Hyperdrive a Reality?


Cornwall normally picks up on crap like this because he lives in Spain and has lots of time on his hands but this story was so good I had to submit it


The US military is considering testing the principle behind a type of space drive which holds the promise of reaching Mars in just three hours. The problem is, as New Scientist explains, it's entirely theoretical and many physicists admit they don't understand the science behind it.

Nonetheless, the so-called "hyperdrive" concept won last year's American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics award for the best nuclear and future flight paper.

Mind you I don't fancy being the test pilot. Would you like to be:

propelled into a multidimensional hyperspace" where "the constants of nature could be different, and even the speed of light could be several times faster than we experience"



Missed that one :-)

I was working on a paper similar to this one...

...but hadn't had the time to get it done. So I'm glad someone else picked up on it. :p

Seriously, I got no idea WTF they're talkin' about, but it sure sounds cool.

Any idea if this technology can be applied to building more Web sites, faster?


Any idea if this technology can be applied to building more Web sites, faster?

No but it might have applications in taking out the opponents quicker.

As you approach the speed of

As you approach the speed of light time is supposed to drastically slow down. Most of the theories that I have heard of have always been based on the speed of light in space being faster than anything else can go.

If we can create a device that can travel faster than the speed of light in space then deep space travel by humans would seem far more possible than it did not too far back.

I am sure past activities would disqualify me from going on that trip...but I would think it would be cool to go on something like that...you only live once hehehe.

Well, if somebody can

Well, if somebody can "propel you into a multidimensional hyperspace" chances are that you're already there.

Any idea if this technology

Any idea if this technology can be applied to building more Web sites, faster?

According to Einstein if you go past the speed of light you can see the future before it happens. So if thats the case you can finish all your projects for the next year before you actually bring them on as clients and then goof off the rest of the time ;p


Must be good for the organs.

Einstein had limited views...

...alas. Still he was quite smart.

PS: it doesn't take much to propel me into a multi-D hyperspace. A litre of something (or even less) often does the trick quite well...

Interesting concept

Physicists have been batting on about extra dimensions for a while, apparently a total of 11 fits current quantum theory best. I think it's generally accepted that it is flat out impossible to exceed the speed of light.... but that doesn't mean you can't cheat by either changing the speed of light to suit yourself (turns out it's a variable anyway, not really a constant), or just pass from one point in space to another without passing through any of what we normally see as intervening space.

The second option involves pissing aroung with black holes, and maybe building our own, so I'm not sure I like that idea too much...

I read it would take more

I read it would take more energy than exists in the universe to make a wormhole big enough to walk through. Natural ones are 0.00000000000000000000000000000001 metres across :-p

This approach might be a little more practical.

Wormholes and black holes

Wormholes and black holes are very different beasts. Building a black hole is simply a matter of getting enough stuff into the same place, and letting gravity do all the work. We have sufficient technology to do it today, although it would be prohibitively expensive.

The point would be to do with something Einstein and a guy called Rosen did in the 30's. Their theory suggests that the singularity at the centre of a black hole connects 2 points in space without involving any of the intervening space, a side effect of folding spacetime.

It seemed an interesting but pointless outcome, since the then current model of black holes was the Schwarzschild model. This assumes that the matter in a black hole sits there in a big blob, with a more or less spherical event horizon.

Later work by Roy Kerr addressed a flaw in this model : matter spins. In accordance with the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum, it follows that the total angular momentum of a black hole is the sum of all angular momentum of the matter making it up. Since a black hole is a very dense bit of matter, it's spinning REALLY fast. This causes the equator of the disk to stetch out, giving the black hole the appearance of a 12" vinyl disc with an orange embedded in it centre.

Since the mass is NOT evenly distributed, as assumed under the Schwarzschild model, the event horizon separates into 2, an inner and outer event horizon. If you could match angular velocities with the black hole (effectively, go into a geostationary orbit around it) it seems that you may be able to pass through a "window" between the 2, and pass through the black hole without becoming trapped on an event horizon, or hitting the singularity in the centre.

You should then be able to take advantage of the Einstein-Rosen bridge to emerge in another region of space, without having experienced any point in between. Of course, we have to work out how to survive diving into a black hole first. Tricky....

Oops, double post

Oops, double post

what's an "event horizon"?

what's an "event horizon"?

Event Horizon, kinda like

Event Horizon, kinda like the point of no return when it comes to black holes. If i'm correct it's the line you don't want to cross. If you do there is no turning back you're getting sucked in.

The event horizon is the

The event horizon is the point at which nothing, not even light, can escape from a gravitational field. Since gravity is technically an acceleration, you have to keep applying energy to escape it, and there are equations that say you have to keep applying more energy per unit acceleration as you velocity reaches c. Since you'd need infinite energy to exceed light speed, it would clearly be quite a trick.

