Alcubierre Drive Makes the News Again

Discussion in 'Techforge' started by Tuckerfan, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Still nothing to confirm that it'll work, or disprove it, however.
    There's links to his paper in the article at the link.
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  2. Lanzman

    Lanzman Vast, Cool and Unsympathetic Formerly Important

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  3. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    It's interesting.

    My sense is that Alcubierre's idea is not precluded by physics (though aspects of it may be unreal), but that the hurdles to a practical technology are enormously high.

    We know space is malleable, but the natural drivers of this--gravity and dark energy--are beyond our control and/or only theoretical. Exotic matter may not even exist. And the energy requirements are extremely daunting (e.g., a power source that can continuously provide the equivalent energy of tens of thousands of exploding H-bombs).

    I hope someone will find a cool shortcut to making it a reality. I'm highly dubious it will happen at all, and pretty certain not in any of our lifetimes.
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  4. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    See, this why I'm certain that no government has proof of aliens visiting Earth. If they did, then Alcubierre Drive would be taken a lot more seriously and get a lot more funding, since that appears to be the best way we've got for interstellar travel. However, it's not gotten a lot of research or study. That seems more consistent with the government not knowing for certain that aliens exist.
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  5. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Alcubierre's idea is good, but the Lipschitz drive is far more feasible.

    Never heard of the Lipschitz drive?

    You're goddamn right you haven't.

    And if you want to stay out of a federal institution, you'll forget you ever heard the name.






    :diacanu:
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  6. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    :bump:

    Hmm. Maybe it's not so crazy after all.
  7. Diacanu

    Diacanu Comicmike. Writer

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    Does it still require unobtanium?
    Then it's dead in the water.
    :shrug:
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  8. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Nah, just the mass of Jupiter.
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  9. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    That bit about "exotic matter?"

    Yeah, that's not actually known to even exist. You can plug terms into the Einstein field equations that don't necessarily correspond to anything real. Your result is mathematically valid, bit not realizable.

    Maybe there will be some unexpected breakthrough. Einstein famously declared in the early 1930s that atomic bombs would never be possible. Making a working bomb, he said, would require splitting the atom "at will," an impossible task at that time. Then a couple years later someone discovered the neutron, which opened the possibility of creating a chain reaction and, therefore, a bomb.

    Maybe some breakthrough will make warp drive a trillion times easier, but, barring that, it's not going to happen.
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  10. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    And it was the letter that Einstein wrote to FDR about the atomic bomb which led to the Manhattan Project, at least, according to a number of historians.

    But that's the thing about science, you never know where a discovery will lead you. And say, for the sake of argument, that it would take the mass of Jupiter to send something like the USS Enterprise to another solar system. Totes not practical for us. But what's it take to send a Voyager-type probe to another solar system? The mass of the Enterpoop is said to be 3.2 million metric tons. The mass of Voyager is less than 800 kg. Given that Jupiter is 2.5 times that of all the other planets in the system combined, there's a good chance that we might one day be able to find a way to send a probe to another solar system in less than 4 years. Are you going to say that this isn't something worth trying?
  11. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    That was almost 10 years later, when the possibility of a nuclear chain reaction emerged.
    Not at all. But it's silly to talk about it as if it's just a little development away.

    I expect our first interstellar probes--and we will one day send them out--will be quite tiny and, lacking any kind of FTL propulsion, will take decades to reach nearby star systems.
  12. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Right, because people kept poking at the idea, rather than just saying, "Well, smart guy says it can't happen, so that's all there is to it."
    Possibly. But we won't know until that happens. It's also possible that we'll crack the issue of FTL before those probes ever reach their destination. Again, we won't know until it happens.
  13. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    Inching closer.
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  14. Bailey

    Bailey It's always Christmas Eve Super Moderator

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    I'm glad people are looking at this stuff to improve our understanding of the universe and just on the off chance that there are some low hanging fruit waiting to be uncovered, but if anything like this is even theoretically possible I suspect it will be thousands of years before we reach the engineering prowess to make it happen.
  15. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    We also can forget how quickly things can change with a few minor discoveries. Twenty years ago a scientist suggested a novel way of producing vaccines. Nobody believed her. She kept at it and it was her work that led to the creation of the COVID-19 vaccines. The development of both the carburetor and fuel injection can both be traced to efforts to prevent malaria. So maybe this research doesn't get us warp drive, but it might get us some very cool stuff nonetheless.
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  16. tafkats

    tafkats That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo! Moderator

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    Do you have someplace I can read about the carburetor thing? It sounds interesting but Google is failing me.
  17. Tuckerfan

    Tuckerfan BMF Staff Member Moderator

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    James Burke’s book (and TV series) Connections.
  18. Bailey

    Bailey It's always Christmas Eve Super Moderator

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    Oh, definitely, learning more about how the universe works can help in utterly unpredictable ways. It just seems like this is going to be one of those problems which ends up being a "Well when/if we're a Type 2 civilisation with the associated energy availability, then maybe..." thing.
  19. Order2Chaos

    Order2Chaos Ultimate... Immortal Administrator

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    The article kinda misses this, but the variant they’re proposing that doesn’t use negative mass is only capable of subluminal speeds. They do reduce the amount of negative mass for a superluminal warp drive by 2 orders of magnitude though, which is cool.