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The Idea Of Using Warp Drive To Travel Across Entire Universe

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Could warp drive actually become a reality? The idea of using warp drive to travel across large distances is not as far-fetched as it might seem. Physicist Mario Borunda from Oklahoma State University investigates.

The closest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri. It is about 4.25 light-years away, or about 25 trillion miles (40 trillion km). The fastest ever spacecraft, the now- in-space Parker Solar Probe will reach a top speed of 450,000 mph. It would take just 20 seconds to go from Los Angeles to New York City at that speed, but it would take the solar probe about 6,633 years to reach Earth’s nearest neighboring solar system.
If humanity ever wants to travel easily between stars, people will need to go faster than light. But so far, faster-than-light travel is possible only in science fiction.
In Issac Asimov’s Foundation series, humanity can travel from planet to planet, star to star or across the universe using jump drives. As a kid, I read as many of those stories as I could get my hands on. I am now a theoretical physicist and study nanotechnology, but I am still fascinated by the ways humanity could one day travel in space.
Some characters – like the astronauts in the movies “Interstellar” and “Thor” – use wormholes to travel between solar systems in seconds. Another approach – familiar to “Star Trek” fans – is warp drive technology. Warp drives are theoretically possible if still far-fetched technology. Two recent papers made headlines in March when researchers claimed to have overcome one of the many challenges that stand between the theory of warp drives and reality.
But how do these theoretical warp drives really work? And will humans be making the jump to warp speed anytime soon?

Compression and expansion

Physicists’ current understanding of spacetime comes from Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. General Relativity states that space and time are fused and that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. General relativity also describes how mass and energy warp spacetime – hefty objects like stars and black holes curve spacetime around them.
This curvature is what you feel as gravity and why many spacefaring heroes worry about “getting stuck in” or “falling into” a gravity well. Early science fiction writers John Campbell and Asimov saw this warping as a way to skirt the speed limit.
What if a starship could compress space in front of it while expanding spacetime behind it? “Star Trek” took this idea and named it the warp drive.
In 1994, Miguel Alcubierre, a Mexican theoretical physicist, showed that compressing spacetime in front of the spaceship while expanding it behind was mathematically possible within the laws of General Relativity. So, what does that mean?
Imagine the distance between two points is 10 meters (33 feet). If you are standing at point A and can travel one meter per second, it would take 10 seconds to get to point B. However, let’s say you could somehow compress the space between you and point B so that the interval is now just one meter.
Then, moving through spacetime at your maximum speed of one meter per second, you would be able to reach point B in about one second. In theory, this approach does not contradict the laws of relativity since you are not moving faster than light in the space around you. Alcubierre showed that the warp drive from “Star Trek” was in fact theoretically possible.
Proxima Centauri here we come, right? Unfortunately, Alcubierre’s method of compressing spacetime had one problem: it requires negative energy or negative mass.

A negative energy problem

Alcubierre’s warp drive would work by creating a bubble of flat spacetime around the spaceship and curving spacetime around that bubble to reduce distances. The warp drive would require either negative mass – a theorized type of matter – or a ring of negative energy density to work. Physicists have never observed negative mass, so that leaves negative energy as the only option.
To create negative energy, a warp drive would use a huge amount of mass to create an imbalance between particles and antiparticles.
For example, if an electron and an antielectron appear near the warp drive, one of the particles would get trapped by the mass and this results in an imbalance. This imbalance results in negative energy density. Alcubierre’s warp drive would use this negative energy to create the spacetime bubble.
But for a warp drive to generate enough negative energy, you would need a lot of matter. Alcubierre estimated that a warp drive with a 100-meter bubble would require the mass of the entire visible universe.
In 1999, physicist Chris Van Den Broeck showed that expanding the volume inside the bubble but keeping the surface area constant would reduce the energy requirements significantly, to just about the mass of the sun. A significant improvement, but still far beyond all practical possibilities.

A sci-fi future?

Two recent papers – one by Alexey Bobrick and Gianni Martire and another by Erik Lentz – provide solutions that seem to bring warp drives closer to reality.
Bobrick and Martire realized that by modifying spacetime within the bubble in a certain way, they could remove the need to use negative energy. This solution, though, does not produce a warp drive that can go faster than light.
Independently, Lentz also proposed a solution that does not require negative energy. He used a different geometric approach to solve the equations of General Relativity, and by doing so, he found that a warp drive wouldn’t need to use negative energy. Lentz’s solution would allow the bubble to travel faster than the speed of light.
It is essential to point out that these exciting developments are mathematical models. As a physicist, I won’t fully trust models until we have experimental proof. Yet, the science of warp drives is coming into view. As a science fiction fan, I welcome all this innovative thinking. In the words of Captain Picard, things are only impossible until they are not.
Mario Borunda, Associate Professor of Physics, Oklahoma State University
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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Vatican Knows More About UFOs Than Intelligence Agencies

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Are you still sure that intelligence agencies and scientists know more about extraterrestrial civilizations than anyone else? In fact, science centers, the CIA, and individuals like Elon Musk and Bill Gates know less about UFOs and alien visitations than the Pope. You may be surprised to learn that the Vatican has its own space exploration program.

The Vatican Observatory is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See. Originally based in the Roman College of Rome, the Observatory is now headquartered in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, and operates a telescope at the Mount Graham International Observatory in the United States.

Indirect confirmation that the Vatican is “in the know” are the statements of Pope Francis and his predecessor about extraterrestrial life.

