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Will we see warp drive in our lifetime?

German Hops

Gold Member
I was reading an interesting article recently; here are some of the excerpts,

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.

"There is hope," Harold "Sonny" White of NASA's Johnson Space Center said Friday (Sept. 14) at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting to discuss the challenges of interstellar spaceflight.

Warping Spacetime

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.

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."

Laboratory Tests

White and his colleagues have begun experimenting with a mini version of the warp drive in their laboratory.

They set up what they call the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer at the Johnson Space Center, essentially creating a laser interferometer that instigates micro versions of space-time warps.

"We're trying to see if we can generate a very tiny instance of this in a tabletop experiment, to try to perturb space-time by one part in 10 million," White said.

He called the project a "humble experiment" compared to what would be needed for a real warp drive, but said it represents a promising first step.

And other scientists stressed that even outlandish-sounding ideas, such as the warp drive, need to be considered if humanity is serious about traveling to other stars.

"If we're ever going to become a true spacefaring civilization, we're going to have to think outside the box a little bit, were going to have to be a little bit audacious," Obousy said.

At this point, there is a comical reliance on "exotic matter".
BUT, the mass requirement going from something as obviously unattainable as the mass of "Jupiter", to the mass of a "spacecraft" certainly is promising.

Is it wrong that I want to hope for this in our lifetime?

 
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TheMan

Member
Our lifetime? I dunno, if government and industry became interested enough to invest serious money and manpower for some reason, then maybe? But yeah the reliance on matter than doesn't even exist yet is kind of a dealbreaker
 

kittoo

Cretinously credulous
No.
Space research has slowed down over past few decades (for various reasons- no rivalry, shift of focus, other issues such as terrorism and environment etc. And also my honest belief- America no longer being a laser focused cohesive nation towards progress and cutting edge as it was) and has also hit experimental limits to some extent.

Even if the above wasn't the case, warp drive is too far away in the hierarchy. Many huge problems need to be solved (or even understood!) Before we even establish that it's possible. Even our understanding of universe is far from enough to conceive these things.

Our lifespans are too short to overcome all this.
 

Bogeyman

Banned
My totally unsubstantiated opinion: No.

Looking how long fusion reactors have been in development, even though (I think?) their physics have mostly been solved for a long time, and it's more about material science. And combe that with the fact that whoever builds the first working one will hit the financial jackpot of all jackpots.

Now contrast they with warp drives, which are at best in a highly speculative state of research.

Even if that turned out to be feasible tomorrow - I doubt we'd ever see a finished product during our lifetime
 

Hari Seldon

Gold Member
Lmao I want to see the receipts on this.
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.

"Just tweak the design a little bit and instead requiring energy E=mc^2 where m = mass of Jupiter, you can use a car battery."
 
Yes. Once we unlock AGI, the possibilities are basically endless. AGI should happen within the next 20 years or so, and then it's gonna take another couple years to build the warp drive.
 

MrMephistoX

Member
It’s really dependent on financial incentives I could see something like the Expanse where we colonize the moons of Jupiter and Saturn becoming a reality with a drive that’s slightly close to FTL. Asteroid mining is what Bezos is all about: why not motherfucking moons?

Warp is entirely dependent on how bad shit gets on earth because we likely have habitable moons in our own solar system. Could totally see close to FTL and cryostasis happening just like Aliens/Ridley Scott verse if there’s a profit in inset solar system space trucking. Otherwise just fucking mine Venus, Titan, or Phobos

People are thinking too Sci-Fi just build a launch pad on Mars or the moon and take advantage of the lower gravity and get to the habitable spaces in our own solar system first and thus ensure humanities long term survival and then build on that.


Yes. Once we unlock AGI, the possibilities are basically endless. AGI should happen within the next 20 years or so, and then it's gonna take another couple years to build the warp drive.
Pardon my ignorance what is ATI?
 
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German Hops

Gold Member
Lmao I want to see the receipts on this.


