Alcubierre drive
Posted: Posted December 5th, 2019 by chiarizio
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Who here among us has put any thought, study, research, simulation, or such work, into using Mexican physicist’s Alcubierre’s ideas into an “apparently superliminal” spacecraft-drive that would allow a spacecraft to cover a given distance in less time than one would expect given the ordinary speed-of-light in an ordinary vacuum, without ever traveling faster than the local speed-of-light in its own neighborhood?

The idea is that mathematically consistent locally-distorted space could have such a metric that something could cross it in less total time than a ray of light could cross an equivalent volume of ordinary vacuum. And that a spacecraft could carry an engine that would cause such a distortion in a volume of space surrounding the ship.

Needless to so no-one has proven that could be done in real life.
1. As of my latest reading no-one has proven that it’s mathematically ruled impossible given the General and Special Theories of Relativity
2. Alcubierre has suggested that “Casimir vacuum” could be such a distortion of space.

So it’s less speculative than magic; although it’s pretty darn speculative! Or at least I think Alcubierre inter alia says so.

There are 9 Replies

All you really need is some kind of setup that generates black holes -- those can warp spacetime even at less-than-stellar masses -- in fact the smallest possible mass is around that of a flea egg (21mcg). The tricky part is actually creating the black hole.

Posted December 6th, 2019 by Xhin
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Alcubierre pointed that out too. I reckon I’d be interested in any way to get an FTL drive. But in this thread I’m particularly interested in “virtual FTL” that manages to never violate the LOCAL speed limit; Alcubierre drive or other. I’m not sure the black-hole thing counts? (I’m not sure it necessarily doesn’t count, either.)

Alcubierre also discussed traversible wormholes. He wasn’t close-minded on how to get from point A to point B in less time than an ordinary photon traveling through an ordinary vacuum.
It’s just that one of the notions he talked/wrote about was named after him.
There do indeed appear to be possibly-realistic states of space in which the “apparent” or “virtual” speed-of-light exceeds (or appears to virtually exceed) 300,000 kilometers per second. Alcubierre’s drive would create such a state ahead of a craft, and do the reverse behind the craft, so that it would never exceed the local speed-of-light in its own neighborhood.

I know that in RL even if it were theoretically possible it might remain forever impractical.


Anyhow; thanks for the info about mini black holes!

Posted December 6th, 2019 by chiarizio
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I don’t think this is back in Math Sci Tech yet!
Or Worldbuilding either!
Am I wrong?

Posted January 20th by chiarizio
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This is like an airplane’s airspeed vs its groundspeed.
This morning I heard about a commercial passenger airliner making the New York to London flight in less than five hours.
Its airspeed was always subsonic —— about 550 mph IIANM.
But its groundspeed sometimes exceeded 800 mph, supersonic even at sea-level air pressures.

Posted February 10th by chiarizio
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It has occurred to me that the airliner which flew from New York to London in under five hours, flying at a subsonic airspeed all the way, but averaging a “supersonic” groundspeed, was not generating its own tailwind.
Instead it was taking advantage of a seasonal phenomenon which is partly predictable (in the broader facts) but partly unpredictable (in the details).

Perhaps the Alcubierre “drive”, also, would depend on nearly-periodic ‘storms” or “streams” in the nature of space, so that there would be non-permanent but recurring routes from one place to another, that a starship could traverse at speeds slower than the local speed of light, but at apparently or virtually superluminal velocity?

Posted February 15th by chiarizio
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Superluminal. That would make a good title for a game or movie.

Do you write any sci fi, Chiarzio? I think you'd be good at it.

Posted February 15th by I killed Mufasa
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Superluminal. That would make a good title for a game or movie.

It’s already the title of a novel by Charles Stross.

Do you write any sci fi, Chiarzio? I think you'd be good at it.

Thanks! I wish that were true.
(If I were good at writing fiction, I would probably be good at SF.)

(The best compliment I’ve had before was “Can I have some of whatever you’ve been smoking?”)

Edited February 15th by chiarizio
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Yeah the fiction side could be difficult, but you could error on the side of realistic if you know quite a bit about science and engineering. Or get someone else to help with dialog or plots. For me it's actually the opposite. I'm pretty good at the fiction side of science fiction but my knowledge of math and engineering is pretty bad so a lot of what I write is bullshit that sounds fancy but used as a plot device and kept intentionally vague to hide the fact that I'm not an engineer or doctor. I wish I had your know how about air pressures and velocity and all that good stuff. I found your content about population control and balance fascinating too. Great for writing about space colonies of humans and near-human aliens.

Edited February 15th by I killed Mufasa
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I keep seeing this and telling myself “I have more to say in reply to IKM’s replies here; but I have to get cleaned up and dressed and go somewhere: so I’ll do it later.”.
This is another one of those times; but I’m telling myself not to let it slip another week, or I might forget.

Posted February 23rd by chiarizio
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