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Old 14-06-2009, 04:19 AM   #1
eaglewingone
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Default Warp Drive Engine Could Suck Earth Into Black Hole




Star Trek" makes faster-than-light travel look easy, but according to new calculations by Italian physicists, a warp drive could easily create a black hole that would incinerate any passengers on a space craft and then suck Earth into a black hole.

"Warp drives are so far the best case scenario to attain faster-than-light travel," said Stefano Finazzi of Italy's International School for Advanced Studies. This paper "makes it much harder to realize, if not almost impossible, warp drives."

In normal physics, nothing can move faster than the speed of light. Einstein's theory of relativity forbids it. In normal space any object approaching the speed of light will increase in mass exponentially, and require an exponential increase in the amount of power needed to propel it forward.

There are two exceptions to this rule however. The first is what's commonly called a worm hole, a bridge connecting two different parts of space. A ship crossing this bridge would move at below light speed, but still arrive before a beam of light that would have had to go the long way around.

Warp drives are the second and more appealing option. A ship can't move through space faster than the speed of light. But with enough energy, space itself can move faster than the speed of light.

Known for the Mexican physicist Michael Alcubierre who originally developed the idea in the 1990's, an Alcubierre warp drive would create a bubble of energy behind the ship and a lack of energy in front of the ship, like a giant cosmic wave a space ship could surf. That particular section of space can travel faster than the speed of light in the surrounding space, and anything on or in that bubble will accelerate with it.

Finazzi and his colleagues propose creating this bubble of space-time by using a massive amount of "exotic matter," or dark energy. (Exactly how this bubble would be created is still a mystery.) According to their calculations and simplified, it would take a huge amount of energy to create the bubble, and then increasing amounts of energy to contain the highly repulsive dark energy.

Eventually the energy would run out. The bubble would rupture, with catastrophic effects. Inside the bubble the temperature would rise to about 10^32 degrees Kelvin, destroying almost anything on the bubble.

Anyone watching the ship nearby wouldn't be much better off.

"We know that the warp drive will be destabilized," said Finazzi. "But we do not know if it will in the end explode or collapse to a black hole."

Other physicists agree with the Italians' calculations, up to a point.

"It's a good paper; their results are sound," said Gerald Cleaver, a professor of physics at Baylor University who reviewed the work. The results make sense, at least, when creating warp drive using exotic matter in a universe where 1 plus 1 equals 2.

In a universe where 1 plus 1 equals 3, a possibility with string theory instead of the semi classical physics used by the Italians, a stable warp drive is viable.

Last year Cleaver and co-author Richard Obousy detailed a string theory-based warp drive that creates a bubble of space time by expanding one of the tiny, rolled-up dimensions (instead of a bubble of dark energy) predicted by string theory.

The biggest sticking point to a extra dimension-based warp drive? The entire mass of Jupiter would have to be converted into pure energy to power it.

The real question is not whether a warp drive, which by Cleaver's estimate is hundreds of years away, will be stable or not. It's about the fundamentals of the universe; do we live in a universe where 1 plus 1 equals 2 or 3? Until scientists can answer that question, there will be significant limitations on scientific models of the universe.

"These papers suggest limitations to what we can and can't do," said Cleaver. "We as scientists enjoy these papers because then we can look for ways to get around those limitations."

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/0...ine-print.html

Last edited by eaglewingone; 14-06-2009 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 14-06-2009, 06:55 AM   #2
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I love the way space which is empty... though no "space is really empty" can be made to travel faster than the "space" around it. No wonder the very first intergalactic space liner ever made, started its engines and winked out of existence. Douglas Adams wasn't stupid.
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Old 14-06-2009, 06:56 AM   #3
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I love the way space which is empty... though no "space is really empty" can be made to travel faster than the "space" around it. No wonder the very first intergalactic space liner ever made, started its engines and winked out of existence. Douglas Adams wasn't stupid.
Douglas Adams was a genius. I remember seeing the original BBC "Hitchhikers Guide" when I was a kid and seeing it again on videotape. I had a little portable TV that managed to pick up the signal from a faraway PBS station that was showing it. Anybody who is a Pink Floyd and Procol Harum fan is a fan of mine.

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Old 14-06-2009, 03:01 PM   #4
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I love scientists.
One day a "theory" which is sort of accepted as factual almost.
Then another scientist has another "theory" which rubbishes the first one and on it goes...

In the end theory = guesswork which proves nothing.
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Old 14-06-2009, 04:59 PM   #5
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It's not as bad as that. Theories are just that until hard evidence backs them up. Even then there is always wiggle room - few (if any) theories are ever proved absolutely. They simply fit the facts available and are adopted until a better theory comes along.

Newton's laws of motion were good enough at the time they were proposed and are still good enough for most of us today. However Einstein came along and reworked them, explaining the plainly apparent motion of everyday objects but extending it to cover exotic circumstances that were rarely seen or could only be predicted at the time.

In the case of warp drive, the energies and sophisticated technology needed to even test the theories presumably are still beyond our grasp. Hence the lack of hard evidence and the plethora of competing theories.

One does wonder if there is some self-limiting threshold of knowledge, which one day, we will face. Do we light the touchpaper on a warp-drive prototype or step back from the potential consequences. The Large Hadron Collider and similar high-energy technology has already stirred some public concern.

Even if they don't suck the Earth into oblivion, perhaps something like these warp drives will. Marie Curie accidentally developing radiation sickness while researching polonium and radium is one thing - pressing the reset button on our local space-time in the pursuit of the Enterprise would be a bit of a bummer!

