It all starts with dreams of learning about the unknown. Whether if it’s to know if aliens exist or to visit a planet we have heard about in a comic book or television show, we must first accomplish faster than light propulsion system. In Star Trek, this is called the warp drive.
Sadly, to this day it remains only a dream as NASA is not currently working on such an imaginary theory. Also, many scientists believe that it would be impossible to travel faster than light while others keep their hopes up believing fondly in Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
NASA has found some vague proof about gravitational waves that Dr. Einstein predicted. Most had thought would be impossible to prove the waves’ existence. It brings my hopes up as it might bring the dream of interstellar travel closer than ever before.
Learn more about the discovery of gravitational waves.
Let’s not lose hope of the possibility to one day travel among the stars to another planet where a civilization more advanced than our own might be closer than we would think. If Star Trek is to become real, no one can afford to lose hope in such a utopia.
The Alcubierre Theory of Warp Drive
Again, based on Albert Einstein’s General Relativity, related to his field equations. What was once proposed by Dr. Miguel Alcubierre was that instead of trying to exceed the speed of light, a spacecraft could instead contract space that is before it and expand space behind it, thus resulting in travelling faster than light without exactly breaking any laws of physics that we have come to know to this day.
After all, it is well known that we cannot travel faster than light without interfering with normal spacetime. It is something that caused many science fiction authors to come up with their own version of what could propel a starship across the galaxy.
However, despite warp drive being the closest hope we have to interstellar travel, it requires something almost impossible to find or even prove its existence called “exotic matter” therefore unable to be turned into a drivable system. But that is until Alcubierre mentioned that the Casimir vacuum aka Casimir Effect named after the Dutch physicist Hendrick Casimir (physical forces arising from a quantized field,) would in fact fulfill the negative-energy required to create the warp drive that could eventually also be simply named Alcubierre Drive (sorry Zefram Cochrane.)
Read more on the Casimir Effect.
Yet again, Quantum Gravity would in fact eliminate all questions relative to the Alcubierre Warp Drive theory; based on Einstein’s General Relativity field equation and make his theory all-together entirely irrelevant therefore invalid.
But, until we give up, there’s no reason to believe it cannot still happen.
Warp Speed Ahead!
Let’s just think positively for a moment: sometimes physicists are not very imaginative, and let’s assume it all comes true.
When Star Trek first mentioned the warp drive it was well received. The system was based on a theory that made more sense compared to many others. This is due to facts that I mentioned earlier, and it somehow makes that dream of traveling faster than light reachable.
Now, would it be possible to jump from levels of speed of Warp Factor 1 to 8 and so on like in the Star Trek universe? I wonder. If we are pulling and contracting what’s ahead to expand space behind, would that mean that to go faster we’d have to first reach farther?
The human race has once jumped from cars to a rocket that aimed for the moon. I believe that one day something as efficient as a warp drive could be possible. All right, I’m no physicist or mathematician; heck—I can barely do algebra. Nonetheless, science is something that I read on a daily basis because somehow, I find it way easier for me to understand. Also what I understand is that without imagination and dream, we won’t achieve it.
We need new Einstein scientists that believe imagination is just as valid as an equation that could bring us closer to traveling across our own galaxy. Maybe in the Alpha Quadrant to begin. Wink-wink.
But let us not forget that while we are looking at the stars, some might already be looking back at us. And if so, it means somehow one theory is tangible to travel faster than the speed of light.
Until next time,
Live Long & Prosper