NASA's Warp Drive Could Take a Spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in 2 Weeks
A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive.
His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks â€” and all without violating.
The idea came to White while he was considering a rather remarkable equation formulated by physicist Miguel Alcubierre. In his 1994 paper titled, â€śThe Warp Drive: Hyper-Fast Travel Within General Relativity,â€ť
Alcubierre suggested a mechanism by which space-time could be â€śwarpedâ€ť both in front of and behind a spacecraft.
Michio Kaku dubbed Alcubierreâ€™s notion a â€śpassport to the universe.â€ť It takes advantage of a quirk in the cosmological code that allows for the expansion and contraction of space-time, and could allow for hyper-fast travel between interstellar destinations.
Essentially, the empty space behind a starship would be made to expand rapidly, pushing the craft in a forward direction â€” passengers would perceive it as movement despite the complete lack of acceleration.
White speculates that such a drive could result in â€śspeedsâ€ť that could take a spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in a mere two weeks â€” even though the system is 4.3 light-years away.
In terms of the engineâ€™s mechanics, a spheroid object would be placed between two regions of space-time (one expanding and one contracting).
A â€śwarp bubbleâ€ť would then be generated that moves space-time around the object, effectively repositioning it â€” the end result being faster-than-light travel without the spheroid (or spacecraft) having to move with respect to its local frame of reference.
â€śRemember, nothing locally exceeds the speed of light, but space can expand and contract at any speed, â€ťHowever, space-time is really stiff, so to create the expansion and contraction effect in a useful manner in order for us to reach interstellar destinations in reasonable time periods would require a lot of energy.â€ť
â€śHowever,â€ť said White, â€śbased on the analysis I did the last 18 months, there may be hope.â€ť The key, says White, may be in altering the geometry of the warp drive itself.
A new design
â€śMy early results suggested I had discovered something that was in the math all along,â€ť he recalled. â€śI suddenly realized that if you made the thickness of the negative vacuum energy ring larger â€” like shifting from a belt shape to a donut shape â€” and oscillate the warp bubble, you can greatly reduce the energy required â€” perhaps making the idea plausible.â€ť
White had adjusted the shape of Alcubierreâ€™s ring which surrounded the spheroid from something that was a flat halo to something that was thicker and curvier.
Porten Vid wrote July 12, 2014 5:48:09 PM CEST
WHERE'RE FOR LAUNCH? OBVIOUSLY TO FAR FROM EARTH ORBIT, A PĂ“SSIBLE MASS DISASTER MEANS CREATE BLACK HOLE TO EAT THE EARTH COULD BE GET THE MANKIND EXTINCT JUST AT TIME TO HIS BORN SPACE ADVENTURE.
Evildweeb wrote June 10, 2014 7:09:02 PM CEST
Have to agree with Tyrssen on this one.
Using the words "NASA" and "warp drive" in the same sentence is exactly the same as "military intelligence". Though maybe they're beginning to let this info slip out, as I agree it's been around for a long time. NASA hasn't really done anything spectacular since its inception.
And these are the best we've got? I don't think so. Cheers.
DmoniX_The_Destroyer wrote June 10, 2014 2:19:09 AM CEST
Yep I'd go to, in a heart beat
Scouse Power wrote June 10, 2014 1:00:28 AM CEST
Need any crew? Where do I sign please? :)
Tyrssen wrote June 10, 2014 12:54:23 AM CEST
We may not have "warp drive" per se, but we've had advanced craft capable of interplanetary travel for a long time. See the comments of Dr. Edgar Mitchell, and Col. Gordon Cooper, for further info. Ours aren't as advanced as "theirs," but we've got 'em.