Friday, April 5, 2013

Warp Drive Reality: ENGAGE

Seems I am a little late with this one, but better late than never...

For every Star Trek geek out there in scifi world, the reality of warp drive is coming to a physics lab near you. Popular Science Magazine, has an article about NASA scientist Harry White who says he has figured out a way to go faster than the speed of light. He talks about space bubbles and hyperspace, brigdging his theories on the work of another physicist Miguel Albucierre.

My take on the discussion is that neither man actually destroys  Einstein's theories, which scientist felt disproved the possibility of warp drive. They simply go around it. Thinking outside the box is just what scientists are supposed to do. Isn't it?

Seems the budget cuts were not really well thought out. Looks like we still need NASA afterall.

Last September, a few hundred scientists, engineers and space enthusiasts gathered at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Houston for the second public meeting of 100 Year Starship. The group is run by former astronaut Mae Jemison and funded by DARPA. Its mission is to “make the capability of human travel beyond our solar system to another star a reality within the next 100 years.”

For most of the attendees at the conference, advances in manned space exploration have been frustratingly slow in coming. Despite billions of dollars spent over the last few decades, space agencies aren’t capable of much more than they were in the 1960s. They may be capable of less. 100 Year Starship intends to accelerate the process of interstellar travel by identifying and developing promising technologies.

Over the course of several days, attendees could join symposia on such exotic topics as organ regeneration and organized religion aboard a starship. One of the most anticipated presentations was titled “Warp Field Mechanics 102,” given by Harold “Sonny” White of NASA. A nine-year agency veteran, White runs the advanced propulsion program at Johnson Space Center (JSC), down the road from the Hyatt. Along with five others, he recently co-authored the agency’s 16-year “In-Space Propulsion Systems Roadmap,” which outlines NASA’s goals for the future of space travel. The plan calls for all manner of propulsion projects from improved chemical rockets to far-forward systems like antimatter and nuclear engines. White’s particular area of research is perhaps the most far-forward of them all: warp drive.

Put plainly, warp drive would permit faster-than-light travel. It is, most assume, impossible, a clear violation of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. White says otherwise. For half an hour at the symposium, he outlined the physics of a potential warp drive—walking attendees through things like Alcubierre bubbles and hyperspace oscillations. He explained how he’d recently computed theoretical results that could pave the way for an actual warp drive and that he was commencing physical tests in his NASA lab, which he calls Eagleworks.

It almost goes without saying that functional warp drive would have tremendous implications for space travel. It would free explorers not only from Earth’s orbit, but from the entire solar system. Instead of taking 75,000 years to get to Alpha Centauri, the star system nearest to our own, warp-equipped astronauts, White says, could make the trip in two weeks.

In the wake of the shuttle program’s termination and given the increasing role of private industry in low-Earth orbit flights, NASA has said it will refocus on far-flung, audacious exploration, reaching far beyond the rather provincial boundary of the moon. But it can only reach those goals if it develops new propulsion systems—the faster the better. A few days after the 100 Year Starship gathering, the head of NASA, Charles Bolden, echoed White’s remarks. “One of these days, we want to get to warp speed,” he said. “We want to go faster than the speed of light, and we don’t want to stop at Mars.” 

Read the entire article HERE

Full speed ahead Mr. Sulu.

Qi en Pace,


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