Galactic Travel at Warp Speed In Imaginary Time
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Star Trek-like warp speed may be a reality in the next 100 years, says astrophysicist
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68 Replies to “Warp Drives Probably Impossible After All”
Free Installation. Hover to zoom. Sold Out! No ship in normal space could follow the path of light in 4-D space time, but it can get arbitrarily close until the energy required to go any faster exceeds the energy available.
This path or limiting path may not be unique: there may be many "shortest paths". Also, no path may exist; for example, suppose A lies in a black hole and B lies outside the black hole — since nothing can exit a black hole, such a path would not exist. Finally, because of general relativity , this path is not a "straight line" in the strict Euclidean sense, but is "curved". For example, if we aimed a rocket at the Moon traveling near the speed of light, the shortest path to the Moon is still a curved path.
In fact, even if we aimed a photon of light at the Moon, it will follow a curved path, since gravity bends all things. The space along which the photon travels is, in fact, curved because gravity curves space itself. Just like traveling along the surface of water; if the surface of the water is swelled in a wave, then it would still be possible to travel in a straight line through the water traveling underneath the wave, but it would require more effort than just traveling along the curved surface of the water.
It is still possible to travel in a straight line to the Moon, yet since the curved light beam is the best, the curved path close to this beam following the path of the curved space is better than the straight path. This is because the light beam is technically actually traveling in a straight line, relative to the curved space it is traveling in, but the space itself is curved, so it appears to an outside observer that the light beam is traveling in a curved line. Of course, if we take energy expenditures into account, then the minimum energy paths are just transfer orbits and gravity boosts that Earth space agencies predominantly use although these are not 'fast'.
Generally speaking, the idea of hyperspace relies on the existence of a separate and adjacent dimension. When activated, the hyper drive shunts the starship into this other dimension, where it can cover vast distances in an amount of time greatly reduced from the time it would take in "normal" space. Once it reaches the point in hyperspace that corresponds to its destination in real space, it re-emerges. In other words, some or all paths in hyperspace may have a travel-time less than the time it takes to traverse the "shortest-path" in normal space, defined above.
The time it takes to travel in hyperspace is measured in the same way time is measured in normal space, unless the hyperspace is discontinuous. For example, the path in hyperspace may not be smooth but a sequence of points, and the time change from jumping from one point to another may be abrupt. In this case, add the time jumps. Some may be positive jumps to the future , and some negative jumps to the past , depending on how the hyperspace is defined.
Explanations of why ships can travel faster than light in hyperspace vary; hyperspace may be smaller than real space and therefore a star ship's propulsion seems to be greatly multiplied, or else the speed of light in hyperspace is not a barrier as it is in real space. Whatever the reasoning, the general effect is that ships traveling in hyperspace seem to have broken the speed of light, appearing at their destinations much more quickly and without the shift in time that the theory of relativity would suggest.
In much science fiction, hyper drive jumps require a considerable amount of planning and calculation, with any error carrying a threat of dire consequences.
Faster Than Light
Therefore, jumps may cover a much shorter distance than would actually be possible so that the navigator can stop to "look around", take their bearings, plot their position, and plan the next jump. Maneuvering in hyperspace may or may not be possible.
The time it takes to travel in hyperspace also varies. Travel may be instantaneous or may take hours, days, weeks or more. Some theories state that a route traveled for a long time may continuously stay open. A different concept, sometimes also referred to as "hyperspace" and similarly used to explain FTL travel in fiction, is that the manifold of ordinary three-dimensional space is curved in four or more "higher" spatial dimensions a "hyperspace" in the geometric sense; see hypersurface , tesseract , Flatland.
This curvature causes certain widely separated points in three-dimensional space to nonetheless be "adjacent" to each other four-dimensionally. Creating an aperture in 4D space a wormhole between these locations can allow instantaneous transit between the two locations; a common comparison is that of a folded piece of paper, where a hole punched through two folded sections is more direct than a line drawn between them on the sheet.
