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Real-life Warp Drive Concept is Gaining Traction


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Could warp drive be the answer to interstellar space travel ?

The idea that a spacecraft could 'warp' over vast distances of space may have genuine potential.

Right now the idea of traveling to planets orbiting distant stars is something that we can only dream about - even a spacecraft moving at just under the speed of light would take four years to reach the next closest star and over two million years to reach the next nearest galaxy.

The problem is that the laws of physics would seem to prohibit the possibility of anything traveling faster than the speed of light, making long distance space journeys impractical.

In recent years however, scientists have been taking a long, hard look at an exotic science-fiction propulsion system that, as it turns out, is not solely limited to the Star Trek franchise.

One major advocate is undergraduate engineer Joseph Agnew who has been focusing his efforts on a theoretical implementation known as Alcubierre Warp Drive.

According to the theory, this real-world warp drive would work by stretching the fabric of space-time in a wave, contracting the space in front of the ship and expanding the space behind.

A spacecraft riding this wave could effectively ride the 'warp bubble' and reach speeds far exceeding the speed of light. Because the ship is not actually moving through space-time (but is in fact moving space-time itself), it would not be subject to the negative effects of traveling at relativistic speeds.

"In the past 5-10 years or so, there has been a lot of excellent progress along the lines of predicting the anticipated effects of the drive, determining how one might bring it into existence, reinforcing fundamental assumptions and concepts, and, my personal favorite, ways to test the theory in a laboratory," Agnew told University Today.

"The LIGO discovery a few years back was, in my opinion, a huge leap forward in science, since it proved, experimentally, that spacetime can 'warp' and bend in the presence of enormous gravitational fields, and this is propagated out across the universe in a way that we can measure."

"Now that we know the effect is real, the next question, in my mind, is, 'how do we study it, and can we generate it ourselves in the lab ?'"

As things stand, the biggest hurdle to overcome is generating enough energy to make it work.

Eventually though, as technology improves, it is not outside the realms of possibility that in the future, the Alcubierre Warp Drive could actually become a very effective way for us to travel to the stars.

Fulr article here: https://www.sciencealert.com/scientists-are-starting-to-take-warp-drives-seriously-especially-this-one-concept

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I don't think you should take this article too serious. Especially the link to the detection of gravitational waves is very questionable. The space time deformation that gravitional waves produced in a detector of 1 km long perpendicular vacuum pipes were on the order of 1 picometer (10^-15 m). The source of these gravitational waves were 2 rotating black holes that merged together. Just to put in perspective how weak the gravitational force is and how hard it is to deform space. Imagine the capabilities of moving matter around you would need to move even a rock of  1 Kg.

The Alcubierre warp drive is just a space-time metric postulated by a mexican theoretical physicist that has these faster then light properties. The metric of space however is determined by the mass-energy tensor. The mass and energy distribution determines the shape of a space(metric) and once you know how the space looks you can calculate orbits etc... . Similarly to wormholes  the Alcubierre Warp Drive was just a guy saying this is the metric with all the properties i want with no regards how a mass distribution that would produce such a metric would look like. Turns out the mass distribution that is needed to make this magical metric would be on the order of galaxies, compressed in a thin shell of aorund the planck length and oh some of the mass has to be negative. No particles with negative mass have been observed and there are no good reasons we think they exist. Not only does the matter it requires not exist, the mass distribution is not stable either as the mass will move according to the metric. Massive objects tend to be spherical for a reason and a metric with cubic symmetry would be impossible for the same reasons.

Not only the existence of such a drive is questionable but the creation, time evolution of a flat space time into such a warp bubble has serious problems. The creation of a bubble from flat space time requires particles moving faster then light, so called "tachyons". Again these particles have not been found and cannot exist on a theoretical basis as lorentz invariance is a pretty serious thing. There is another option that does not require tachyons but it involves accelerating particles in advance along a "railroad". Since signalling these acceletations can only go as fast as the speed of light, the spaceship cannot steer and the decision to embark on a journey has to be made well in advance which elimantes the whole faster than light thing.

The article sounds serious as NASA is apparantly involved. The researcher is an engineer in a university in alabama and NASA gave him a grant (~100 000 USD). NASA hands out litteraly thousands of these grants, also to some more "remote" areas partly as eductional welfare/aid. There is no NASA team working seriously on this device.

Sorry to be negative, i liked the subject tho.

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