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Physical Warp Drives

Physical Warp Drives: In 1994, physicist Miguel Alcubierre penned “Hyper-fast Travel within General Relativity,” a scientific paper that inspired the scientific community to take seriously the Star Trek–like possibility of warp travel. Nonetheless, Alcubierre’s conceptualization of warp-drive spacetime (the Alcubierre metric) is “unphysical” (unachievable), as it requires negative energy, which has not been found in nature. Thus, for nearly thirty years, many feared that warp travel would never be possible. But a 2021 study in Classical and Quantum Gravity, titled “Introducing Physical Warp Drives,” renewed interest in warp drives by presenting the first general model for subluminal positive-energy warp drives. Receiving press in over 40 nations, this paper corrected a few oversights in warp drive physics. For one, all warp drives need a propulsion source, a missed oversight in the law of momentum conservation. Furthermore, the researchers hypothesized that there are many more classes of warp drives beyond Alcubierre’s. In fact, several newly presented warp drives decreased the negative energy requirements of the Alcubierre metric by a factor of 100, making the creation of warp drives closer than ever before. The paper also demonstrated that occupants within a warp-drive spacetime experience time differently, allowing passengers to stay young and beautiful, not rapidly grow older as previously believed. Finally, the researchers proved that a class of subluminal warp drives (Class I Warp) can be constructed based on the physical principles known to humanity today. One day you may hear about scientists building a micro-warp drive in which a cluster of “stitched atoms” propel primarily “by falling into themselves.” Similar to peddling downhill, gravitational free fall is a very efficient way to travel.

Physical Warp Drives

Physical Warp Drives

Video Breakdowns of this paper