Personally I think his theory is wrong. He talks about warping space and then riding on top of the compressed space like a wave. I don't think that will work because you will still be in normal space and moving vast distances in normal space would entail rapid and enormous acceleration which would make mush out of a human who could not survive the extreme g-force it would create.
The method that works is if you can travel through the warped/compressed space. That way you can travel at a much slower speed and still travel vast distances. The only problems with this though are how do you travel through compressed space without getting compressed and when you compress a large amount of space all the particles that were in that were loosely packed are now tightly packed forming solid barrier that you can no longer travel though. The only place you might be able to make use of Warp drive would be in pockets of space between galaxies where there is little or no gas or dust to compress.
Most of the article is based on things the author claims are known such as Big Bang inflation and the "proof" that Dark Energy exists. Fact is both of those items were invented to explain huge problems with the Big Bang Theory itself and are very much still theories. Could they be true? Sure but there's no proof yet for either of them. In fact the evidence behind the Big Bang isn't looking so good lately either.
Fascinating how they pretend to not already have the technologies
NASA Warp drive - so epic !
Super cool. Can't wait for the results!
Very nice article! Definitely enjoyed reading it, hope you continue writing for Gizmag.
What an excellent article; most thorough and complete I've ever seen on Gizmag.
This is why I love science. You can extrapolate to create a model and then work back again to try to realise what the model predicts. This is how we have managed to advance so quickly this past couple hundred years. Throw mysticism out as far as learning and understanding is concerned. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside reading about spacetime warp bubbles.
It is fantastic NASA is taking steady steps towards interstellar travel. I hope they do more research about phased standing waves in order to stretch spacetime more efficiently without the need for negative energy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgAwyr5Udzw
Before we try to warp space we need to model the structure of space - space time in vaccum. With the discovery of Higgs boson we have made the first tentative move towards detecting the nature of vaccum. Now have to study the properties of Higgs and move on to physics beyond the Higgs boson which is the only way to reveal the nature of the exotic substance that forms the Higgs condensate that pervades all empty space.
Once we understand we can contemplate manipulating it eventually ending with something like a jet engine which propels empty space or vaccum. There you have our warp drive
MHO is that physicists lose all connection with reality, mainly because quantum fysics presents such a mass of incomprehensible mathematics, from which supernatural phenomena are deduced.But I will be the first to congratulate NASA if the warp-drive works
I can't wait to put one of these babies in my Mustang.
Good piece, thanks
finally, a really good article
this is worth 1000 unreadable/unaffordable puzzle/watches, or antigravity pyramid lamps
This was a GREAT article. It really raised the bar for Gizmag. It was complete without being boring and introduced to reader to lots of paths for further exploration.
theoretical physics vs real world applications. funny how many theories fail at that point.
Artisteroi Rlsh Gadgeteer
Sounds a lot like the Soviet submarine torpedo (the Shkval), which used part of its fuel load to create a hi-pressure gas bubble directly in front of the missile (supercavitation). +400kph underwater speeds were previous thought to have been impossible...and these are only the published velocities.
Somewhere, someone will come up with a energy matter collector/storage system and that's what will be required in order to return from any such excursion...unless we've been down this road before and that's how we got to the planet :-)
",,,our descendants will someday see childhood's end."
I hope not. That was one of Arthur C. Clarke's annoying/depressing books.
in the mustang indeed. I am more concerned with intelligent life on earth and that before death not after. pragmatics. nice article but it this not going to solve our ground transport anytime soon. this morning's report for the unfortunate many: 15 miles? 1 hour please! i had a revelat6ion this week, looking down upon a fully parked freeway. it was that this is how much parking it would take...and I was depressed all day, all night andslowly moved on and realized...we got here by seeking speed and convenience, gaining neither. If its 3p.m. and I'm on earth and I was spoze to be on.....that's what i see with pursuing Warped speed...warped priorities!
sorry for the rant and out of place at that
ummm i think prior to a warp engine booting up particles are traveling in reverse then clicks into forward motion in a instant therefor producing traveling in front of the bubble effect. like dropping a stone in the water.
