Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Introducing the Warpship

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the fastest-ship-in-the-west dept.

Space 361

astroengine writes "Dr. Richard Obousy, a guy who has put modern science into the warp drive, has designed his very own warpship. Now, for the first time, he's shared it with the world. It might not be the sleek Starship Enterprise, but its structure has been optimized to harness local 'dark energy,' generating a warp bubble so faster-than-light velocities are possible." Now, the only question is: will the ship achieve faster-than-light travel ... or will the company hit those speeds once it has enough money from investors?

cancel ×

361 comments

Let's not put the cart before the horse (5, Insightful)

ikirudennis (1138621) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339561)

How about we figure out how to warp time first and then figure out a ship to utilize that science for the sake of travel?

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (5, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339615)

Because we all know from Douglas Adams that it takes so long to learn how to perform time travel you need time travel in order to do so. I don't recall what we're supposed to do instead, so just write 42 on everything and we'll be okay until we run out of towels.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340045)

actually 42 was not the answer to everything but only the answer to the ultimate question of life the universe and everything.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340413)

A co-worker of mine does this...trust me, having "42" show up instead of NULL gets annoying rather quickly, especially when 42 is actually a valid error code.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339639)

You're right! Let's head at Warp 9.975 into that direction!

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (3, Funny)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339641)

How about we figure out how to warp time first and then figure out a ship to utilize that science for the sake of travel?

Where's the fun in that?!

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339685)

Where's the fun in that?!

Not where, when.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (-1, Flamebait)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340631)

Uh, that is such a douche time travellor cliche.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (5, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339671)

Yeah - Here's the kicker, found on Page 2 of TFA:

Exactly how the 11th dimension would be expanded and shrunk is still unknown.

Sounds pretty similar to the way I walk - I move my feet and the Earth rotates beneath me. I'm planning on starting to fly instead, it's just maintaining altitude after lift-off. But I won't let that small detail stop me from making travel plans - I'll work that out after jumping.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (3, Interesting)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339747)

Did anybody else have the name Steorn [steorn.com] come to mind?

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (2, Informative)

bhima (46039) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340279)

"Orbo is based upon time variant magnetic interactions, i.e. magnetic interactions whose efficiency varies as a function of transaction timeframes."

So. Are they selling electric motors or perpetual energy devices?

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (4, Funny)

epiphani (254981) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339947)

Sounds pretty similar to the way I walk - I move my feet and the Earth rotates beneath me. I'm planning on starting to fly instead, it's just maintaining altitude after lift-off. But I won't let that small detail stop me from making travel plans - I'll work that out after jumping.

Oh that part is relatively simple: Just throw yourself at the ground and miss.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (4, Funny)

DeltaStorm (118517) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340285)

Oh that part is relatively simple: Just throw yourself at the ground and miss.

I never knew I had such good aim.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340431)

The hard part is when the ground keeps chasing after you. Once I figure out a way to disabuse the ground of the notion of following me, I'll be set.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (2, Insightful)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340225)

You know, flight isn't a very good example as... well... you know... we've learnt how to do that. Hell, if I remember correctly, they considered heavier-than-air aircraft at least as impossible as warp-drive is considered today.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340399)

You know what sound it makes when you jump and miss the ground?

Whoosh!

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340311)

It must be frustrating when someone walks in the opposite direction!

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (1)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340343)

11th dimension? hell, have you even tried working in 5D?

http://www.gravitation3d.com/magiccube5d/ [gravitation3d.com]

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (3, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340527)

Yeah - Here's the kicker, found on Page 2 of TFA:

Exactly how the 11th dimension would be expanded and shrunk is still unknown.

Sounds pretty similar to the way I walk - I move my feet and the Earth rotates beneath me. I'm planning on starting to fly instead, it's just maintaining altitude after lift-off. But I won't let that small detail stop me from making travel plans - I'll work that out after jumping.

Being half serious:

How will those, that are aware in the 11th dimension, experience this when WE expand their Universe?

