What is Warp drive: Definition and 47 Discussions

A warp drive is a fictional superluminal spacecraft propulsion system in many science fiction works, most notably Star Trek, and a subject of ongoing physics research. A spacecraft equipped with a warp drive may travel at speeds greater than that of light by many orders of magnitude. In contrast to some other fictitious faster-than-light technologies such as a jump drive, the warp drive does not permit instantaneous travel and transfers between two points, but rather involves a measurable passage of time which is pertinent to the concept. In contrast to hyperspace, spacecraft at warp velocity would continue to interact with objects in "normal space". The general concept of "warp drive" was introduced by John W. Campbell in his 1957 novel Islands of Space.Einstein's theory of special relativity states that speed of light travel is impossible for material objects that, unlike photons, have a non-zero rest mass. The problem of a material object exceeding light speed is that an infinite amount of kinetic energy would be required to travel at exactly the speed of light. Warp drives serve to circumvent this limitation in fiction to facilitate stories set at galactic scales.

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  1. Jaime Rudas

    I Does the Alcubierre drive shorten distances?

    In this post, Peter Donis says: My question is whether or not the distance between Earth and Alpha Centauri would actually be much less than 4.3 light years if measured along a path that passes through the Alcubierre warp bubble. I understand that the Alcubierre bubble, by contracting space...
  2. L

    B How fast do space-time changes propagate?

    The context is the so called warp drive. In pop-sci articles I've seen the claim that the speed of light limit only applies to objects in space but not the space-time itself, thus claiming that the expansion and contraction of space by a warp drive has no speed limit. On the other side, I've...
  3. jaketodd

    I Any advancements in the feasibility of Alcubierre warp drive science?

    I noticed there are some threads here, in Physics Forums, already about the Alcubierre warp drive. But those threads are a bit old. Alcubierre warp drive. Can it ever be created? Obstacles? Complete impossibilities...
  4. D

    Warp Drive = Artificial Gravity?

    I had a bit of a brainwave regarding artificial gravity (outside of rotation or linear acceleration). As we know "gravity plating" is just a plot device to allow sci-fi films and shows to escape the pain of having to accurately recreate a zero-g environment. But then I thought: gravity is a...
  5. S

    B Can We Create a Warp Drive for Light? - Josh's Curiousity

    Hello everyone, Preface: I'm hoping this doesn't violate the speculative or personal theories clause in the forum guidelines. It's really just a curiosity, I'm in no position to argue/develop/push the idea or anything. If this does violate that clause, would you be able to recommend a similar...
  6. T

    I Alcubierre Warp Drive: Spacetime Diagram Explained

    https://scipost.org/SciPostPhysLectNotes.10/pdf "Space expands behind the warp bubble and contracts in front of it, thus pushing the bubble forward at velocity v. The ship, which is at rest inside the bubble, moves along with the bubble at an arbitrarily large global velocity." If the ship...
  7. J

    A Latest Warp Drive Research: Examining Chronology Protection Conjecture

    I had some questions about some recently published results on the theoretical aspects of warp-drive. Does the content of the research of Alexey Bobrick, and Gianni Martire proposed in their paper describing their ideas for a warp drive and published in IOP's Classical and Quantum Gravity lead...
  8. Jarvis323

    Moving through Air, Dust, and Solid Objects with Warp Drive

    What would happen if you tried to fly through obstacles using warp drive? Distorting space so that two points are closer wouldn't get around the fact that there might be obstacles (e.g. air molecules, space dust, empire destroyers) that you would bump into along the way right. Would all of that...
  9. DEvens

    A Alcubierre Warp Drive: Intro Paper for GR Students

    I would like to read about the Alcubierre warp drive. Is there a good introductory paper? I have done some GR, round about 8 months worth in undergrad [mumble] years ago. And my honors project was on interior solutions for stellar collapse. So I'm OK with GR at about the speed of Weinberg's...
  10. S

    I Is the Alcubierre Warp Drive possible?

    This Quora post seems to say that this type of warp drive could allow faster-than-light travel, but somehow I think this is junk science: https://www.quora.com/Will-humans-eventually-be-able-to-explore-the-galaxy-After-all-it-is-multiple-light-years-away-to-even-the-nearest-star (author is...
  11. R

    I Alcubierre Warp Drive: 2nd Law of Thermodynamics Impossibility?

