NASA scientists working on a project called EmDrive have accidentally stumbled upon something that will send science fiction junkies into a frenzy. The possibility of a real-life warp drive has been placed on the table thanks to readings that indicate the EmDrive’s resonance chamber sent beams traveling faster than the speed of light, which would be considered warp speed. Researchers have considered the possibility of traveling faster than the speed of light, but until the recent NASA study, the feat had never been achieved.
Mysterious Universe notes that the NASA scientists are buzzing about the discovery on the NASA Spaceflight Forums. The forums are a place for information regarding the engineering aspects of the space flight and NASA. Therefore, the discovery that laser beams may have just breached the speed of light sent the page into discussions on the long-term implications of warp speed bubbles and the possibly of future warp speed travel.
First, the researchers note that though beams that were shot into the EmDrive were recorded at speeds faster than light, there is still one more study that must be performed to determine with certainty that the light speed barrier was broken. Scientists note that the beams must be shot through the EmDrive in a vacuum environment. This will ensure that the effect was not a result of atmospheric heating.
“I don’t think we can call this length contraction (even though it might look like it) for sure until the same results are in repeated in vacuum.”
Commenters note that the whole finding was one big accident and that researchers did not even realize that the EmDrive was replicating a well-known physicist’s theory of warp bubbles.
“That’s the big surprise. This signature (the interference pattern) on the EmDrive looks just like what a warp bubble looks like. And the math behind the warp bubble apparently matches the interference pattern found in the EmDrive. Seems to have been an accidental connection. They were wondering where this ‘thrust’ might be coming from. One scientists proposed that maybe it’s a warp of the spacetime foam, which is causing the thrust.”
Physicist Miguel Alcubierre is the one who came up with the concept of a warp bubble that would warp spacetime around an object. The idea is that a warp bubble could be created in which a stationary spaceship was placed inside. The bubble in front of the ship would contract spacetime while the spacetime expands behind it. However, the idea was never proven as feasible until the recent EmDrive finding.
Some on the NASA Spacelight forums are looking to the possibility of time travel should the warp speed be achieved in the vacuum setting. They note that the space travelers would not be crushed by the intense speeds because Alcubierre’s model would place the ship in a stationary position.
“Don’t forget that the ship is not really moving at relativistic speeds: space is. Consequently, you could take a trip to Alpha Centauri in 2 days (or less with more power… who knows?), turn your ship around and observe the Earth as it was four years ago (as light has taken four years to get there – slow coach!). You could then observe Alpha Centauri as it is “now”, and how people on the Earth will see it in four years. With this type of technology, it would be possible to predict when locally past events are going to be observable from the point of view of the Earth (or any other point that the light from such events had not yet reached). For example, a ship 1 light-day out from the Earth in the right place could witness a supernova before the Earth does and then be able to return to the Earth almost instantly and tell astronomers about the incoming light wave so that they could prepare to observe it.”
How is that for a mind trip of the day? Could we be traveling across the universe at warp speeds in the near future thanks to a NASA accident?
[Image Credit: NASA/ Mark Rademaker Illustration]