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Back to warp drive! And again, as I have not really explained what warp drive actually is, here is my continuation explanation.

As I said before, space is like a fabric that gravity sort of tugs on to make objects with mass come together (if you would like more information on that post, click here). The concept of warp drive can be looked at in a similar way. Although Albert Einstein never actually came up with the warp drive theory itself, his papers on the subject did lead to the concept of warp drive. When refering to the possibility of traveling faster than lightspeed, Einstein commented that it would be possible to move faster than the speed of light if spacetime were curved. Meaning that if you could curve the space fabric, much like gravity does, then you might be able to manipulate it in such a way that you may be able to travel faster than light.

Again this did not correlate to an official theory of “warp drive,” however as far as I can tell Gene Roddenberry used this information to create his own basic concept of warp drive that was used on Star Trek. This may have been generalized theories by actual scientists or something that Roddenberry came up with himself. It is also not quite known if Roddenberry coined the term “warp drive” or if it came from another soarce.

But I digress…back to the subject. Warp drive can be looked at much in the same way that gravity is looked at. There are varrying ways of doing it, but essentially an object would have to create a pull on the spacetime fabric around the ship. This can be seen as a pull similar to gravity in front of the ship, where pushing into the fabric forces the object to move toward it. Simultaniously, if you were to create an opposite push behind the vessel, you could push it away from the disturbance in the fabric. This is refered to gravitationally as “anti-gravity,” (the opposite of gravity, pushing away instead of pulling toward), and can be thought of as pushing up from the bottom of the fabric to sort of create a ‘hill’ in it rather than a ‘dip.’ In this case, the object on the fabric, such as a ball bearing, would roll away from the hill rather than fall toward it.

Alcubbiere Drive

So then, if you were able to create a ‘dip’ in spacetime in front of the ship and a ‘hill’ in spacetime behind the ship and make both of these disturbances move in the same direction at the same time and at the same speed, you could push/pull the object without the object moving on its own. In this instance, space around the object is moving rather than the object itself. I dare you to set up a piece of cloth and put a ball bearing on it and try it for yourself.

There have been many theories on the subject since the creation of the original Star Trek. Even enough to change the way that Roddenberry’s original warp drive works on the shows and movies. The latest concept, known as the Alcubierre Drive, was created by Miguel Alcubierre in Mexico in the ’90s, and is considered to be the closest we have come to actually developing a working theory on warp propulsion.

Related External Links:
Alcubierre Drive on Wikipedia
Warp Drive on Wikipedia

Warp Drive on Memory Alpha
The General Theory of Relativity on Wikipedia


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