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NASA’s Warp Drive Project: “Speeds” That Could Take a Spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in Two Weeks Even Though the System is 4.3 Light-Years Away

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 15:57
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NASA’s Warp Drive Project: “Speeds” that Could  Take a Spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in Two Weeks — Even Though the System is 4.3 Light-Years Away.

A few months ago, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive.

His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein’s law of relativity.
The above image of a Vulcan command ship features a warp engine similar to an Alcubierre Drive. Image courtesy CBS.
The Alcubierre Drive
The idea came to White while he was considering a rather remarkable equation formulated by physicist Miguel Alcubierre. In his 1994 paper titled, “The Warp Drive: Hyper-Fast Travel Within General Relativity,”
Alcubierre suggested a mechanism by which space-time could be “warped” both in front of and behind a spacecraft.
Michio Kaku dubbed Alcubierre’s notion a “passport to the universe.” It takes advantage of a quirk in the cosmological code that allows for the expansion and contraction of space-time, and could allow for hyper-fast travel between interstellar destinations.
 Essentially, the empty space behind a starship would be made to expand rapidly, pushing the craft in a forward direction — passengers would perceive it as movement despite the complete lack of acceleration.
White speculates that such a drive could result in “speeds” that could take a spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in a mere two weeks — even though the system is 4.3 light-years away.
In terms of the engine’s mechanics, a spheroid object would be placed between two regions of space-time (one expanding and one contracting).
A “warp bubble” would then be generated that moves space-time around the object, effectively repositioning it — the end result being faster-than-light travel without the spheroid (or spacecraft) having to move with respect to its local frame of reference.
“Remember, nothing locally exceeds the speed of light, but space can expand and contract at any speed,” 
 ”However, space-time is really stiff, so to create the expansion and contraction effect in a useful manner in order for us to reach interstellar destinations in reasonable time periods would require a lot of energy.”
“However,” said White, “based on the analysis I did the last 18 months, there may be hope.” The key, says White, may be in altering the geometry of the warp drive itself.
A new design
“My early results suggested I had discovered something that was in the math all along,” he recalled. “I suddenly realized that if you made the thickness of the negative vacuum energy ring larger — like shifting from a belt shape to a donut shape — and oscillate the warp bubble, you can greatly reduce the energy required — perhaps making the idea plausible.”
White had adjusted the shape of Alcubierre’s ring which surrounded the spheroid from something that was a flat halo to something that was thicker and curvier.
He presented the results of his Alcubierre Drive rethink a year later at the 100 Year Starship conference in Atlanta where he highlighted his new optimization approaches — a new design that could significantly reduce the amount of exotic matter required.
 And in fact, White says that the warp drive could be powered by a mass that’s even less than that of the Voyager 1 spacecraft.
“We’re utilizing a modified Michelson-Morley interferometer — that allows us to measure microscopic perturbations in space time,” he said. “In our case,
we’re attempting to make one of the legs of the interferometer appear to be a different length when we energize our test devices.” White and his colleagues are trying to simulate the tweaked Alcubierre drive in miniature by using lasers to perturb space-time by one part in 10 million.
Of course, the interferometer isn’t something that NASA would bolt onto a spaceship. Rather, it’s part of a larger scientific pursuit.
“Our initial test device is implementing a ring of large potential energy — what we observe as blue shifted relative to the lab frame — by utilizing a ring of ceramic capacitors that are charged to tens of thousands of volts,” 
 ”We will increase the fidelity of our test devices and continue to enhance the sensitivity of the warp field interferometer — eventually using devices to directly generate negative vacuum energy.”
He points out that Casimir cavities, physical forces that arise from a quantized field, may represent a viable approach.
And it’s through these experiments, hopes White, that NASA can go from the theoretical to the practical.
“This loophole in general relativity would allow us to go places really fast as measured by both Earth observers, and observers on the ship — trips measured in weeks or months as opposed to decades and centuries,” he said.
Top image: CBS Studios Inc. Spearpoint,, Harold White, Flickriver.
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Total 34 comments
  • Great original thinking, or reverse engineering from downed UFO? Hell if I’m going down this path I may as well take a bit from another article posted on BIN and say the 20 or so aliens working with NASA created this. I’m no rocket scientist or physicist so maybe one of you could come up with the answers.

