posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 02:52 PM
I did a search on these forums and no results were found.
An idea for achieving faster-than-light travel suggested by the Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre in 1994.1 It starts from the notion,
implicit in Einstein's general theory of relativity, that matter causes the surface of spacetime around it to curve. Alcubierre was interested in the
possibility of whether Star Trek's fictional "warp drive" could ever be realized. This led him to search for a valid mathematical description of
the gravitational field that would allow a kind of spacetime warp to serve as a means of superluminal propulsion. Alcubierre concluded that a warp
drive would be feasible if matter could be arranged so as to expand the spacetime behind a starship (thus pushing the departure point many light-years
back) and contract the spacetime in front (bringing the destination closer), while leaving the starship itself in a locally flat region of spacetime
bounded by a "warp bubble" that lay between the two distortions. The ship would then surf along in its bubble at an arbitrarily high velocity,
pushed forward by the expansion of space at its rear and the contraction of space in front. It could travel faster than light without breaking any
physical law because, with respect to the spacetime in its warp bubble, it would be at rest. Also, being locally stationary, the starship and its crew
would be immune from any devastatingly high accelerations and decelerations (obviating the need for "inertial dampers"), and from relativistic
effects such as time dilation (since the passage of time inside the warp bubble would be the same as that outside).
Could such a warp drive be built? It would require, as Alcubierre pointed out, the manipulation of matter with a negative energy density. Such matter,
known as exotic matter, is the same kind of peculiar stuff apparently needed to maintain stable wormholes – another proposed means of circumventing
the light barrier. Quantum mechanics allows the existence of regions of negative energy density under special circumstances, such as in the Casimir
Further analysis of Alubierre's warp drive concept by Chris Van Den Broeck of the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium,2 has perhaps brought the
construction of the starship Enterprise a little closer. Van Den Broeck's calculations put the amount of energy required much lower than that quoted
in Alcubierre's paper. But this is not to say we are on the verge of warp capability. As Van Den Broeck concludes: "The first warp drive is still a
long way off but maybe it has now become slightly less improbable."