When do we reckon we’ll be able to make it to Gliese 581 to actually see this possible exoplanet up close & determine if it’s habitable? What about flying off to Kepler 22B to see if we can’t plant a few trees? Apparently sooner than we think! Nasa is closer than we think to producing the “warp drive”, the famed propulsion system used by the fleet of the fictitious United Federation of Planets.
NASA scientists now think that the famous warp drive concept is a realistic possibility, and that in the far future humans could regularly travel faster than the speed of light.
A warp drive would work by “warping” spacetime around any spaceship, which physicist Miguel Alcubierreshowed was theoretically possible in 1994, albeit well beyond the current technical capabilities of humanity. However, any such Alcubierre drive was assumed to require more energy — equivalent to the mass-energy of the whole planet of Jupiter – than could ever possibly be supplied, rendering it impossible to build.
But now scientists believe that those requirements might not be so vast, making warp travel a tangible possibility. Harold White, from NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, revealed the news on Sept. 14 at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a gathering to discuss the possibilities and challenges of interstellar space travel. Space.com reports that White and his team have calculated that the amount of energy required to create an Alcubierre drive may be smaller than first thought.
Read more at Wired.com. Would you be aboard the space football?