Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Warp Drive Engine

I didn't intend to write any more about faster than light travel, but I was sent a link which is too good not to write about. I am not going to comment on the science involved, I am not qualified to talk about anything that concerns 11 dimensions. However, this article raises an interesting point which I didn't mention in my posts about faster than light travel. If you read those post, you know that I started this topic with a simple proof of the impossibility of faster than light travel. I also showed that there are exceptions to this rule because quantum mechanics and relativity doesn't play well together. But what about large objects? Is there a way for them to somehow escape relativity?

In the article I linked, you can read about a simple (but nearly impossible to do) idea - expanding the space behind the object and shrinking it in front of the object. Thus you will create a bubble that slides in space. Inside the bubble the object will move slower than light, but the bubble itself can move faster, because it is not even matter but space itself. This is called a wrap drive.
This sounds possible, but it is easy to see that the method I used to show to show the impossibility of time travel, still works for this example.

However, in this particular case my prove doesn't apply. The reason for this is very simple - while it is bot obvious the proof is build on a simplistic assumption that the universe is the same on large scales. Unfortunately, this is not true. This is only a simplification used for ease of calculations, although it is very close to being correct. If you allow universe to be extended and contracted (and this is exactly what ruins this assumption), there is nothing that forbids faster than light travel.

To finish this post - a little joke:
An experimental physicist finished running a very complex experiment. After plotting the data on a graph, he got to the conclusion that he doesn't understand why the graph looks the way it does. So he went to a theoretical physicist, showed him graph and asked to explain the very high peak in one of the points. The theoretical physicist looked on the graph for a second and said "Oh, there is a perfectly good reason for this peak". And started talking. During the explanation the experimental physicist suddenly looked on the graph and said" Wait a a second it is with the wrong side up". The theoretical physicist looked on it, and said "Oh, there is a perfectly good reason why there is this very law value in this point" And started talking.....

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