The first ship to have one of these must be named The Roddenberry
Clearly if we can discover and harness that force that caused the expansion of the universe, then we'll have our warp drive. I had no idea that in the big bang space expanded at a rate mind-bogglingly faster than the speed of light.
So that clearly demonstrates it is possible in the realm of physics to have FTL travel. We really ought to be devoting a lot more money and research into this area, because it will allow us to travel to other planets within a short amount of time.
Just imagine what amazing things we could discover in other star systems and planets. Best of luck NASA, hope you guys solve this very difficult problem.
The trickiest thing about travelling faster than the speed of light is that you won't see any obstacles approaching until after you've hit them. Hey who put that planet there? No need for a front windscreen, but you're gonna need a really good rear-view mirror!!
Nice piece of work, whether or not we have been visited by aliens has been a ongoing debate for many years, and were still at a loss as to explain what's is or isn't going on. Maybe in the future, we might be the star hopping aliens, using warp drive to explore the universe. Some planet we choose to observe out of curiosity may too come to a blank, as to what is buzzing through their skies.
still don't think having the functional equivalent of a black hole anywhere close by is a good idea.
The proverbial cat in the box question-
experimental observations and the lid-
if the cat exists in the box before the lid is removed then a (that?) cat must exist outside the box. semi- logic iff P>Q>R R>Q Q>P is obeyed, R does not necessarily imply P.
in quantum mechanics-
The light bent by a black hole between the far side of the universe and here and whether or not it affects the speed of light or follows the gravitational and magnetic feilds like a laser does with magnetic ones (constant speed? vs bent space or a sea of holes?). Though a large distance might be full of anomalies , its proabably more detectable.
The basic equation being E=mC**2. (Kinetic,gravitational, or otherwise. aka- planet mecury orbit and einsteins' few (42?)
seconds difference vs newton). I'd think it'd be similar at a photon level (wave/particle reynolds numbers maybe?). The black hole being anti-mass (gravity is still positive? 0=infiti)? warping space or just the feilds associated with its mass warping space?
From there- how close to a black hole can you get without being caught by it- and slingshot close to the speed of light. When the speed of light is not constant what happens to the assumptions behind the equation.
where does a hole open up? or space get folded (bypassed?)- the cat (a cat?)
In terms of the Higgs-Boson particles existence its more tied to solving a unified feild theory -einsteins or not. The existence
of the anti partcle being a cat that is outside the box and needing a cat in the box to determine if the affects/effects are due
to the cat. The experimental assumption is predicated on deterministic math-the assumptions dictate its limits. The cat begs
the question does space really bend( the anti-partcile exist) or is it just the assumptions used to solve the math non-deterministically.
Theory is the cat is in the box- what is the cat- what does the cat do. quantum math? with what cat assumptions/postulates. assume there is a cat. not knowing what a cat is- its twenty questions (like looking for a sea of holes or a bend in space:
so is the speed of light a constant? are particles(pl.) like any other fluid?(waves and reynolds numbers) How big to measure what parameters of cats?
much like any theory-experiment-theory process (existential engineering- learn by doing- whether "its not possible" or not-the mindset gets it closer to reality (what a concept...)
This is a really provocative article. Warp drive possible! I mean just the fact that the theoretical physics has been given credibility is staggering for the idea of actually travelling to distant star systems. It is possible, somewhere out there, that another lifeform figured this out and may have been travelling all over the universe for thousands or millions of years. As big as the universe is, they still may have never visited this blue marble, much less visited when there was anything interesting going on.
a beautifully written article. why not create a bubble with no higgs particles inside it. Meaning that inside and outside of the bubble are space and the walls of the bubble are higgs-less so therefore the ship in the center has mass but the space that it is in does not so therefore no mass = no speed limit.
Enjoyed Mr. Dodson's article so much! Though far from scientific, leave it to the average joe ( uninformed ) to ask a dubious question or to wonder aloud stupidly such that science's eyes might somehow re-open to new avenues for further exploration.
