SOUNDS sound like the stuff of science fiction, but spacecraft that travel fast are possible, according to one chief scientist.
In a recent study, physicist Dr. Erik Lentz outlined a way a rocket could theoretically travel faster than a light one – or more than 186,000 miles per second.
At that rate, astronauts could reach other star systems in just a few years, allowing humanity to colonize distant planets.
The current rocket technology would take about 6,300 years to reach the Near Centauri, the closest star to our Sun.
So-called “warp disks” have previously been proposed, but often rely on theoretical systems that violate the laws of physics.
This is because according to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, it is physically impossible for anything to travel faster than the speed of light.
Dr. Lentz, a scientist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, says his imaginary warfare would work within the limits of physics.
While other theories rely on “exotic” concepts, such as negative energy, his surrounds this problem with a new theoretical particle.
These hyper-fast “solitons” can travel at any speed in accordance with the laws of physics, according to a press release from the University of Göttingen.
A soliton – also called a “warp bubble” – is a compact wave that acts as a particle while maintaining its shape and moving at a constant speed.
Dr. Lentz said he cooked up his theory after analyzing existing research and discovered shortcomings in previous warp studies.
He believes that solitons could travel faster than light and “create conductive plasma and classical electromagnetic fields.”
Both of these concepts are understood in terms of conventional physics and obey Einstein’s relative theory.
While his warp ride provides the attractive possibility of a faster than light trip, it’s still very much in the idea phase at the moment.
The assembly would require enormous energy, which is not possible with modern technology.
“The energy savings would need to be drastic, about 30 sizes to be in the range of modern nuclear fission reactors,” Dr. Lentz said.
“Fortunately, several energy-saving mechanisms have been proposed in earlier research that may be able to reduce the energy required by nearly 60 magnitudes.”
The astrophysicist said he would now focus his efforts on cooking a practical version of the technology.
“This work has moved the problem of faster than light travel one step away from theoretical research in fundamental physics and closer to engineering,” Dr. Lentz said.
“The next step is to figure out how to drop the astronomical amount of energy needed in today’s range of technologies, such as a large modern nuclear fission power plant. Then we can talk about building the first prototypes. “
The research was published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.
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What do you think of the bonker idea? Let us know in the comments!
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