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Warp Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this site?
This site has gone through a number of iterations but for now the purpose is to serve as reference site for anyone interested in learning about the science of warp drive.  Also somewhat selfishly to show off some of the author’s own work after ambitions and answer FAQs does not pay the bills.  I assume anybody that has made to this site is not looking for a science fiction fandom I also assume visitors are novices to the subject as experts would already know where to go for the latest information.

Is this a science fiction site?
No.  In its early incarnation it was designed as a site designed to explain science fiction concepts of “hyperfast” interstellar travel using the latest science.  Below is a simple flash animation for the science of warp drive had in early version of the site with a Star Trek theme.

On later reflection the author thought the science fiction theme would be too distracting from the science and decided against content as there were many sites like that on the web.  The content solely focuses on scientific content either through web links or files produced by the author.

How does a Warp Drive Work?

Good question! Let me know when you find out.  The very short of it is that space and time are distorted to allow for non typical descriptions of gravitational force also called vacuum engineering in order to find mathematical solutions of General Relativity that allow for propulsion.  The first and simplest model produced to date is the Alcubierre Warp Drive where space contracts in front of a spacecraft and expands behind a spacecraft although it requires large amounts of exotic energy whose properties differ quite widely from any presently known elementary force.

Video Animation [avi (489 kb)]

What would a starship look like?
For the longest time there were no solid answers to this however quite recently some simple models have been postulated.  The ideal shape at present would be an elongated oval to streamline fields of force over the hull of the spaceship.  The spaceship would also have to ring separated rings attached to a hull creating a differential gradient of exotic energy, the rings themselves would be used to generate exotic energy.  The rings themselves would have to distort space and time without being destroyed and likely generate a field around them so that they may ride a warp drive wave and not just the hull of a spacecraft.  However there are no set designs as there is no specific papers to date on starship design so the example just given would only be the simplest design based on known papers.

Video Animation of Double Warp [avi (741 kb)]

What is Exotic Energy?
It is a title given to energy when the energy density of a region of space and time is not positive definite, negative energy states can be invoked from other reference systems which have negative definite values.  It is a natural result of attempting to define energy where space and time are malleable quantum field theory allows for such energy on certain scales but would require a full proper theory of quantum gravity for a definitive answer.

What is your background?
See author page .

What level of background do I need?
To comprehend the subject on a technical level requires at least an understanding of the General theory of Relativity.  This requires classes or books on the topics of algebra, trigonometry, calculus, differential equations, and differential geometry.  A review of Hamiltonian Mechanics would benefit anyone wishing to understand the properties of Quantum Mechanics this should give the proper background to anyone wishing to study the subject further.  For a lay audience I would recommend following books The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence Krauss for the technically astute I would recommend Making Starships and Stargates by James Woodword.

Are there other methods of Faster Than Light travel?
No, this is a leading question in general Faster Than Light travel is forbidden by the laws of physics.  But there are other theories and models that could be used for hyperfast interstellar travel.  The prime example being the idea of a wormhole which may essentially be thought up as a rotating black hole that contains enough exotic energy to  hold up a “throat” to another point in space and time.  Outside General Relativity there is String Theory which allows distant points to be connected in bulk spacetime dimensions giving the appearance of Faster Than Light motion on lower branes.  In addition there is quantum entanglement but so called spooky action does not violate the speed of light though it may appear so at first without further investigation.

What is the Zero Point Field?
A big headache of misnomers!  The Zero Point Field is popular for all the wrong reasons some think of it as quantum aether that mainstream science likes to treat as a bad stepchild.  The simplest example of zero point energy is the first electron orbital of the hydrogen atom it has an energy of -13.6 electron Volts no orbiting electron can have a value less than this so it is the zero point or ground energy of a hydrogen atom.  As quantum theory evolved into quantum field theory electromagnetic fields were discovered to include virtual particles that are short lived and can’t be detected but are required for the mathematics of classical field theory to work at the quantum level.  The ground state of the Zero Point Field is not taken as the first orbital of an atom but rather than thermal temperature of the vacuum, i.e. the cosmic background radiation.  However when the “zero point energy” is scaled to the size of the universe its value then becomes much larger that the known cosmological energy density implying trouble with the Zero Point Field or cosmology or both.

Are you ever going to update the site?
The short answer is no.  I may add new files to demonstrate my abilities and update the blog from time to time but I have no future plans to update the site.  I feel at this time it would be best to create a separate blog and just let my ideas flow whatever they might the premise of this site is just too closed for that format but will be kept as is until taken down by tripod or if I establish another site in the future.

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©2013: Edward Halerewicz, Jr.