Warp Drive’s breakthrough gets a little closer to ‘Star Trek’

A group of physicists discovered that it is possible to build a realistic model, Physical warp drive and does not violate any known rules of physics. One note: The warped ship can’t exceed the speed of light, so you won’t be getting anywhere anytime soon. But this study is still an important step forward in our understanding Gravitation.

Move without movement

Einstein’s general theory of relativity is a set of tools to solve problems related to gravity, linking mass and energy to distortions in spacetime. In turn, those spacetime distortions instruct mass and energy how to move. In most cases, physicists use relativistic equations to figure out how a particular combination of objects will move. They had a number of physics scenarios, such as a planet orbiting a star or two black holes colliding, and they asked how those objects would distort spacetime and the subsequent evolution of What will the system look like?

But it is also possible to reverse Einstein’s math by imagining some desired motion and asking what kind of spacetime distortion would make that possible. This is how Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre discovered the physics of longitudinal drive – a fundamental part of the engine. interstellar journey Franchising.

The goal of warp drive is to get from A to B during commercial breaks, which often involves faster-than-light movement. But special relativity clearly prohibits speeds faster than light. While this never bothered the writers interstellar journey, it upset Alcubierre. He discovered that it was possible to create a teleportation engine through intelligent manipulation of spacetime, arranging it so that the space in front of the ship contracted and the space behind the ship expanded. go out. Strictly speaking, this creates movement without movement.

It sounds contradictory, but it’s just one of the many wonderful aspects of general relativity. The Alcubierre’s warp drive avoids violating the speed of light limit because it never moves because space; instead, space itself is essentially manipulated to bring the spacecraft’s destination closer to it.

Although tantalizing, Alcubierre’s design had a fatal flaw. To create the necessary distortions of spacetime, the spacecraft must contain some form of exotic matter, usually considered negative mass matter. Negative mass has a number of conceptual problems that seem to defy our understanding of physics, such as the possibility that if you kick a ball with a negative weight of 5 kg, it will fly back, violates momentum conservation. Additionally, no one has ever seen any negative mass objects exist in the real universe.

These problems with negative mass have led physicists to propose various versions of “energy conditions” to complement general relativity. These are not included in relativity per se, but add-ons are needed because general relativity allows for things like negative mass that do not appear to exist in our universe – energetic conditions This quantity helps them escape the equations of relativity. They’re scientists’ response to the disturbing fact that vanilla GR allows things like superluminal motion, but the rest of the universe doesn’t seem to agree.

Vertical element no

The energy conditions are not proven by experiment or observation, but they are statements consistent with all observations of the universe, so most physicists take them quite seriously. And until recently, physicists considered those energy conditions to be absolutely 100% clear that you couldn’t create a warp drive, even if you really wanted to.

But there is a way around it, discovered by an international team of physicists led by Jared Fuchs at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. (The group is also affiliated with Applied Physics’ Applied Propulsion Laboratory, a virtual think tank that researches vertical actuators, among other things.) In a paper accepted for publication in magazine Classical and quantum gravityresearchers have delved into relativity to discover whether any version of warp drive could work.

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