A famous comedian once quipped..." A day without sunshine is like...night!"
When one flips a light switch...does the light rush in or does the dark rush out?
Can one have an up without a down (apparently yes... if gravity is present) which then further begs the query... does an Australian lover actually go up on their lover?
Thus ...I (stupidly) wonder aloud...If light follows dark or vice-versa, why not explore the possibility of attachment to the attractive or repulsive moment between the two? For in such an attachment, it matters not which one leads or follows since at the very least the hitchiker would have to be at the minimum travelling at light speed.
I call this "Hitching a Ride on the Crack of Dawn "...
Thumbs up and Cheers to Gizmag and Mr. Dodson!
The problem with physics based on multiple theory is that the end result will almost never work. People forget that the Big bang is just a theory, and every aspect of it is just a theory, the idea that all matter came from an exact point in space (smaller than an atom) is a ridiculous theory, that it all happened in an instant is a theory, that the matter moved many times faster than the speed of light is a theory and that it then slowed down but is now speeding up is all conjecture and theory and basing physic laws on any or all of that will result in failure.
. I love the idea of travelling faster than light, but it is also relative to the observer. And Doesn't Hawking radiation have to come from solid matter? Not a pressure wave of "nothing" I would also imply that if light cannot escape a black hole than neither can any type of radiation made up of particals, and that all that radiation is coming from outside the event horizon.
Lastly, you can see ahead of you while travelling faster than light, the movement viewed in front will be sped up like it is on fast forward, the rear view would simply be black.
Fantastic article. This is what being a science writer is all about. Thanks for making this subject understandable and interesting to the non-physicist!
They'll probably be lucky to move faster than an ion drive. Where's the proof of concept that this even works on Earth? Physics these days are too far removed from reality to apply to it. Hopefully this will prove that much simpler mechanics operate. What is the problem with simply accelerating past the speed of light? Someone said it couldn't be done? Why not try to prove him right or wrong by actually trying?
So much time lost for the lack of scientific guidance to prove Special Relativity right or wrong once and for all?
Needed; a few tons of un-ergy.
Aren't there issues with FLT like causality violation? there's likely a cosmic censor for that that renders this a fundamentally flawed concept.
I temporarily halted a staff meeting with 15 people, in order to read your article on warp drive, when it appeared on screen. Well crafted and very well executed, Mr. Dodson.
Extremely accurate article. Though I note that you avoid the uncomfortable discussion of so-called 'vacuum engineering' implicit in the various 'warp drive' approaches by Woodward, Davis, Dobyns, and White; much of that coming from Puthoff's fringe ideas.
The uncomfortable truth here is that to see a real effect requires such vast energies that - though theoretically possible - the entire approach is unfeasible. Unless it were possible to manipulate negative energy in the vacuum within a confined area in a specific geometry. It doesn't necessarily mean energy extraction - an obvious energy conservation violation - but it comes pretty close. And that's all hanging on the Casimir Effect. Which, though proven in principle at extremely small energies at nanometer scales, does not necessarily imply what the warp drive researchers are hoping for. And then there's the Newton's third law violation implicit in all of this too. Some tough ideas for the physics community to swallow.
@DonGately: No FTL causality violation. Because an object in the so-called 'bubble' isn't actually moving FTL within its reference frame. Understand that inflation theory assumes space-time in the universe expanded FTL right after the big bang. No problem there. Since matter within the warp bubble wouldn't be accelerated within its reference frame, there's no time dilation effects either. Think of it as warping the light cone propagation within the bubble itself so that there's no FTL information or causality violation upon arrival. Einstein said it takes infinite energy to accelerate matter with rest mass to the speed of light. He never said it's impossible for stationary matter to move FTL along with space itself in contrast to other reference frames.
But that doesn't mean it's technically possible to achieve this effect using the approach these guys propose.
James Maynard Gelinas
Ronald Wade Cooper gets my vote for the best comment.
