Physicists create real warp bubbles for the first time

Like Star Trek

The dream of interstellar and intergalactic travel is not least limited by the speed of light as the maximum speed. The spaceships in the science fiction series Star Trek use warp flight in order not to break the laws of physics, but to circumvent them with a trick. In theory, this so-called warp drive is actually possible and US physicists have now for the first time been able to create a real warp bubble in miniature format that fulfills all the necessary properties.


Houston (USA). dr Harold White and his team from the Limitless Space Institute (LSI) emphasize to the specialist press, for example in the renowned scientific journal European Physical Journal : “To avoid any misunderstandings, I want to make it very clear that our discovery is not an analogue model to the Imagine a warp bubble. It is a real, albeit extremely tiny and very weak warp bubble.” This is the first time physicists have succeeded in creating a real warp bubble, which may lay the foundation for a revolutionary propulsion technology in space travel.

The basis for the current work is the concept of the Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre. It envisages changing the space-time area around a spaceship in such a way that the distance between the start and end point is reduced. Space-time would therefore have to be compressed in the direction of travel and expanded again after the passage of the spaceship. This would create a so-called warp bubble, in which the spacecraft could then travel faster than the speed of light. The spaceship itself would not or hardly move, but space or space-time would be guided around the spaceship.

For a long time, the amount of exotic matter required for a viable warp starship was thought to be far too great for the concept to even come close to having a viable application. In recent years, however, scientists like Krasnikov have presented approaches that could reduce the required amount of exotic matter to a workable level. Krasnikov posits curved space-time, claiming that as little as 10 kilograms to a few milligrams of exotic matter would be required. NASA has also been working on this concept for several years and still considers it theoretically possible.

Warp Bubble was an accidental discovery of physicists

While experimenting with so-called Casimir effects between two metal plates, White and colleagues discovered a new phenomenon that had nothing to do with actual warp technology. According to their own statements, the researchers have discovered a structure at the micro or nano level that resembles the distribution of negative energy density. The researchers report in a presentation by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) that it would be necessary for the Alcubierre principle . They describe the structure as a “real, albeit small and faint, warp bubble.”

The discovery not only confirms the ring structure (torus) and negative energy properties of a warp bubble that had previously been predicted to be necessary, but also provides ways for other scientists to research and study the design, so that they might one day even be incorporated into will be able to create a large enough warp bubble to possibly power satellites and starships in the future.

Miniature spaceship with warp drive

Already, White and his colleagues have developed a concept for a very small warp spacecraft that could move from one place to another by creating its own warp bubble. This miniature spacecraft is said to consist of a 1 micron diameter sphere inside a 4 micron diameter cylinder. In initial experiments, this principle showed “a three-dimensional Casimir energy density consistent with the requirements of the Alcubierre model.” But White added that they have yet to construct such a model.

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