A mass of scientific brains have begun communing in Dallas, Texas to discuss all things space-related. However, according to Yahoo! News, one of the talking points will center around the development and construction of warp drive ships, capable of thrusting the our species to the far-flung reaches of space, if faster than light (FTL) travel can be conquered.
A four-day conference has already commenced, called the Icarus Interstellar Starship Congress, and will terminate Aug. 18. Conference organizers proudly announce that this is the “… first-ever assemblage of international interstellar space science organizations and proponents,” according to the excellent authors of Space.com.
Although discussions will focus upon a variety of space issues, there is one subject matter that everyone is talking about — interstellar space travel. Scientists are beginning to theorize how this amazing feat might be accomplished.
Our third rock from the sun is starting to show its age and is running scarce on resources. If mankind is to endure, passed the expiry date of the sun (it’s a long way off, I concede), then we will need to find other suitable regions in space to colonize. This travel will require craft to move at FTL speeds, as viable, Earth-like planets are many light years distance away. This assessment has been confirmed using the Keplar space telescope, which identified a limited number of suitable candidates for colonization. Taking our nearest neighbor as an example, the Alpha Centauri star system, we remain at a distance of four light years away.
The primary dilemma with warp drive technology and faster than light travel lies in the extreme energy throughput that would be necessitated to propel a spacecraft, and its crew, through space. However, scientists certainly think it’s possible, and ideas surrounding the technology are already in the works.
During the conference, it is expected that scientists will deliberate over anti-matter-propelled space vehicles, which would create powerful reactions between matter and anti-matter to enhance space flight. According to physicist Dr. Friedwart Winterberg, of the University of Nevada, antihydrogen collection can be performed in “robotic factories” on the planet Mercury, using solar energy.
However, in the interim, Winterberg proposes another likely method, by which faster space travel might be achieved. Scientists could produce a craft that can reach a tenth of FTL speeds, harnessing a “deuterium fusion bomb propulsion” system. This deuterium would originate from what are known as Oort clouds, which envelope various stars. These Oort clouds contain fields of deuterium-laden comets; the abundance of this deuterium is likely caused by ice crystals, inside the comets, becoming solar heated.
The show conference will be split across various days, focusing on new technologies, relative to when it is likely that they can be developed and implemented:
- Thursday Aug. 15 – technology that may be implemented within 20 years
- Friday Aug. 16 – “mid-future” technologies (20 – 50 years)
- Saturday Aug 15. – technologies likely to appear within 50+ years
- Sunday Aug 16. – conference summary
For those who are interested in witnessing these fascinating events live, a link has been included at the bottom of the article.
Ultimately, the primary ambition is to master interstellar travel by 2100, an objective that expert physicists are already working towards. Personally, I’m not sure I can hold on for this long, but it bodes well for future generations and I certainly look forward witnessing the build-up to the big event. So, it seems that warp-drive technology is possible and is, in actual fact, already being considered. Hopefully, a hundred years time from now, humanity will be ready to exploit faster than light travel to explore our grand universe.
By: James Fenner