Roadmap for Lab Experiments for Warp Drive

Joseph Agnew, undergrad and research assistant from the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Propulsion Research Center (PRC), presented the results of his study “An Examination of Warp Theory and Technology to Determine the State of the Art and Feasibility“. This was part of a session at The Future of Nuclear and Breakthrough Propulsion”.

The detection of gravity waves indicates the effect is real. We can work to experiments to study it and then to optimize the efficiency of producing the desired effects.

Brian Wang has been covering the warp theory work since Alcubierre published his work. The original Alcubierre work needed a Jupiter-mass of exotic material. Harold White’s work on warp bubble configuration and bubble thickness brought the theoretical power requirements to 500 kilograms (the mass of Voyager 1.) The work and attempts and experiments in 2014 had a gap between sensors and laser and magnet generation of effects at about 1 million times. We can boost sensor sensitivity several times. We can boost the effect generation. The point of the Agnew summaries is that there is a roadmap to closing the gap for experiments with the generation of detectable effects. Then we work on optimizing sensor and increasing the effect size. Any stable warping effect would magnify the capabilities of other propulsion. The LIGO (gravity wave) observatory detected gravity waves from colliding black holes and neutron stars. That work confirms physics related to Alcubierre warp propulsion.

In 2018, University of Rochester researchers have succeeded in creating negative mass particles in an atomically thin semiconductor, by causing it to interact with confined light in an optical microcavity.

What if we can replace exotic matter with something that has similar properties to solve the problem once and for all? From 2006 to 2016, researchers were trying to use a toroidal positive energy density to create a spherical negative-pressure region and thus eliminate the need for exotic matter. Unfortunately, although they have already made some progresses in this field, these progresses have been criticized to be mere measurement error caused by the interference of people walking outside the room. They are trying to increase sensitivity up to one-hundredth of a wavelength and implement the oscillating field in order to get definite results.Duke University paper.

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Producing and replicating even a very tiny human-made wave in a laboratory would be a groundbreaking event akin to LIGO, Agnew says. The LIGO discovery proved that the necessary technologies are evolving.

Quantum sensing could double the sensitivity of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory).

Nextbigfuture reviewed all of the proposals for improved gravity wave detectors beyond LIGO. Most architectural design changes would not be applicable to warp field lab tests. The sensor improvements would be applicable.

“It’s really only now becoming a potential laboratory experiment because the technologies have now grown to the extent that they will support that level,” Agnew says. “We’re limited now by the sensitivity of the measurement instruments and by the level of power required to do the experiment.”

Supplying power is becoming more feasible as bigger magnetic generators come online. A Tesla is a unit used to measure magnetic fields. In 2004, it was estimated that 20 Teslas of energy would be required for the experiment. Since then, generators producing as many as 49 Teslas have been built.

“That’s where, from the classical side of things, we are looking at large amounts of energy required to create even a very little reaction,” Agnew says. Higher power would produce a larger and more easily measured effect.

On the measurement side of the experiment, Agnew says, “Of all the ideas out there, the one that appears to me to be more plausible is the interferometer.”

In 2014, a paper indicated that we needed interferometry that was one million times more sensitive to detect the amount of spacetime warping we could generate in a lab experiment.

Applying superconductors and metamaterials could greatly improve the detectors. Superconductors, magnets and lasers advancements can enhance the amount of the spacetime warping effect.

Increasing sensitivity and increased effects could close the gap to a detectable warping experiment.

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Even a very small but reliable space-time warp could be coupled with nuclear propulsion to provide a significant boost to speed, some theorists suggest. “One of the effects of being in the bubble is that it reduces the apparent mass of what’s inside,” Agnew says. “In that case, even a marginal effect may increase the efficiency of other forms of propulsion.”

Full copy of An Examination of Warp Theory and Technology to Determine the State of the Art and Feasibility.

Sonny White and Eagleworks Lab Previously Made Orders of Magnitude Improvement from 2011 through 2014

In 2011 and 2012 during the 100 Year Starship Symposium, Dr. Harold “Sonny” White improved Alcubierre work to vastly reduce the energy requirements. Nextbigfuture covered White’s at Eaglework. White varied the ship geometry and the warp bubble thickness to drastically reduce the theoretical power requirements for faster than light travel.

Previously the literature has quoted Jupiter amounts of exotic matter/negative pressure necessary to implement a “useful” warp bubble, making the idea mostly of academic interest at best. Sensitivity analysis started by White in 2011 and completed in 2012 has shown that the energy requirements can be greatly reduced by first optimizing the warp bubble thickness, and further by oscillating the bubble intensity to reduce the stiffness of space-time. They yielded a reduction from Jupiter amount of exotic matter to an amount smaller than the Voyager 1 spacecraft (500kg) for a 10-meter bubble with an effective velocity of 10 times light speed.

The Eagleworks Q-thruster experiment attempts to utilize applied scientific research in the fields of quantum vacuum, gravitation, the nature of space-time, and other fundamental phenomena to realize the possibility of an ultra-high Isp propulsion solution. Through these underpinnings, it is mathematically possible to employ the vacuum particle/anti-particle “sea” and utilize it as propellant reaction mass. Previous QVPT tests have generated possible thrust signals in the milli-Newton range and hinted at Isp’s on the order of 10^12 seconds. This iteration aims to validate or refute the present evidence in order to push forward in pursuit of breakthrough propulsion physics. For the exhibit, they will present a conceptual visualization of these effects, and provide a summary of present data and future plans.

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The NASA Ames Director’s Colloquium Summer Series was presented by the Office of the Chief Scientist as part of the Center’s 75th anniversary celebration.

Modifying Alcubierre warping with thicker warping would make it easier

SOURCES- Agnew, White Papers, University of Alabama, NASA Eagleworks, Wikipedia

Written by Brian Wang,

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