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Warp Drive Propulsion Theory

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1 Warp Drive Propulsion Theory
John L. Carrasco Astronomy 308 07 August 2006

2 Space: The Final Frontier…
Man has always dreamed of exploring space. The Mercury and Apollo missions took us farther than ever dreamed possible. But what of our space accomplishments lately…. The Space Shuttle, deep space probes, but little else.

3 What is limiting our exploration?
Certainly not imagination. Probes and satellite imagery continue to explore far beyond our Solar System. What is limiting us? Our present technology… Time Constraints… Finances…

4 The reality of space travel (In today’s terms)
Expensive Fuel and training do not come cheap Technology and Time Closest star: Proxima Centauri (at 4.2 Light Years distance). At a speed of 150,000 MPH, it would still take almost 18,000 years to reach Proxima Centauri. The space shuttle maxes out at a “robust” 25,404 feet/second. Still too slow…

5 What is there to be done?... “Mr. Scott, warp speed…”
But what is warp speed? Who created the idea? Is it even possible?

6 The Problem with Faster than Light Travel
Einstein and the Theory of General Relativity. E=Mc^2 Why faster than light travel is impossible with our current means of propulsion (minus wormholes). As speed increases, energy demands increase. Mass (of the vehicle) also increases. Both mass and fuel demand will eventually increase to infinity, making propelling a vehicle faster than light impossible.

7 The Alcubierre Drive Miguel Alcubierre
Mexican physicist Proposed a method of faster than light travel that could be a “solution” for Einstein’s General Relativity. Commonly referred to as the “Alcubierre Drive” or “warp drive.”

8 The basics of the Alcubierre “Warp Drive”
1994 Journal of Classical and Quantum Gravity The ship would ride along space inside a warp bubble. Since the ship itself is not moving, it is not subject to the rules of general relativity.

9 The Warp Bubble

10 The Alcubierre Drive, continued
1994 Journal of Classical and Quantum Gravity (continued). A method of stretching space in a wave, causing the space “ahead” of a spacecraft to contract. It would also cause the space “behind” the spacecraft to expand.

11 Stretching and contracting space

12 Science Fiction meets Science Fact (sort of…)
The Star Trek Franchise. The Contemporary Warp Scale (according to Star Trek). The speeds achieved by the vehicles (“starships”) are faster than anything today… But still slow enough to allow space to remain large and mysterious. “…to boldly go where no one has gone before…”

13 The Contemporary Warp Scale (continued)
Warp Factor x c Velocity Warp c x10^5 km/s Warp c x10^6 km/s Warp c x10^7 km/s Warp c x10^7 km/s Warp c x10^7 km/s Warp c x10^8 km/s Warp c x10^8 km/s Warp , c x10^8 km/s Warp , c x10^8 km/s Warp , c x10^8 km/s Warp , c x10^8 km/s Warp , c x10^8 km/s Warp , c x10^9 km/s Warp , c x10^9 km/s Let c = the speed of light

14 Energy Usage of the Warp Scale

15 How fast are these speeds?
At Warp 1, you could reach the Moon (from the Earth) in 1.34 seconds! At Warp 2, you could travel across the Solar System in 1 hour!! At Warp 5, you could reach Proxima Centauri (nearest star) in 9 days!!! At Warp 9, Proxima Centauri is only 1 day away!!!!

16 Works Cited Alcubierre Drive
The Warp Drive: hyper-fast travel within general relativity The Contemporary Warp Scale Sci/Tech Warp Drive Possible Warp Drive (Star Trek)

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