How serious is FTL travel via Alcubierre warp bubble?
Wed, 19 Sep 2012 11:10 PDT

Speeds up to 10x the speed of light (warp factor 2.0) may be possible, reports SPACE.COM.

I know that I'm not capable of understanding relativistic math, so I can only assess the credibility of this warp drive by looking at journal article abstracts and internet links. Here is what I found:

The original theory was proposed by Miguel Alcubierre in a letter to the editor of Classical and Quantum Gravity. It received some 119 citations, many in reputable physics journals, which seems to be a healthy discussion. However, I don't know what to think about citations with titles like "The mystical formula and the mystery of Khronos." And the mechanism for creating a warp bubble seems to involve creating negative energy density, which seems beyond normal commercial technology.

The SPACE.COM article says that Harold "Sonny" White (portrait above) found a way to reduce the mass-energy of the ring, from the mass of Jupiter to something manageably small. Still, if this mass-energy has to be negative, I'm not sure that helps. But who is this Sonny, and why would he release such a groundbreaking result at a space-con instead of in a journal article or at a science conference?

Sonny got his PhD at Rice, with a dissertation on venusian lightning. Great. But Sonny and his thesis advisor never published any referreed journal articles together. Strange. Also, Sonny began presenting his single-author abstracts on warp drive before he got his PhD, listing Lockheed as his affiliation rather than Rice, as would be normal for an academic publication.

My assessment: warp bubbles look mathematically interesting, but Sonny is making the technology seem more mature than it really is. Unfortunately, it looks like he doesn't have a whole lot of credible scientific presence.






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