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New method would not break Einstein's Theory of Relativity

Virtually all science fiction that involves intergalactic travel or convenient travel between planets in our own solar system revolves around faster than light travel. One problem with many theories for faster than light travel is the proposed methods would violate Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Two physicists from Baylor University have theorized what they believe to be a method of faster than light travel that would not break the Theory of Relativity. Einstein's Theory of Relativity states that objects accelerating to the speed of light require an infinite amount of energy.

The physicists -- Gerald Cleaver and Richard Obousy -- have theorized a new idea for faster than light travel that involves manipulating dark energy to propel a spacecraft. According to Space.com the universe -- in theory -- moved faster than light for a short time after the Big Bang, propelled by dark energy which represents about 74% of the mass energy budget in the universe. Space.com goes on to say that, 22% of the mass energy budget consists of dark matter and what remains of the mass-energy budget in the universe being made up of stars, planets and other things we see.

Some current evidence supports the theory that the fabric of space-time can expand faster than the speed of light. This is said to be because the reality which light travels is expanding itself.

The Baylor physicists took a recent idea in string theory to devise a method of manipulating dark energy to accelerate a spaceship based on the Alcubierre drive. The Alcubierre drive works on the principle -- in theory -- that expanding space-time behind a ship and reducing space-time in front of the ship would result in propulsion at faster than light speeds.

Cleaver said, "Think of it [faster than light travel] like a surfer riding a wave. The ship would be pushed by the spatial bubble and the bubble would be traveling faster than the speed of light."

It is believed that 10 dimensions exist, with six of them being largely unknown. M-theory suggests that hypothetical one-dimensional strings vibrate in yet another dimension. Cleaver and Obousy theorize that manipulating the dimension the strings vibrate in would alter dark energy in height, width, and length to permit a spaceship to take advantage of dark energy's effect on the universe.

Cleaver told Space.com, "The dark energy is simultaneously decreased just in front of the ship to decrease (and bring to a stop) the expansion rate of the universe in front of the ship. If the dark energy can be made negative directly in front of the ship, then space in front of the ship would locally contract."

While the whole theory hardly sounds simple, one of the greatest problems is the amount of energy required to propel a ship using this method. The physicists estimate that to move a small ship -- measuring approximately 33-feet x 33-feet -- would require energy equivalent to the entire mass of Jupiter.

Cleaver continued saying, "That is an enormous amount of energy. We are still a very long ways off before we could create something to harness that type of energy."



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RE: Theories...
By MozeeToby on 8/22/2008 2:57:41 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that there are two kinds of 'dark matter'.

One is matter that is literally dark, as in does not give off light and is not easily detected from earth. This would include planets, interstellar dust, black holes, and much much more.

The other kind of dark matter is believed to be different. It is mass that does not interect with other mass except through gravitation. Originally, when this kind of dark matter was first found, astronomers thought that it could be explained by normal matter that simply can't be seen. With, more evidence, it became apparent that this wasn't the case.

Now, we have one term to express two very different ideas.


RE: Theories...
By fishbits on 8/22/2008 3:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem is that there are two kinds of 'dark matter'... Now, we have one term to express two very different ideas.
This wasn't stated in the post you're replying to?


RE: Theories...
By masher2 (blog) on 8/22/2008 6:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
> "Now, we have one term to express two very different ideas."

That's not a very accurate way to look at it. More precisely, we have what is called the "dark matter problem", which is the discrepancy in (among other things) gravitational effects on galaxies.

To explain that problem, a few different solutions have been proposed. One is (obviously) dark matter, more precisely known as WIMPs. -- weakly interacting massive particles. There are some other forms of dark matter, but the important point is they're all exotic -- they don't interact the way normal matter does.

As a more mundane solution to the problem, some cosmologists proposed what they called MACHOs (a play on "wimp" -- get it?). But even though MACHOs are a (proposed) solution to the dark matter problem, they aren't dark matter -- they're normal matter which just isn't illuminated.

So the "Macho" solution doesn't hypothesis dark matter, it's a solution to the problem that involves just plain old ordinary matter. There's nothing exotic at all about a MACHO. . . if the Earth was floating in space without the benefit of the sun to light it up, it would be an (albeit very small and insignificant) MACHO as well.

The problem is that the Macho solution doesn't appear to be a very good one, which leaves Dark Matter and a few other possibilities (such as MoND) to solve the problem.


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