those at SlashDot.

Waw, that escalated fast...
not building an engine but trying to see if a engine would be possible or not, there's still a big "If"

the story goes like this
- at the end of the century ppl believed in Ether as the light needed an environment to propagate as a wave
- the Michelson–Morley experiment was supposed to show the existence of ether but failed consistently. (Shoot two perpendicular lights/lasers and one should be slightly slower due the ether wind)
- Many physicists including Einstein believed there is no Ether and that light in vacuum is using the particle model and don't need a medium
- The Big Bang was deduced based on the red shift observations and described mathematically. Later was observed that the red shift is accelerating. Some kind of vacum energy was required to explain that(other type of Ether).
- Miguel Alcubierre create a mathematical model to shake the ether but works only with immense energy and requires a hypothetical particle that always moves faster than light and goes back in time(Tachyons).
- LHC detect the Higgs particle, hence the Higgs field might exist(other type of Ether)
- Dr. White announced another mathematical model that will improve Alcubierre model and require less energy
- Dr. White and team are testing the Michelson–Morley experiment and try to see if can disturb the higgs field so that one photon will come slower.

That's all it is, no proven physics yet, no technical solution, no engine. I've also been a proponent of the Alcubierre Drive for many years, and hope one day will become a reality, but let's not get ahead of ourselfs, still a long way to a engine.

Matthew the links you provided to Bob Lazar's video were terminated due to copywrite infringement. Somebody does not want us to see the truth.

That does not surprise me one bit, Bob Lazar explains pretty much all of what these people are theorizing to be possible. He tell's of a very small particle accelerator at the heart of the alien craft. Element 115 is sent through the accelerator giving off a antimatter reaction, converting its energy to 100% efficiency. The element also gives off a gravity wave, very small. Which is then captured and amplified to create the gravity field needed to warp space for travel. Other people have called Lazar a hoaxer and said he is a complete fraud. However he has proven to have worked at Los Alamos and has check stubs from the department of navy intelligence. When a reporter tried to find out if those stubs were real, he was basically thrown out of a high ranking generals office. Just for asking about it.

no object traveling by using space deformation will survive that space shrinking, it will be teared apart. And NO, if you`re not with your ship inside that deformation you will not move an inch. I understand now why NASA is such a money loser.

Bob Lazar's story is confirmed by John Lear a man who's credentials are hardly questionable.

The US military has been spending billions to ensure they are the only people who know and have access to these technologies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVrGtKRYnfQ


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