Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Warp speed!

How NASA might build its very first warp drive

A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein's law of relativity. We contacted White at NASA and asked him to explain how this real life warp drive could actually work. 

The original Alcubierre warp drive required the equivalent of a Jupiter mass in energy - that old e=mc^2 factor - and was considered forever out of reach. Dr. White has done some analysis that reduces the energy requirement to just 1,600 pounds. His NASA paper is here (pdf).

Lab experiments are ongoing.

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