"Honey, does this warpship make my ass look fat?"

And the 11th dimensional husband heads out to the 9th dimension for a drink before he answers that question.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (0, Redundant)

Bazman (4849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339769)

Oh we figured that out already. I say 'we', of course I mean 'Einstein'. Mass and energy warp space and time, so we just have to gather together some mass or energy. [Insert "your momma is so fat" joke here]

I recall a TV show about time travel where they reckoned they needed most of the mass in the universe to make a time travel machine...

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340199)

No, you actually need a greater-than-infinite amount of energy to exceed the speed of light. To reach the speed of light, you would only need an infinite amount of energy.

Think of c not so much as a speed, but as the ultimate ratio of time to space.

I'm assuming the proposed method of FTL travel is similar to the Alcubierre Drive, which (probably) requires exotic matter--matter with negative mass. It's vaguely possible that such things exist, but unlikely.

Basically, exceeding the speed of light is either a misconception, or it would break our understanding of physics in sort of a big way.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (4, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339935)

How am I supposed to secure the patent if I wait until after someone else has discovered the underlying science?

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (4, Funny)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340105)

Steal their invention, then travel back in space-time and patent it.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (3, Funny)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340523)

Write up the button pushing process part of it, get that filed and then claim prior art?

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (2, Funny)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340173)

I already have a time warping machine. I use it once daily to skip ahead 8hrs into tomorrow.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (4, Funny)

Razalhague (1497249) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340271)

I've got one too, though unfortunately it's stuck going forward at x1 speed.

Re:Let's not put the cart before the horse (5, Funny)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340323)

Mine varies by alcohol consumption.

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28339593)

first

Re:first (2, Funny)

imgumbydamnit (730663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340163)

first

Only if you mastered time travel.

Is it powered by bovine excretions? (5, Insightful)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339635)

The physics behind the warpship is purely theoretical, however. 'Dark energy' needs to be understood and harnessed, plus vast amounts of energy needs to be generated, meaning the warpship is a technology that could only be conceived in the far future. That said, Dr. Obousy's warpship design uses our current knowledge of spacetime and superstring theory to arrive at this futuristic concept.

Translation: We have a theory based on a lack of theory.

Re:Is it powered by bovine excretions? (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339695)

I have a warpship, and the design doesn't need to rely on

our current knowledge of spacetime and superstring theory to arrive at this futuristic concept

Instead, the design relies upon our future knowledge of spacetime and superstring[1] theory. That's the nice thing about it... warping space time in a bubble around the ship can result not only in FTL travel, but also time travel. So why should I constrain myself to the currently available theory?

[1] Also a little bit of sillystring theory, but it gets messy at that point, so I won't go into details.

Hrmph (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340453)

I think you're just stringing us along.

Re:Is it powered by bovine excretions? (5, Informative)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340671)

I actually know this guy (he was a grad student where/when I was an undergrad). He's not crazy and at least mostly not a crank (I only say mostly because it's never possible to judge that sort of thing perfectly). The article, like most crappy science journalism, doesn't really go into details, so I'll try to recall for you all the contents of a talk I heard him give to a small group once.

The basic idea, which you can probably get from the article, is to construct an Alcubierre bubble or Alcubierre warp drive. The Alcubierre bubble is a genuine solution to the Einstein field equations of general relativity; it is a spacetime metric which could conceivably exist. Part of the trouble with making one is that you (at least naively) need exotic matter of some sort (tachyons, negative mass, etc) in order to do it, but we obviously don't know of any exotic matter at all presently. What you really want is to make spacetime contract ahead of you and expand behind you. Well, we do know of something that makes spacetime expand: dark energy! So, if we had some way of manipulating the local strength of dark energy, then we could make spacetime expand behind us faster than normal and expand in front of us slower than normal (or maybe contract, I can't remember exactly how far that side of things went). There are apparently some suggestive features of superstring theory that indicate that we might be able to use the Casimir effect and/or cause an expansion or contraction of string theory's predicted extra compact dimensions to affect the local strength of dark energy. Here's another failure in memory, as I remember that the Casimir effect and extra dimensions were both involved, but don't remember which one was supposed to affect the other and which was supposed to affect dark energy. This is about all I can remember. My apologies that it is not more complete.

