Friday, April 3, 2009

Warp Drive May Need a Miracleworker

Well, nerds, it looks like we may have to wait a little longer to warp around the galaxy in our own starships. For decades now, physicists have been trying to work out how we could achieve faster than light speeds, and the most promising hypothesis so far has been the Alcubierre warp drive. In 1994, Mexican physicist Michael Alcubierre posited that a vessel could be encased in a warp bubble sitting in a volume of flat space-time. The distortion of the bubble would shrink space-time in front of the vessel and expand it behind, creating faster than light propulsion. However, a group of Italian physicists now say that the Alcubierre drive becomes unfeasible once quantum mechanics is applied to it. The bubble, they say, would be too unstable and would also fill with Hawking radiation. So it looks like our best bet at warp speeds might be for Scotty to come back in time and give me the schematics to the Enterprise's engines. How would anyone know I didn't invent the thing? More details here.

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