Nasa researches Star Trek warp drive for future space travel

Nasa scientists are developing a Star Trek-style “warp drive” Photo: NASA

Nasa Dr Harold White, a physicist at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre, is conducting research to create a warp in Dr White Star Ship Enterprise in the long-running science fiction series Dr White presented an update on his work at the Icarus Interstellar Congress, where space warp.

“We found two mechanisms that can space warp.

“It was this significant reduction in energy requirements that encouraged us to go on to generate some kind of manifestation of it in the lab.

“This is not something that you can bolt to a spacecraft, this is science trying to go through to find existence proof of the physics.

“It is the first step you want to take to move from the maths to an experimental set up.”

Currently the furthest mankind has managed to venture is to the edge of our own solar system, around 11.6 billion miles from Earth.

The Voyager 1 spacecraft, which was launched in 1977, is currently on the cusp of becoming the first man-made object to leave our solar system.

However, it would take it 75,000 Dr White, however, believes that by containing a spacecraft inside a warp bubble, it could travel over larger distances without having to break the speed of light.

The bubble would compress space and time in front of it.

Dr White is building on work by a Mexican scientist called Miguel Alcubierre who estimated that it would be possible to achieve this if an object had negative mass.

Dr White believes a spacecraft would need to be surrounded by a ring of energy.

He found that by changing the shape of the bubble and oscillating its intensity, it was possible to energy that would be required.

Dr White and his team have now set up their equipment in a laboratory that used to be used in the development of technology for the Apollo space missions in the 1960s.

The project, which he has named Eagleworks, uses a high-voltage capacitor ring that is charged up and discharged as a laser is fired through the centre.

Dr White is looking for changes in the way the light passes through it that may indicate the photons have passed through a warp bubble.

Their experiments have shown this may be possible but Dr White insisted it was too early to say anything definitive about what they have achieved.

He said: “We have two separate labs that have been working on this and I think we have some potential non-null results that are intriguing.

“However, these results are far from conclusive and it is way too early to say anything definitive, so we will continue to investigate.”

For those hoping that they may soon be able take a trip to our nearest stellar neighbours, Dr White believes they may still have some time to wait.

He said it could take anything from 20 to 200 years before such a spacecraft could be created.

Experiments that have attempted to break the speed of light in the past have ultimately proved to be unsuccessful. CERN near Geneva, however, stunned the scientific world two years ago by claiming to have shown that particles could move faster than the speed of light.

However, they were later shown to have made a mistake and the extra speed was due to a faulty wire connection in timing equipment.

Dr White and his colleagues, however, have already envisaged what a warp drive spacecraft would look like.

Their design would consist of a central section shaped like an American football where the crew and equipment would be surrounded by one or two rings that are attached to it by pylons

These rings would contain the reduce the travel time in our own solar system, reducing journeys that take years to weeks or months.

Dr White told the space craft. It would have exotic matter or negative vacuum energy.

“You will still need some kind of main propulsion system to make the thing work.”

In an interview with energy it augments your velocity.

“Space would contract in front of the spacecraft and expand behind it, sending you sliding through warped space-time and covering the distance at a much quicker rate.

Richard Gray, Science Correspondent - Telegraph