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Warp drive technology

Post by Mike on Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:09 pm

HOUSTON — A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television's Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.
A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre; however, subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.
Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.

Warping space-time
An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shape spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind. [Star Trek's Warp Drive: Are We There Yet? | Video]
Meanwhile, the starship itself would stay inside a bubble of flat space-time that wasn't being warped at all.
"Everything within space is restricted by the speed of light," explained Richard Obousy, president of Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit group of scientists and engineers devoted to pursuing interstellar spaceflight. "But the really cool thing is space-time, the fabric of space, is not limited by the speed of light."
With this concept, the spacecraft would be able to achieve an effective speed of about 10 times the speed of light, all without breaking the cosmic speed limit.
The only problem is, previous studies estimated the warp drive would require a minimum amount of energy about equal to the mass-energy of the planet Jupiter.
But recently White calculated what would happen if the shape of the ring encircling the spacecraft was adjusted into more of a rounded donut, as opposed to a flat ring. He found in that case, the warp drive could be powered by a mass about the size of a spacecraft like the Voyager 1 probe NASA launched in 1977.
Furthermore, if the intensity of the space warps can be oscillated over time, the energy required is reduced even more, White found.
"The findings I presented today change it from impractical to plausible and worth further investigation," White told SPACE.com. "The additional energy reduction realized by oscillating the bubble intensity is an interesting conjecture that we will enjoy looking at in the lab.

Some cynics say the exotic matter needed is a hurdle, but its worth noting:

Silicon irradiation, or Neutron Transmutation Doping (NTD), changes the properties of silicon, making it highly conductive of electricity. Large, single crystals of silicon shaped into ingots are irradiated inside the reactor reflector vessel. Here the neutrons change one atom of silicon in every billion to phosphorus. The irradiated silicon is sliced into chips and used for a wide variety of advanced computer applications. NTD increases the efficiency of the silicon in conducting electricity, an essential characteristic for the electronics industry.
Irradiated silicon is essential for certain components, such as high power discrete devices, transistors and memory chips used in sophisticated computers, video cameras, and air conditioning units.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/appendices/australian-research-reactors.aspx


100 years ago the exotic matter used in mobile phones today would have seem equally as high a hurdle.

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Re: Warp drive technology

Post by Mike on Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:19 pm

NASA/JSC is implementing an advanced propulsion physics laboratory, informally known as
Eagleworks", to pursue propulsion technologies necessary to enable human exploration of the solar
system over the next 50 years, and enabling interstellar spaceflight by the end of the century. This work
directly supports the "Breakthrough Propulsion" objectives detailed in the NASA OCT TA02 In-space Propulsion Roadmap(2.3.7)

And aligns with the #10 Top Technical Challenge identified in the report:

Pursue investigation and development of advanced in-space propulsion technologies (TRL < 3). Since the work being pursued by this
laboratory is applied scientific research in the areas of the quantum vacuum, gravitation,nature of space-time, and other fundamental
physical phenomenon




https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110023492.pdf

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