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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old March 20 2013, 04:49 PM   #1
larryman
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NASA's Warp Drive - update

Popular Science article, dated: March 7, 2013.

"Warp Factor"
http://www.popsci.com/technology/art...page-view=true


In the article it says...
""He’s not funded at a very high level in terms of what he’s trying to accomplish," [John] Applewhite says."

Also note in the article the brief mention of "quantum vacuum plasma thruster (QVPT)" technology. It "uses quantum fluctuations in empty space as a fuel source, so that a spaceship propelled by a QVPT would not require propellant."

Last edited by larryman; March 20 2013 at 05:06 PM.
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Old March 20 2013, 05:08 PM   #2
sojourner
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

Good article. Silly pictures.
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Old March 20 2013, 09:38 PM   #3
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

If it's that easy, where are the aliens?
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Old March 20 2013, 09:39 PM   #4
sojourner
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

Somewhere more interesting?
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Old March 20 2013, 09:39 PM   #5
DarthTom
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
If it's that easy, where are the aliens?
In an underground bunker at area 51 in Nevada.
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Old March 20 2013, 09:50 PM   #6
Timelord Victorious
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

Would general relativity still be an issue with a system like this?

I imagine a radio transmission by the starship at the beginning of the journey in the direction of the destination, let's say Alpha Centauri.

The message would take roughly 4 years, right?

Now the warp ship is capable of doing it in 2 weeks by deforming the spacetime itself.
Would that accelerate the travel time for the message itself, too, because the ship can never catch the message ever so the message must always get to the destination first?
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Old March 21 2013, 05:54 AM   #7
sojourner
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

^Um, why? It's old information either way. And no. relativity doesn't work like that.
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Old March 22 2013, 12:50 AM   #8
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

I'd imagine as soon as the message leaves the "bubble" of space that contains the spaceship, it'd continue travelling at normal light speed. So while yes for the split second that it takes to travel from the ship to the drive's event horizon it'd be travelling at FTL speeds (relative to the outside observer) it won't arrive anywhere ahead of the ship. Indeed, anyone receiving the message would probably experience some weird doppler shift effect. Indeed, if I'm figuring this right, if the receiver's position is in front of the ship, when the message does eventually get to them (long after the ship itself) it'd probably be completely back-to-front and the ship would be constantly over-taking the message as it's transmitted. It'd be sort of like firing a water pistol out of a super sonic jet...and about as useful.

So in short, radio communications with an object travelling at FTL is just downright impractical. But then seeing where you're going at those speeds would be just as difficult since by the time you see an object, you're already on top of it. Not so much a problem with the big slow moving kind like stars and galaxies, but asteroids, comets and dust belts could be a serious hazard.

AFAIK the best theoretical idea for practical two-way FTL communications is in manipulating twinned sets of quantum entangled particles. On the one hand the range is infinite (at least within this universe) and the only lag would be due to bandwidth limitations (since you can only "transmit" one binary bit of information per particle) but you'd only be able to communication through those two twinned nodes. So for every ship sent out, you'd need one dedicated communication node back on Earth and the only way for ships to talk to each other is to either have an extra node set per ship (which gets exponentially more complex the more ships in the fleet) or you're dependent on Earth to relay any messages back and forth, which will tie up the nodes at both ends.
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Old March 22 2013, 07:05 PM   #9
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
If it's that easy, where are the aliens?
All over the place? Human history on Earth covers a small part of spacetime. The part of it when we were aware of the possibility of aliens is even smaller. It's so tiny that any contact in that time could have been easily missed.

We've discounted all alien stories because we think aliens are not racing all over the galaxy with warp drives. If they are, however, we might need to revisit some formerly crazy stories.
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Old March 22 2013, 07:10 PM   #10
Creepy Critter
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

The aliens have the prime directive and are using their cloaking devices. They don't want to scare the meat, because it's really a cookbook. We're in like a zoo already, but we won't know for sure until our warp drive just bounces off the edge of the solar system.
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Old March 22 2013, 09:17 PM   #11
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

We're not a zoo, we're a plantation. They are after our coffee.
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Old March 23 2013, 10:44 AM   #12
Reverend
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post
Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
If it's that easy, where are the aliens?
All over the place? Human history on Earth covers a small part of spacetime. The part of it when we were aware of the possibility of aliens is even smaller. It's so tiny that any contact in that time could have been easily missed.

We've discounted all alien stories because we think aliens are not racing all over the galaxy with warp drives. If they are, however, we might need to revisit some formerly crazy stories.
The theoretical possibility of FTL drive has never been a major factor is discounting crazy stories of alien encounters. The total lack of physical evidence and unreliability (or "craziness") of supposed witnesses is what invalidates most of it.
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Old March 23 2013, 01:54 PM   #13
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

Reverend wrote: View Post
The theoretical possibility of FTL drive has never been a major factor is discounting crazy stories of alien encounters. The total lack of physical evidence and unreliability (or "craziness") of supposed witnesses is what invalidates most of it.
First off, I wasn't talking about recent alien encounter stories, which are mostly discounted by the fact that are constantly watching the skies and we would have noticed anyone landing. In fact, except for the Wow! signal, any specific claim of alien contact is probably bullshit and could be right only by chance – these days anything is attributed to aliens, so if something was actually done by aliens, no doubt someone would have attributed it to them without actually having a clue.

That being said, a huge part of the reason alien stories are that crazy is because we are rightfully assuming that there aren't any aliens anywhere close enough to visit us, both in distance and price of the journey. If that is not the case, the odds will be significantly changed, and while many of those stories will still remain crazy, they will be less so, and many would no longer be.

This is particularly true for the more general ideas such as paleocontact or the possibility of alien spacecraft remains in the Solar System, etc. And if someone tells you they've dug out a fossilized warp engine from their backyard, you'd at least give them the benefit of the doubt to click on the link of the picture. Right now, I would not even keep on reading what they have to say.
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Old March 24 2013, 06:50 AM   #14
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

The galaxy is immense. The space between systems is immense. The space between planets is immense.

We have craft operating in a narrow corridor of space, as they transit somewhere, to a planet or to the edge of our system. They aren't programmed to focus on anything outside of their programming.

We have craft that scanned a narrow band of wavelengths on the EM spectrum, dependent on their mission parameters, or we have craft that scanned a narrow region of space, looking for planets.

We are using communications technology that is based on operating on a planetary scale that has been modified for system scale operations, but in this capacity is limited. We have people who project that this technology will be superceded by a next generation of technology.

With these factors, I doubt that we would be able to detect an alien spacecraft if it was parked near the Moon monitoring us.
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Old March 24 2013, 11:01 PM   #15
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Re: NASA's Warp Drive - update

You'd probably notice a spacecraft at a near-Moon orbit against the dark background. If you want it to hide it, the Moon surface would have been a better idea... Until we launched LRO that is. Now that doesn't quite work either.

That leaves you with the only option of leaving it in plain sight – some of the near-Earth asteroids to be more specific. If the aliens are inventive enough, they can make sure that the energy it generates, gathers and releases won't make it stand out in comparison to other asteroids. Then make it transmit, say, neutrinos amplified and shifted to regular radio waves by the relay station on Pluto. Untraceable spy satellite.
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