The following is an excerpt from Matt Peckham | September 19, 2012 | Time.com |
You know that scene in the film Contact where the “Machine” is spooling up, its three spinning rings kicking out crazy light and an electromagnetic field powerful enough to pitch nearby Navy battleships sideways, as Ellie (Jodie Foster) waits, terrified, in her tiny spherical craft above the space-time bedlam, to plummet into the vortex?
Yeah, that’s not exactly how NASA’s envisioning faster-than-light space travel, but…wait, NASA’s working on faster-than-light travel? Isn’t that impossible?
(MORE: Ultrafast Chips that Run on Light: Nanoswitch Breakthrough Brings Us Closer)
Of course it is. Nothing can travel faster than light, right? To do so would violate the special theory of relativity, which stipulates that you’d need an infinite amount of energy to accelerate a particle with mass to light speed. We’ve all heard this pretty much since we were kids. Has someone finally proven special relativity wrong?
Not at all, but with respect to travel between the stars, someone did come up with a radical-sounding hypothetical workaround 18 years ago.
In a paper titled “The Warp Drive: Hyper-fast travel within general relativity” published in science journal Classical and Quantum Gravity in May 1994, physicist Miguel Alcubierre suggested a mechanism for getting an object from one point to another at faster-than-light speeds without running afoul of Einsteinian relativity.
Alcubierre’s idea: bending space-time in front of and behind a vessel rather than attempting to propel the vessel itself at light-speeds.
According to Alcubierre, in the paper abstract …
To read more visit: Time.com