To infinity and beyond

Still no flying car, but Star Trek warp speed is possible, according to NASA

Still no flying car, but Star Trek warp speed is possible, according to NASA

space travel, Star Trek, wrap drive, science
A ring-shaped warp drive device could transport a football-shape starship (center) to effective speeds faster than light. The concept was first proposed by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre. Graphic by Harold White

Let me tell you my No. 1 complaint about science fiction: Nothing from the future ever materializes.

I have no hoverboard, no flying car, no three-hour workday a la George Jetson (unless you count time on Pinterest as not working, which, you know, whatever), and while I do have a robot that cleans my house, it's not sassy. Lame.

Luckily scientists in Houston are finally focusing on ways to make science fiction a science reality. Physicists at this month's 100 Year Starship Symposium, sponsored by NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, said that warp-speed travel created by bending the space-time continuum (you know, like they did in Star Trek) could be possible.

As described in Space.com,

A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre; however, subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.

Previously proposed warp drives resembled "a football-shape spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it," with the ring causing space-time to warp around the ship, allowing a craft to move up to 10 times the speed of light — that's 6.7 billion miles per hour.

But Harold "Sonny" White of the Johnson Space Center said that if the ring is shaped more like a "rounded donut" then a mass the size of the Voyager 1 probe could potentially power it.

"The findings I presented... change it from impractical to plausible and worth further investigation," White told Space.com.

Now if only someone could get to work on making teleportation possible so I could avoid traffic in town...