NASA Rethinks Warp Drives, Faster-Than-Light Travel May Be Possible

    September 17, 2012
    Zach Walton
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Think back on every major sci-fi work from your life. What’s the single event that propelled mankind, and space travel, into the future? Anybody who grew up with Star Trek knows that it’s the warp drive, or faster-than-light travel. Modern sci-fi fans only have to look to Mass Effect for a contemporary take on the importance of warp drives.

Unfortunately, warp drives aren’t real and they probably will never be real in our lifetimes. It’s a realistic, if somewhat pessimistic, take on the current state of space travel. NASA has never been one to let realism get in the way of their dreams and the agency now says that warp drives may be a possibility in the future.

The exciting part is that a warp drive concept is already out there. Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed the first warp drive in 1994, but found that the energy costs associated with such a device would be problematic. In fact, scientists peg the energy required to be about equal to the mass-energy of Jupiter.

So how do scientists propose we overcome this gas giant sized energy problem? Just change the shape of the spaceship. The original warp drive was envisioned as a small ship that’s encircled by a flat ring that would warp space-time around the ship. The new model, proposed by Harold White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, would see the flat ring molded into the shape of a rounded donut. The energy required by the transformation would be significantly less. White calculates that they would only need the energy-mass of the relatively tiny Voyager 1 space probe.

I don’t think I need to tell you how massive of a discovery this is. If proven true, White’s research could pave the way for faster-than-light space travel. We could make trips to Mars in mere minutes. Human-led research teams could break out of our solar system and explore potentially habitable planets in other galaxies. The ramifications are huge and I couldn’t be more excited.

For now, the researchers at Johnson Space Center are trying to create tiny warps in space-time. It would at least prove White’s theory that shape can make all the difference. Now we can start thinking about all the problems that traveling faster-than-light can cause.

[h/t: Space.com]
  • http://blogspot.com/johnsunol John Christopher Sunol

    This is exciting and I hope to still be alive when this eventualy is devbeloped to its fullest potential. This is the story of many science fiction films over many years.

    • Donald Edwards Jr

      Exciting yes, I totally agree. Unfortunatley I suspect that the most progress we can expect is someone might chance upon a new mathematical formulation. Most likely humanity is centuries if not a millenium away from such a feat as faster than light travel.

  • http://blogspot.com/johnsunol John Christopher Sunol

    One day Star trek voyager could become reality with warp drive

  • Shawn

    Im excited about this news. Verily so. I always knew the secret to FTL travel had something to do with football…

  • jesus

    Warp drive isn’t possible, my dad wont allow it, and if it was we would be using it to convert the aliens to the real truth! but since they don’t exist it doesn’t matter anyway, go with Christ bros!

    • Mary

      You just be quiet, son. I’ll handle your father. If the humans wish to travel faster than light, then by god they will.

      • Satan

        Who do you think gave them the knowledge? 😉 ssssssssssssss

  • miker

    just some bs tat nasa is pushing to get more funding so all those nerds don’t get laid off

    • Hulksmash

      Says the guy using the internet to communicate with people around the world.

  • http://www.titaniumphysics.com Titanium Physicists podcast

    here is a podcast where some physicists explain to a regular person how warp drives work!


  • sam

    I think that you religious nuts are idiots. This website has just shown you the possibilities and you just sit there talking to someone that isn’t there. Fucking retards

  • Kelly

    It is also proven, that at such speeds as those of the speed of light, the aging process almost reverses itself, there for with the right food and drink that can stay preserved in space, we can travel forever as long as these supplies last.

    • Adam

      Err, yeah, right. Fool

    • max

      warping space does not affect time. when warping, you are not moving the ship. rather you are moving space itself. so time distortion dos not occur