The basics of a warp drive, to paraphrase Alcubierre, require the manipulation of matter that has a negative energy density. This matter, referring to exotic matter as it is called, bears a resemblance to and is expected to be the same type of matter needed to maintain a stable wormhole. A wormhole, of course, is the hope for faster than light travel. In Quantum mechanics there exists an effect known as the Casimir effect that is thought to hold the answer.
All of the related calculations have an origination in certain theories that have been accepted by many as fact. It may be as simple as the understanding that there are two schools of thought regarding mathematics and its relationship to real world applications. One follows the acceptance of the use of negative numbers (not embraced in Greek tradition) and the other allows the use of imaginary numbers in calculations and their subsequent application to real concepts.
Oddly enough, as most Quantum calculations do utilize negative representation, these calculations are able to be demonstrated in the positive up to a point. After that one must take a leap of faith. To help in that leap of faith would be how much has been accomplished in the lab regarding taking these calculations from the imaginary to the real.
Currently being used is a modified Michelson-Morley interferometer that allows the measurement of microscopic perturbations in space. What is being attempted is to produce a tweaked Alcubierre drive on a smaller scale – using lasers to perturb space-time by one part in one million.
Of course another important thing to realize is that space-time is not a fact, but an idea. Newton believed that time existed independent of any outside perception or interference. Its progress was at a consistent pace; one which could only be understood mathematically. He further went on to detail that the human perception of time was only relative as a form of measurement.
On the other side are the variations that have been ‘identified’ in space (and spacetime) since Minowski and Einstein’s interpretation of it in his relativity, Lorenz, or further in Quantum explanations.
What it comes down to is as none of this is fact and relies in part on the effects realized indirectly by dark energy. As Dark Energy is for the most part a mystery, whether this endeavor or any that rely on ‘unknowns’ or ‘unsures’ works or does not work, the end result could be answers that resolve all our questions.
In closing it is certainly possible that this testing will result in the elusive Warp Drive. It is possible that our knowledge needs to expand to include what our minds cannot easily calculate. Ultimately, it appears the more we know, the less we know.