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A Supercomputing Revolution may make Star Trek’s Warp Drive Possible

Sep. 22, 2012 ⋅ Categories: Design & Engineering

For all you Captain Kirk and supercharged workstation fans out there, moving faster than the speed of light may become a reality. The idea is related to the theory that the fabric of space (called space-time), can be manipulated to permit objects to move faster than photons of light.

Harold White, a NASA scientist believes he has created a feasible model for a warp drive. Piggy-backing off of the original model by Alcubierre, which consisted of a football-shaped craft attached to a ring that would constantly revolve around it. The ring would be made of some kind of exotic matter that would cause space-time to warp into a bubble. This bubble theoretically allows for the spaceship’s engine to compress the space ahead of it and expand the space behind it. The ship would essentially move to another place without actually moving, pushing the space behind it. The problem with the old theory is that the mass-energy of Jupiter would be the amount needed to create the bubble.

White has transformed the original theory by suggesting the ring be more of a donut shape than flat. He has additionally suggested that “the intensity of the space warps can be oscillated over time,” which would reduce the required energy for the craft. White and his team have been doing “tabletop experiments” using a “laser interferometer,” essentially making mini-space-time warps.
If technology runs with this theory, Earthlings could potentially visit other stars on a craft about the size of the Voyager from 1977 and travel at 10 times the speed of light.  Can you imagine the speed of the high performance server on that craft?

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