    • Power source?

      The best man has is nuclear and that’s heat-
      not magic.

      The actual energy required to move mass that distance would require more energy than something that size can make in a 2-week period.

      free energy while we are at it?

      Maybe we should start with something easier
      like perpetual motion,zero-point or even just good ol’ over-unity!

      • What makes you think that zero-point energy hasn’t been discovered? Do you really think the powers to be want their cash cows taken away from them?

  • It is tragic that resources necessary for such a project are being consumed by the military industrial complex with unnecessary wars perpetrated to generate demand for weapons and related hardware solely to make money for these major corporate institutions. The species must resolve these issues or it will NOT survive long enough for interstellar travel.

  • Well 16 trillion dollars… and counting… enough to build dozens of new cities… is certainly going someplace. Cause it ain’t fixing up stuff here on Earth… look at poor Detroit.

    • Detroit will only become whatever by those who inhabit it, regardless of how much money you throw at it. The same with any place. It’s not the money that ran out in Detroit that turned it into a hell hole, it’s the will of the inhabitants and their pride and morality than ran out.
      The one thing that has devastated more lives and wasted more resources than any other thing man has ever faced can be summed up in one word “Tolerance”.
      When men decide that something bad is really not so bad and in dealing with this bad thing they exercise what has been deemed ‘TOLERANCE” What they have really done is open the floodgates to every destructive practice known to man and the civilized society he fought so hard to make. Remember, everything, whether good or bad, meaningful or innocuous started small and then grew larger. What happens when you have a perfectly manicured lawn and a weed suddenly sprouts? You remove the weed of course. But what happens if other weeds come to the aid of their, soon to be removed weed, and say “he is but one weed in this vast beautiful manicured lawn. How can he really hurt anything. Won’t you exercise just a little tolerance and allow that one weed to live in peace. He isn’t hurting a thing”. Now tell me what the beautiful lawn looks like in a year, 5 years, 10, 20 years.
      So whether I would rather throw money at Detroit in which the people there will just squander it away or throw money at a space program. My money is on the space program. At least i know the money is going to people who want to better mankind overall as opposed to the city of Detroit where most just want, selfishly, whatever they can get for themselves. Until the people of Detroit, or any other place that the inhabitants have let go to hell, become good people then I personally wouldn’t waste my time or money with them.

      • Also, by investing into space program you will also help Detroit, since a lot of “spillover technologies” from space program will speed up the development of “ROBOCOP”, and he will save Detroit in the end! :idea:

  • mitch51

    Why do we need this, when Obama has already been to Mars without any space ship at all? He didn’t even need a spacesuit. This is much cheaper and quicker. LOL.

    • I have often thought how “unSurprised” I would be if seeing Obama speak he suddenly started speaking gibberish “more than he does already” his arms start flailing about and smoke begins coming out from around his collar. Wierd huh? But seriously I would feel more like the answer to a huge unanswered question had just been revealed rather than surprise. Anyone else feel the same way?

      • Weren’t you paying attention after the first election?

        They took him in that little room all happy and he came out all glum.

        He trudged back over to the staging area,composed himself and then
        danced out and did the dog&pony show.

        What happened in that room?

        What was he told and shown?

  • One of these is not like the other,

    All you have to do if figure out which one is the distraction and which one is genuine,

  • i think 2 things.

