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Star Trek's Faster Than Light Drive May Actually Work

In the "Star Trek" TV appearances and movies, the U.S.S. Enterprise's warp device lets the ship to travel faster than light, an ability which is, as Mr. Spock might respond to it as, "highly illogical." Nevertheless, there's actually a loophole in the famous Einstein's general theory of relativity that may perhaps let a ship to go across vast spaces in less time than it would take light. So that loophole is, it’s not the star-ship that's moving even faster then light, it's the space around the star-ship. Actually, researchers at NASA are presently working on the first applied field test on the way to verifying the probability of warp drives and faster-than-light travel. Perhaps the warp drive in "Star Trek Into Darkness," which is also one of my favourite Star Trek movie, is possible after all.

According to the famous Einstein's general theory of relativity, an entity with mass can never go as fast as or faster than the speed of light. The original "Star Trek" sequence passed over this "universal speed limit" in support of a ship that might zip around the galaxy in a time of days instead of years. They tried to describe the ship's faster-than-light abilities by running the warp device with a "matter-antimatter" engine. Antimatter was a standard subject of study in the 1960s, when Original Star Trek series maker Gene Roddenberry was first writing the series. Once matter and antimatter strike, their mass is transformed into kinetic energy in observance with Einstein's mass-energy equality formulation, E=mc2. Or you can say, matter-antimatter impact is a hypothetically powerful foundation of energy and fuel, but according to the Einstein’s theory even that wouldn't be sufficient to push a star-ship to faster-than-light speeds. However, thanks to "Star Trek" that the term “warp" is now basically synonymous with faster-than-light travel.

 So is warp drive possible?

Many years after the original "Star Trek" appearance had vanished off the air; ground-breaking physicist and confirmed Trek fan Miguel Alcubierre claimed that perhaps a warp drive is possible after all. It just wouldn't work exactly the way "Star Trek" supposed it did. Objects with mass can't travel faster than the speed of light. But suppose, as an alternative of the ship travelling through space, the space was actually moving around the ship? Space doesn't have any mass at all. And we identify that it's stretchy: space has been increasing or in proper words expanding at a determinate rate forever since the Big Bang. We understand this from witnessing the light of distant stars, over time, the wavelength of the stars' light as it touches Earth is extended in a procedure termed as "redshifting." According to the Doppler Effect, this means that the cause of the wavelength is travelling further away from the eyewitness in this case Earth. So we know from detecting redshifted light that the fabric of space is flexible.

Alcubierre by means of this understanding traced an escape in the "universal speed limit." In his theory, the star-ship actually never travels faster than the speed of light, as an alternative, space ahead of the ship is contracted whereas space behind it is expanded, letting the star-ship to move across distances in less time than light would take. The star-ship itself rests in what Alcubierre called a "warp bubble" and, inside that bubble, never goes faster than the speed of light in any case. Since Alcubierre issued his paper "The Warp Drive: Hyper-fast travel within general relativity" in 1994, numerous physicists and science fiction authors have worked with his theory, counting "Star Trek" itself. Alcubierre's warp drive concept was retroactively combined into the "Star Trek" myths by the 1990s TV sequence "Star Trek: The Next Generation." In a way, at that moment, "Star Trek" produced its own slight grandfather paradox: However eventually its theory of faster-than-light travel was seriously defective, the series recognized a vocabulary of light-speed travel that Alcubierre finally formalized in his own warp drive concepts.
A ring-shaped warp drive machine could move a football-shape starship (as shown in the center) to actual speed faster than light. The idea was first suggested by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre. Image Credit: Harold White

The Alcubierre warp drive concept is still theoretic at the present. "The truth is that the best ideas sound crazy at first. And then there comes a time when we can't imagine a world without them." That's a speech from the 100 Year Star-ship organization, a think tank keen to creating Earth what "Star Trek" would call a "warp-capable civilization" in less than a century. The main phase on the way to a practical warp drive is to verify that a "warp bubble" is even possible, and it can be artificially formed. That's precisely what physicist Harold "Sonny" White and a group of scientists at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas are trying to achieve right now.

Rendering to Alcubierre's theory, one might generate a warp bubble by relating negative energy, or energy produced in a vacuum. This procedure depends on the Casimir effect, which states that a vacuum is not essentially just a void; as an alternative, a vacuum is essentially full of shifting electromagnetic waves. Altering these waves generates negative energy, which probably alters space-time, generating a warp bubble. To find out if space-time alteration or distortion has happened in a lab experiment, the scientists shine two extremely directed lasers: one over the site of the vacuum and one through normal space. The scientists will then relate the two beams, and if the wavelength of the one going over the vacuum is stretched out, i.e. red shifted, at all, they'll know that it travelled through a warp bubble.

A ring-shaped warp drive machine could move a football-shape starship (as shown in the center) to actual speed faster than light. The idea was first suggested by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre. Image Credit: Harold White

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