Phil.
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Old 14-06-2009, 09:35 PM   #6
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It's not as bad as that. Theories are just that until hard evidence backs them up. Even then there is always wiggle room - few (if any) theories are ever proved absolutely. They simply fit the facts available and are adopted until a better theory comes along.

Newton's laws of motion were good enough at the time they were proposed and are still good enough for most of us today. However Einstein came along and reworked them, explaining the plainly apparent motion of everyday objects but extending it to cover exotic circumstances that were rarely seen or could only be predicted at the time.

In the case of warp drive, the energies and sophisticated technology needed to even test the theories presumably are still beyond our grasp. Hence the lack of hard evidence and the plethora of competing theories.

One does wonder if there is some self-limiting threshold of knowledge, which one day, we will face. Do we light the touchpaper on a warp-drive prototype or step back from the potential consequences. The Large Hadron Collider and similar high-energy technology has already stirred some public concern.

Even if they don't suck the Earth into oblivion, perhaps something like these warp drives will. Marie Curie accidentally developing radiation sickness while researching polonium and radium is one thing - pressing the reset button on our local space-time in the pursuit of the Enterprise would be a bit of a bummer!

Phil.
I agree
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Old 14-06-2009, 09:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Doomsday View Post
I love scientists.
One day a "theory" which is sort of accepted as factual almost.
Then another scientist has another "theory" which rubbishes the first one and on it goes...

In the end theory = guesswork which proves nothing.
I agree
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Old 14-06-2009, 10:13 PM   #8
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Anyone here read the Halo books? (sooo much better than the game, and yes they do count as literature!) The don't use black holes or the 'warp'. They use slipspace, the dynamics are similar but far more interesting. The Shaw-Fujikawa Translight/Slipspace drive will tear a hole in the fabric of real space for the ship to pass from the 'here' of space through into the 'not here' of slipspace.
Imagine the universe as a flat piece of paper, then screw it into a ball. The ball is slipspace, this allows a ship to cut corners and saves months and years on travelling. A voyage of two months can be cut to days.
Slipspace has Perils though, slipspace storms may occur and somehow odd meteorites may end up in there. And when you leave slipspace you haveto be careful that you do not enter normal space/time inside a planet or another ship etc.
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Old 14-06-2009, 11:25 PM   #9
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Anyone here read the Halo books? (sooo much better than the game, and yes they do count as literature!) The don't use black holes or the 'warp'. They use slipspace, the dynamics are similar but far more interesting. The Shaw-Fujikawa Translight/Slipspace drive will tear a hole in the fabric of real space for the ship to pass from the 'here' of space through into the 'not here' of slipspace.
Imagine the universe as a flat piece of paper, then screw it into a ball. The ball is slipspace, this allows a ship to cut corners and saves months and years on travelling. A voyage of two months can be cut to days.
Slipspace has Perils though, slipspace storms may occur and somehow odd meteorites may end up in there. And when you leave slipspace you haveto be careful that you do not enter normal space/time inside a planet or another ship etc.
You have been playing a lot of Halo. I have forgotten this.

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Old 14-06-2009, 11:26 PM   #10
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Yeah and look what happened to the Event Horizon.
To hell and back.

It's a warning, I tells ye!
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Old 15-06-2009, 01:42 AM   #11
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Yeah and look what happened to the Event Horizon.
To hell and back.

It's a warning, I tells ye!
Yes and I agree.I thought about this it regards to this movie. "Hell" can be considered as another dimension,plane or realm.Maybe there is a dimensional plane that is complete evil and chaos. That is why dimensional travel can be dangerous.

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Old 15-06-2009, 04:54 AM   #12
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You have been playing a lot of Halo. I have forgotten this.
But winking from in and out space is not out of the realm of possibility.Maybe some advanced civilization has developed the process. Maybe that using some Zero Point energy might do the trick. There must be some sort of guidance system behind of this. Because you might end up in some far corner of the universe.

Last edited by eaglewingone; 15-06-2009 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 15-06-2009, 08:09 AM   #13
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Yes, if the ship enters slipspace without a form of AI you are a tad lost. Two forms of AI; 'dumb AI'-does only one thing, like a dvd player. Or a 'smart AI' which lots of different things etc. You need an AI with a navigation programme or a very good navigator on the brdge who can tinker with the ships navigation matrix (lots of maths...fun).
I haven't actually played halo for a few months now, but i've been reading the boos in downtime. If you treat the books as non-halo they are quite similar to other novels lik the Mote In Gods Eye/Future History series.

Adding a slight change of topic, as an interesting bolt-on to the thread, if you had a ship what sort would it be and what would you name it?
Example: I would have a Carrier class vessel named Phobos.
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Old 15-06-2009, 08:25 AM   #14
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Yes, if the ship enters slipspace without a form of AI you are a tad lost. Two forms of AI; 'dumb AI'-does only one thing, like a dvd player. Or a 'smart AI' which lots of different things etc. You need an AI with a navigation programme or a very good navigator on the brdge who can tinker with the ships navigation matrix (lots of maths...fun).
I haven't actually played halo for a few months now, but i've been reading the boos in downtime. If you treat the books as non-halo they are quite similar to other novels lik the Mote In Gods Eye/Future History series.

Adding a slight change of topic, as an interesting bolt-on to the thread, if you had a ship what sort would it be and what would you name it?
Example: I would have a Carrier class vessel named Phobos.
I think this is where the HAL 9000 computer can play a role in a function of a starship and its navigation.I actually I like that name for your ship. I guess my names would be after a Greek or Roman god or an Ionian scientists from ancient Greece.The Ionians were great explorers as well great scientists. I more impartial to Icarus, Daedalus or Prometheus.

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