Faster-Than-Light Travel Just Got That Much Harder

Of the theoretical means for achieving faster-than-light travel, the most plausible one is the “warp” drive, where a ship travels at superluminal speeds by creating a bubble of space behind it, while compressing the space in front of it. The ship would not move inside of the bubble, but would be carried along with it, like a wave. The upside of this is that it achieves FTL speeds while avoiding time dileation and other relativistic effects. In other words, you can travel across the galaxy and not worry that thousands of years have elapsed on Earth in your absence.

However, as Jason Major details at io9, there is one important downside to warp travel. The energy built up during the voyage could incinerate everything around it:

Space is not just an empty void between point A and point B… rather, it’s full of particles that have mass (as well as some that do not.) What the research team - led by Brendan McMonigal, Geraint Lewis, and Philip O’Byrne - has found is that these particles can get “swept up” into the warp bubble and focused into regions before and behind the ship, as well as within the warp bubble itself.

When the Alcubierre-driven ship decelerates from superluminal speed, the particles its bubble has gathered are released in energetic outbursts. In the case of forward-facing particles the outburst can be very energetic - enough to destroy anyone at the destination directly in front of the ship.

In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, ships are constantly coming out of warp near the station and its surrounding planets. If each ship is creating its own set of energy bursts, then there’s no way that the station (or the planets) could survive. For the Star Trek (and Star Wars) universe, this makes galactic travel very difficult, if not impossible.

This is all to say that of the solutions to FTL travel I’ve read or seen, the best comes by way of John Scalzi. In his book Old Man’s War, the Colonial Defense Forces—a military organization responsible for populating and defending humanity’s interstellar colonies—travel through use of the “skip” drive. Here’s how Scalzi describes it:

“All right, look,” Alan said. “You asked me how the skip drive works. And like I said, it’s simple: It takes an object from one universe, like the Modesto, and pops it into another universe. The problem is that we refer to it as a ‘drive.’ It’s not really a drive at all, because acceleration is not a factor; the only factor is location within the multiverse.” […]

"The point is: multiple universes. The multiverse. What the skip drive does is open a door to another one of those universes.”

I have no idea whether the science behind this is real or not, but the idea of FTL travel that works through “creating” new universes and moving objects into them is fascinating.

Comments

The "skip" drive really isn't all that different from your typical hyperspace drive (as in Star Wars or the Foundation world). With hyperspace, the ship basically rips a hole in the universe, and travels through a different universe to traverse the distance in between two spots in the first universe. An analogy is, think of our universe as the surface of a sheet of paper. If that sheet is folded in half or bent, you could poke a hole in the sheet of paper and travel through the space between to get to another piece of the original sheet of paper. Hyperspace "jumps" are really the same basic idea as these "skips."

The way the Star Trek universe would explain away the particle energy burst problem is by saying that ships do not create space bubbles around them-- they create subspace bubbles. The ships therefore don't interact with any of the matter in our universe when they travel through it, unless it's something so drastic that it could pull the ship out of its subspace field (like trying to go through the center of a star, for instance).

Perhaps “warp” travels can be technologically possible expanding spacetime behind starship.
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This is just a theory and I don't think it is possible to turn it into reality. I love traveling a lot and I am just back from my trip to Vegas and Traveling in Las Vegas was a real fun.

I think it would take another hundred years or more for us to achieve this dream. However, we have to be satisfied with whatever we have access to right now. Online flight booking has taken the hassle away from traveling, we have now sites like FlightSite.co.za making travel easy for tourists.

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