I love reading of the many theories and applaud them, as long as they don't become fact just because they've either been around so long and/or no better one comes along. This sets one up for the likelihood of missing something vital because it was outside theoretical scope of vision.
I love science that doesn't get married to its theories and is ever willing to throw out "established theories" (probably an oxymoron).
Nevertheless, even faulty theories prove what to me is the critical point. Namely, there are a lot of brilliant minds out there.
Wish I was one of them!
It's space that's moving, the drive just hitches a ride.
They mentioned STOPPING the ship to be a problem, but they obviously don't know much about racing. The way you stop an object going at a great speed in one direction is to propel it with an identical force in the opposite direction until it reaches equilibrium. If they can calculate the force the drive is traveling, then they should be able to derive a counter by having the propulsion reverse is direction. Or even better still, if they ever find out that changing the shape of the bubble gives the bubble a trajectory, then changing the trajectory to 8 directions at once would do 1 of two things. It will either rip the ship apart, or it will stop it. The difference is the amount of energy that's applied.
Now, if they ever discover what gives matter it's mass, they might find a way to suspend mass until the drive is disengaged. If mass can be encoded, and later restored, then traveling without mass would be possible, and so would faster than light travel.
@Dr. Veritas: "Ronald Wade Cooper gets my vote for the best comment."
That's unfortunate, because Mr. Cooper made a number of errors:
"the idea that all matter came from an exact point in space" - that's not what the BBT states. It was not a point IN space. Space was not extraneous to the "exact point".
"that the matter moved many times faster than the speed of light is a theory" - as this very thread has made clear more than once (eg. comment by James Maynard Gelinas), it was spacetime that expanded faster than light (FTL) during the inflation epoch; not matter moving FTL.
"that it then slowed down but is now speeding up is all conjecture and theory" - nope, it's observation. The re-acceleration of the expansion was observed (via supernovae in distant galaxies) before it was ever theorized.
And that's just his first paragraph...
So the Flux capacitor goes in the Toroid ring.
Now I understand.
looks like there's going to be a tube for FLT-traveling (like in Freelancer) before we achieve free flying FTL-spacecrafts (StarTrek and rest of scifi)
At 30 million billion times the initial speed of expansion you should be able to reach the edge of the known universe in about 15 seconds.
My Charger R/T doesn't seem so fast now.
The larger point is that FLT travel does not appear to actually be impossible but it is still not at all clear where to put the buttons & controls.
Also, recent analysis suggests there are at least 40 Billion Sols with a probable Man Friendly planet orbiting them within fairly nearby space once a suitable warp drive actually works. One of the first such planets to be colonized should be named Clarke and the next Alcubierre, and so on.
Seems the Focal mission to 550 AU using our Stars home Gravitational Lens provides an Optical "Projector" bringing in all the light from another target elsewhere in the Universe in fine detail.
That is a kind of Distortion of the distances involved.
If matter can be converted to energy and energy back into Matter (Hawking Radiation, Dirac pair production) and you could focus at that high a resolution very far away.. it seems spatial translation for matter along a gravitational lens could provide some sort of Mass "Trajector".
I've heard "Matter" is a kind of frozen light, or bound up version of electromagnetic energy, twist the electromagnetic axes of magnetism and electric field enough using something like gravity and create a new field in another dimension that manifests as the properties of a fundamental particle.. essentially (simple example) "squish it the right way" and parts "stick out" along dimensional axes we recognize as unique properties of a fundamental "particle" -- hence "Louis de Broglie" Wave particle duality observations.
With the Higgs Boson properties being worked out, we are on the verge of "knowing" just how to twist those "dials" such that interconversion from Wave to Particle and Particle to Wave "properties" is as easy as "stiring" the pot in the right way at the right time in the right place. Excellent for deriving Nuclear Fusion power plants.. in which "particle soup" is a fine result and gravitational generators are the desired effect... even I've fumbled with the equations from high school physics and can almost see a result.
Doing so to an entire structure however, or to use an analog from Computer Programming.. "Serializing and Object of Matter" into a quasi form of Optical Matter and back to a form of Matter with Optical properties might be more difficult.. but I'm just not sure.
