Warp field according to the Alcubierre drive

Mr. Alcubierre, I’d like my warp drive now

Space is big. Really big. There’s a lot of neat stuff out there, but it’s really really far away. So how do you get to that neat shiny stuff so very far away?

Option one: Build a big ass ship bottle up all the air, water, and stuff you’ll ever need and even at the fastest speeds humanity could muster it will take many generations til you reach the first place of interest. Let’s hope your kids’ great grandchildren had the same vision of exploration that you did. If they are still alive.

Option two: Manipulate space-time itself.

Space-time is complex

Gravity doesn’t emit particles of matter or waves like light, but rather “bends” space and time. So in theory if you had a way to manipulate and control gravity, you could get places fast!

A little known guy named Einstein predicted that gravity warps space-time and that was recently confirmed.  PSR J1141-6545 is an interesting binary system somewhere between 10,000 and 25,000 light years away consisting of a white dwarf roughly the size of earth but over 300,000 times the density, and pulsar, which is a very fast rotating neutron star that emits beams of radiation like lighthouses from the poles. The gravity from the white dwarf is so immense that it drags space-time with it and rotates the orbit of the pulsar noticed by those very “beams.”

Miguel Alcubierre is a theoretical physicist who has a theory that, in theory, if you have a spaceship and squeeze the space in front of your ship, and expand it in the back it will allow you to reach vast distances very fast.

So if my calculations are correct, and they’re probably not, all we need is a spaceship that can manipulate space-time itself and we can go explore those near shiny things in the sky.




Header Image: “Warp field according to the Alcubierre drive” by AllenMcC. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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