This form often restricts FTL travel to specific "jump points". A difficulty with interstellar travel through hyperspace is navigation.
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At small distances like the local solar neighbourhood, the astronomical background cartography will not have changed much and coordinates can be extrapolated. However, as the distance traveled increases, the background cartography changes more dramatically.
minoglibeg.tk If slower than light speed were used for travel through normal space, it would be easy to record the change in the cartography, but because the view of the cartography is hidden when in hyperspace, it is impossible to keep a record simply by visual reconciliation alone. Science fiction has myriad solutions to this problem. Though the concept of hyperspace did not emerge until the 20th century, stories of an unseen realm outside our normal world are part of earliest oral tradition. Some stories, before the development of the science fiction genre, feature space travel using a fictional existence outside what humans normally observe.
In Somnium published , Johannes Kepler tells of travel to the moon with the help of demons. From the s through to the s, many stories in the science fiction magazines , Amazing Stories and Astounding Science Fiction introduced readers to hyperspace as a fourth spatial dimension. Writers of stories in magazines used the hyperspace concept in various ways. In The Mystery of Element by Milton Smith, a window is opened into a new "hyperplane of hyperspace" containing those who have already died on Earth.
In Arthur C. Clarke 's Technical Error , a man is laterally reversed by a brief accidental encounter with "hyperspace". Hyperspace travel became widespread in science fiction, because of the perceived limitations of FTL travel in ordinary space. Smith 's Gray Lensman , a "5th order drive" allows travel to anywhere in the universe while hyperspace weapons are used to attack spaceships.
Isaac Asimov 's Foundation series , first published between and in Astounding , featured a Galactic Empire traversed through hyperspace. Asimov's short story Little Lost Robot features a "Hyperatomic Drive" shortened to "Hyperdrive" and observes that "fooling around with hyper-space isn't fun". By the s, hyperspace travel was established as a typical means for traveling. Hyperspace is often depicted as blue, pulsing with Cherenkov radiation. Many stories feature hyperspace as a dangerous place, and others require a ship to follow set hyperspatial "highways".
Hyperspace is often described as being an unnavigable dimension where straying from a preset course can be disastrous. In some science fiction, the danger of hyperspace travel is due to the chance that the route through hyperspace may take a ship too close to a celestial body with a large gravitational field, such as a star.
In such scenarios, if a starship passes too close to a large gravitational field while in hyperspace, the ship is forcibly pulled out of hyperspace and reverts to normal space. Therefore, certain hyperspace "routes" may be mapped out that are safe, not passing too close to stars or other dangers. Starships in hyperspace are sometimes depicted isolated from the normal universe; they cannot communicate with nor perceive things in real space until they emerge.
Often there can be no interaction between two ships even when both are in hyperspace. This effect can be used as a plot device; because they are invisible to each other while in hyperspace, ships will encounter each other most often around contested planets or space stations. Hyperdrive may also allow for dramatic escapes as the pilot "jumps" to hyperspace in the midst of battle to avoid destruction. In many stories, for various reasons, a starship cannot enter or leave hyperspace too close to a large concentration of mass, such as a planet or star ; this means that hyperspace can only be used after a starship gets to the outside edge of a solar system, so the starship must use other means of propulsion to get to and from planets.
The reasons given for such restrictions are usually technobabble , but their existence is just a plot device allowing for interstellar policies to actually form and exist. Science fiction author Larry Niven published his opinions to that effect in N-Space. According to him, such an unrestricted technology would give no limits to what heroes and villains could do. In fact, every criminal would have the ability to destroy colonies, settlements and indeed whole worlds without any chance of stopping him.
Other writers have limited access to hyperspace by requiring a very large expenditure of energy in order to open a link sometimes called a jump point between hyperspace and normal space; this effectively limits access to hyperspace to very large starships, or to large stationary jump gates that can open jump points for smaller vessels. These restrictions are often plot devices to prevent starships from easily escaping by slipping into hyperspace, thus ensuring epic space battles.
An example of this is the "jump" technology as seen in Babylon 5.