Cultists have repeatedly pointed out that people will soon get acquainted with extraterrestrial intelligence, learn more about extraterrestrial civilizations. And there is no doubt that the Vatican takes extraterrestrials more than seriously. For example, the possibility of converting them to Catholicism has been announced.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t know how to answer that,” the Pope replied, explaining that while scientific knowledge has so far ruled out the possibility of other thinking beings in the universe, “until America was discovered, we thought it didn’t exist, and instead it did,” Pope Francis said.

“But in any case, I think we should stick to what scientists tell us, still aware that the Creator is infinitely greater than our knowledge.”

Francis said the one thing he is sure of in the universe and the world we live in is that it is “not the result of chance or chaos,” but rather of divine intelligence.

Yes, the Vatican’s research power pales in comparison to NASA’s latest technological advances, but the facts speak for themselves.

Until the 19th century, this religious organization was known for opening astronomical observatories and scientific schools where young and able scientists were trained in the technique of observing space.

The Vatican Observatory, which still exists today, is one of the oldest and most authoritative on a planetary scale.

But that’s not all. It turns out that the Vatican also has a space program that, according to experts, is not much inferior to the program of the same NASA.

The Vatican has quite modern and powerful telescopes and other observation equipment. The largest telescope observes the universe in the infrared range and significantly exceeds the capabilities of analogues.

And another interesting fact to ponder. While the Vatican conducts space research, more and more people on Earth begin to believe in the reality of extraterrestrial life.

According to statistics, in 1990 this number was estimated at 27% of the world’s population. In 2000 it increased to 33%. Now it is approaching the 65% mark. Thus, the Vatican’s awareness of extraterrestrial life can be seen as a “fire of knowledge”.

Jesuit Father Jose Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, said Christians should consider alien life as an “extraterrestrial brother” and part of God’s creation.

Father Funes said it is difficult to rule out the possibility that other intelligent life exists in the universe, and he noted that a field of astronomy is now actively searching for “biomarkers” in the spectral analysis of other stars and planets.

These potential forms of life could include those that do not require oxygen or hydrogen, he said. Just as God created multiple forms of life on Earth, he said, there may be multiple forms of life throughout the universe.

“This is not contrary to faith, because we cannot place limits on God’s creative freedom,” he said.

“To use the words of St. Francis, if we consider earthly creatures to be ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters,’ why can’t we also speak of an ‘extraterrestrial brother,'” he said.

According to some scientists, the goals and objectives of church officials have changed somewhat. Now they are clearly focused on preparing humanity for an encounter with extraterrestrials.

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Potential ‘portal’ discovered that could be a wormhole in our galaxy

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Science has long been interested in the so-called wormholes. These are tunnels in space-time, giving, so far only theoretically, the possibility of instantaneous movement between galaxies.

Recently, for the first time, it turned out that in our Galaxy there is an object similar to a wormhole. It is located at a distance of 1566 light years from us, by space standards within easy reach.

Portals between universes or galaxies are theoretically possible, their existence does not contradict the laws of physics. Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen stated this back in the 1930s.

Later, several theories appeared, in their own way explaining the likelihood of such travel using the so-called wormholes.

One such hypothesis compares a wormhole and a black hole. The entrances to them as a region of powerful gravity are very similar. Based on this analogy, scientists hope that tunnels in space-time can be detected, including using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), the main purpose of which is to observe black holes.

EHT is a complex of radio telescopes located in different parts of the world. With his help, several discoveries have already been made, last year he found a black hole in the center of our native galaxy

In general, there are supposedly millions of such black holes in the Milky Way, and most importantly, some of them are potentially the mouths of wormholes.

Astrophysicists in the United States and Germany recently discovered the first such object. This is Gaia BH1, an object ten times the size of the Sun, located 1566 light-years from Earth.

Gaia BH1 has a Sun-like star orbiting it. Usually, in such binary systems, the black hole is “fed” by the star, simultaneously emitting powerful X-rays. But this black hole does not attract matter to itself and does not radiate anything. Astronomers conventionally call such mysterious objects “sleeping” black holes. They have never before been found in our galaxy.

This is either a “sleeping” black hole, or a perfectly suitable candidate for the “role” of a wormhole. The discovery was made possible by the highly functional Gaia space telescope and the ground-based Gemini telescopes.

Traditionally, a classical wormhole is represented as a three-dimensional tube in a curved two-dimensional space. This does not contradict general relativity, but most scientists believe that such tunnels are only stable if they are filled with exotic matter of negative energy density, which creates a strong gravitational repulsion and prevents the cavity from collapsing.

However, there are also other opinions. For example, Pascal Koiran, professor of computer science at Ecole Normale Superieure of Lyon, published calculations according to which exotic matter is not needed to pass through the wormhole at the level of elementary particles.

Traveling through a wormhole could look like a surreal and disorienting experience. It may appear as if you are traveling through a tunnel of bright light and time is passing by quickly.

You may feel as if you are being transported from one place to another without actually moving. As you move through the wormhole, you could experience changes in gravity or shifts in the space-time continuum.

The inside of the tunnel may appear to be made out of strange and exotic particles, with colors and shapes that seem out of this world. In some cases, the tunnel may even be filled with a mysterious form of energy that seems to be alive.

Wormholes were and remain today the only chance for interstellar flights. So scientists will continue their research, no matter how fantastic they may seem.

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