Experimental Warp Drive Work at NASA

November 26th, 2012 | Posted by paul in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)


My friend George Dvorsky has a fantastic piece up at io9 about the latest experimental research being done on a real world warp drive by NASA physicist Dr. Harold White. His first goal is to see if can create a micro warp bubble at all in the lab. This is called an existence of proof — what he’s calling a “Chicago Pile” moment — a reference to a great practical example.

In late 1942, humanity activated the first nuclear reactor in Chicago generating a whopping half Watt — not enough to power a light bulb,” he said. “However, just under one year later, we activated a ~4MW reactor which is enough to power a small town. Existence proof is important.

This is based on the work of Mexican Physicist Miguel Alcubierre‘s seminal 1994 paper The Warp Drive: Hyper-Fast Travel Within General Relativity. A paper I think should earn him a Nobel Prize. The fact that we have moved from a mathematical paper of proof to real world experimental research on this in less than 20 years is very exciting.

For a more detailed account of Dr. White’s work, read the entire piece over at iO9.com.


Practical Wormholes?

June 3rd, 2003 | Posted by paul in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

wormhole_180Wow, this is exciting stuff. It appears that two physicist have devised a way to create a stable, traversible wormhole without extraordinary energy requirements. In fact it appears, that if it’s done right, a wormhole could be stabilized with barely any energy at all:

From Sci-Fi Today:

New Zealand and Indian physicists have published a remarkable and significant new finding about wormholes in the latest issue of Physical Review Letters. A staple of many science-fiction works, wormholes connect two distant spots in the space-time continuum and allow a “shortcut” path for travel between them compared to the path required through normal space and time. The two ends of a wormhole may be at different points in time as well as space, so wormholes could serve as a practical method of time travel as well as space travel. That is, if you could in fact open one…

Maybe you can. Wormholes are grounded in real physics and are considered theoretically, if not practically, possible. But previous recipes for creating a wormhole required various configurations of black holes; not only does nobody know how to make these, they would require an enormous amount of material (think the masses of stars and galaxies) to produce regardless – not something we are likely to have at our command anytime soon. Six years ago, Matt Visser (one of the authors of the current paper) and his colleague David Hochberg showed that in order to stay open, wormholes could also be formed with a substance dubbed “exotic matter” as well as black holes. Even though exotic matter is right up there with unicorns as far as being actually sighted, Visser’s work DID show a way to create a wormhole without a black hole. This was progress.

Now Vissar and his collegues have published new calculations that show a wormhole can be opened with an arbitrarily small amount of exotic matter. If the wormhole is designed carefully, “the total quantity of ANEC-violating matter can be made infinitesimally small.” So even if we currently don’t have a clue as to how to make or obtain exotic matter, we may only need the merest speck to make warp dreams come true…

Related Posts:

Traversible Wormholes: Some Implications