NASA is working on a technological break-through which will revolutionize humanity. A new conceptual spacecraft may be able to travel faster than the speed of light. Tests are currently underway on a miniature scale version.
The concept, first proposed by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre in 1994, is comprised of a ring-shaped warp drive device that could transport a football-shape starship to effective speeds faster than light. Subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.
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.
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. Richard Obousy, president of Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit group of scientists and engineers devoted to pursuing interstellar spaceflight, explains the loophole:
Everything within space is restricted by the speed of light, but the really cool thing is space-time, the fabric of space, is not limited by the speed of light.
The drive uses a wave, compressing spacetime in front of the ship and simultaneously expanding the spacetime behind it. The ship would float in a “bubble” of normal spacetime carried along on the wave of compressed spacetime, like a way a surfer riding a wave. The ship, inside the warp bubble, would be going faster than the speed of light relative to objects outside the bubble.
He and his colleagues have begun experimenting with a mini version of the warp drive in their laboratory. They created the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer. The experiment essentially creates a laser interferometer that instigates micro versions of space-time warps. Harold White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center said:
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.
Compared to what will be needed for a real warp drive, White called the project a “humble experiment” which nevertheless represents a first step towards interstellar travel.