Star Trek-style Warp speed space travel between galaxies is theoretically possible says Australian astrophysicist
Astrophysicist Professor Geraint Lewis believes that according to Einstein’s theory of relativity super-fast warp speed travel is possible however right now we lack the materials essential to build the drive.
An Australian astrophysicist recently gave a presentation in Sydney, Australia where he claimed that “Star Trek-style warp speed space travel” which would allow high speed travel between galaxies is “theoretically possible”.
Professor Geraint Lewis, from the University of Sydney, believes that the concept of possibility of ‘warp speed space travel’ is actually a part of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. But right now we need to find the appropriate materials required to build such a warp drive.
In an interview given to ‘ABC News‘, prior to his presentation, Lewis said: “If you look at the equation that Einstein gave us, it shows you can bend and warp space so you can travel at any speed you like in the Universe.”
“It’s theoretically possible, but can we ever build a warp drive? We have hints that the kind of materials that we would need exist in the universe, but whether or not we could get them together and build a warp drive, we still don’t know,” he added.
In all, it is clear that such a high speed warp drive is possible. However, Lewis believes that up-gradation of rockets is not the answer here, instead scientists will have to search for an appropriate material that would have a “negative density energy” to build this drive.
Lewis says: “It is not a material that we actually have in our hands, but there are signs that there are aspects of the universe that actually have this kind of property.”
He further added: “Empty space itself has negative energy density. The big question is if we could mine it and shape it, we would basically have a warp drive there and then, but we just don’t know if that’s possible.”
At present, Dr Harold ‘Sonny’ White, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Eagleworks lab is focused on developing a ‘faster-than-light space ship’.
Last year, in collaboration with Mark Rademaker, an artist, White unveiled the designs of his anticipated warp drive spacecraft.
The enclosed image shows a spaceship that is suspended within two giant rings, which theoretically create the warp bubble that would bend the space around the spacecraft and help the spacecraft to move at the speed of light.
The claim made by Lewis is based on the more or less same principle, wherein the spaceship itself will not travel faster than the speed of light instead it would be built by such a material which will help to warp space thus making the destination closer and at the same time abiding the rules of Einstein’s laws.
For now scientists are constantly working on finding ways to bend the space. White’s team has also set up an interferometer test bed which will help them to generate the required warp bubble. The trial and error is still going on and scientists are persistently working to find a way to space.
Lewis agreed that right now this concept is purely theoretical and seems to be impossible; but he also recalled that there were “plenty of science that started off as speculative ideas and became real in the future”.
Lewis told ABC Science: “You just have to look at the work of Newton 400 years ago, and even people who work in quantum physics 100 years ago, and those things are real today and they started off as dreams essentially. Einstein’s theory is already a hundred years old, but we have only started to scratch the surface … I think in the next 100 or 1,000 years we will reveal a lot more about the Universe and maybe this hyper-fast travel will be realizable.”
It is estimated that if White’s hypothetical warp spaceship does come into existence then it could help humans to reach Alpha Centauri, our closest neighboring star system, in just a matter of “two weeks as measured by clocks here on Earth”.
Lewis says: “The big problem we have, the speed of light, while fast – 300,000 kilometres per second – the distances involved are immense, so even travelling at the speed of light, it would take four years to go to the nearest star and 2 million years to go to the nearest large galaxy.
“[These distances] would stop you colonizing the universe… so you would need some sort of way to beat that speed limit, and Einstein’s theory of relativity gives it to you,” he added.
To cut the long story short, it means that if we ever happen to find a material with negative density energy and work out a way to build the warp speed space travel then it would bring about a revolution in the world of space travels which is essential for exploring the Universe.