Most people don't realize how ambitious interstellar flight is. The 4.3 light-years to Alpha Centauri equate to approximately 25 trillion miles. That's about 100 million times the quarter million miles to the Moon.
When Star Trek's U.S.S. Enterprise hit the television screen in 1966, the science fiction series had trouble finding its own space and time slot.
Decades later, a similar visionary zeal to seek new worlds and new civilizations is a factual enterprise for a new generation of galactic explorers. They are taking on spacetime and hoping to boldly go where no spacecraft has gone before -- out to far-flung stars and the planets that circle them.
There is no doubt there are worlds out there beyond our own cabal of planets, but even if you've got the heaviest of foot on the accelerator, plotting a speedy route to the stars is not easy.
In case you missed it, the first interstellar probes are already en route. Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft are headed into interstellar space. But they weren't targeted toward any nearby stars. Furthermore, these craft lack the power sources or communications gear that a true interstellar probe would require.
More to the point -- you don't have to be a rocket scientist or an astronomer to appreciate the fact that space is vast.
As example, NASA's Voyager 1 -- the most distant object produced by humans -- is now some 90 astronomical units (AU) or 8.4 billion miles from the Sun. It was boosted from Earth back in 1977, and is clocking a speed of some 3.6 astronomical units per year. Contrast that to the Kuiper Belt around our Solar system at around 200 AU, the Oort cloud at some 10,000 AU out, and the nearest star at 260,000 AU away.
Any technology current today will require a 'miracle' of one sort or another to send a probe to the next star in a reasonable time," Howe said. To send one pound of mass to the next star in 40 years means that the energy contained in 100 million pounds (50 kilotons) of high explosive has to be expended to get the "pound" up to speed. Thus, the development of very small payloads and ultra-light propulsion systems is essential.
The only on-board propulsion technologies that we know of that might have a chance of enabling an interstellar flight are fusion and antimatter. Fusion has remained an elusive animal. Antimatter technology is in its infancy, but is rapidly growing," Howe said. Within the next fifty years, antimatter technology may have the same impact as the laser has had over the past fifty years.
Warp drive - A ray of Hope
In the fictional universe of Star Trek, the warp drive is a form of faster-than-light (FTL) propulsion. Hyperdrive and jump drive are alternative methods of FTL travel commonly used in fiction.
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico – Take one part high-frequency gravitational wave generation, then add in a quantum vacuum field.
Now whip wildly via a gravitomagnetic force in a rotating superconductor while standing by for Alcubierre warp drive in higher dimensional space-time.
So you're looking for the latest in faster-than-light interstellar travel via traversable wormholes? That's one theme among many discussed at Space Technology & Applications International Forum (STAIF), a meeting held here Feb. 12-16 that brought together more than 600 experts to thrash out a range of space exploration issues.
Along with the run-of-the-mill space debates of the day, STAIF has also become a respected venue for researchers that dabble in the exotic, the thought-provoking novel, or the downright weird anomaly.
Authors: Mohammad Mansouryar
A design of a configuration for violation of the averaged null energy condition (ANEC) and consequently other classic energy conditions (CECs), is presented. The methods of producing effective exotic matter (EM) for a traversable wormhole (TW) are discussed. Also, the approaches of less necessity of TWs to EM are considered. The result is, TW and similar structures; i.e., warp drive (WD) and Krasnikov tube are not just theoretical subjects for teaching general relativity (GR) or objects only an advanced civilization would be able to manufacture anymore, but a quite reachable challenge for current technology. Besides, a new compound metric is introduced as a choice for testing in the lab.
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