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Questions on exotic matter(Alcubierre type)

  1. Aug 13, 2014 #1
    First off, I would like to say that my highest level of physics education is an AP high school physics class. So if my knowledge is incomplete, misunderstood, or just plain wrong, please forgive me.

    On to the question. So I recently heard about the refinement of the Alcubierre drive(warp drive, essentially) to the extent where instead of requiring the mass energy of Jupiter, it would require the mass energy of Voyager. I don't remember the exact figure but I remember it being stated somewhere that it was the amount of energy the US uses in one year. The only flaw in the Alcubierre drive, however, is that it requires that figure to be in a negative energy density. I remember reading somewhere that negative energy densities do happen, however only in the quantum state.

    My question is this: How probable is it that exotic matter that would work for an Alcubierre drive would actually exist? Is it possible that Dark Matter/energy could fill this requirement if we managed to manipulate it a certain way? Lastly, is it even possible that it could be a simple element that would have to be created in a lab that would allow us to fulfill this negative energy problem?

    Any insights would be well appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I can only tell you that dark matter and dark energy are not suitable substances for this. Dark matter doesn't have negative energy density, and dark energy isn't even matter.
  4. Aug 13, 2014 #3
    First I want to say that I do realize this is a video game but I feel like it is worth asking or thinking about.

    In the game series Mass Effect, there was a substance called Element Zero, or "eezo" for short, that supposedly managed to manipulate the amount of mass in a substance without removing any of the matter. This happened when an electric current was applied to it.

    As far as dark matter goes, are we(humans) absolutely certain that dark matter doesnt have some exotic properties? I'm not saying anything definitely, but as far as I am aware, we dont actually know much about dark matter.

    For dark energy, if gravity is trying to pull everything together, and dark energy is (supposedly) pushing everything away, wouldn't that make one of them negative energy?

    As another idea that I thought of while typing this, if we could manage to somehow manipulate the force carrier of gravity(I don't actually know what it is, but still), and also manage to manipulate dark energy as well(if its possible at all), would that not essentially be the same as what a warp drive does? if you can manage to manipulate both in the right way, that is.
  5. Aug 13, 2014 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    Absolutely certain? No, of course not.

    Dark energy is a property of space, it is not matter. You cannot collect it and use it for anything, including an Alcubierre drive.

    No, not necessarily. It depends on what kind of manipulation you are doing. Honestly this is a little too much speculation for PF. If you haven't already, please read the rules by clicking Site Info at the top of the page and then Rules and Guidelines.

    In the meantime, I am going to lock this thread. You are free to continue using PF, just avoid speculation and "what ifs" of this nature. They really don't lead anywhere and usually don't help anyone understand anything.
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