    It seems to me that if one had a functional Alcubierre drive and used it there would be some subluminal frame of reference in which time was going backwards for the spaceship which probably for it and for macroscopic objects in it which constitute a reasonably closed system would be a violation...
  12. S

    I Possible Warp Drive Physics: The Alcubierre Drive

    I was reading this article about a possible warp drive that seems like science fantasy to me. https://www.universetoday.com/89074/what-is-the-alcubierre-warp-drive/
  13. jerromyjon

    B Gravitational waves and "warp drive"

    I have no idea where this belongs or if it will be deleted but would Alcubierre drive cause detectable gravitational waves? And since I'm heading out on this limb would the direction of propulsion be indiscernible? As per the Wikipedia description it follows from a solution to the same general...
  14. E

    B Exploring the Possibility of a Warp Jet: A Theoretical Approach

    I was looking at videos on how a warp drive theoretically could work: by compressing space in front and expanding space in the back. This reminded me of a jet engine compressing air and blasting it out of a nozzle. My question is, could you build a sort of warp jet that would compress space...
  15. N

    B Would All Observers See a Warp Drive Spaceship at Constant Speed?

    If you were in a warp drive spaceship traveling at say 2c. Would all observers see your ship traveling at 2c?
  16. S

    Space-Time Distortion and Warp-Drive

    I have heard many claims about the effects of space-time distortion but not really anything specific as far as matter. For example: I place two spheres 5 meters apart on the z-axis into empty space-time that is not at all distorted. Then I proceed to evenly stretch all of the space-time in that...
  17. M

    Is there anyone can explain the warp drive?

    I have seen this news earlier that the physicist accidentally discover a warp drive an idea of traveling as fast of speed of light? Is this possible? How it will work?
  18. GiantSheeps

    Is a warp drive possible? How long until we develop one?

    Is a warp drive actually possible to create? If so, how long until we can develop one? Is it at all possible that they could be developed during our lifetimes? I'm asking because of this article...
  19. M

    The Warp Drive Problem: Can Negative Energy/Matter Exist?

    Time and Time again I see the same term being thrown around amongst people and countless Articles claiming that Warp Drive might be possible. And that is through The Casimir effect. Correct me if I am wrong but the Casimir effect does not demonstrate negative exotic matter. From my...
  20. K

    Engineering Warp drive or electronics engineering

    Hey everybody, I'm from Argentina and going to college soon. I'm stuck between physics (mainly for contributing to interstellar travel) and electronics engineering. The thing is, I'd only study physics if there's a slight chance of witnessing warp drive/wormhole technologies in this lifetime...
  21. N

    Harold White warp drive experiment

    Hi all, I read an article about Harold White's Warp drive experiment at Nasa (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20110015936.pdf) I understand the basic idea of the experiment - to try to create small pertubation in spacetime and measure it using the interferometer - but I...
  22. JonnyMaddox

    Difference Between Natario & Alcubierre Warp Drives

    There are two solutions to Einstein's equations that allow for warp drive. One is the Alcubierre warp drive and the other is the Natario warp drive. What is the difference? Is the Natario warp drive better suited for a real life application than the Alcubierre warp drive? Here is a paper in...
  23. MattRob

    Alcubierre / GR Warp drive and Entering/Exiting a Light Cone

    So, this has really stirred my interest. To be clear, I'm not citing these as sources, simply linking for discussion; An article on the subject, And the abstract. Talking about this elsewhere I seem to find no shortage of objections. But to me it seems fundamentally pretty sound. One...
  24. S

    Can the Warp Drive Go Faster Than Light?

    Hi. I'm curious about this: The supposed "warp drive" by Miguel Alcubierre is supposed to go faster than light. But, isn't it a warp in spacetime? Doesn't that make it like a gravity wave? But gravity waves can only go the speed of light, right? So how can the warp drive go faster?
  25. M

    If warp drive is possible, how would it affect nearby planets?

    If warp drive was possible, how could it affect the orbit of planets that are close to the warp? I'm not sure how to define how close. Is there a minimum distance the spaceship would need to be from other planets, so that it has no effect?
  26. I

    Intuition behind the warp drive

    I have been pondering about the concept of the warp drive and my intuition can't seem to understand the idea fully. I will try to exlain what i have found out so far. To keep everything simple and stripped down to only the bare essentials, let's discuss about it in one-dimentional universe...
  27. K

    Could a warp drive work as a time machine?

    I'm sure you've heard of the warp/Alcubierre drive that would work by expanding space behind it and contracting it in front to achieve faster than light travel. I was thinking about this the other day and was wondering if this concept could be applied to time as well to allow time travel. Would...
  28. B

    Alcubierre Warp Drive Physics Research

    Alcubierre Warp Drive With Rings Story Research I'm writing a new section in my science fiction novel and need a little help with the science of it. So, the general idea of the Alcubierre Warp Drive is that with 65 exajoules you can create a warp bubble by expanding spacetime behind you and...
  29. S

    Alcubierre Warp Drive: Debate and Discussions

    Alcubierre Warp Drive: Debate and Discussions (Force Fields; Dampners) I would like to first of all apologize if this is not in the correct location or if this thread violates any of the forum's rules. The purpose of this thread is to discuss, debate, and bounce ideas around regarding the...
  30. J

    Writing: Input Wanted Warp Drive System: Could Powerful Lasers Reach Warp Speed?

