Saturday, September 22, 2012

Star Trek's 'warp drives' may not only be possible - but practical

From the Daily Mail courtesy, once again, of a friend on facebook:

As we take our virgin steps into space, there is one thing that could always put a cap on our ambitions.

Despite our desire to explore the stars, we are limited by travelling at less than light speed - and even if we managed to match that pace, we would still be listing our voyages from star to star in years, centuries or millenia.

But, in what could be a huge breakthrough, theorists from Nasa say there is 'hope' that we can achieve faster-than-light travel, after physicists found a theoretical possibility for warp speed travel.

 More here.

But...warp drives are impossible, total fantasy, a gimmick dreamed up by science fiction writers to justify fun stories, but not part of reality.  Or, at least, that's what I've believed since, say, 1987, when my astronomy in science fiction professor at the University of Texas verified in class that of which I had already been pretty sure, anyway.  And that's the assumption I've been operating on since then.

But not anymore.  If this is for real, the universe just opened up in unimaginable ways.  And mankind, after seemingly going backward for many years, in spite of wondrous technological achievements, on its fits and starts through history, may very well now be poised to inherit the stars.  The promise of humanism just became real.

This is quite extraordinary, on a sort of Biblical level.  Let's not f' it up.