Given new theoretical advances and a NASA testing ability that will soon include the warping of space-time, the Warp Drive is getting its proper consideration. What sort of speed limits would it have? When the cosmos was first born, after the big bang, there was an expansion, a cosmological inflation that saw speeds 30 million billion times the speed of light. (and no, that is not a typo!)
Above is an image of the bubble that is formed showing the spatial compression in advance of the bubble and the expansion behind. This drive calls for the manipulation of something that ‘we’ don’t fully comprehend – gravitational effects. The spacetime that occurs within the bubble is flat: it allows for the continuation of floating along in zero g’s. However the wave pushing the bubble is traveling at more than ten times the speed of light. If perhaps there are Galactic speed limits we are not aware of, no problem. This form of travel could be used for SLT or slower than light travel as well.
Is this simplified? Yes. Are there potential problems? Yes. Quantum mechanics speaks of the needed negative energy needed to start a warp bubble, but as yet we do not know how to make it. Let’s say we figure it out, the amount of negative energy we are talking about is more than the mass of the Universe. Model refinements are able to lower that amount to several hundred kilograms and while we still don’t know how to make it, it sounds more likely now.
But are we looking anywhere else? Sure. Again it is something we know very little (nothing) about, but dark energy does exist. Of that much we are sure. It is actually possible that dark energy may be easier. With ¾’s of the Universe appearing to be dark energy it is more likely we could harness its energy and simply ‘catch a wave.’
There is yet another consideration, the interstellar magnetic field. Above is a schematic of the Warp Bubble Symmetry problem. Keep in mind that there are so many other problems but it is likely that the answers will show themselves after we solve the first few problems. Consider how we get the bubble to turn left or right. Forget that, how do we turn the bubble on and off as needed. Can we control what exists outside the bubble (it exists at light speed and beyond) from inside the bubble. And what happens if the bubble hits a planet or an asteroid or perhaps another spaceship? Oh, and one more thing, when we get as far as the first ship to try it, when it takes off at 10 billion light years a second and ten minutes later breaks down, how do we form a rescue mission?
NASA does have the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer (WFI) which can detect the warping of space, at least in the experimental conditions thus far. Conditions to date have called for it to catch various changes in the path lengths (called nanometers) in a small experimental volume. Below is a positive signature of spacewarping in the WFI
The next testing would be first to see if the warping witnessed is due to an electrical field generated. If that is the case, an optical signal will result. Plotting the resultant signal should explain the position within the charged ring
Here’s where I give you my thoughts. I believe that this is close to what they will find, that they are on the right track, but I also believe that their faults lie in what they believe to be true. EXAMPLE: One thing they have expressed concern over is Hawking radiation; that perhaps the spacecraft would ultimately be incinerated by it. The fact that we are worrying about something that as yet we do not know exists (& I do not believe it does) with no observational proof of it only indirect ‘evidence’ concerning Unruh radiation. (Unruh radiation is somewhat like Hawking radiation and relates to quantum gravity-however its discovery is just as theoretical as the Hawking.) Quantum holds the answers. I don’t know if the answers will be found there because those looking on a quantum level tend not to have such preconceived notions or if it is due to something else