Oh, Interwebs. How you give me such joy.
Star Trek fans (note: I am one) recently lost their minds when articles from respected publications like Wired ran articles that posited a new change in Warp Drive theory that said:
NASA scientists now think that the famous warp drive concept is a realistic possibility, and that in the far future humans could regularly travel faster than the speed of light.
And they overlooked something very important. They were so obsessed with pointing out the Star Trek connection they missed another.
People on The Tweeter declared their reborn love of life and science, and Star Trek fans just about blew out their underpants with joy. They saw it has validation that dressing like a Klingon was not, in fact, silly. (See Fig. 1a)
But even I will admit to a certain thrill at knowing we no longer needed to generate the mass energy of a giant planet in order to tear the fabric of space–time asunder and get our pizzas in less than thirty minutes again. I mean, I miss those days.
And then I read a few more articles (always a good idea when dealing with news reporting science) and noted another bit. I’ve taken this from an article via the Discovery networks, THE WARP DRIVE COULD BECOME SCIENCE FACT:
An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shape spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space–time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind.
Now, I’m not going to dwell on the fact that the whole “it might be possible” thing still hinges on the fact that “[t]his ring, potentially made of exotic matter…” smells kinda fishy. What do they mean by exotic matter? Recycled cat litter? Crushed eagle beaks?
But let’s brush past that and look at the design.
So granted, it doesn’t really look like the Starship Enterprise. I think we all knew that Hydrogen scoops and nacelles weren’t necessarily going to be our future. It’s more important to know that at some point, someone will be able to cross the galaxy very quickly.
And then I looked at the picture a second time and I realized that Star Trek isn’t the only series that has posited faster–than–light travel.
On that second look, I realized that Star Trek actually had it wrong!
Another venerated franchise had it right.
One that had saved Star Trek in the first place through its great success and vision. In fact, without it, Star Trek would have remained on the dust heap of history, a forgotten curio that people would have talked about in convention back rooms but not much further.
I speak, of course, about Star Wars!
For when you look at that warp simulation (Fig 44f), what do you see?
I’ll give you a hint. It’s to the left of this paragraph. See Fig. 4e133.