Author Topic: Warp Drive possible?  (Read 6 times)

Online Hydra009

Warp Drive possible?
« on: Today at 09:12:32 PM »
NOTE:  This news is based on a paper recently published by the peer-reviewed journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.  So it's not like this is some crackpot idea that someone dreamed up.

Now a group of physicists have put together the first proposal for a physical warp drive, based on a concept devised back in the '90s. And they say it shouldn't break any of laws of physics.

Theoretically speaking, warp drives bend and change the shape of space-time to exaggerate differences in time and distance that, under some circumstances, could see travelers move across distances faster than the speed of light.

One of those circumstances was outlined more than a quarter of a century ago by Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre. His idea, proposed in 1994, was that a spacecraft powered by something called an 'Alcubierre drive' could achieve this faster-than-light travel. The problem is it requires a lot of negative energy in one place, something that's simply not possible according to existing physics.
The Alcubierre drive had insane power requirements which made it basically impossible, among other problems.

But the new study has a workaround. According to researchers from the independent research group Applied Physics based in New York, it's possible to ditch the fiction of negative energy and still make a warp drive, albeit one that's maybe a bit slower than we'd like.

The new research works around this – according to the paper, negative energy wouldn't be required, but a hugely powerful gravitational field would be. The gravity would do the heavy lifting of bending space-time so that the passage of time inside and outside the warp drive machine would be significantly different.

You won't be able to book tickets just yet though – the amount of mass required to produce a noticeable gravitational effect on space-time would be at least planet-sized, and there are still plenty of questions to answer.

This news is also reported in New Scientist and Popular Mechanics, I just chose this one because it didn't have the former's paywall and the latter's intrusive ads.  Forshame.

So basically, instead of using ludicrous amounts of negative energy - far more than we could hope to generate - we could instead use gravity to bend space-time, which has much, much lower energy requirements.  But even that is still beyond our capability for now.  Pretty neat idea, though!

One other interesting finding from the research concerns the shape of the warp drive: a wider, taller vessel will need less energy than a long and thin one.