Maybe, ….. I hope so.

Physicist, Harold White, believes that it is.  Starting with the Alcubierre Drive, a proposal for FTL drive which was ruled out as a line of research because it would require the energy of the mass of Jupiter converted to energy. Dr. White posits a way that wouldn't require the destruction of the solar system for its energy content so we could jump around the cosmos.

A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks and all without violating Einstein's law of relativity. The idea came to White while he was considering a rather remarkable equation formulated by physicist Miguel Alcubierre. In his 1994 paper titled, "The Warp Drive: Hyper-Fast Travel Within General Relativity," Alcubierre suggested a mechanism by which space-time could be "warped" both in front of and behind a spacecraft.

There are many disagreements with White, but his math does work and NASA apparently sees enough merit in the research to support it. Even though the chances that some fruit will be borne of the research is slim it is more than worth the support. Worth it because the positive results would push humanity to a whole new realm, one of huge rewards and an endless frontier for the restless wanderlust, that seems to be part of the human genome.

Beam me aboard Scotty

Tags: Alcubierre_drive, Faster_than_light, NASA, Science

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Replies to This Discussion

I have great skepticism about this, tempered by the fact that my appreciation of GR leaves much to be desired. It strikes me as too close to a free lunch to be plausible. Still, I'll confess that I haven't figured out how it might violate Second Thermo or QM, so I can't yet declare it impossible. Just very dubious.

One of my favorite quotes by Darwin is: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. It is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." As such I can't hold that we will never overcome what appears to be the impossibility of FTL travel.

 

For example, Einstein said there were wormholes in the universe through which something could go to, in short order, get from one point to another light years away. Given this, I can't rule out that we might some day master a technology that enables us to create and travel through wormholes to quickly go great distances in the universe. However, I can't say I see it as happening in the very near future.

 

Nonetheless, I'm glad somebody is working on FTL travel and I certainly wouldn't laugh at anybody who was.

 

Technology develops exponentially. The more technology that is acquired the faster it develops. For example, we didn't even have the tricycle until 1680 and it took us almost another 200 years to develop the bicycle. Now by comparison look back 200 years and contrast the technology we had then to what we have now. Clearly, the amount of technology we developed in the last 200 years is exponentially greater than the amount we developed in the 200 year period before that. Accordingly, although I don't see FTL travel in the very near future, with exponential growth in technology, it might be developed a lot faster than I and most people are imagining.

 

With this in mind I wouldn't rule out that there are species in the universe that have already developed it. With exponential growth in technology consider what a species might have developed that had a billion years more than ours to develop. Assuming that it didn't blow itself away it might be quite advanced.

This needs a lot of negative mass-energy, shaped in a particular way.  They mention the Casimir effect as a source of negative mass-energy, however the Casimir force measured in labs is very tiny. 

So it's slightly impractical. 

So it's still possible there are aliens in our galaxy but not peeking into our windows at night. 

Let's differentiate between what is technically feasible and what is scientifically feasible. First we must establish that something is scientifically feasible, THEN we can argue over whether it's technically feasible. We have not yet established that it is scientifically feasible. Until that happens, we cannot apply the history of technological advances to this problem.

I'm talking about going FTL by traveling through wormholes. Einstein said things could travel through wormholes. Doing so might get something from point A to point B FTL. Sometimes we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Although wormhole travel might indeed be scientifically unfeasible I don't think we know enough at this point in time to definitively say it is.    

Yes, we can't rule out the possibility. The trick is that a wormhole requires that some equations have complex number results: square root of minus one. That's not part of the real universe, and that's the primary problem. Because of that, I think that the best overall assessment is, "Probably impossible, but worth looking into just to make sure."

I wonder if Alcubierre or White ever read "Inherit the Stars".  :)

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