Scientists may have figured out how to make a warp drive work

Originally published at: Scientists may have figured out how to make a warp drive work | Boing Boing


It’s always 20 years away. :wink:


20 light years… :stuck_out_tongue:


From the stars flying by her in the video it appears she is already traveling faster than the speed of light.

Wait a minute, if she’s traveling faster than light, how can I see her?

Oh right, the video camera was also traveling faster than light, then they uploaded it to youtube when they landed.


So much of theoretical physics reminds me of the inane and self-referential debates in theology. Can someone who understands this better than I explain whether or not this is actually compelling information or whether it’s just more intellectual vapor ware?


Warp drive. X-wing. Well played.


I’m not a physicist, but this is how I understand the implications.

The Alcubierre Drive has been an interesting thought experiment. Since it required undiscovered physics, I would say it’s fair to compare it to a theological conjecture.

These new approaches take the same idea and turn it into an engineering problem by removing all of the handwaving and relying only on known physics.

It doesn’t get us close to building one because the engineering problems are currently insurmountable, but, there’s an interesting implication. If this CAN happen, then maybe it IS, at the cosmological or sub atomic scale. Those energies certainly exist in things like black hole mergers or neutron star collisions, so maybe, sometimes, something recognizable as supporting this theory happens in those cases.

At the subatomic scale, it would take much less energy, and while gravity isn’t usually a big player at that scale, we could measure the arrival of a particle faster than the speed of light at a sensor pretty reliably. If we could then eliminate other explanations, we might have proof it appeared out of a tiny, popped warp bubble.

After that, it’s just a matter of raising funding every 10 years and promising to build one in 20. A couple of hundred years of that and we may have something.




I need to scratch on this more. There has to be a catch somewhere, the no go theorems that you would need to violate an energy condition to have superluminal travel are extremely robust. There’s no assertion that the no-go theorems are false, just that this solution ‘avoids’ them.

This stuff is much more important right now for conceptual purposes rather than practical (obviously.) But the conceptual questions are quite interesting - my take is, you want to say that time machines are weird, illogical, unphysical… but you can only say they are unphysical if you can’t build them out of matter, you can’t say they are unphysical just because it would be too weird and you don’t want paradoxes. So it’s an interesting question, is there even a possibility that a warp drive, wormhole or time machine could exist? (If two worm holes / warp drives can exist, a time machine can exist, so you can’t answer ‘warp drive only.’ Unless, just one warp drive / universe, which would be super weird.)

Anyway this is what I did my PhD in, but it’s been a while and I’m curious where the catch is. My guess is that it would make the kind of warp drive you can’t enter and exit (usually a requirement.)


There always is, it’s just life Dude.


The concept itself of using massive amounts of energy to warp space-time while keeping a ship in an unaffected bubble is something i had heard of previously, though back then the proposed energy needed was something similar to a black hole. Seems like while the problem has not been solved there is a slightly better idea of what it’ll take to make such a drive possible and it might not need a massive input/output of energy… though still the amounts needed are far beyond what we can hope to generate. I think a warp drive is possible though i’m unsure we’ll be able to travel faster than light, hope i’m wrong :slight_smile:


That’s what I’ve always said!


OK that’s just a dumb way to describe this paper. It would be like announcing “space colonies are no longer science fiction” just because Von Braun outlined how they might work.

It’s science fiction until someone actually builds one.


And if it requires Wizards it’s Fantasy


And if the wizards are really hot and make out it’s fanfic.

If one of them is actually dating the warp drive, it’s Chuck Tingle.

Love proven.


the imagination and hubris of humans is a wonderful thing
/not sarcasm




I’m pretty sure the catch is that the Libyans are going to come after you for not fully delivering on your agreement. Pretty sure that’s a truism in these kinds of scenarios.


Meh, its April 1st, so…


Though I love to read about this kind of stuff, I only hope to be able to cross the Atlantic in a reasonably amount of time, at a fair price with minimal environmental impact.

1 Like