The Real Warp Drive: NASA's Plans for Spaceship that Travels Faster than Light

Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 5:02PM
Space
Technology
Astrophysics
Thursday, 12 June 2014 - 5:02PM
The Real Warp Drive: NASA's Plans for Spaceship that Travels Faster than Light

NASA scientists Mark Rademaker and Harold White have been working on their design for a ship that can travel faster than the speed of light for many years now. 

 

The proposed space craft would be superficially similar to the crafts with warp drive capability in "Star Trek." Essentially, the plan is to propel the craft forward at the speed of light by exploiting a so-called "loophole" of Einstein's theory of relativity; by condensing spacetime in front of the spacecraft and expanding the spacetime behind it, the object should theoretically be able to travel through the universe at exponentially faster speeds than any space-craft has ever gone before.

 

White speculates that such a drive could result in speeds that could take a spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in just two weeks, even though the system is 4.3 light-years away.

 

White's concept involves surrounding the spacecraft with large rings that reduce the amount of energy needed to warp spacetime in front and behind the craft. Rademaker explained the purpose of the rings as follows: "The rings are most important as they will form the Warp bubble [...] The way they are designed now will reduce the energy requirement needed to form the bubble. (By quite a large factor.) Also we tried to fill up as much space within the rings, it's expensive to leave that open or unused."

 

The team will now start their work on a "proof of concept," which will essentially make or break this fast craft's existence in the near future. But if they do ultimately build this spacecraft, it could make interstellar travel a reality. 

Science
NASA
Space
Technology
Astrophysics

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