Black holes have such a dense structure, that their gravitational field has an escape velocity in excess of the speed of light. By comparison, Earth's is a measly 7 miles/second, so we regularly exceed it using technology that is no more than an upgrade of a 4000 year old Chinese firework

Now, imagine you had a camera hovering at a fixed distance from a black hole, watching an object falling into it. As the object approaches the event horizon, light will find it harder and harder to escape, which will affect your relative view of the event.

Once the object crosses the event horizon, you can't tell what happens to it, since no light can escape, hence the term, its the point at which events stop being observable to an exterior observer. You can make a case under relativity that NOTHING happens unless it is observed, therefore anything passing through the event horizon ceases to exist.

Go and look up Schrodingers Cat if you really want to twist your brain. It's interesting to note that he proposed the experiment as a way of demonstrating how absurd he thought his work was...

Speed of light plus

We're getting far away from traditional TW topics here, but nevermind:

The event horizon is the point at which nothing, not even light, can escape from a gravitational field. Since gravity is technically an acceleration,

How does this not imply that there is a speed faster than the speed of light?

Am I right if I think this implies that it's entirely possible to move faster than the speed of light?

Gravity is an acceleration

Gravity is an acceleration because its units are metres per second per second. When you are close to a large gravity well (ie the Earth, a black hole etc) it pulls you all the time. A force on the other hand is a momentary impulse, like striking a pool ball. The ball keep rolling, but it has only a finite amount of energy put into it, and entropy will eventually disperse it.

>> Am I right if I think this implies that it's entirely possible to move faster than the speed of light?

Sadly not. There are other equations that relate to the amount of energy required to accelerate a body. You need more energy for a given unit increase of velocity as velocity rises, so the faster you are going, the more energy is required to increase your speed. Since the effect is scaled to the speed of light, we never notice it.

The equations work out so as you appraoch the speed of light, the energy required approaches infinity. To exceed the speed of light (by normal means) would need infinite energy, which may be impossible (then again, who knows? We certainly don't know of any way of getting that yet).

There are effects that may allow us to cheat, and travel large distances with an apparent speed in excess of the speed of light, but that speed would be an illusion, really. If you were to move out of the normal 4 dimensional space we think of as the Universe, the speed of light limitation may no longer apply, which is why the idea of a hyperdrive is getting people excited.

You can't beat Einstein, but you can sidestep him.

science on TW? i like it

very exciting, and it would undoubtedly change the human species forever.

however, given the current inability to unify traditional physics with behavior on the quantum level, i think this should be treated with extreme skepticism. how do you travel through dimensions that you cannot detect?

science on TW? this is cool, sort of like slashdot but with comments that are actually interesting

>> given the current

>> given the current inability to unify traditional physics with behavior on the quantum level,

That's one of the nice things about the "new" theory. It predicts the weight of subatomic particles very accurately, something that no currently accepted theory can do to any reasonable level of accuracy.

This suggests that it may be able to bridge the gap between classical and quantum physics better than current quantum theory. A lot more work is needed though

>> science on TW?

And just how high do you think the geek quotient is here? ;) If this works, it'll be like Star Trek


Beam me up, Mr. Scott.


Now there's a case for travelling at speeds close to the speed of light at least. Or so it seems.

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, noted physicist Dr. Franklin Felber will present his new exact solution of Einstein's 90-year-old gravitational field equation to the Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF) in Albuquerque. The solution is the first that accounts for masses moving near the speed of light.

source: Physorg.com via Nerd news (/.)

Claus, interesting. Einstein

Claus, interesting. Einstein never did really get to grips with the idea of antigravity, like several of the quantum pioneers, he didn't really like the implications of his own work, and it's likely that his emotional response clouded the mathematic avenues he was willing to consider exploring.

He actually included a repulsive component to gravity (anti-gravity) in early drafts of his work on relativity, but took it out later to make the theory more acceptable to the scientific community

It seems that in his late

It seems that in his late days he became self-censoring. At least that's what I've heard. Apparently / allegedly it was because he had observed what scientific discoveries were being used for in WWII.

Then again, I'm not sure of the timing of the speed of light equations relative to this, or even if the alleged self-censoring is anything other than a tale. Can't even find the source for it - it was a paper based book though.

>> the timing of the speed

>> the timing of the speed of light equations relative to this

All of his really important work (the Special and General Theories of Relativity) happened before he was 25. After that he was really just another physicist, albeit with a big rep


-especially thinking about the stuff I did before 25... well, the stuff most people do before 25, actually.

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