"Warp Speed, Scotty? Star Trek's FTL Drive May Actually Work"
Jillian Scharr, Space.com (May 14, 2013)
"In the 'Star Trek' TV shows and films, the U.S.S. Enterprise's warp engine allows the ship to move faster than light, an ability that is, as Spock would say, 'highly illogical.'
However, there's a loophole in Einstein's general theory of relativity that could allow a ship to traverse vast distances in less time than it would take light. The trick? It's not the starship that's moving - it's the space around it.
In fact, scientists at NASA are right now working on the first practical field test toward proving the possibility of warp drives and faster-than-light travel. Maybe the warp drive in 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' the franchise's latest film opening this week, is possible after all. [Warp Drive: Can It Be Done? (Video)]..."
NASA working on a warp drive? That's as silly as thinking people could fly - or walk on the moon. Building a spaceship with an Alcubierre-White drive is beyond today's technology.
Building a White-Juday warp field interferometer, which is what NASA may still be working on? That's well within what humans can do, mostly with off-the-shelf hardware.
Tech, Time, and CongressMaybe it'll take a thousand years for tech to catch up with theoretical physics. Or maybe it's a matter of decades.
If the American Congress decides to save a few dollars by scrapping the White-Juday interferometer project, someone else will almost certainly build pretty much the same equipment. Discussion of Alcubierre's equations started as a global debate, and stayed that way.
It's the Lemming's opinion that today's fast communication gets partial credit - or blame - for the 'blink and you'll miss it' pace of change in technology and science. The Lemming likes the Information Age, some folks don't, and that's another topic.
Lots of "Ifs"Then there's quantum entanglement. It may be communication at infinite speed, only happen at about 10,000 times speed of light, or not be inter-particle communication at all.
If quantum entanglement involves signals that travel faster than light, and if the effect can applied to matter as well as information, and if it can be scaled up to include stuff that's big enough: warp drives might not be the fastest way to get from here to there.
And that is definitely another topic. Topics.
- "Quantum Entanglement and a Babbling Lemming"
(May 3, 2013)
- "Another Step Closer to a Practical Warp Drive: Maybe"
(November 30, 2012)
- "Antimatter Rocket Motor: Physics, Straightforward; Engineering, Not So Much"
(October 26, 2012)
- "Time, the Universe, and Space Aliens"
(April 20, 2012)
- "When it's Time to Build Spaceships, People Will Build Spaceships"
(October 4, 2009)