Now, all this is of course very speculative. It depends on some things being true which might or might not be true. The existence of dark energy is at least strongly indicated by astrophysical data, whether or not it has a local strength is not known at all. The Casimir effect is quite well established. Compact extra dimensions and the rest of string theory remain a very good candidate for physics, but are of course notoriously difficult to test. If all of these things eventually work out, then Richard's ideas should work quite nicely. If any of them don't, then all bets are off; I don't know how his analysis would change then.

Of course, even a few years ago when I heard all this presented, it was much more thoroughly developed. You have my poor memory to blame for a very incomplete and fuzzy account. I have no doubt he's been developing it further in the last couple of years.

Right after they make the flying car. (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339653)

I've been on the waiting list for one, like, forever.

Re:Right after they make the flying car. (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339805)

this ship should help with bumping you up that list.

Venture capitalists (3, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339657)

I'm sure they won't have any problems finding investors -- so long as they cater to the investors who have interest in flying cars, another technology that hasn't actually gotten off the ground yet. What was it someone said about "a fool and his money"?

Re:Venture capitalists (3, Funny)

routerl (976394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339775)

What was it someone said about "a fool and his money"?

That they're soul-mates and stay together forever?

Re:Venture capitalists (3, Funny)

th0mas_g (1442333) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340103)

I've always heard that a fool and his money are some party!

Re:Venture capitalists (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340289)

Is that like in the Jerk, where he has his own private disco?

misread the title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340135)

Did anyone else have to do a double take to make sure this article wasn't introducing a Wapship?

Re:Venture capitalists (5, Insightful)

EvilToiletPaper (1226390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340145)

What was it someone said about "a fool and his money"?

... are my best friends

Re:Venture capitalists (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340229)

Investing in insane pipe-dreams is simply a rational hedge in a portfolio overly weighted toward sane endeavors.

Only solving half the problem... (3, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339663)

You still end up with global causality violation if an object can communicate outside its light cone.

Re:Only solving half the problem... (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339933)

I don't think our current concept of causality requires information to be slower or equal to the speed of light to work out. No violation neccessary.

Re:Only solving half the problem... (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339957)

I thought causality didn't require faster than light travel to be impossible, only travelling backwards in time at more than 1s/s (i.e. cancelling the normal flow of time out and stopping) to be impossible?

Re:Only solving half the problem... (3, Funny)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340013)

Causality-Shmausality. I dropped a glass because I found it in pieces on the floor just this afternoon...

Re:Only solving half the problem... (1)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340507)

Causality-Shmausality. I dropped a glass because I found it in pieces on the floor just this afternoon...

Excellent, I was pretty sure you dropped a glass because I found it in pieces on the floor just this afternoon also, and now I have proof.

Re:Only solving half the problem... (4, Informative)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340047)

Didn't Novikov solve that problem [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Only solving half the problem... (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340079)

You still end up with global causality violation if an object can communicate outside its light cone.

Perhaps a knowledgable phycisist can clarify: is the light cone thingy a fundamental rule necessary to make our current theories work, or is it merely a consequence following from the fact that our current theories generally do not allow for faster-than-light travel? If the latter, a warp drive wouldn't "violate" any causality rule.

Re:Only solving half the problem... (2, Funny)

EvilToiletPaper (1226390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340167)

is that like a universal 404 error?

Re:Only solving half the problem... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340375)

Don't worry, you can just buy a causality default swap as a hedge, and then tranche the resulting multiverse into marketable reality instruments.

Re:Only solving half the problem... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340685)

Well really, I'm not sure it makes sense to talk about that as something that "needs to be solved" before you time travel. You can more or less assume that such things will work themselves out, just so long as you're confident that you're not going to destroy the universe or anything.