    1) reverse engineering alien craft

    2) this theory came from the millions of dollars invested into investigating ‘time travel’

    both have been going on since the 50s and i would suspect that this has not been ‘theory’ for a very long time.
    my guess is that this tech has been perfected and useable for at least 20 years.
    the stories of a moonbase and mining operations on other planets just became more real.
    look up david adair on yt and see what they were doing in the 60s.

  • Plasma lifeforms can already travel to the first heaven. They must be traveling really really fast to get to the outer bubble of this universe.

  • Michio Kaku has already come up with a plan to make a meteorite shield using lasers or plasma. I wonder if this could be like the movie forbidden planet. The part where they said in the movie that they had acheived speed of light travel by the 21st century then greatly surpassed this buy the year 2200. Who knows if this becomes real then a few years after that we may achieve warp 5 or better. Aren’t the Vulcans supposed to visit us soon?

  • Sounds like a bunch of crap to me.

    How are you going to find an object dense enough to warp space time?

    How will you get it in orbit?

    (Answer, you wont, it will be constructed in space)…WHICH highly suggest he’s counting on fusion technology which is not anywhere near ready for development, let alone specialization to space. (Never mind that any fusion device we create on Earth will probably be RADICALLY different from one we’d use in micro gravity)

    How are you going to construct this in space? Got a space garage do you? Oh wait, no you don’t since the shuttles were retired.

    Too much television.

    • It’s not a matter of finding an object dense enough to warp space and time, it’s a matter of altering the gravitational field within the space contained in the object moving. This can be achieved through Electro-Gravitic processes and as a power source a zero-point field could generate plenty of power for the necessary action required.

    • Did you even read the whole article? Changing the geometry of the field lowers the energy requirements. Energy warps space, not finding a mass dense enough. The apparent mass of the ship can be changed, so getting it to orbit would be easy once built. Smartest people in the world working on this, yet you think it’s to much TV!? Apparently if they needed something super dense, they could use you brain. :wink:

  • wizard

    Thought is instantaneous, try it.

    • Not so fast there. For most the perception of thought is instantaneous. But for others there really is a lag time. In some it is more significant than others.
      Oh you want proof? Easy enough. Read some of the posts here on the BIN site.
      I rest my case.

  • Banazauk

    It says the observers aboard such a ship would only experience two weeks, but what about people on Earth? Would years pass by before they reached there?

    • Cerxi

      No; time dilation effects are not present with the Alcubierre drive, as the ship is not moving faster than light; strictly speaking, it’s not moving at all. Because of the bubble of warped space-time, those on board the ship experience time at the same rate as those outside.

  • I think we should put a side our differences and do this why not this would be an exciting and be able to colonize other planets (More space here) Earth and then be able mine and come up with different minerals and fuels. Technology would be able to accelerated because of this. Now if people say hey the money can be spend on something more home USA . But I ask you if we do this we can be hopefully be the first nation with Warp Drive if we are we would be able to set the pace and direction and JOBS for our countrymen and countrywomen that we all benefit from.

  • If NASA is openly discussing this technology you can be sure that it’s disinfo.
    Ben Rich, formerly in charge of Skunkworks (area 51), spoke out about the technology that they had back then in 1991. He said that they already had the means to send ET home so you could imagine what they have now and it isn’t this primitive technology they’re speaking of now

  • A universal law that I envisioned and have always thought to be true is that if but one man thinks it, then it can be, it is, has been and will be again. As bizarre as that may seem that is how the universe works. Everything is connected and thus exists as a whole regardless of how isolated we believe somethings to be.
    An old poem about space travel that I have added to. I hope the original author (whomever that may be) is not offended.

    There was once a young lady named Brite, who could travel much faster than light. She set off one day in a relative way and returned the previous night. When asked how she traveled she said, I do nothing but lie in my bed. See the world and the stars spin around like a top and the secret I found was to learn how to stop.

  • Sign me in, captain Kirk!
    Beam me up, Scotty!!
    To boldly go were no alien wants us to go!!!
    Galactic crap, brace yourself!!!!
    Nibiru, we are going to kick your ass!!!!!
    And finally, a return to our Good Old Mother Earth!!!!!
    Ensign, Take us to the next planetary system,
    and let us be the UFO!!!!!!!!

