A New Frontier Might Be Required

Scientists Get Serious in the Search for a Working Warp Drive (msn.com)

Scientists have longed for some sort of technology that can propel humans faster than what physics says is possible, and now a new online tool is helping engineers make a warp drive the sole property of Starfleet. Last week, Applied Physics, which is an international group of scientists and engineers, announced that they’d created an online toolkit for “analyzing warp drive spacetimes” called the “Warp Factory.”

This comes only a few years after a flurry of papers reported that constructing warp drives — built on the idea of spacetime-folding warp bubbles — could be theoretically possible. Warp Factory provides an online playground for researchers to test warp engine ideas.

“Physicists can now generate and refine an array of warp drive designs with just a few clicks, allowing us to advance science at warp speed,” Gianni Martire, CEO of Applied Physics, said in a press statement. “Warp Factory serves as a virtual wind tunnel, enabling us to test and evaluate different warp designs. Science fiction is now inching closer to science fact.”

Interesting. I’m a bit skeptical but it is still interesting. I brings up a flood of memories for me.

In late 1999 my contract at Microsoft was not renewed and I was looking for a job. I called up Eric Engstrom who, the last I had heard, was still working at Microsoft. I thought he might know of a group that was hiring. He had left Microsoft a few months earlier and was about to start his own company. He was thrilled I had called him. His employment agreement at MS prohibited him from recruiting MS people for some period of time after he left. But since I contacted him and was no longer at MS I was fair game.

His recruiting pitch for me to join his startup was unique.

We were going to become billionaires by using a different business model and out competing MS in the Microsoft Office suite of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

If you think that was grandiose…

And once we had the money stream we had sucked away from Microsoft we would start working on immortality. Immorality would give us the luxury of being able to, “Wait around for warp drive.” We would be able to travel the galaxy.

I was his first employee at his new startup. It didn’t turn out as well as he had hoped, the company went under in the dot com crash and he died on December 1, 2020 at the age of 55 of an accidental Tylenol overdose.

Every time I hear of warp drive outside of a Sci-Fi environment I think of Eric. And if I ever take a cruise on a warp drive powered ship and you see me sad it will be because I’m thinking of Eric.

On a happier note. Warp drive will enable the colonization of other planets. We no longer have the option to move to a new frontier (Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) as my great-great grandparents did when things got unpleasant in the Midwest in the lead up to the civil war. Short of the ocean and perhaps parts of Antarctica there just isn’t any place on this planet that isn’t infected with overbearing government busybodies or outright tyrants. The moon and Mars are sort of promising but the cost of living there is going to be really high for a long time. The environment is just too hostile.

With a Star Trek like warp drive there will be hundreds of planets with hospitable environments available. A few million free minded could make one a new home and not have to worry about the dismal political situation on earth. It would be better if the free minded people could persuade the busybodies and tyrants to do the move. But as I believe it has always been the case before here on earth, that the freedom loving people had to do the moving rather than government loving busybodies.


10 thoughts on “A New Frontier Might Be Required

  1. “A few million free minded could make one a new home and not have to worry about the dismal political situation on earth.”

    Which assumes the contagion will not be brought along with them, nor allowed to develop aberrationally.

    ” It would be better if the free minded people could persuade the busybodies and tyrants to do the move.”

    Like most problems, the solution matrix on this one has multiple options, some of which may vary in effectiveness; I can think of a couple that do not involve interstellar drive mechanisms, except, perhaps, in a more ethereal sense.

  2. “With a Star Trek like warp drive there will be hundreds of planets with hospitable environments available.”

    Yea…not so sure about that.

    Scientists keep telling us they’ve “discovered” habitable planets, but this is based on unproven theories and suppositions. The nearest star to us (other than the Sun, of course) would take over 4 years to reach even traveling at light speed were that possible (and I don’t think it is without converting to pure energy, which I would imagine would be a bit hard on the human body) To make interplanetary travel practical at all, we wouldn’t just have to reach light speed, we’d have to be able to achieve many, many multiples of light speed…unless you’re talking about “generation ships” or perhaps suspended animation during the travel time.

    And that’s a one way trip. If the ship got all the way out to some other solar system, they’d better hope that the astrophysicists theories are correct and there’s actually a habitable planet there, because the trip back home would be just as long.

    At any rate, I’m absolutely certain any such advances, even if possible (which I doubt), won’t happen in my lifetime, nor my kid’s, nor my kid’s kids.

    Just remember, cheap, abundant, clean fusion power is only a decade away and has been for about the past four or five decades.

    Personally, I’m still waiting for my flying car.

  3. “….(and I don’t think it is without converting to pure energy, which I would imagine would be a bit hard on the human body)”

    Disregarding the “deconstruction / reconstruction problem of changing matter into energy then back again, what form of ‘pure energy” would be able to exceed the speed of light? And, by how much could it exceed it? Enough to make a significant difference in interstellar travel for biological mass (aka “humans”) ?

    Einstein declared the speed of light is a universal constant which cannot be exceeded; I think he was wrong, but no one has been able to prove him wrong.


  4. It’s all very “pie in the sky”. Unless we’re fundamentally wrong in our understanding of thermodynamics and the topology of space-time we will never be able to fold or warp space for any object with significant mass. The energy budget to do so is laughable. The entire power output of our sun is insufficient to do so. Our engineering is multiple paradigm shifts away from being able to harness even a fraction of that energy. I’m not saying it can’t be done but if we’re going to make tangible plans we should look toward enormous generation ships with self contained environments

  5. The story about moon writing visible from Earth reminds me about one of my absolute favorite comic franchises. Partway through the series, Chairface Chippendale partially succeeds, but isn’t able to complete the project and his unfinished work is visible throughout the rest of the show.


    It’s a shame this character wasn’t adopted for Netflix, but I suppose that would have further blown the CGI budget.

  6. ” The entire power output of our sun is insufficient to do so.”

    That made me think of a new way to animate New York’s favorite congressional windup toy: solar energy, as in solar panels and e̶a̶g̶l̶e̶ ̶s̶h̶r̶e̶d̶d̶e̶r̶s̶ wind turbines, because “wind” is movement of air molecules caused by tenmperature differential, is A Very Excellent Thing We Need Lots More Of according to the Left.

    The sun is a sphere, meaning, from earth’s standpoint, only a relatively small percentage of the sun’s energy is directed at earth. I’m too lazy to do the math (and I’m sure someone already has) but let’s say, conservatively, 99% of solar radiation goes elsewhere. All that power being squandered on lifeless planets or empty space seems like a perfect target for the federal government to address with something like a set of huge mirrors. Never mind that a 20% increase would cook everything on the planet to a crisp, tilting at this particular windmill should keep her occupied until at least after the election.

    • A Dyson sphere. The physicists and SCI-FI writers went there a long time ago. I recommend the Ringworld series for related entertaining reading

  7. Nice dream. Sounds fun, and actually could be. But I don’t think were anywhere near conquering the frontier were on now. Humanity being the way it is.
    Let alone our self-control problems.

  8. We need to be able to do two things. First is to nullify or control at will the power of gravity. Second we need to find a power source that will actually provide for the INSANE needs a “warp” drive would require. Neither of these is anywhere in sight.
    We can only now just BARELY even measure gravity…we certainly don’t understand how it works let alone how to make use of it. As for energy for a warp drive…we need to be able to control more power concentrated into a small location than the ENTIRE human race generates and uses in a year in order to have even a chance for it to work. So while possible in theory the engineering required is still a long long way off. But don’t stop looking. It’s a better place to throw dollars into than welfare or ” social justice”.

  9. Warp travel to the stars is a beautiful dream, but nothing more than that.

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