Warp drives – annihilate star systems as you arrive

The danger of not understanding your warp drive:

NASA researchers recently revisited the Alcubierre warp drive and concluded that its power requirements were not as impossible as once thought. However, a new analysis from the University of Sydney claims that using a warp drive of this design comes with a drawback. Specifically, it could cause cataclysmic explosions at your destination.

To see how the Alcubierre drive could devastate an entire star system, you have to know a little about how it would work. The ship would consist of a central pod, and a large flattened ring around it (pictured below). The ring would have to be made of an as-yet unidentified kind of dense exotic matter capable of bending space-time.

Supply the craft with enough energy, and the very fabric of the universe can be warped. NASA now believes this would require orders of magnitude less energy than Alcubierre originally thought. When activated, space behind an Alcubierre drive expands while contracting in front. The ship itself hums along in a stable pocket, or bubble in space. It turns out the bubble is the problem.

As your faster-than-light ship sails through the cosmos, it’s not alone. Although we often think of space as empty, there are loads of high-energy particles shooting through the void. The University of Sydney research [PDF] indicates that these particles are liable to get swept up in the craft’s warp field and remain trapped in the stable bubble.

Continued here …

2 Responses to “Warp drives – annihilate star systems as you arrive”

  1. Amfortas November 29, 2012 at 09:43 Permalink

    Bugger ! Still, there will always be a politician to weigh the pros and cons.

  2. Robert the Biker November 29, 2012 at 10:30 Permalink

    I don’t think this would be quite the problem they anticipate. If I’ve read all the papers about this correctly, the reduced power requirements (now about the conversion of approx. one ton of matter to energy) are achieved partly by ‘flickering’ the field on and off several thousand or million times per second. This being so, the trapping of particles would only occur for milliseconds and then they would be released again; you would get a very ‘bright’ object in some wavelengths but it would not wipe out star systems.
    Just as well we don’t have, even theoretically, any exotic matter to build one, as it would do the same to us when it returned from wherever to say ‘oops’.

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