Warp drive, here we come. This never really gets old for all of us here at StarTrek.com, sharing with readers examples of Star Trek’s sci-fi morphing into science-fact and/or in-the-works science-fact. The latest example is warp drive, which, for the moment, falls into the latter category. Right now, interstellar travel cannot be achieved; it would simply take too much energy (plus it would take far too long to go somewhere). So, how to travel super-fast and not break the laws of physics in the process? Dr. Harold “Sonny” White, the Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate, just announced a possible solution, and, according to Gizmodo and multiple other new sources that have reported on the story, it involves loopholes in several mathematical equations, loopholes that suggest “that warping the space-time fabric is indeed possible.”
Dr. White and his NASA Eagleworks team are seeking to “generate and detect a microscopic instance of a little warp bubble” as a means of finding proof of the loopholes. “Although this is just a tiny instance of the phenomena, it will be existence proof for the idea of perturbing space time -- a "Chicago pile" moment, as it were,” Dr. White stated. “Recall that December of 1942 saw the first demonstration of a controlled nuclear reaction that generated a whopping half watt. This existence proof was followed by the activation of a four megawatt reactor in November of 1943. Existence proof for the practical application of a scientific idea can be a tipping point for technology development.”
The idea, then, according to Gizmodo, is that by creating a warp bubble, a spaceship’s engine will compress the space ahead and expand the space behind, moving it to another place without actually moving, and carrying none of the adverse effects of other travel methods. The next issue, of course, is the massive amount of energy required, and where/how to attain it. Dr. White and the Eagleworks team may have that licked as well, arguing that if they can optimize the warp bubble thickness and “oscillate its intensity to reduce the stiffness of space time,” they could lessen the amount of fuel to a manageable amount and effectively, if not actually, go faster than the speed of light.
Click HERE to read the full Gizmodo article. And heed the words of Dr. White, who stated, “Perhaps a Star Trek experience within our lifetime is not such a remote possibility.”
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