It seems all we really want to do right now is change the "preferred" overall Mass Vector.. "realign it" at a particular frequency with respect to an electromagnetic field within a Higgs field.. motion without acceleration.. then "realign it" again back to its original orientation
It's very much like lining up all the Photons in a Maser or Laser.. setup the initial conditions at the beginning of a track.. transition and fly to the end of the track and de-transition.. or if your an interstellar probe.. which is merely doing a fly-by.. keep on going at 0.9 C to the next destination
Superconductivity "hints" that something like this is possible, so do Electromagnetic railguns
Soon mankind will be able to go to other worlds and destroy them too.
Sorry Nelson Hyde Chick, Warp speed to other worlds outside our Solar System (interstellar) NOT...not in your Great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great Grandkids lifetime... its more difficult than people know.
and the G forces on anyone inside this thing? Seeing flying craft videos of the controversial kind, lets say, anything inside has to be banging against the wall. How is this avoided?
If God had meant for us to travel to the stars, he would have given us dilithium crystals, obviously.
Well, Mr Ed Weibe,
I suppose if we could create a gravity well, and propagate in any direction, then the craft could make an apparent 1,500 Earth G turn, with only a slight feeling of falling, in the direction of travel. However too bad so sad, for Nelson Hyde, we won't have that kind of tech for a long, long, long time well after his Great- great X10 generations Grandchildren have grown old. Not Dilithium crystals pwndecaf, everyone knows Ununpentium with a molecular weight of 299.
I enjoyed this article for the blogs, some of which were good and some more for entertainment as when Jay Leno does his Man on the Street skits. Additionally, I enjoyed the article because of the Author, Brian Dodson. We have a real Doctorate of Physics holder, not some Communications Major who doesn't know mps from mph. Dr. Dodson gives a cautiously optimistic review while touching on some stumbling blocks that will take time to solve, if at all.
Over the last several years, the Press/Media has been VERY favorable towards NASA's Dr.Harold White his minor research towards a Star Trek like Warp Drive. Some people think warp drive is "just around the corner" I am sorry that it is NOT. The good thing is the REAL reason NASA is funding (at tiny levels). Dr. Whites rudimentary so called "warp experiments" is for NASA PR...Marketing...to get people interested and fired up about the "possibilities".... which is a good thing ! I applaud NASA for "finally" doing a good job in PR and marketing.
Layman or the average person out there has no idea how complex and daunting a real warp drive is. To the dismay of many Star Trek Fans (even me) it will NOT be created by Zeff Cochran in 2063 in a two bit peace-time operation at a Montana missile silo. We will be lucky to have a prototype working positive gain Fusion Generator generating electricity by 2063, which is still far, far, far behind warp drive technologies. Warp Drive unlike computer and telecommunications tech is NOT subject to Moore's Law. In scale to the time periods, Warp drive for us in 2013, is more daunting than Ben Franklin going for the moon because while we have Alcubierre's and Nataro's warp equations, most of the calculative math to make the whole thing work, we DO NOT HAVE...there are many more complete unknowns for us than for Ben Franklin circa 1790 in reaching the moon.
Too Bad, so Sad, MOORE's Law does NOT apply... Jonathan Miller (a NASA Employee hit this on the nail). Moore's law is the quadrupling of computer power/memory every 20 months or so... MOORE's Law applies to computers, telecommunications... smart phones, the internet... NOT...NOT Warp drive... (UNFORTUANATELY),
Transportation, power generation, and materials technology all needed for Warp drive and advance Much, Much, Much slower than via Moore's law.
