Mysterious New Warp Drive Patent Surfaces Online

Discussion in 'Alternative Technologies & Energetics' started by nivek, Mar 21, 2021.

  1. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Mysterious New Warp Drive Patent Surfaces Online

    After appearing for decades in science fiction, then moving into an actual theory, a new patent for an updated warp drive was published last year to no fanfare. Like many other false starts in cutting-edge research, the patent may represent the next step in the expanding theory, or it could mean the practical, real-world design of a functioning warp drive is on the horizon.

    BACKGROUND: HOW TO BEND SPACE-TIME WITH A WARP DRIVE

    After first publishing his groundbreaking 1994 warp drive concept in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, Mexican Mathematician and Physicist Miguel Alcubierre received significant positive and negative feedback. Most applauded his solution, which did indeed appear to create a working theory on how a warp drive might allow faster than light travel without violating the laws of physics. In contrast, others zeroed in on the incredible amount of energy needed to propel his theoretical spacecraft.



    The warp drive was further refined in 2007 by engineer H. David Froning Jr., who, among other things, previously worked for the U.S. Air Force, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas. He published those refinements in 2008 and later released a 2019 book on his research.

    Both theories took a giant leap forward in 2011 when a paper published by NASA scientist Harold G. “Sonny” White further improved upon Alcubierre’s designs, dramatically reducing the amount of exotic matter needed to fuel the hypothetical drive from a Jupiter sized amount to something akin to the size of the NASA Voyager 1 probe. While this is still a significant volume and well beyond our current ability to manufacture, this dramatic reduction in fuel requirements seems to indicate that a real-world warp drive may one day be feasible.

    One practical attempt to build a drive is being made by Nebraska University Adjunct Professor David Pares and his company, Space Warp Dynamics. He posted a recent series of tests to YouTube; however, his company’s Indiegogo campaign to build such a device has only reached 3% of the target goal. Their website and Facebook pages show only incremental advancements since. Interestingly, the company’s website notes that Pares was “Inspired by his own craft sighting, at the age of 16,” although no other details of this sighting are provided. Apart from that, little is known about this project.



    ANALYSIS: THE NEW 2020 WARP DRIVE PATENT

    In April of 2020, two engineers from Chicago, Jessica Gallanis and Eytan Halm Suchard published a patent application for a drive using the updated Harold White designs. A device aptly named the Alcubierre-White Warp Drive. Barely a month into the COVID 19 shutdown, the patent’s publication seemed to sneak under the radar, with a lone report by Read Multiplex in December of 2020 (one that sits behind a paywall).

    In the summary portion of the patent, Gallanis and Suchard explain how “the invention uses two Alcubierre gravitational walls to achieve a warp drive effect as means of propulsion while surrounding or enclosing a cavity or space where passengers can travel.”

    This design is consistent with Alcubierre, who’s solution they point out “suggested a method for changing the metric of space-time and creating a space-time warp bubble such that while from outside the bubble, the bubble can advance in superluminal speed, from within the bubble the speed is much lower than the speed of light.”

    The patent also notes the work of Froning, who they say observed how, “if sufficient warping is achieved, ship speed is slower than light speed within the region that surrounds it-even if it is moving faster-than-light with respect to Earth.”

    “I had never personally heard of the Alcubierre drive until 2013,” Suchard admitted on a two-hour telephone interview with The Debrief to discuss his device, how the design came about, and how realistic building his patented Warp Drive was.

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    Two-dimensional visualization of an Alcubierre drive, showing the opposing regions of expanding and contracting spacetime that displace the central region. (Image: AllenMcC)

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    A software engineer by trade, Suchard was working on handwriting and signature recognition software when he had a revelation that would lead to his patented design.

    “It occurred to me that we should be able to describe all physical phenomena as geometry. And that space-time was merely an emergent property, which is diametrically opposed to [Albert] Einstein’s approach.”

    The Israeli-born engineer said this revelation launched him into a more in-depth study of things like dark matter, loop theory, quantum gravity, and ultimately, to the idea of a warp drive.

    “I first stumbled across Alcubierre in 2013,” Suchard explained, a discovery that led to him spending the next three years trying to rectify his new take on classical physics with Dr. White’s theory. “I knew from my own calculations that energy itself must create gravity, and by extension anti-gravity,” he said. “And that this had to be the solution to Alcubierre.”