I'm not worried though, because I don't think we'll invent time machines. If we were to one day invent them, then most likely a future traveller would have shown up by now. I've just come to the conclusion that if a time machine will ever be invented, that the person who invents it will eventually use it to go back in time and prevent himself from inventing it, thereby preventing time travel from ever occurring, solving all time paradox problems.

Scotty (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339681)

But I'm giving all she's got, cap'n!!

Re:Scotty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28339797)

Resistance if futile.

Re:Scotty (2, Funny)

TinFoilMan (1371973) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339841)

Resistance is always futile, especially if a woman is involved.

Re:Scotty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340143)

Resistance is always futile, if a woman is involved.

There, fixed that for you.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28339691)

OMG, the usual crap! So let me get this straight. The big bang did occur (to say otherwise is heresy). It was driven, faster than the speed of light, by dark matter - which scientists do not know anything about at all.

In the beginning was the word, and the word was... well, that is as scientific as the Big Bang Theory!

Why is this kind of rubbish on Slashdot?

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339953)

Holy crap! You just discovered the missing link! Jesus is dark matter! It all makes sense now!

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340433)

You joke, but Jack Chick made a Chick Tract that basically claimed that gluons were Jesus. Seriously. I'd find it for you but I'm at work right now.

All characters, no gameplay (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339701)

Reminds me of my preteen years making dozens and dozens of D&D characters, even though I had no idea (at the time) how to play the game. But man, making those characters sure was fun....let's just do that! What's 'psyche'? I don't know, but let's roll a d20 for it! WHEE!

Re:All characters, no gameplay (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340265)

Reminds me of my preteen years making dozens and dozens of D&D characters, even though I had no idea (at the time) how to play the game. But man, making those characters sure was fun....let's just do that! What's 'psyche'? I don't know, but let's roll a d20 for it! WHEE!

Sorry, Psyche is Marvel Super Heroes. You'd roll d% for it and consult the chart. Maybe you were having trouble learning the games because you were mixing the two (they were both TSR). That could have been fun...
"Galstaff, you have entered the door to the north. You are now by yourself standing in a dark room; the pungent stench of mildew emanates from the wet dungeon walls. ... There are there are seven ogres surrounding you."
"Colossus prepares to throw Wolverine with a Fastball Special"
"OGRES!?! Man, I got an ogre slaying claw! It's got a +9 against ogres!"
"If there's any girls there Gambit wants to do them!"

Re:All characters, no gameplay (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340387)

You know, I think you are right. For some reason the word 'FASERIP' keeps coming to me. I wonder if I put that on a vanity license plate....

Impossible to observe? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28339707)

And, if the ship does achieve faster than light travel, will an observer even be able to see it doing so?

Re:Impossible to observe? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340187)

Only if the headlights are on.

Re:Impossible to observe? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340689)

Photonic BOOM!

A consultant said it so it *must* be true (3, Funny)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339717)

A consultant, eh? Making the big promises, he is?

Well when he's done and had his turn, I've got some marvelous things to show you. I wouldn't show just anybody, it's our secret. Everyone will want one and we'll be rich and famous so get them while you can now!

Better than the Enterprise (2, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339725)

It puts me in mind of an Outsider ship, which is odd when you consider how they prefer travelling at sub-light speeds.

Investors? (1)

drunken_boxer777 (985820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339751)

I can't see this venture returning capital on anything that remotely resembles "short term". As such, I envision only government entities or wealthy individuals uninterested in ROI funding a project such as this.

Honestly, what kind of question could there be about investors in this type of technology? I didn't see anything remotely relevant to a business plan in any of the links.

Re:Investors? (4, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340181)

I can't see this venture returning capital on anything that remotely resembles "short term". As such, I envision only government entities or wealthy individuals uninterested in ROI funding a project such as this.

