Time Travel Research Center © 1998 Cetin BAL - GSM:+90 05366063183 - Turkey / Denizli
release date: 6-Mar-2002
It 'No': Researcher Says Warp-Drive Impossible
fiction fans know that many seemingly impossible technologies
materialize years later - cell phones, personal computers and
of course, human spaceflight, being three examples. However
this may not to be the case for warp-drive, the idea of
traveling through space faster than the speed of light.
science fiction theory, warp-drive, or the idea of space
contracting in front of spacecraft, and expanding behind it to
form faster-than-light propulsion is under attack according to
new work by a researcher in Portugal published today in the
Institute of Physics journal, Classical and Quantum Gravity.
relativity predicts that space is expanding. This can be
visualized in three dimensions by imagining two points on a
balloon moving further apart as the balloon is inflated. As
space expands, the two points are traveling slower than the
speed of light in relation to the surface of the balloon. But
they could be moving apart faster than the speed of light if
the distance between them is taken as the shortest line from
one point to the other. Theoretical physicist Miguel
Alcubierre used this idea in 1994 to make a 'warp-drive space-time'.
By taking the
balloon surface idea of space and contracting and expanding
the space in front of, and behind a particular object moving
through space, the object would be able to move faster than
the speed of light. To make the space contract and expand in
this way, strong gravitational fields would be required. But,
such fields could only be created by large amounts of `negative
energy` meaning that in classical physics terms this couldn't
happen, although in the quantum world it could.
In this work, Dr
Jose Natario contradicts some of these findings. He imagines
sliding a theoretical bubble through space, in the same way
you can slide a sphere through water, and calculates warp-drive
space-times similar to those found in the past. His research
shows that contraction or expansion of space need not occur as
it does in Alcubierre`s theory, therefore, no warp-drive
He finds more
problems with the warp-drive scenario including the formation
of what are known as `infinite blue-shifts` that suggest that
the warp-drive space-time is unstable.
"My work seems to
imply that warp-drive is impossible even in principle - in
practical terms it certainly is, as no one has any idea of how
to go around making negative energy fields," said Dr Natario.
2002 Society of Physics Students