    • Captain Kirk’s Worst Nightmare.
      Scotty I need full power to the warp drives. Uh, Captain we have o wee bit of a problem there. What is it Mr.Scott? I need those engines online right now. Well Captain it’s 1967 and those engines you keep o hollerin about bringing on line do not exist yet. What Mr. Scott? Are you saying we have no engines, no warp drive. That would be correct Captain. Uh, to be perfectly honest sir we don’t have any of the stuff you think we have. Mr. Spock what is your analysis? Well Sir given that it is 1967 I would have to concur with Mr. Scott. But Mr. Spock, you’re an alien. You have those ears. Sorry sir those are fake. Though impressive and the makeup department took over an hour to get them attached, they are again, just make believe. My God, I can’t believe this. I have lost my ship, no, not lost, you are all telling me I never had one to begin with. That would be correct sir. It is all props in a Hollywood movie studio called Desilu Studios. My career in Starfleet is over then. No it cant be. I’ll hold a tribunal. You’ll hang for mutiny. Security, security. Damn it where is security.

    • Yeah back in high school I boldly went where no man had gone before. I got into a lot of trouble with her parents about it too. But as the years passed I discovered that I was a trailblazer and that many more men had followed in my footsteps.

  • IMC

    Wait until it’s weaponized, I would imagine warp driven projectiles could easily out perform nuclear weapons using kinetic energy alone.

  • so cool, someones thinking, but why are people trying to leave the earth??? seeking out life on other planets??? why really… dont you think other intelligent races visit us already? If NOT, then why go in the first place and if they do, WHAT COULD YOU OFFER THEM???? greed, money, sex, drugs, crime, war, you get the point…

  • Ben

    Im not going to try to pretend I understand all this interstella travel, so please forgive my question.

    If you are expanding space, what happens to the displaced space? Are blackholes possible to be created?

  • Mymy

    Guess nasa is major into mega trillion dollar frauds by fraud scientific claims as they were already with many like global climatechange

  • kaweckiuniverse 2 minutes ago :cool:
    Space is warp – meaning it has been stretched, bent,twisted and curved and is out of its normal content. Its like taking an orange and smashing it. Its still all there but not smooth and round as it was before. Beginning with the big bang event space was stretched, bent twisted and pulled a part but didn’t break as such since the universe consist of everything in it that is observable the content of the spacefield is invisible but is flexible and allows distortion activities that normally wouldn’t be allowed if it were smooth and pure as an element. Because space has been warp but retains the same ground field a ship can travel through its mobility area and advance acceleration that would meet with the space and its warp density value. This value has been measured as 450,000 m/s according with Hubble Recession galaxies and their velocities. Hubble theory defines galaxies expanding away from each other at speeds faster then light that violate the Einsteinian Speed Limit of light speed. Where light is massless and has little to no mass is the fastest thing that travels in human knowledge and with these measurements is deemed as a universal constant. Hubble theory and arithmetic rendering their actual speeds in expansion by Rod Kawecki 2015.02.20 a new speed is rendered in scientific knowledge. But even though space is warp and its stretchable density value allows for faster then light space travel in a moving vessel – the ship still needs the force propulsion capacity. Relativity’s infinite mass equations in Quanta Physics Theory do not apply in a zero point energy state where relativity’s foundation is weighed with static energy equations and more so evidence. In a zero point micro gravity space field the only inertia applied to the ship is its own when reaching faster then light velocity. Though theories are based on light speed capacity it is force (F) Newton equations for propulsion and the value that enough engine technology could advance acceleration of s ship if space allowed it. Where relativity does not allow such speeds due to the light speed constant it would be possible if the propulsion capacity was met. For further readings on this theory read Rodney Kawecki blogs…

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