"Just tweak the design a little bit and instead requiring energy E=mc^2 where m = mass of Jupiter, you can use a car battery."
Also, it's important to note that even if it did work, some physicists think the ship would unleash a massive amount of high energy gamma rays cooking everything at the ships destination. 😃

Now that I think about it, that would be a version of the Great Filter answer to Fermi's Paradox.
Maybe all those gamma ray bursts astronomers keep finding are prototype FTL ships annihilating their systems!
 

Ownage

Member
No. But, those spacecraft off the coast of Baja that turn tricks and make China's hypersonic missiles look like 1940s tech, that's American. All of those news articles where American military claim their tech is behind... that's bs psyops. We are many, many generations ahead of anyone else.
 
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German Hops

Gold Member
Yes. Once we unlock AGI, the possibilities are basically endless. AGI should happen within the next 20 years or so, and then it's gonna take another couple years to build the warp drive.
What does 'adjusted gross income' have to do with science?
Seriously though, I still don't know the main difference between AGI and general AI.
 
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Old Retro

Member
We can barely put machines on another planet. But, it is fascinating to know a Martian rover can be controlled from millions of miles away and send pictures back here. Although all the pics look like Arizona. :messenger_neutral:
 

RJMacready73

Gold Member
It would require a country like China to pull off, NASA's glory days are behind it, you need a country bound by a unified vision under a single authority to pull off something like this oh and some of that exotic matter...
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Hopefully not.

Waste of money as there's more pressing needs on Earth. I can understand dollars spent on space age stuff like getting satellites up, but most of the time it seems more for bragging rights.
 

20cent

Member
It could be invented during our lifetime, but will we live long enough to see it accessible to us? No.
 

noonjam

Member
The head science writer for the debrief claims a paper (and article on said paper) are upcoming.

Saying they managed to create a warp bubble in the lab.
 

haxan7

Volunteered as Tribute
We should be trying to develop the most advanced technology we can. Who knows what life changing future developments will come from striving for ever greater goals.
 

noonjam

Member
God no. I wish though.

It's not possible, even in math, without negative mass and exotic matter. Neither of those exist.
 
"think outside the box a little bit" understatement. There's plenty that's unknown, including the future.

Any success would push development.
These experiments also might begin to show there is much more outside the box and discover a different way for travel.
 

Halo is Back

Gold Member
No chance. We will probably fuck over our own planet before that happens, but who knows? Maybe that will be motivation enough for mankind to colonize the stars.
 
That's pretty great, just need energy beyond anything we can create at this time. Pretty big step forward though, assuming it makes sense and is actually correct. I fear it will be like fusion, always 20 years out.

It's all wishful thinking right now though but that's better than the opposite!

Thanks for the link.
 

IDKFA

Member
As things stand, the answer would be a no from me.

The only way this is going to be possible in our lifetimes is if the world makes some pretty drastic changes.

The whole world would need to unify and combine resources and technology/research. The governments of the world would need to trust each other and completely cut back on military budgets, then pump those resources into funding a warp drive.

Basically, it would take a huge change in human behaviour to fund such bleeding edge technology. That's not going to happen in our lifetimes.
 

Cyberpunkd

Gold Member
Our lifetime? I dunno, if government and industry became interested enough to invest serious money and manpower for some reason, then maybe? But yeah the reliance on matter than doesn't even exist yet is kind of a dealbreaker
I think we will definitely achieve faster-than-light speed but it will not be due to increased investment - you literally needs a genius the size of Einstein + Hawking combined to simply invent it. One day it will happen, but it will not be due to gradual evolution.
 

