Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Warp Speed Ahead!

Warp Speed

In a rush to flee the solar system? Scientists have an interstellar travel plan, but it entails a brief stint outside the known universe.

What is Warp Speed? A spacecraft that travels at faster-than-light speeds by distorting, or “warping,” the fabric of spacetime. Instead of trying to move through space, the warp drive moves space itself. The ship sits inside a bubble of spacetime bound by a negative energy field that races across the cosmos.

1. Fuel Up: Start beyond Earth’s immediate gravitational pull. Convert matter into negative energy (particles with negative mass that are repelled by gravity rather than attracted to it).

2. Curve Spacetime: Emit pulses of negative energy to curve spacetime. Form a sphere around the ship with the energy, insulating passengers in their own private spacetime bubble.

3. Drop Out: The bubble warps spacetime so drastically that it actually slips out of the visible universe. Only a narrow tube of negative energy keeps it tied to our world.

4. Expand Space: Now that the craft is protected in its spacetime bubble, the real work can begin: Expand space behind the bubble at faster-than-light speed, and shrink the space in front.

Read the article at Popular Science

Next Week: "Beam Me Up, Scotty!"

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