Scientists have now reached a turning point in interstellar travel

0
87
Scientists have now reached a turning point in interstellar travel

With the convenience of launching a car, the crew of the starship USS Enterprise embarks on a new adventure in each episode. Star Trek, somehow traveling at many times the speed of light. First seen by television audiences in 1966, this science fiction practical interstellar journey inspired Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre Moya to explore the possibility of a real method of light-speed propulsion. Decades later, he published his cutting-edge research to an astonished community of theoretical physicists. An Alcubierre warp drive hypothetically contracts space-time in front of a spacecraft and expands space-time behind it, causing the ship to move from point A to point B at “arbitrarily fast” speeds. By distorting spacetime—the continuum around the three dimensions of space and time—an observer located outside the ship’s arcing bubble would see it move at speeds greater than light, although observers inside the ship would not. Any acceleration forces.

If a superluminal (i.e. faster than the speed of light) machine like the one in Alcubierre were to work, it would revolutionize humanity’s endeavors in the universe, perhaps reaching our closest star system, Alpha Centauri, within days or weeks. It is four light years away.

However, the Alcubierre engine has an obvious problem: the force driving it, so-called “negative energy,” consists of exotic particles that, as far as we know, are hypothetical matter that does not exist in our universe. Described only in mathematical terms, exotic particles behave in unexpected ways, such as having unexpected mass and acting against gravity (indeed, for the past 30 years, scientists have been publishing research that breaks down the barriers inherent to the speed of light revealed in Alcubierre’s seminal 1994 paper in the journal Classical and quantum gravity.

Now, ideas lab researchers Applied Physics, based in New York, believe they have found a creative new approach to solving the warp motor’s fundamental obstacle. Together with colleagues from other institutions, the team developed a “positive energy” system that does not violate the known laws of physics. That’s a radical change, according to two of the study’s authors: Gianni Martire, CEO of Applied Physics, and Jared Fuchs, a physician and senior scientist at the same institution. His work has also been published Classical and quantum gravity By the end of April, this could be the first chapter in the handbook of interstellar space travel.

See also  "It's like a car falling from space every week."

Positive energy makes a difference. Imagine you are an astronaut in space and you are pushing a tennis ball. Instead of moving away, the ball is pushed back, and applying enough propulsive force can “tear your arm off,” explains Martere. Popular Mechanics. That’s negative energy, and although Alcubierre’s design required it, there was no way to harness it.

Good pictures

Instead, the old positive energy is more likely to create a “curvature bubble,” a spherical structure that surrounds a passenger ship using the mundane, but incredibly important, force of gravity of the space shuttle envelope, but without the passengers feeling any acceleration and “an elevator ride that’s so exciting.” Martyr says.

Fuchs explica a Popular Mechanics The density of the frame and the pressure it exerts inside is carefully controlled. According to Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. The bubble is therefore designed to allow viewers to experience natural movement in time within their local spatial environment – ​​within the bubble. At the same time, the bubble itself compresses space-time in front of the ship and expands behind it, carrying itself and the ship in it at incredible speeds. The walls of the bubble create the necessary momentum, just like rolling balls, Fuchs explains. “The movement of the material on the walls actually creates an effect for the occupants inside.”

That’s because the density of the shell and the pressure it exerts inside are carefully controlled, Fuchs explains Popular Mechanics. According to Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. The bubble is therefore designed to allow viewers to experience natural movement in time within their local spatial environment – ​​within the bubble. At the same time, the bubble itself compresses space-time in front of the ship and expands behind it, carrying itself and the ship in it at incredible speeds. The walls of the bubble create the necessary momentum, just like rolling balls, Fuchs explains. “The movement of material on the walls actually creates an effect for the occupants inside.”

Based on his 2021 article Published in Classical and quantum gravity — describing previous work by the same researchers on physics warp engines — the team was able to model the system’s complexity using their own computer program, Warp Factory. This set of tools for modeling the spacetimes of factor drivers allowing researchers to evaluate Einstein’s field equations and calculate the necessary power conditions for various factor drive geometries. Anyone can download and use it for free. These experiments led to what Fuchs called a mini-model, the first general model of a positive-energy curve motor. Their previous work also showed that the amount of energy required for a curved bubble depends on the shape of the bubble; For example, the flatter the bubble is in the direction of travel, the less energy it requires.

See also  Kapitanich inaugurated the VI Congress of the Federal Council of International Studies.

This recent advance suggests and illustrates new possibilities for studying the design of curve travel Popular Mechanics Dr. Eric Lentz. In his current position as a physicist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, Lentz contributes to research in dark matter detection and quantum information science. His independent research on the theory of warp machines aims to develop conventional physics while rethinking the shape of warped space. This issue must overcome many practical hurdles, he says.

Controlling warp bubbles requires great coordination, as they contain matter and energy over time to keep the passengers safe and at the same time as the target. “We can design a spacetime in which time has passed very differently [del habitáculo] That was. “If we’re not careful we could miss the rendezvous with Proxima Centauri,” says Lentz. “It’s even more dangerous if we’re traveling at less than the speed of light.” Go past the curve of warped space, he adds.

Although the current solution in Applied Physics requires a warp drive traveling below the speed of light, the model still needs to introduce a mass equivalent to two Jupiters. Otherwise it cannot achieve sufficient gravity and velocity to cause a significant warping effect. But no one knows what the source of this mass is, at least not yet. Some research suggests that if we somehow harnessed dark matter, we could use it to travel at the speed of light, but Fuchs and Martyr doubt this because it’s currently a big mystery (and an exotic particle).

Although scientists still have many problems to solve to create a working warp engine, their model should eventually approach the speed of light, says the Applied Physics team. Although a viable model would be slower than the speed of light, it would be a major improvement over current technology. For example, it takes nine years for Alpha Centauri to travel at half the speed of light. By contrast, Voyager 1, our fastest spacecraft currently traveling at 38,000 miles per hour, will take 75,000 years to reach our nearest star system.

See also  The James Webb Telescope captures a disturbing image 6 billion light-years away

Of course, as we approach the actual speed of light, things are very different. According to Einstein’s special principles of relativity. An object moving ever faster will increase its mass infinitely, and will require infinite energy to maintain its speed.

A revolutionary scientific discovery has given humanity the key to interstellar travel

Good pictures

“That’s the main limitation and the main challenge we have to overcome: How can we keep all of this? [burbuja]But not so much that we can’t even put it together?” says Martier. The answer may lie in condensed matter physics, he adds. This branch of physics deals specifically with the forces between atoms and electrons. Our current technologies like transistors, solid-state lasers and magnetic storage media. It has proven to be the basis for many.

The other big problem is that current models allow a bubble of constant curvature, but only for constant speed. Scientists have yet to figure out how to create initial acceleration. At the other end of the journey, how does the ship brake? “It’s like trying to understand a car for the first time,” Martier says. “We don’t have the engine yet, but we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.” The technology of warp motors has been at the stage of automobile technology since 1882, he says: travel by car was possible, but it still seemed like a very difficult problem.

The Applied Physics team believes that future discoveries in warp travel are inevitable. A general positive energy model is a first step. And you don’t have to go at the speed of light to reach distances that are only a dream today, Martier says. “Humanity is officially, mathematically, on a galactic path.”

Manasseh Wah's Headline

Before joining Popular Mechanics, Manasi Walk worked as a newspaper reporter, science journalist, technical writer and computer engineer. She is always looking for ways to combine three great joys: science, travel and food.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here