Star Trek Warp Speed closer to reality
The revolutionary technology we see in the Star Trek series may not be science fiction after all as scientists are getting closer to replicating some of the technology that was dreamed up back in the 1960s. One of the concepts in the movie is the ‘warp drive’ which made the spaceship able to achieve speeds faster than the speed of light.
What a warp drive would actually do is to manipulate space and time in order to move the spaceship. The first concept of a warp drive engine was done in 1994 by physicist Miquel Alcubierre who calculated that the amount of energy required would make the engine impossible to implement. Miquel suggested that a WARP drive would manipulate space and time in such a way that it would create a space-time bubble around the spacecraft making the craft unaffected by the speed or any kind of g-forces, because in reality the spacecraft would be stationary inside the bubble and the bubble would travel at unimaginable speeds of even 10 times the speed of light.
According to a group of students at the University of Leicester, when traveling at warp speed you wouldn’t be able to see anything apart from black void – and not those nice elongated stars that you see in Star Trek.
Other scientists suggest that the spaceship would require a shielding technology to protect it from insterstellar particles that would become death rays at such speeds. Even some kind of cloaking device that would bend radiation around the craft would probably be a good start. Of course we need to clarify that all of this is mere speculation about what would happen if warp drive were to be achieved.
However, the first step is to solve the energy problem. According to Miquel’s initial calculations it would require the mass energy of Jupiter as a minimum! However, recently Sonny White of the Johnson NASA Space Center has tweaked the design of a warp capable spacecraft and reduced the fuel down to the mass of a Voyager 1 spacecraft – which of course is still a huge amount of energy, but more feasible. Johnson works on modelling a microscopic small scale warp field in order to test the different hypothesis. But that would be the beginning of an era of Interstellar travelling. Exciting, isn’t it?
By John Black