Honestly, what kind of question could there be about investors in this type of technology? I didn't see anything remotely relevant to a business plan in any of the links.

I didn't either, but I do see a catastrophic sense of humor failure in your post.

Understand your target audience (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339755)

So, they are seeking funding from the same people that invested in the Moller Skycar [wikipedia.org] , then?

love the graphics (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339759)

is that a Cardassian ship I see?

Re:love the graphics (1)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339881)

No, it's DS9.

Not exactly a Dr. Richard Daystrom, but will (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339819)

we see "Obousy" Collectors? hehehe They won't exactly be "Broussard Collectors".

Re:Not exactly a Dr. Richard Daystrom, but will (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339891)

Or, indeed, Bussard Collectors.

Something about that... (5, Insightful)

hardwarejunkie9 (878942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339905)

This article bothers me primarily because it simply recovers old ground on a theory of the possibility of warp travel. The idea of utilizing dark energy to create waves in space-time is hardly new or original and so what we end up seeing in front of us is a series of explanations about possible "space time bubbles" that we have no idea how to create, or even if they're technically feasible, supplemented by a few minor CAD renderings and a wonderful representation of a planar mesh. Pardon me if I'm not entirely enthused. There seems to be no real mention of any progress since this topic was last covered in the scientific press. In short, while a nice idea, it's an old theory and less than stellar (if you'll pardon the pun). This is more science fiction than science, in my opinion.

Re:Something about that... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340231)

Which means as long as the USPTO grants him a patent (I don't see this as being a problem. Never mind the law, we have cool 3D renderings!), he should be able to get his investors on board, with no trouble at all.

This guy is the PT Barnum of FTL travel.

Oh yes! (1)

Kranerian (1427183) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339949)

I'll be sure to buy my faster than light ship, once the nice man from Nigeria finishes transferring me the money he promised!

Re:Oh yes! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340429)

You're missing a business venture. Put the man from Nigeria in contact with the Scientist for a finder's fee.

Can't they get anything right? (2, Informative)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339965)

I told them to say warship instead of worship. Stupid spiders.

(will be downmodded before anyone gets the reference.)

Re:Can't they get anything right? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340511)

They're not spiders, they're Dill-Rats. Dwe all understand Yuubuu here.

I'm not against thinking outside the box (5, Insightful)

juanergie (909157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339979)

but this fully speculative article will only confuse people.

I can already hear my non-scientific-inclined friends assuring that it has been demonstrated by Dr. Blah that faster-than-light travel is absolutely possible and we even have the ship ready.

When Jules Verne wrote his masterpieces he made it clear that it was scientific fiction, and people thrilled shuffling the pages. He was later called a visionary, but he did not pretend to be a scientist, merely a very intelligent writer.

It bothers me when plausibly smart people make interesting points but place them in the wrong category - nothing wrong with being smart, creative, and wild but, please, let us distinguish science from speculation.

"with astronomical amounts of energy" (4, Insightful)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 5 years ago | (#28339995)

From TFA #2:

"but by manipulating extra dimensions with astronomical amounts of energy dot dot dot"

Well, if we could manipulate astronomical amounts of energy, instead of sailing off to Alpha Centauri or Wolf 359, we could:
  • Have rolling roads (a la heinlein and Asimov) and eliminate the need for flying cars or rolling cars
  • Desalinate seawater to irrigate the arid lands
  • Control global climate change, or run a computer cluster model that can disprove it. Pick one.

But we can't. I know this is a fun dream. But before you try to replicate the Federation, take a look at the world that they were based upon. The Earth of Roddenberry is VERY different than this one. Let us strive to achieve THAT before we strive for the fastest way off of here.

Re:"with astronomical amounts of energy" (4, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340301)

From TFA #2:

"but by manipulating extra dimensions with astronomical amounts of energy dot dot dot"

Well, if we could manipulate astronomical amounts of energy, instead of sailing off to Alpha Centauri or Wolf 359, we could:

  • Have rolling roads (a la heinlein and Asimov) and eliminate the need for flying cars or rolling cars
  • Desalinate seawater to irrigate the arid lands
  • Control global climate change, or run a computer cluster model that can disprove it. Pick one.

