We are limited by traveling at less than light speed and even if we managed that extreme speed, we would still need years, or centuries to go from one star to another. A ring-shaped warp device could transport a football-shape starship (center) to effective speeds faster than light. Image credit: NASA
But now scientists from NASA say there is possibly a way to achieve faster-than-light sped, after they found a theoretical possibility for warp speed travel.
Image: Harold White/NASA
The 100 year star ship symposium is investigating various ways by which we can travel to the stars, hoping to find median between practical and theoretical methods. Daedalus by David Hardy
“How hard is interstellar flight without some form of a warp drive? Consider the Voyager 1 spacecraft, a small 0.722 mT spacecraft launched in 1977, it is currently out at ~116 Astronomical Units (AU) after 33 years of flight with a cruise speed of 3.6 AU per year. This is the highest energy craft ever launched by mankind to date, yet it will take ~75000 years to reach Proxima Centauri, the nearest star at 4.3 light years away in our neighboring.”
Daedalus by Joe Bergeron
According to NASA:
NASA/JSC is implementing an advanced propulsion physics laboratory, informally known as “Eagleworks“, to pursue propulsion technologies necessary to enable human exploration of the solar system over the next 50 years, and enabling interstellar spaceflight by the end of the century. This work directly supports the “Breakthrough Propulsion” objectives detailed in the NASA OCT TA02 In-space Propulsion Roadmap, and aligns with the #10 Top Technical Challenge identified in the report. Since the work being pursued by this laboratory is applied scientific research in the areas of the quantum vacuum, gravitation, nature of space-time, and other fundamental physical phenomenon, high fidelity testing facilities are needed. The lab will first implement a low-thrust torsion pendulum (<1 uN), and commission the facility with an existing Quantum Vacuum Plasma Thruster. To date, the QVPT line of research has produced data suggesting very high specific impulse coupled with high specific force. If the physics and engineering models can be explored and understood in the lab to allow scaling to power levels pertinent for human spaceflight, 400kW SEP human missions to Mars may become a possibility, and at power levels of 2MW, 1-year transit to Neptune may also be possible. Additionally, the lab is implementing a warp field interferometer that will be able to measure spacetime disturbances down to 150nm.
Recent work published by White suggests that it may be possible to engineer spacetime creating conditions similar to what drives the expansion of the cosmos. Although the expected magnitude of the effect would be tiny, it may be a “Chicago pile” moment for this area of physics.
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