Alcubierre drive – what is it?

Warp driveWarp drive

Silly name aside, this theoretical drive could allow us to travel faster than light!

Alcuwhat drive?

If you follow Start Trek, this concept might sound familiar. This theoretical drive would basically form a bubble around the spaceship. A warp bubble (sounds familiar?). This method involves stretching space and time. Basically, you would contract the space in front of you, and stretch the space behind you. Got that? Good.

To put it even more simple, you would not move, but the space around you would move. Kinda. Since the ship is not moving within this bubble, but is being carried along as the region itself moves, conventional relativistic effects such as time dilation would not apply. Hence, the rules of space-time and the laws of relativity would not be violated in the conventional sense. One of the reasons for this is because this method would not rely on moving faster than light in the local sense, since a light beam within this bubble would still always move faster than the ship. It is only “faster than light” in the sense that the ship could reach its destination faster than a beam of light that was traveling outside the warp bubble.


So where can I get one of those drive things?

See, even tho we have the theory worked out, it is still unknown how to actually do it. And even if we somehow created the warp bubble, we don’t know how to “pop it” – we don’t know how to stop! So, as of right now, it is just a theory.
Want the formula?

Mathematically, it can be represented by the following equation: ds2= – (a2 – BiBi) dt2 + 2Bi dxi dt + gijdxi dxj, where a is the lapse function that gives the interval of proper time between nearby hypersurfaces, Bi is the shift vector that relates the spatial coordinate systems on different hypersurfaces and gij is a positive definite metric on each of the hypersurfaces.

See? Easy.

Some scientists did give this a shot, in labs. Aaaand it ended there. If you want, you can read more here.

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