Wait. Warp drives may be possible?!

Wait, warp drives may be possible?!

The New York Times yesterday:

Harold G. White [ a physicist and advanced propulsion engineer at NASA] has been working on instrumentation with the goal of using it to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it travels in a certain area, and then observing the change with a device called an interferometer....

[He and a] team is trying to determine whether faster-than-light travel — warp drive — might someday be possible.

Warp drive. Like on 'Star Trek.'

Whether a table top experiment might succeed, and the rather modest belief by White and others that its success may now be "less implausible," an actual warp drive bolted to a space ship is, for the time being, decidedly impossible.

But the laws governing these limits can nonetheless be probed. For example, the speed limit in special relativity applies to light's movement in the vacuum of space. Vacuum energy may be lowered further, however, to permit light to travel faster than its current limit of roughly 186,000 miles per second, a phenomenon known as the Casimir effect.

Other projects have demonstrated that the complementary states of two entangled but separate photons are maintained even at distances measured in miles. Though no information or matter is exchanged to maintain that reciprocal relationship, whatever happens does so at a speed many times the limit imposed by physical law. Similar experiments are planned between the ISS and Earth bound stations. Cryptology may never be the same.

Cosmologists also believe the repulsive and little understood force of dark energy is pushing galaxies away from us at speeds faster than light.

You too can probe the speed of light with the home experiment in the video here. You just need microwave and a chocolate bar. What the experiment may lack in precision, it more than makes up for in taste.

What Faster than the Speed of Light? suggests is that it may - and the stress is decidedly on may - be possible to travel faster than the speed of light, which could bring nearby stars hosting other worlds within reach of humanity. Whether there is a Zefram Cochrane out there to make that a reality remains to be seen.

Stay curious!


Wikipedia: warp drive