From: Steve Sawyer <stevesaw.nul> Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2013 21:05:15 -0700 Archived: Tue, 23 Jul 2013 07:15:30 -0400 Subject: Faster Than The Speed Of Light? Hi, Listerions, In a July 22 article in the New York Times, there is a report on some of NASA's current research into advanced propulsion technologies, entitled Faster Than The Speed Of Light? that discusses some of the preliminary investigations of a NASA physicist and engineer, Harold G. White, who is apparently exploring and attempting to refine the kind of "warp drive" theory and potential technology first discussed in detail by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre several years ago. See: http://nyti.ms/12cCljW for the full article [Fair Use Excerpt] HOUSTON - Beyond the security gate at the Johnson Space Center's 1960s-era campus here, inside a two-story glass and concrete building with winding corridors, there is a floating laboratory. Harold G. White, a physicist and advanced propulsion engineer at NASA, beckoned toward a table full of equipment there on a recent afternoon: a laser, a camera, some small mirrors, a ring made of ceramic capacitors and a few other objects. He and other NASA engineers have been designing and redesigning these instruments, with the goal of using them to slightly warp the trajectory of a photon, changing the distance it travels in a certain area, and then observing the change with a device called an interferometer. So sensitive is their measuring equipment that it was picking up myriad earthly vibrations, including people walking nearby. So they recently moved into this lab, which floats atop a system of underground pneumatic piers, freeing it from seismic disturbances. The team is trying to determine whether faster-than-light travel - warp drive - might someday be possible. Warp drive. Like on "Star Trek." "Space has been expanding since the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago," said Dr. White, 43, who runs the research project. "And we know that when you look at some of the cosmology models, there were early periods of the universe where there was explosive inflation, where two points would've went receding away from each other at very rapid speeds." "Nature can do it," he said. "So the question is, can we do it?" Einstein famously postulated that, as Dr. White put it, "thou shalt not exceed the speed of light," essentially setting a galactic speed limit. But in 1994, a Mexican physicist, Miguel Alcubierre, theo- rized that faster-than-light speeds were possible in a way that did not contradict Einstein, though Dr. Alcubierre did not suggest anyone could actually construct the engine that could accomplish that. His theory involved harnessing the expansion and contraction of space itself. Under Dr.Alcubierre's hypothesis, a ship still couldn't exceed light speed in a local region of space. But a theoretical propulsion system he sketched out manipulated space- time by generating a so-called "warp bubble" that would expand space on one side of a spacecraft and contract it on another. "In this way, the spaceship will be pushed away from the Earth and pulled towards a distant star by space-time itself," Dr. Alcubierre wrote. Dr. White has likened it to stepping onto a moving walkway at an airport. But Dr. Alcubierre's paper was purely theoretical, and suggested insurmountable hurdles. Among other things, it depended on large amounts of a little understood or observed type of "exotic matter" that violates typical physical laws. Dr. White believes that advances he and others have made render warp speed less implausible. Among other things, he has redesigned the theoretical warp-traveling spacecraft - and in particular a ring around it that is key to its propulsion system - in a way that he believes will greatly reduce the energy requirements. He is quick to offer up his own caveats, however, saying his warp research is akin to a university science project that is just trying to prove that a microscopic warp bubble can be detected in a lab. "We're not bolting this to a spacecraft," he said of the warp technology. [End Excerpt] As you can see from reading the entire article, this is just a kind of "update" on current NASA advanced propulsion research, which is very preliminary and generalized, as Dr. White himself indicates, but it is nice to know that at least a few NASA physicists, and minimal resources, are being expended on exploring this revolutionary theory and that maybe, one day, the technological means for implementing it could perhaps be eventually realized. Maybe. Interestingly, Alcubierre has this to say about the current impracticality of his own hypothetical technology ever being employed: [Fair Use Excerpt] Still, one of the most dubious is Dr. Alcubierre himself. He listed a number of concerns, starting with the vast amounts of exotic matter that would be needed. "The warp drive on this ground alone is impossible," he said. And he posed a more fundamental question: How would you turn it on? "At speeds larger than the speed of light, the front of the warp bubble cannot be reached by any signal from within the ship," he said. "This does not just mean we can't turn it off; it is much worse. It means we can't even turn it on in the first place." [End Excerpt] Steve Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast At: http://www.virtuallystrange.net/ufo/sdi/program/ These contents above are copyright of the author and UFO UpDates - Toronto. They may not be reproduced without the express permission of both parties and are intended for educational use only.
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