Real world FTL

Joined: July 9th, 2016, 10:06 am

May 25th, 2018, 10:23 am #1

I usually think of FTL drives as storytelling tools and not something that we might build anytime soon - or ever. But a US military report takes a different view:

"The way this might work, the report says, is by using a lot of dark energy to expand an extra dimension into a "bubble." Such a bubble would be made large enough to fit a spaceship of perhaps 100 cubic meters, roughly the size of a semitrailer truck.

A contracting region of space-time in front of the ship, plus an expanding region behind it, would then propel the bubble and ship down a sort of space-time tube without technically exceeding the speed of light."

Even though we have no idea what dark energy is, they make it sound plausible. Read the rest here - including travel times to Mars (193 seconds) and Alpha Centauri (15 days):

https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-wha ... e-research
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Joined: December 13th, 2016, 3:17 am

May 25th, 2018, 2:31 pm #2

Am I the only one who thinks that "dark energy" sounds very WH40K/Mutant Chronicles?

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Joined: February 20th, 2015, 1:11 am

May 25th, 2018, 2:35 pm #3

Sounds like the start of a warp bubble


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Joined: July 12th, 2017, 2:23 am

May 26th, 2018, 12:54 am #4

That (warp bubble) is more or less what the Alcubierre drive is, which I believe is what that report was describing.  Far beyond our current technology, as you might expect.
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Joined: July 9th, 2016, 10:06 am

May 26th, 2018, 2:40 pm #5

Yes, they look very similar.
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Joined: December 8th, 2013, 3:00 am

May 27th, 2018, 6:34 am #6

Dark energy is something that real physicists talk about.  It's not just comic-book Unobtanium.
SAVAGE SWORDS AGAINST THE NECROMANCER is here. Check out Old Bones Publishing on DriveThruRPG.com!
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Joined: September 13th, 2013, 11:45 am

May 27th, 2018, 1:25 pm #7

Physicists talk about Dark Energy, but don't know what it is, haven't detected it and don't know how it works, so it really ticks all the boxes for Unobtanium or Handwavium. In fact, as it is postulated to fill in gaps in theories, Handwavium fits it really nicely. Same with Dark Matter, there's a hole in a theory, as the numbers don't add up, so there must be some Dark Matter to fill the hole.

Doesn't stop us using it, though.
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Joined: December 8th, 2013, 3:00 am

May 28th, 2018, 2:55 am #8

Um, do you really want to have this conversation?  Dark energy is the current leading hypothesis in theoretical high-energy physics.  The term was coined by Michael Turner, former APS President.
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Joined: June 28th, 2017, 6:28 pm

May 29th, 2018, 5:42 pm #9

This does sound similar to the Alcubierre idea, myself I use wormholes in my near future/solarpunk setting, which are non-local FTL, meaning that locally the speed of light is never exceeded. This does indeed appear have that same idea, now what about if it collides with matter. With the Alcubierre Warp, collision with space dust creates a cascade of ionizing radiation. edit: Ah, they include it at the bottom.

Another idea I have had is a "Warp Cannon" or Alcubierre Gun that fires a FTL projectile.
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Joined: December 8th, 2013, 3:00 am

May 29th, 2018, 6:11 pm #10

dragoner wrote:Another idea I have had is a "Warp Cannon" or Alcubierre Gun that fires a FTL projectile.
I haven't done the calculation, but I don't see how that could be energy-efficient at all.  My initial thought is that thermonuclear weapons, transported "conventionally" and detonated on the spot, would be much more effective, joule for joule.

(Why don't we spend more time talking about plain old thermonuclear weapons in scifi?  I think the answer must be "too passe"...or, possibly, "uncomfortably close to the real world".)
SAVAGE SWORDS AGAINST THE NECROMANCER is here. Check out Old Bones Publishing on DriveThruRPG.com!
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