But we can't. I know this is a fun dream. But before you try to replicate the Federation, take a look at the world that they were based upon. The Earth of Roddenberry is VERY different than this one. Let us strive to achieve THAT before we strive for the fastest way off of here.

Imagine charities researching the causes you mention. Now imagine everyone giving a dollar to those causes every time someone repeats the "let's solve all the problems on Earth before we start exploring space" mantra. Those causes would then have enough money to fix all those problems, we'd have our utopia on Earth, and then we'd be free to go on exploring space.

Personally, between 6 billion of us, I think we should be capable of working on more than one project at once.

Re:"with astronomical amounts of energy" (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340531)

The problem isn't money. It isn't even technological.

It's Elections in Iran, Bailouts on Wall Street, Cholera in Zimbabwe, it's Bandwidth in Africa. Google "Base of the Pyramid." 4 Billion of the 6 Billion are trying to eat and not die of malaria. No time for string theory.

But really, that wasn't the mantra. My mantra there is "moving mass at a distance takes energy, and time. To use less of the latter, use more of the former." The amount of energy it takes to get anywhere but here is beyond our comprehension. To move a mass the size of the Enterprise takes zillions more mass than the Enterprise.

But, for the sake of discussion, IF we had that energy, list the Top 3 reasons for going 'there'.

Anyone? Seriously... anyone?

Damned Romulans (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340003)

From TFA:

To initiate the warp drive, however, vast amounts of energy would be required. Also, there will be some practical issues to overcome, such as preventing the creation of artificial black holes

Apparently the Romulans threatened a patent infringement suit if our warp ships do that.

Much cooler than the Enterprise... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340071)

...which is really rather tacky looking.

I have a FTL space ship... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28340083)

...and if you believe that, I also have this wonderful bridge you can buy.

William Shatner said it perfectly (4, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340093)

William Shatner: [jt.org] "You know, before I answer any more questions there's something I wanted to say. Having received all your letters over the years, and I've spoken to many of you, and some of you have traveled... y'know... hundreds of miles to be here, I'd just like to say... GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show! I mean, look at you, look at the way you're dressed! You've turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!"

Futurama? (4, Insightful)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340131)

"The tricky part is that the ship wouldn't actually move; space itself would move underneath the stationary spacecraft. "
FTA

"I understand how the engines work now. It came to me in a dream. The engines don't move the ship at all. The ship stays where it is, and the engines move the universe around it."
Cubert J. Farnsworth

Wormhole? (2, Insightful)

PapaSmurph (249554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340133)

This sounds somewhat like the way the "Stargate" works in Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, the main difference is this is a bubble rather than a tube between locations that are generating the "extremely large amounts of energy". We just need to find a few Zero Point Modules. Problem solved!

tsk tsk, editors (3, Funny)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340155)

Dr. Richard Obousy

Whoops, you spelled his name wrong, it should be "Zephram Cochrane".

Saucer (1)

davidc (91400) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340243)

That there's a flying saucer, if ever I saw one.

Alien demotivator (0, Troll)

IlluminatedOne (621945) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340291)

I like to think that on some alien interwebs there is a demotivator picture of the spacecraft in the bubble as shown in the article with a caption of 'You're doing it wrong' or some such other witty tagline...If there is intelligent life nearby and its paying attention we are likely the source of some epic laughs. Maybe that's why UFOs are always flying so erratically...its the lulz...

Wait, what? (2, Interesting)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340309)

Ugh, every thing said in that article is basically a re-hash of the hit parade of technologies that "sounded really good at the time, but don't really work". Casmir effect, Alcuberre warp drive, extra spatial dimensions, etc. are just things that sound neat, but practical applications of them are impossible, misunderstood, or just plain useless.

