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"The idea is that you take a chunk of space-time and move it," said Marc Millis, former head of NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project.
"The vehicle inside that bubble thinks that it's not moving at all. It's the space-time that's moving."
"We still don't even know if those things are possible or impossible, but at least we've progressed far enough to where there are things that we can actually research to chip away at the unknowns," Millis told SPACE.com.
The term breakthrough propulsion refers to concepts like space drives and faster-than-light travel, the kind of breakthroughs that would make interstellar travel practical.
For a general explanation of the challenges and approaches of interstellar flight, please visit the companion website: Warp Drive: When? The Warp-When site is written for the general public and uses icons of science fiction to help convey such notions. This website, on the other hand, is intended for scientists and engineers.
Status of the NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics (BPP) Project
All NASA support to sustain cognizance on these possibilities has been withdrawn as of October 1, 2008. The final NASA contribution was to assist in the compilation of a graduate-level technical book, Frontiers of Propulsion Science, which is due out in early 2009. This book (750 pages, hardback) will be volume 227 of the series, Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics Series, which will be published by American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Prior to this point, the project's leader, Marc G. Millis, continued to monitor and assess a variety of ongoing research with the assistance of an informal network of volunteers scattered across academia, industry, various NASA Centers, and other Federal labs. During that time, several publications were completed to document the progress made. When funding for active research was available, which ran from 1996 to 2002, the project oversaw research into 8 different approaches, produced 16 peer-reviewed journal articles, and an award-winning website (Warp-When), all for a total investment of less than $1.6M. Also during that funded time, the BPP Project coordinated with related research funded at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. With the implementation of the 2003 Federal Budget (p.325), all advanced propulsion research was deferred, including these research efforts.
Accordingly, this web site will no longer be updated.
As fantastic as teleportation seems, an extraordinary amount of research has led to great strides in the field over the past decade or so. However, when scientists talk about teleportation, they don't typically mean teleporting matter from one place to another. Rather, teleportation involves capturing the essential information about something — its "quantum state" — to recreate it exactly someplace else.
On Google, links displayed next to search results offer users automatic translations of Web pages in foreign languages. However, these translations are often less than perfect. "You can get a reasonable although rather amusing translation," Krauss quipped. "If on 'Star Trek' you tried to have such translation verbalized rather than typewritten, the end result could have been some interesting diplomatic snafus."