    By 2017, Suchard’s wife and fellow engineer Jessica Gallanis told him that his theoretical work was sound, and it was time to try to file a patent. Unfortunately, the first try was unsuccessful. “They wouldn’t take it,” he said of the response by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). “I think they didn’t understand the physics.”

    Suchard said he spent the next two years going back and forth with the USPTO until, in 2020, they finally made a concession. “By then, they did not refute the fact that the patent is based upon a valid working theory, but still said I would need a physical device to prove the physics.” As a result of this concession, they accepted the application, leading to the 2020 publication.

    OUTLOOK: HAS HISTORY BEEN MADE?

    When asked where his patent will go from here, Suchard was particularly critical in his response. “I don’t trust anyone else to do the experiments,” he said, “because too many do them in the wrong way.” To do those experiments, Suchard also admits that his expertise is not enough. “I would need other physicists involved. An RF engineer, a materials scientist, and many others with expertise in [areas like] heat dissipation, x-rays, and other related fields.”

    Suchard also noted the significant amount of funding needed for this research and that such funding is not presently on the horizon.

    The Debrief reached out to Dr. Jason Cassibry, a professor at the Propulsion Research Center at the University of Alabama Huntsville. He, and one of his students, Joseph Agnew, a researcher at the Propulsion Research Center, explained that there were problems with Suchard’s theory.

    Cassibry and Agnew told The Debrief in an email that the use of highly concentrated magnetic fields to create gravity wells is a common aspect of warp drive theory.

    “I’ve seen a number of people try to relate high-frequency electrical oscillations to warp drive. Based on some of the papers I’ve looked at, there is indeed a relation between highly concentrated magnetic field energy, like in a huge solenoid, and a positive gravity well. But the amount of energy required to be detectable is quite large, and, although doable, that experiment has not been run yet,” Agnew explained.


    Agnew explained that the biggest problem is the “‘negative energy or ‘anti-gravity well'” part of the system that makes it an Alcubierre drive and not just a gravity well. Both Agnew and Cassibry concurred that aspects of the patent did jive with previous warp drive models; however, since there was no experimental data, it would be impossible to determine if the drive would work.

    “I’m skeptical,” Agnew stated, “since it cites as-yet-unobserved phenomena as its basis for operation.”

    Dr. Cassibry echoed Agnew’s sentiment, adding, “I hope that someday, someone discloses an invention or a technology along with a demonstration of a real system, such as a video of a working propulsion system lifting itself off the ground, no strings attached. Short of that, experimental measurements, even on a subscale test, are highly valuable and encouraged. Short of experimental evidence, I will remain skeptical of any and all papers and patents.”

    The Debrief reached out to the NASA Ames Research Center for comment from Dr. White on this potentially groundbreaking patent and any work he may still be doing in this field. Their representative told The Debrief that White retired from the organization last year. They also indicated that the warp mechanics program he ran at Ames is no longer in operation as it was shuttered at the same time he left.

    The Debrief tried to contact Dr. Whte at his new venture, the Limitless Space Institute, which appears to be continuing his Warp Drive research. They did not respond to requests for comment.


    The patent by Suchard and Gallanis is still awaiting approval, and it is an approval Suchard is not expecting any time soon. Still, he says, the theory is sound, and if he were able to put together the team of experts he envisions, he thinks building a warp drive may be possible. Like most potential breakthrough propulsion theories, Suchard’s take on energy and gravity is unique. Still, unlike Alcubierre and White, he has taken that theory to the next step with an actual patent application. Time will tell if it ever leads to the real thing, but the work by other researchers in the field and the improvements to Alcubierre’s original theory made along the way may mean that warp speed may be closer than we think.
     
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  2. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Warp drives: Physicists give chances of faster-than-light space travel a boost

    The closest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri. It is about 4.25 light-years away, or about 25 trillion miles (40 trillion km). The fastest ever spacecraft, the now- in-space Parker Solar Probe will reach a top speed of 450,000 mph. It would take just 20 seconds to go from Los Angeles to New York City at that speed, but it would take the solar probe about 6,633 years to reach Earth’s nearest neighboring solar system.

