Another Star Trek technological mainstay has entered the “possibly do-able” phase of its life. Having already realized the “communicator, the data pad and having even made baby steps in “transporter” technology, science is adding Scotty’s precious “warp drive” to the list. According to a blog on the Icarus International website (A non-profit foundation dedicated to achieving interstellar flight by 2100) NASA scientist, Harold, “Sonny” White states that he has solved some of the mathematical problems that such a concept entails.
White built on the work of theoretical physicist, Miguel Alcubierre, who postulated the theorems necessary to produce the Star Trekian space warp to negate the effects of Einsteinian physics. By operating in a warp “bubble”, he theorized this would allow speeds much faster than light without changing your timeline relative to your starting position, your spaceship garage in your back yard, for example. This would also negate the problem of your inertia, so you won’t be a mass of human jelly on the back wall of the ship after they kick it into gear.
Unfortunately, the Mexican physicists calculations revealed the energy/matter expense would rival that of the planet, Jupiter. Although fascinating, even for Mr. Spock, the energy requirements were so great, the research was abandoned as having no practical application. Then along came “Sonny” White.
White began delving into Alcubierre’s equations and has arrived at a way to create an actual warp “bubble” in the laboratory. By altering just two equations in the other scientist’s formulas, he has reduced the energy/matter requirement down to just a single tonne. This means that he can test the findings on a very small scale using a device called a White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer. With this instrument, White is hoping to produce just a “microscopic instance” of a warp “bubble”. The idea is that if even a minute one can be created, a warp field of any size can be eventually realized, even one big enough for, say, a space ship. White likens the project to the beginning of nuclear technology when the first controlled nuclear reaction managed to produce just a half a watt of power. Within just over a year, in 1943, a four megawatt reactor had been built.
“By harnessing the physics of cosmic inflation, future spaceships crafted to satisfy the laws of these mathematical equations may actually be able to get somewhere unthinkably fast—and without adverse effects. The math would allow you to go to Alpha Centauri in two weeks as measured by clocks here on Earth. So somebody’s clock aboard the spacecraft has the same rate of time as somebody in mission control here in Houston might have. There are no tidal forces inside the bubble, no undue issues, and the proper acceleration is zero. When you turn the field on, everybody doesn’t go slamming against the bulkhead, which would be a very short and sad trip,” explained White.
Now if they could just get that holodeck and the replicator perfected… and yes, their working on those, too.