Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 7th May 2009 22:24 UTC
Geek stuff, sci-fi... Today, the new Star Trek film has seen its official premiere here in The Netherlands tonight, and in honour of that, I figured an article on Space.com about the possibility of faster-than-light travel would make a good fit on OSNews. The article is quite technical, so bear with me on this one. I hope I get everything right.
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RE: Comment by Laurence
by joekiser on Thu 7th May 2009 23:45 UTC in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
joekiser
Member since:
2005-06-30

Maybe I'm wrong, but I have always understood warp drive in Star Trek to be something like what happened in Childhood's End. If I remember correctly, a few humans traveled at near light-speed to the Overlords' home planet which was many light years away. As the spaceship speed up, time passed much more quickly than time on Earth. To the people on the spaceship, only a few weeks had passed round-trip, whereas on the earth, something like 80 years had passed. Obviously, in Star Trek the difference in time would not be nearly as substantial.

This is different from the whole "space folding" idea, which I understood best in the children's book A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. In this example, space is folded so that the jump between two points is instantaneous. There was a whole 'ant on a string' explanation that was given to visually explain the effect.

Maybe the whole Star Trek warp speed idea is a hybrid of both? Disregarding the obvious of course, that warp drive is only meant to work as a plot device, with the ship being just as fast and powerful as is needed for the good guys to win (or as slow and powerless as is needed to make the episode last an hour).

Edited 2009-05-07 23:47 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by Tuishimi on Fri 8th May 2009 00:48 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

No... warp drive allows them to travel outside of time and space... they maintain "normal" space-time in the vessel because (as another poster mentioned) they are not REALLY breaking the light barrier.

NOW... They ARE limited to .25 SOL via their impulse drive which might be capable of reaching greater than .50 SOL... but the time dilation becomes a problem. So (theoretically) "full impulse" is only .25 the speed of light.

Warp drive (in Star Trek) basically generates a force that pushes space back away from the ship in a bubble, and by changing the shape of the bubble they can change the amount of "force" (for lack of a better term) being exerted by space on the bubble. It's the same idea as pinching a wet watermelon seed... because of its shape, it shoots out of your fingertips. The bubble isn't exactly a bubble as you or I would define it, but waves of warped space (again I think as someone mentioned) that sort of surround the ship, separating space outside from the space inside (which is why in effect the ship is not moving through space-time, yet it is.)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by big_gie on Fri 8th May 2009 01:18 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
big_gie Member since:
2006-01-04

As the spaceship speed up, time passed much more quickly than time on Earth. To the people on the spaceship, only a few weeks had passed round-trip, whereas on the earth, something like 80 years had passed. Obviously, in Star Trek the difference in time would not be nearly as substantial.

That is "simple" special relativity, nothing to do with general relativity.
See the twins "though" experiment. This happens everyday. Since particles travelling around the galaxies have a slow wall clock, they disintegrate in what appears for us to be many thousand years, thus allowing them to travel around the galaxies. But when they enter our atmosphere they slow down, their time accelerate back to our "normal" time, and disintegrate in our atmosphere...

Reply Parent Score: 2