I am a HUGE Star Trek fan, as you may know. And, Star Trek has been very “prophetic” already, predicting hand-held “cell phone” like communicators, pad computers, diagnostic beds in healthcare, etc. Well, how about warp drive? Scientists now believe that warp drive may, indeed, be possible as well! Way to go, Gene Roddenberry!
“Two physicists have boldly gone where no reputable scientists should go and devised a new scheme to travel faster than the speed of light. The advance could mean that Star Trek fantasies of interstellar civilizations and voyages powered by warp drive are now no longer the exclusive domain of science fiction writers. In the long running television series created by Gene Roddenberry, the warp drive was invented by Zefram Cochrane, who began his epic project in 2053 in Bozeman, Montana. Now Dr. Gerald Cleaver, associate professor of physics at Baylor, and Richard Obousy have come up with a new twist on an existing idea to produce a warp drive that they believe can travel faster than the speed of light, without breaking the laws of physics. In their scheme, in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, a starship could “warp” space so that it shrinks ahead of the vessel and expands behind it. By pushing the departure point many light years backwards while simultaneously bringing distant stars and other destinations closer, the warp drive effectively transports the starship from place to place at faster-than-light speeds. All this extraordinary feat requires, says the new study, is for scientists to harness a mysterious and poorly understood cosmic antigravity force, called dark energy. Dark energy is thought responsible for speeding up the expansion rate of our universe as time moves on, just like it did after the Big Bang, when the universe expanded much faster than the speed of light for a very brief time. This may come as a surprise since, according to relativity theory, matter cannot move through space faster than the speed of light, which is almost 300,000,000 meters per second. But that theory applies only to unwarped ‘flat’ space. And there is no limit on the speed with which space itself can move: the spaceship can sit at rest in a small bubble of space that flows at “superluminal” – faster than light – velocities through normal space because the fabric of space and time itself (scientists refer to spacetime) is stretching. In the scheme outlined by Dr. Cleaver dark energy would be used to create the bubble: if dark energy can be made negative in front of the ship, then that patch of space would contract in response. ‘Think of it like a surfer riding a wave,’ said Dr Cleaver. ‘The ship would be pushed by the spatial bubble and the bubble would be traveling faster than the speed of light.'”
What is amazing is that this is EXACTLY the way Star Trek described how warp speed travel was possible… a “warp bubble.” How totally weird is that!!?!?
To be fair, I have heard noted physicist and string theorist, Michio Kaku, talk about this on the Discovery Channel before this… but it was cool that is made news this week!