Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bring the Warp Drive to life: Alcubierre Warp Drive

The Alcubierre drive or Alcubierre metric is a speculative idea based on a solution of Einstein's field equations in general relativity as proposed by theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre, by which a spacecraft could achieve faster-than-light travel if a configurable energy-density field lower than that of vacuum (i.e. negative mass) could be created. Rather than exceeding the speed of light within a local reference frame, a spacecraft would traverse distances by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it, resulting in effective faster-than-light travel.



Objects cannot accelerate to the speed of light within normal spacetime; instead, the Alcubierre drive shifts space around an object so that the object would arrive at its destination faster than light would in normal space. Although the metric proposed by Alcubierre is mathematically valid in that it is consistent with the Einstein field equations, it may not be physically meaningful or indicate that such a drive could be constructed. The proposed mechanism of the Alcubierre drive implies a negative energy density and therefore requires exotic matter, so if exotic matter with the correct properties does not exist then it could not be constructed.

How the proposed warp dive would work
However, at the close of his original paper, Alcubierre argued (following an argument developed by physicists analyzing traversable wormholes) that the Casimir vacuum between parallel plates could fulfill the negative-energy requirement for the Alcubierre drive. Another possible issue is that although the Alcubierre metric is consistent with general relativity, general relativity does not incorporate quantum mechanics, and some physicists have presented arguments to suggest that a theory of quantum gravity, which incorporates both theories, would eliminate those solutions in general relativity that allow for backwards time travel, of which the Alcubierre drive is one.

Alcubierre Warp Drive Time Control and Time Travel
The warp drive may be centuries away and there are many difficulties and downright impossibilities associated with it. But do not be disheartened, for NASA are working on something very special!

2 comments:

  1. How could the ship travel faster than light if it has been proven that gravitational waves can only travel at light speed?

    ReplyDelete
  2. How could the ship travel faster than light if it has been proven that gravitational waves can only travel at light speed?

    ReplyDelete