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New study aims to remove warp drives from the realm of science fiction

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 16 mar 2021 12:32 por Plataforma Sites Dgac
Fans of science fiction books, movies and TV series are probably familiar with the concept of warp drives, which are the ones used by the starships in Star Trek and other franchises to travel through space. 
An schematic of the warp drive introduced by scientists Alexey Bobrick and Gianni Martire in a paper.

Alexey Bobrick.

Gianni Martire.
However, a new theoretical study by two astrophysicists aims to take this concept out of the realm of science fiction and turn it into a reality, which would allow the crossing of enormous distances to be able to explore the cosmos. 

In a paper presented in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity by scientists Alexey Bobrick and Gianni Martire announced that they built the first model for physical warp drives. 

Bobrick and Martire are members of Applied Physics, an independent group of scientists, engineers and inventors who advise businesses and governments on science and technology for both commercial and humanitarian applications.

The scientists’ model is based on the previous work of respected Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre Moya, who developed a mathematical model that he presented in 1994 that would allow to travel faster than light without violating general relativity, which maintains that nothing can overcome the speed of light. 

“Many people in the field of science are aware of the Alcubierre Drive and believe that warp drives are unphysical because of the need for negative energy,” told to The Business Wire scientist Alexey Bobrick, an astrophysicist at the University of Lund, Sweden.

“This, however, is no longer correct; we went in a different direction than NASA and others, and our research has shown there are actually several other classes of warp drives in general relativity. In particular, we have formulated new classes of warp drive solutions that do not require negative energy and, thus, become physical,” he said.

Spacetime manipulation

Negative energy is a concept used in physics to explain the nature of certain fields, such as the gravitational field and various effects of quantum fields, and, according to speculative theories, it could be used to travel through time to the past, to create artificial wormholes and in warp drives to travel through space faster than light. 

Alcubierre’s model contemplates a vehicle that would require an enormous amount of negative energy, which would not be possible for a spaceship in reality. But the novelty of the model proposed by Bobrick and Martire is that an enormous gravitational force could be used to manipulate spacetime.

According to the Phys.org website, “the trick is finding a way to compress a planet-sized mass to a manageable spacecraft-module size in order to use its gravity. Because of the implied difficulties involved, a warp drive created from the model developed by the researchers could not be built today, but it does suggests that someday it might be possible.” 

“We present the first general model for subluminal positive-energy, spherically symmetric warp drives; offer superluminal warp-drive solutions that satisfy quantum inequalities; provide optimizations for the Alcubierre metric that decrease the negative energy requirements by two orders of magnitude, and introduce a warp drive spacetime in which space capacity and the rate of time can be chosen in a controlled manner,” the authors wrote on the Applied Physics website.

Although at the moment everything is at a theoretical and highly abstract level, it is possible that from this model new ideas and technologies will be developed that will allow us, one day, to reach the stars.

“While we still can’t break the speed of light, we don’t need to in order to become an interstellar species,” said Gianni Martire, coauthor of the potentially revolutionary study, which has aroused great interest in the scientific community and was supported by Miguel Alcubierre himself. 

The paper by Alexey Bobrick and Gianni Martire can be read and downloaded at: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2102.06824.pdf

Sources: The Business Wire, Phys.org and Applied Physics.