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HOUSTON — A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television's Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.
A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, however subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.
Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially brining the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.
"There is hope," Harold "Sonny" White of NASA's Johnson Space Center said here Friday (Sept. 14) at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting to discuss the challenges of interstellar spaceflight.
An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shape spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind.
Meanwhile, the starship itself would stay inside a bubble of flat space-time that wasn't being warped at all.
"Everything within space is restricted by the speed of light," explained Richard Obousy, president of Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit group of scientists and engineers devoted to pursuing interstellar spaceflight. "But the really cool thing is space-time, the fabric of space, is not limited by the speed of light."
With this concept, the spacecraft would be able to achieve an effective speed of about 10 times the speed of light, all without breaking the cosmic speed limit.
Let's not get too carried away...they said there was hope, which is different from saying it's possible.
Originally posted by TheProphetMark
Now Researchers and Scientist are beginning to see that it's quite possible
Most people think alien intelligence is possible.
and if this is possible, then people open your minds and not be so closed minded about this; It's quite possible that Aliens do in fact exist considering that they would be far more advance then us and most likely have already accomplished Wrap Drive and God knows what else they have accomplished as a race.
Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to the Solar System. It lies about 4.37 light-years in distance, or about 41.5 trillion kilometres, 25.8 trillion miles or 277,600 AU.
Mars and Earth can be 401 million km apart (249 million miles) when they are in opposition and both are at aphelion. The average distance between the two is 225 million km.
Jul. 27. 2018 – 57.6 million km (35.8 million miles)
It is an axiom in modern physics that faster than light travel, at least by conventional means, is impossible. The fasting an object is accelerated, the more massive it becomes, according to a piece on the problem on the Discovery Channel website. At the speed of light, an object would have infinite mass, clearly impossible. In any case, even at near light speed, the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, is about a 4 1/2-year voyage away.
However, there appears to be a way, at least mathematically, to get around the faster than light problem.According to Popular Science, it is possible to create a "warp bubble" around an object such as a space ship. Spacetime ahead of the ship could be compressed and spacetime behind the ship could be expanded. In effect, a future starship would travel not by moving itself but by moving space.
A team inside NASA's Eagleworks, a skunkworks operation at the Johnson Space Center, is working on an experiment that would create and detect a microscopic warp bubble, according to Gizmodo. The team proposes to do this with a device called the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer that will use a laser to create the microscopic warp bubble.
Hitherto, while such a warp drive was considered theoretically possible, it was thought that it would take an amount of exotic matter, more of a concept in physics than something that has actually been discovered, the size of Jupiter to power it. However, the NASA scientists working on the warp bubble experiment have ascertained that by tweaking the shape and nature of the warp field, about 500 kilograms of exotic matter would be needed to fire up a warp drive, according to Gizmodo.
The implications of the proof of the concept of a warp bubble cannot be overstated. Space.com suggests that a football field-sized starship, surrounded by a ring that would generate the warp bubble, could travel an apparent speed of 10 times light speed. Gizmodo suggests that an Earthlike world about 20 light years away, Gliese 581g, would be a two year voyage away.
Naturally a great deal of work would have to be done before a real-life Captain Kirk can issue the order, "Ahead Warp Factor Two." For one thing, some way has to be found to create exotic matter. But if the experiment works, a giant leap toward that day will have been achieved.
Originally posted by -PLB-
I find the argument that if interstellar travel is possible, other lifeforms must have figured it out already and would have colonized the complete the galaxy, a good argument against the possibility of such technology, as there is no evidence of any of this having taken place. So I find the chances of such technology being possible extremely slim.
Though a warp drive would not necessarily mean that interstellar travel is possible. It could also be a good propulsion system for travel inside our own solar system, or even on earth.
sensitivity analysis started by White in 2011 and completed this year has shown that the energy requirements can be greatly reduced by first optimizing the warp bubble thickness, and further by oscillating the bubble intensity to reduce the stiffness of space time. The results, to be presented at the 2012 100 Year Starship Symposium in Houston