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Beam Me Up, Scotty! ‘Warp Drive’ Is Coming

Model of Warp Drive Traveling Through Space

Scientists are cautiously optimistic that a warp drive, like the ones made so famous in ‘Star Trek’ is more likely than they once thought.

For non science-geeks, a warp drive could manipulate space-time itself to move a starship. A concept for a warp drive was developed in 1994 by a Mexican physicist named Miguel Alcubierre, who originally thought that the device could surround a football-shaped starship in a flat ring, so that it could move 10 times the speed of light. The only problem with that idea is that it would require a minimum amount of energy the size of Jupiter.

However, now physicists are saying that if they adjust the calculations to make the warp drive run on less energy, it may be possible to translate this science-fiction idea into real life. Harrold “Sonny” White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center mentioned that he was hopeful about creating a feasible warp drive as he spoke at the 100 Year Starship Symposium on Friday, September 14th. The idea is that instead of using a flat ring, the starship would be surrounded by a rounded doughnut and could be powered by a device the size of the Voyager 1 space probe. Further decreases to energy use would come in the form of oscillating the intensity of the space-time warps in the device.

White has already set up a mini-warp drive in his laboratory and has begun experimenting with it. It’s a baby step, but who knows? Perhaps it will be the first step towards boldly going where no man has gone before.

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