noonjam

Member

Abstract​

While conducting analysis related to a DARPA-funded project to evaluate possible structure of the energy density present in a Casimir cavity as predicted by the dynamic vacuum model, a micro/nano-scale structure has been discovered that predicts negative energy density distribution that closely matches requirements for the Alcubierre metric. The simplest notional geometry being analyzed as part of the DARPA-funded work consists of a standard parallel plate Casimir cavity equipped with pillars arrayed along the cavity mid-plane with the purpose of detecting a transient electric field arising from vacuum polarization conjectured to occur along the midplane of the cavity. An analytic technique called worldline numerics was adapted to numerically assess vacuum response to the custom Casimir cavity, and these numerical analysis results were observed to be qualitatively quite similar to a two-dimensional representation of energy density requirements for the Alcubierre warp metric. Subsequently, a toy model consisting of a 1 \(\upmu \)m diameter sphere centrally located in a 4 \(\upmu \)m diameter cylinder was analyzed to show a three-dimensional Casimir energy density that correlates well with the Alcubierre warp metric requirements. This qualitative correlation would suggest that chip-scale experiments might be explored to attempt to measure tiny signatures illustrative of the presence of the conjectured phenomenon: a real, albeit humble, warp bubble.

 
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Rival

Gold Member
I highly doubt we will figure that out in any of our lifetimes but given enough time and resources humans are capable of figuring anything out assuming it is possible and as long as we don’t all kill each other first.
 

ParaSeoul

Member
Just make a pact among a group of friends that if time travel is invented during your lifetime one of you will go back to the point of the pact,you can't have time travel without faster than light speed.
 

RoboFu

One of the green rats
Dude the public's basic concept of electricity isnt even that high. People think electricity runs through wires. It doesn't. *GASP* .

IMO We need to have a better understanding of electricity before we really see in time space developments.

Tesla had a better understanding of electricity than alot of physicist today. To bad he went crazy.
 
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German Hops

Gold Member
Mankind will never see this.
You never know. Somewhere, someday, someone thinking outside the traditional box will discover something that will be it or lead to it. There have always been those types. Back in the later 19th century it was proposed that the patent office be closed as everything had been invented and there was no further need. And look how the world has changed in 130 years and all the things not even imagined then.

Imagine what people 500 years ago would think of a helicopter or smart phone.
 
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StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
You never know. Somewhere, someday, someone thinking outside the traditional box will discover something that will be it or lead to it. There have always been those types. Back in the later 19th century it was proposed that the patent office be closed as everything had been invented and there was no further need. And look how the world has changed in 130 years and all the things not even imagined then.

Imagine what people 500 years ago would think of a helicopter or smart phone.
Things have leveled off. 130 years in 1890 were lightbulbs even common yet? Cars were just invented.

A modern day helicopter isnt much different than 50 years ago, except more powerful. Looks the same to me basically with a big rotor on top and that small one at the end. Its been the same concept forever. Cars arent radically different either. Even the EV craze isnt new as some inventors made EV cars 100 years ago, but for whatever reason they never took off until now. Cellphones are basically computers the size of a deck of cards.

No doubt it's impressive R&D guys can get so much more power out of the same or smaller space as a vacuum tube in 1960, but I dont see many ginormous inventions lately. It seems to be more about tweaks and efficiency.
 
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Hari Seldon

Gold Member
Dude the public's basic concept of electricity isnt even that high. People think electricity runs through wires. It doesn't. *GASP* .

IMO We need to have a better understanding of electricity before we really see in time space developments.

Tesla had a better understanding of electricity than alot of physicist today. To bad he went crazy.
I'll bite. Thinking of electricity as running through wires works in virtually all use cases. This is like saying no one knows how gravity works because only a very small percentage of the population actually understand the math of general relativity.
 

bender

What time is it?
You never know. Somewhere, someday, someone thinking outside the traditional box will discover something that will be it or lead to it. There have always been those types. Back in the later 19th century it was proposed that the patent office be closed as everything had been invented and there was no further need. And look how the world has changed in 130 years and all the things not even imagined then.

Imagine what people 500 years ago would think of a helicopter or smart phone.

I said, never you filthy skin tube.
 

EverydayBeast

thinks Halo Infinite is a new graphical benchmark
People will always choose faster travel I think it’s definitely possible, people are trying to get off gasoline and coal.
 
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