I want a warp drive as much as anyone, but I'm beginning to tire of hearing people keep spitting out the same concepts that anyone who can read the Wikipedia entries for them already knows are not practical or are probably not possible.

Vacuum energy may exist in some form, but the apparatus to generate any significant amount of it would probably take orders of magnitude more energy to operate. No break even. Virtual particles are a hypothesis based on the logic of the Uncertainty Principle, but even if this logic is not simply explained away at a latter point, one needs to only look at what apparatus is needed to demonstrate the Casmir effect to get an idea how you would need to scale in order to get anything out of it.

The warp drive not only requires us to somehow warp space time, but to actually survive in those conditions. There's only one known thing that combines significant warping of space time with a small area. We call those... black holes. Also, Alcuberre also acknowledged a number of problems with his drive including the fact that it wouldn't be able to see where it was going.

As for extra dimensions, besides the fact that most places I have read indicate that those dimensions are probably extremely tiny, they would probably require the Planck energy to explore, which no one knows if it is even possible to attain. So, you would spend an incredible amount of energy to be able to go from one side of a quark to another, maybe even quickly.

Or not at all, considering that a spatial dimension isn't just what's on the other side of a magic wardrobe. Either our 4 dimensions couldn't fit in the smaller ones, or we could, but we'd end up like 2-D Flatlanders walking around in a 3-D world. How could we interact with such a reality? How would it benefit us at all, even if we could survive the experience?

In the matter of dimensions, there are benefits we can glean from trying to understand if they are real and learning about them, and maybe even the Casmir effect would be good for something like generating antimatter or something. Having said that, planning a spaceship based on these ideas is like planning a ship to sail the Phogiston. It's gibberish, and what's more, its stale gibberish.

We dont need more horses (1, Interesting)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340337)

We use cars now...because some guy decided at some point to hook up an engine to a belt to turn a wheel to make a cart go without horses.

At some point science has take the crap or get off the pot, stop endlessly theorising about doing and just try and do it.

Start Drawing (1)

Woodengineer (1518029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340365)

I guess it's time for me to start drawing pictures of spaceships and claiming they are optimized for warp speed because I have just as much evidence as he does. I'm sure a meme is very applicable here and it involves PROFIT!

FTL paradoxes for dummies? (1)

steveha (103154) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340435)

Can anyone point me at a web site that explains why FTL travel violates causality? My understanding is that it doesn't matter what technique you posit for FTL travel ("warp drive", "hyperspace", teleportation, bloater drive [wikipedia.org] , etc.), none of them are possible because FTL travel would allow causality paradoxes.

As I understand it, the basic problem is that there isn't a single frame of reference for the whole universe, and for observers in different frames of reference, FTL travel would look like traveling back in time. But I don't quite grok it.

I seem to recall that the physics permits a wormhole that connects two points in space and time, implying an instant travel from future to past; I think the handwavy explanation was that the math allows this but you would be destroyed by the wormhole if you tried to travel through it so there is no causality paradox.

I have also heard people point out that, if you stand on a rotating planet, it appears to you that distant galaxies are whirling around you at many times the speed of light, and given relativity, isn't it valid to say that from your frame of reference those galaxies are moving FTL? As little as I know about physics, I'm not touching this.

steveha

Travel faster than light... (2, Funny)

bagsta (1562275) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340539)

Can you imagine that when we make our first travel faster than light, a Vulcan spaceship(or any other alien except Borgs [fsdn.com] :P) will passing by our neighborhood and make the first contact with aliens...?

Noooo, I think I see too much science fiction

Yeah go for it. Don't let *us* stop you. (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 5 years ago | (#28340679)

"These calculations are based on some arbitrary advance in technology or some alien technology that would let us manipulate the extra dimension," said Cleaver.
What the scientists were able to estimate was the amount of energy necessary, if the technology was available, to change these dimensions: about 10^45 joules.


This is somewhere between blue sky scientific speculation and plain old mental masturbation. I suspect that beer drinking played a key role somewhere.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...