It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but spaceships traveling at warp speed are possible, according to a senior scientist.
In a recent study, physicist Dr. Eric Lentz identified a method by which a missile could theoretically travel faster than light – or more than 186,000 miles per second.
At this speed, astronauts could reach other star systems in a few years, allowing humanity to colonize Distant planets.
Current rocket technology would take approximately 6,300 years to reach Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun.
So-called “warp drives” have been suggested before, but they are often based on theoretical systems that break the laws of physics.
This is because according to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, it is physically impossible for anything to travel faster than the speed of light.
Dr. Linz, a scientist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, says his imaginative torsion engine will operate within the limits of physics.
While other theories rely on “strange” concepts, such as negative energy, it overcomes this problem by using a new theoretical particle.
According to a press release issued by the University of Göttingen, these ultrafast “solitons” can travel at any speed while complying with the laws of physics.
A soliton – also referred to as a “warp bubble” – is a compact wave that acts like a particle while maintaining its shape and moving at a constant speed.
Dr. Lentz said he developed his theory after analyzing current research and discovered gaps in previous warp drive studies.
He believes that solitons can travel faster than light and “create conducting plasma and classical electromagnetic fields.”
Both concepts are understood within the framework of traditional physics and succumb to Einstein’s theory of relativity.
While its torsion drive provides an elusive potential for faster-than-light travel, it is still very much in the concept stage at the moment.
A primitive device would require an enormous amount of energy not possible with modern technology.
“The energy savings should be enormous, about 30 orders of magnitude in the range of modern nuclear fission reactors,” said Dr. Linz.
“Fortunately, several energy-saving mechanisms have been suggested in previous research that could lower the energy requirement by nearly 60 orders of magnitude.”
The astrophysicist said he will now focus his efforts on cooking up a viable version of the technology.
“This work took the problem of traveling at a speed greater than the speed of light one step away from theoretical research in basic physics and closer to engineering,” said Dr. Linz.
The next step is figuring out how to reduce the astronomical amount of energy needed within today’s technologies, such as the modern large nuclear fission power plant. Then we can talk about building prototypes. “
The research has been published in Classical and Quantum Gravity.