Warp speed is more feasible than previously thought

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An event called “Interstellar Spaceship in 100 Years” seems to be the ideal place for those who want fancy discuss ideas for the future of space exploration.But not exactly the place to look for ideas to put into practice the short term.That is why it is causing furor a presentation by scientist Harold White, Johnson Space Center, NASA, during the event.

White proposed nothing less than a laboratory experiment, to be conducted in the coming months to show that space travel faster than the speed of light are possible with a level of “concreteness” beyond imagined until now – or it could also be say, are “less impossible” than previously thought.

Interstellar space travel can not be accomplished with technologies known today because the ships are too slow.

The Voyager 1 , for example, that the artifact is constructed by man to achieve the greatest distance from Earth, is 17 hours light away, even traveling continuously since 1977.This is because it travels to 0.006% the speed of light. The Voyager will take 17,000 years to travel 1 light year – and the nearest star to us, Alpha Centauri, is 4.3 light-years.


The trips in superluminal speed – faster than the speed of light – are common in science fiction, where they are known as travel at warp speed – or warp – a reference to the folds in the fabric of spacetime. The Theory of Relativity states that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. But it imposes no limit on the speed with which the fabric of space-time can expand or contract.

It is easy to understand this “loophole”: imagine two lamps, one beside the other, alternately flashing. The speed with which light from each of them will reach the eyes will always be the speed of light. But the speed with which they alternate the blinking has no limit.

In the case of travel at warp speed, the trick is to put the spacecraft into a “bubble” and cause the space-time in front of the bubble to contract, expanding just behind the bubble. The spacecraft will literally surf through space-time, without any acceleration.

In fact, in terms of the speed of light, the spacecraft will be fully stopped in relation to its benchmark, which is their “magic carpet” spatiotemporal tissue.

The initial concept of bending trip that is being explored was proposed by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre. [Image]

Negative energy

In 1994, the Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a plan to do this, involving a type of “exotic matter” with negative energy, anyone know if there is.

Moreover, for starting the warp bubble, the proposal would require Alcubierre negative energy equivalent to the mass of the Universe.

The scheme has been improved by other scientists, they came to a negative amount of energy equivalent to the mass of Jupiter.

What Dr. Harold White did now was to redesign the initial design of Alcubierre, which provided a spaceship shaped cigar surrounded by a ring made of exotic matter and unknown, who would be responsible for contracting space ahead and expand it behind the ship.

When using a ring of material round – imagine a ring made from a pipe – White redid the calculations and found that you need to use only a few hundred kilograms of negative energy.

And while no one has any idea where this negative energy situation can be found or produced, White says the idea can be demonstrated in the laboratory, at the microscale.

Folds spatiotemporal

White is what you like to do a new laboratory being built by NASA for now informally known as Eagleworks . He is using a special type of laser interferometer, called Interferometer Field Fold White-Juday, to create versions of the microscopic folds spatiotemporal. The equipment is accurate enough to make the space-time to contract and expand only one part in 10 million, but it will be enough to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept.

If the experiment goes well, other scientists may feel encouraged to face the many problems that still remain to true interstellar travel.Among these problems are the fact that theories do not yet know how to order the warp engine to where it should go – forward or backward, for example – and, wherever he goes, how it’s done to stop it.

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