Optimistically, even dealing with Dr. White's " much reduced" energy requirements of 500 kg to 1000 kg antimatter equivalent would be required EVERY SECOND for a car-SUV sized ship at a measly warp 2.155 (about 10 x light speed). For comparison, for each 500 kg of antimatter reacted PER SECOND (in only one second, needed for every second of operation) exceeds the current Worlds' energy production in a YEAR.......we don't have force fields to handle that, or materials (hoses, tubes, etc) to control the huge energies...or deal with the Hawking radiation which would exceed the radiation from a 10 megaton H-bomb exploding 10 feet in front of your face... Plus how do we grab a gravity wave and reach the PLANK Energy Density needed to propagate it to compress space and extend it ? Nuclear Fusion cannot come close and even ANTIMATTER at 100 times the energy densities of fusion falls far short of reaching the needed energy densities to warp space for FTL..warp speed. You would need to harness and control something like a Black Hole.
Hope I have not depressed you, as I am an optimist... I think we will achieve warp drive... in about 550 to 900 years. In the grand scheme of things, that really is not a long time. Gene Rodenberry was a bit optimistic on time lines. Too bad Moore's Law does not apply.
Forget "warp drives" and consider "foam compression" ,If you can compress space ,you should be able to cut down travelling distance. Imagine theoretically that there are two lighthouses beaming on each other,but instead of being built on top of a mountain top they are actually sited at the edge of a foam mattress. Press your palms against the mattress and compress it hard until the two light houses meet. There you go!
Well, the physicist set forth the theory for warp drive in '94, but then Ben Rich, the head of Skunk Works for Lockheed where they built the stealth fighters, said to the graduating class of UCLA in '93, "We already have the means of going to the stars...." Duh? And whatever happened to Americans power of observation. Like the plasma thing is being developed now? Then, pray, tell how in the dickens such things were being seen more than 30 years ago? And explain how there was a recharge station not far from where I lived in the 70s and early 80s with flying saucers seen hovering over it? And shall we discuss the work of Tesla, Brown, Carr, and others? Back in the late 40s or the early 50s, three flying saucers flew over a cotton field in Arkansas about a 1000 feet up, one above the other, and the most remarkable thing about those who saw them is that the one trained military observer from WWII who had been in Intelligence did not say a single word about the event.
dr. james willingham
The contribution's of Leik Myrabo & Jon R.R. Searl are very relevant to making the Alcubrie-VandeBrock postulation of the Cassimere effect and Lorentz Contraction for space-warp an actual occurance, all together as combined components.
You can recognize one of Dr. Brian Dodson’s articles less than two paragraphs in. Amazing work. Great writing. It even enhances the level of the comments.
Brian is a great reason for reading Gizmag.
I would guess the best bet for Superluminal travel would be a "Space Jump". Just as particles have "attributes" for charge, spin, etc. there also might be attributes for X, Y, and Z special positions too--Especially considering the "Holographic Universe" ideas that are now being seriously explored in modern Physics.---Where location in space is only an "illusion" based on how we interpret and perceive these particle attributes.
Using directed, short high energy pulses as from a discharge from a large capacitor system, these Space/Location attributes might be changed to that of another location many light years away.---And thus the particles (and a ship made of them) could instantly "Jump" to that new location.
The length of the jump would be at FIRST, perhaps, limited by the available energy of the pulse.--Thus we might have to be happy with a series few short jumps to reach a goal, say 100 LY away.
This is a system I use in my own Sci Fi Story.
Combustion tech will be a dead end. We need to be able manipulate the force of gravity and electromagnetic fields to ever achieve light speed and beyond. Yes I said Beyond. I wonder if Alien life somewhere in our galaxy has already developed it. With 170 billion galaxies in our universe it would be idiotic for us to not to be aware that there is life besides us out there.
Alcubierre set forth his theory in '94, but what about the statement made by the late Ben Rich to some alumni of UCLA in '93, to wit, that if E.T. came to us looking for help to get home, we could take him? Could it be that that faster than light travel was discovered about 30-60 years ago? Could some be right in saying we already have two space fleets, that they are a part of an outfit planning a break away civilization, that there is something to these large UFOs? There is more, but I have already been cancelled out once by someone or something.
dr. james willingham
So it's Not Hyper Drive, Warp Drive, Trans-Warp Drive, or even Quantum Slip-Stream Drive. But actually, Infinite Improbability Drive. WOW...