There’s actually a game released for PC called Faster Than Light (FTL) which is probably the most realistic intergalactic space ship simulator the world has ever seen. Actually, by definition it’s probably the most unrealistic space ship simulator since no one has managed to create a method to make a vessel travel faster than light — or even at the speed of light. According to Albert Einstein, all matter, information and energy traveling faster than light (which is 299,792,458 meters per second) is impossible due to the theory of special relativity. Essentially, Einstein discovered the fabric of the space-time continuum can only sustain an acceleration approaching the speed of light. That entire theory is actually ‘C’ in Einstein’s E=mc2.
So it’s been established since 1905 that nothing but light can travel as fast as light — which means not even light can travel faster than light. Light travel is just the end to all acceleration in the known universe. Of course that hasn’t stopped the entire sci-fi community over the years to develop the concept of faster-than-light travel, a notion that an object can virtually destroy Einstein’s firmly-held constant and ‘warp’ to different locations using some advanced technology that is never fully explained in movies or television — except that it looks really cool when they do it.
The concept of faster-than-light travel has moved over from the sci-fi realm to a proposed reality by scientists at NASA, specifically Dr. Harold G. White and his team of researchers that don’t give a [expletive] what Albert Einstein said regarding the limitations of the fabric of space — these guys believe it can and will happen, in fact they’re already running preliminary experiments on it.
In an article from NYTimes, Dr. White believes the only method to create travel that would be faster than light and not contradict Einstein’s theory is to create a ‘bubble’ around a space craft that would force time and space to literally ‘pull’ the craft to a destination. That’s probably the only way I can explain it to you guys without having your brain implode from sheer confusion. Technically in this bubble, the space craft would be traveling at a speed of zero — but covering an astronomical amount of distance. Here’s what Dr. White said regarding the idea of bending space and time for faster-than-light travel.
Space has been expanding since the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. And we know that when you look at some of the cosmology models, there were early periods of the universe where there was explosive inflation, where two points would’ve went receding away from each other at very rapid speeds.
Nature can do it. So the question is, can we do it?
Well for starters, the reason we can’t do it is because we don’t have enough energy on the planet to manufacture a ‘warp bubble’ to encapsulate a space ship to be propelled by space and time. It’s not as easy as what you see on Star Trek — the concept of warp drive resides in a realm of pure fantasy.
Don’t think this thing is going to work on fossil fuels either. The reality is humanity hasn’t discovered a power source capable of manifesting and then sustaining a warp bubble. However this hasn’t stopped Dr. White from conducting experiments that uses an interferometer to measure the trajectory of photons, photons that he purposefully ‘warped’ to see if they would get to their intended destination. Unfortunately, in order to warp the fabric of time and space to develop an efficient way to traverse our universe he only has $50,000 of NASA’s $18 billion annual budget.
That’s called bargain basement research.
NASA believes their budget should go towards more immediately achievable projects like further construction of the international space station and a mission to capture an asteroid. Seriously, that’s where your tax dollars are going. Anyone that has played Atari knows that you’re supposed to shoot asteroids with a single-pixel beam until they split, then shoot those two pieces, which will turn into four — and eventually a power-up will float by that you can pick up.
Still Dr. White is optimistic about his research and even compared it to the Manhattan Project, an intensive study on creating an infinitesimally small nuclear reaction just to show that it can actually be done.
They tried to go through and demonstrate a nuclear reactor and generate half a watt. That’s not something you’re going to market. Nobody’s going to buy that. It’s just making sure they understood the physics and science.
Well we do understand the physics of faster-than-light travel, at least we pretend to in order to sound smart at parties. Good luck Harold G. White.