Physicists give you a chance to boost faster-than-light space travel

<スパンクラス="キャプション">Faster-than-light is the only way humans can reach other stars in a reasonable amount of time.  </ span> <span class ="帰属"> <クラス="リンクrapid-noclick-resp" href ="" rel ="nofollow noopener" target ="_ブランク" data-ylk ="slk:Les Bossinas / NASA / Wikimedia Commons">  Les Bossinas / NASA / Wikimedia Commons </a> </ span>“src =”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTUwNi43MTg3NQ–/ aG8ztty2TVX0Hush4fZb9g-~ B / aD0xMDM1O3c9MTQ0MDthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg- / .OPA– / YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTUwNi43MTg3NQ– / https: //–~B/aD0xMDM1O3c9g / 070372a6974c56e74272b666d830568c “/></div>
<p>The star closest to Earth is Proxima Centauri. It is about 4.25 light-years, or about 25 trillion miles (40 trillion km) away.The fastest spacecraft in history, now space <a href=Parker Solar Probe The maximum speed reaches 450,000 mph. It takes only 20 seconds to travel from Los Angeles to New York City at that speed, but Solar Probe takes about 6,633 years to reach the nearest solar system closest to Earth.

If humans want to move easily between stars, people need to move faster than light. But so far, faster-than-light navigation is only possible in science fiction.

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation seriesHumans can use Jump Drive to move from planet to planet, from star to star, or across space. As a kid, I read as many of those stories as I could get. I’m currently a theoretical physicist studying nanotechnology, but I’m still fascinated by how the humanities one day travels in space.

Some characters, such as the astronauts in the movies “Interstellar” and “Thor”, Wormhole moving between solar systems straight away. Another approach familiar to Star Trek fans is warp drive technology. Warp drive is theoretically possible if the technology is still widespread.Two recent papers Made a headline In March Researcher insisted To Overcame One of the many challenges between warp drive theory and reality.

But how do these theoretical warp drives actually work? And will humans quickly jump to warp speed?

A circle on a flat blue plane with the surface down to the front and up to the back.

A circle on a flat blue plane with the surface down to the front and up to the back.

Compression and expansion

The current understanding of space-time by physicists is that of Albert Einstein. Theory of general relativity.. The general theory of relativity states that space and time are fused and that nothing can move faster than the speed of light. General relativity also explains how mass and energy distort space-time – heavy objects such as stars and black holes bend the space-time around them. This curvature is what you feel as gravity, which is why many spaceflight heroes worry about “getting caught” or “falling” in gravity.Early science fiction writer John Campbell And Asimov saw this warp as a way to avoid the speed limit.

What if the spacecraft could compress the space in front of it while expanding the space-time behind it? “Star Trek” took this idea and named it Warp Drive.

In 1994, Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Arcbiere showed that he compresses space-time in front of the spacecraft and expands it behind it. Mathematically possible within the laws of general relativity.. So what does that mean? Imagine the distance between two points is 10 meters (33 feet). If you are standing at point A and can move 1 meter per second, it will take 10 seconds to reach point B. However, suppose you can somehow compress the space between point B so that the distance is 1 meter. .. Then, if you move in space-time at a maximum speed of 1 meter per second, you can reach point B in about 1 second. Theoretically, this approach is consistent with the theory of relativity. Because you are not moving faster than light in the space around you. Alcubierre has shown that warp drive from “Star Trek” is actually theoretically possible.

Proxima Centauri You’re here, right? Unfortunately, there was one problem with Alcubierre’s method of compressing space-time. It requires negative energy or negative mass.

2 & # x002013; dimensional diagram showing how matter distorts space-time

A two-dimensional diagram showing how matter distorts space-time

Negative energy problem

Alcubierre’s warp drive works by creating flat space-time bubbles around the spacecraft and curving the space-time around the bubbles to reduce distance. Warp drives require either a negative mass (theoretical type of matter) or a ring of negative energy density. Physicists have never observed negative mass, so they leave negative energy as their only option.

To generate negative energy, warp drives use large amounts of mass to create an imbalance between particles and antiparticles. For example, the appearance of electrons and anti-electrons near a warp drive causes one of the particles to be trapped in mass, creating an imbalance. This imbalance creates a negative energy density. Alcubierre’s warp drive uses this negative energy to create a space-time bubble.

However, many problems are required for the warp drive to generate enough negative energy.Alcubierre is a warp drive with 100 meters of foam Needs visible mass of the entire universe..

In 1999, physicist Chris Van Den Broeck found that by expanding the volume inside the bubble while keeping the surface area constant. Significantly reduced energy requirements, Just to the mass of the sun. It’s a huge improvement, but it’s still far beyond all practical possibilities.

The future of science fiction?

Two recent treatises – one Alexey Bobrick and Gianni Martire And another Eric Lenz – Provides a solution that makes warp drives look closer to reality.

Bobrick and Martire have found that changing the space-time within a bubble in a particular way can eliminate the need to use negative energy. However, this solution does not generate a warp drive that can move faster than light.

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Independently, Lenz also proposed a solution that does not require negative energy. He used a different geometric approach to solve the equations of general relativity, and by doing so he found that the warp drive did not need to use negative energy. Lenz’s solution allows bubbles to move faster than the speed of light.

It is essential to point out that these exciting developments are mathematical models. As a physicist, I don’t completely trust the model until experimental evidence is available. Still, the science of warp drive is emerging. As a fan of science fiction, I welcome all this innovative thinking.In Captain Picard’s words, Things are impossible otherwise.

This article will be republished from conversation, A non-profit news site aimed at sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Mario Bornda, Oklahoma State University..

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Mario Borunda does not work, consult, own shares, or receive funding for any company or organization that would benefit from this article.