Experts have put forward an idea that does not require dark matter or energy to move at superluminal speeds.
For decades, people have dreamed of visiting other stellar systems. But there is a problem – they are so far away that it would take tens of thousands of years for an ordinary spacecraft to get to the nearest system, according to Science Alert.
In a new study, physicist Eric Lenz of the University of Göttingen in Germany proposes a solution to this dilemma that may prove more viable than motors that distort space and time.
Many scientists have already put forward theories about how people can travel at superluminal speeds. However, there are serious problems with this concept. Within traditional physics, according to Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, there is no real way to achieve or exceed the speed of light that will be needed for any journey measured in light years.
But this does not stop physicists from trying to overcome this universal limit of speed.
Although the movement of matter faster than the speed of light will always be prohibited, there is no such rule in space-time itself. In fact, distant corners of the universe have become so far away that light from them will never reach Earth.
To bend a small bubble of space for transport purposes, it is necessary to solve the relativity equation to create an energy density lower than the void of space. Although this type of negative energy (or dark energy) is observed on a quantum scale, the accumulation of a sufficient amount of “negative mass” (dark matter) is still an area of exotic physics.
Scientists also believe that negative energy can drive a distortion engine based on the Alcubierre bubble. This idea was based on the solution of Einstein’s equations, proposed by the Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre. He argued that instead of moving above the speed of light within the local coordinate system, the spacecraft could move, compressing the space in front of it and expanding it behind, allowing it to actually move at any speed, including faster than light.
The concept uses the principles of negative energy to deform the space around a hypothetical ship.
In his new work, Lenz proposes another method that corresponds to Einstein’s theory of relativity. He calls it a new class of ultrafast solitons – a type of wave that retains shape and energy when moving at a constant speed (in this case, faster than light).
According to Lenz’s theoretical calculations, these superfast solitons can exist within the general theory of relativity and also do not require negative energy.
If there is enough energy, solitons can perform the function of “curvature bubbles” capable of superlight movement. Theoretically, “bubbles” will also allow the object to pass through space-time, protecting it from extreme tidal forces.
Despite the fact that this is an impressive idea, it still remains unattainable.
“The energy required for such an engine, installed on a spacecraft with a radius of 100 meters, will be hundreds of times the mass of the planet Jupiter,” – Lenz says.
Scientists still face many puzzles, but the flow of new ideas is the best chance to ever visit distant worlds.
“This work has moved superlight travel by one step from theoretical research to engineering. The next step is to figure out how to reduce the astronomical amount of energy needed for modern technologies such as nuclear power plants. Then we can talk about building the first prototype engines of the future.” – the scientist summed up.