    This is a very blunt guess, but since light can warp space-time a bit better then gravity, and that light is a ripple in hyper space. Could it be possible for 14 powerful lasers that are guided by "mirrors" around the ship to form a circle powerful enough to reach warp speed? The idea of a big...
  31. P

    NASA working on warp drive experiments

    I've been trying to follow these experiments that NASA is doing to try and warp space-time on a microscopic scale. Obviously that won't have us traveling at FTL speeds yet, but it would be proof of concept. From what I read, they are using a laser, and some kind of special ceramic material (I...
  32. Z

    NASA could build a warp drive?

    NASA could build a warp drive?!? I just read in a article that NASA has revisited an older theory and found they can improve on it greatly. here is a link to the journal (i guess that is what it is called) of the scientist who is working in this...
  33. S

    Alcubierre warp drive as time machine.

    Hi. I heard it's possible to use an "Alcubierre warp drive" as a time machine, if they existed. But how, precisely, would that work?
  34. A

    Travel 10x the Speed of Light: Warp Drive Explained

    I was reading this article today: http://news.yahoo.com/warp-drive-may-more-feasible-thought-scientists-161301109.html and in it it states this: How did they come to the figure of 10*C? Is it a matter of energy input to speed output?
  35. R

    Warp Drive & Bubble Theory: Can You See & Touch It?

    I'm sure a lot of you have heard of the warp drive theory. I can't seem to find much on the bubble part, though. In theory, will the bubble be something you can actually see and touch?
  36. M

    Magnetic Warp Drive - What Do You Think?

    Hello. What do you think about Warp drive? And what do you think about it, if the warp bubble is created with a magnetic field? Thank you.
  37. D

    What happens if an Alcubierre warp drive fails?

    If the warp drive is shut down either by its destruction or just plain turning it off, what happens? Does the vessel stop? Continue coasting forward? If so how would the time dilation factor at speeds several thousand times the speed of light?
  38. Q

    Is Warp Drive Possible and What Power Would It Require?

    How would a warp drive work, and it is also that it would need tremondous power to operate, how much power, and what kind of power?
  39. F

    Learn About the Alcubierre Warp Drive: A High Schooler's Guide

    I am interested in learning more about the Alcubierre warp drive. Although I've read every qualitative description imaginable plus Lillian Lieber's The Einstein Theory of Relativity, which gives a BRIEF introduction to the math behind GR, I am totally lost when it comes to the math. Although I...
  40. K

    What would we need for a warp drive?

    Just a question that randomly occurred to me, why is it or is it not possible? What is necessary to make warp drives possible? :smile:
  41. T

    Exploring Warp Drive Possibilities with EM Waves

    I love Star trek and I was thinking, how to create a warp drive. I have read a discusion about EM waves on this forum, there was written that they do not need any medium for propagation and : “In a simplified sense the oscillating E field sustains the oscillating B field which sustains the...
  42. P

    Lambda Warp Drive: Locally Manipulating for Alcubierre Warp Bubble

    Lambda Warp Drive... Here's an interesting paper, http://arxiv.org/abs/0712.1649 It's about "locally manipulating lamdba" to get something similar to the Alcubierre warp "bubble". I love wild stuff like this...
  43. R

    New Warp Drive Paper: Read the Co-Authored Journal Article

    Hey folks. If anyones interested in warp drives I've co-written a new paper. http://xxx.lanl.gov/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0712/0712.1649v2.pdf Its being published inthe Journal of the British Interplanetary Society early 08. Anyone else interested in warp drives/ wormholes etc?
  44. Whitestar

    Is Warp Drive Really Possible with the Help of Negative Energy?

    Einstein predicted that all matter distorts spacetime, the greater the size in matter, the greater the distortion. In the science fictional world of Star Trek, the starship Enterprise can travel vast distances by warping space with its warp nacelles. Dr. Michio Kaku's excellent book...
  45. A

    Warp drive, then where are we?

    Hey guys; Say that yesterday someone invented a warp drive, that would allow you to shoot across our galaxy in an instant. Say we went up in space today and used it. When you appeared at what you would think would be the other side of the galaxy, how would you know where you are? My...
  46. P

    I want to learn about warp drive

    Any links/ organizations you know of? I'm already familiar with the now defunct "warp drive today" site, the axed NASA BPP project, and the Alcubierre/Van Broeck papers. There really should be an organization of some sort that gathers all the latest science into one place.
  47. Whitestar

    Warp Drive: Is it Possible to Travel Faster Than the Speed of Light?

    The warp drive concept is a fascinating idea as a means to get from point A to point B in a much shorter time as opposed to traveling through normal space, which would undoubtedly take many years to centuries. Still, there is something fishy about warp drive. While many difficult issues have...