    If humanity ever wants to travel easily between stars, people will need to go faster than light. But so far, faster-than-light travel is possible only in science fiction.

    In Issac Asimov’s Foundation series, humanity can travel from planet to planet, star to star or across the universe using jump drives. As a kid, I read as many of those stories as I could get my hands on. I am now a theoretical physicist and study nanotechnology, but I am still fascinated by the ways humanity could one day travel in space.

    Some characters – like the astronauts in the movies “Interstellar” and “Thor” – use wormholes to travel between solar systems in seconds. Another approach – familiar to “Star Trek” fans – is warp drive technology. Warp drives are theoretically possible if still far-fetched technology. Two recent papers made headlines in March when researchers claimed to have overcome one of the many challenges that stand between the theory of warp drives and reality.

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    This 2-dimensional representation shows the flat, unwarped bubble of spacetime in the center where a warp drive would sit surrounded by compressed spacetime to the right (downward curve) and expanded spacetime to the left (upward curve). AllenMcC/Wikimedia Commons

    Compression and expansion


    Physicists’ current understanding of spacetime comes from Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. General Relativity states that space and time are fused and that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. General relativity also describes how mass and energy warp spacetime – hefty objects like stars and black holes curve spacetime around them. This curvature is what you feel as gravity and why many spacefaring heroes worry about “getting stuck in” or “falling into” a gravity well. Early science fiction writers John Campbell and Asimov saw this warping as a way to skirt the speed limit.

    What if a starship could compress space in front of it while expanding spacetime behind it? “Star Trek” took this idea and named it the warp drive.

    In 1994, Miguel Alcubierre, a Mexican theoretical physicist, showed that compressing spacetime in front of the spaceship while expanding it behind was mathematically possible within the laws of General Relativity. So, what does that mean? Imagine the distance between two points is 10 meters (33 feet). If you are standing at point A and can travel one meter per second, it would take 10 seconds to get to point B. However, let’s say you could somehow compress the space between you and point B so that the interval is now just one meter. Then, moving through spacetime at your maximum speed of one meter per second, you would be able to reach point B in about one second. In theory, this approach does not contradict the laws of relativity since you are not moving faster than light in the space around you. Alcubierre showed that the warp drive from “Star Trek” was in fact theoretically possible.

    Proxima Centauri here we come, right? Unfortunately, Alcubierre’s method of compressing spacetime had one problem: it requires negative energy or negative mass.

    [​IMG]

    This 2–dimensional representation shows how positive mass curves spacetime (left side, blue earth) and negative mass curves spacetime in an opposite direction (right side, red earth). Tokamac/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

    A negative energy problem


    Alcubierre’s warp drive would work by creating a bubble of flat spacetime around the spaceship and curving spacetime around that bubble to reduce distances. The warp drive would require either negative mass – a theorized type of matter – or a ring of negative energy density to work. Physicists have never observed negative mass, so that leaves negative energy as the only option.

    To create negative energy, a warp drive would use a huge amount of mass to create an imbalance between particles and antiparticles. For example, if an electron and an antielectron appear near the warp drive, one of the particles would get trapped by the mass and this results in an imbalance. This imbalance results in negative energy density. Alcubierre’s warp drive would use this negative energy to create the spacetime bubble.

    But for a warp drive to generate enough negative energy, you would need a lot of matter. Alcubierre estimated that a warp drive with a 100-meter bubble would require the mass of the entire visible universe.

    In 1999, physicist Chris Van Den Broeck showed that expanding the volume inside the bubble but keeping the surface area constant would reduce the energy requirements significantly, to just about the mass of the sun. A significant improvement, but still far beyond all practical possibilities.

    A sci-fi future?

    Two recent papers – one by Alexey Bobrick and Gianni Martire and another by Erik Lentz – provide solutions that seem to bring warp drives closer to reality.

    Bobrick and Martire realized that by modifying spacetime within the bubble in a certain way, they could remove the need to use negative energy. This solution, though, does not produce a warp drive that can go faster than light.


    Independently, Lentz also proposed a solution that does not require negative energy. He used a different geometric approach to solve the equations of General Relativity, and by doing so, he found that a warp drive wouldn’t need to use negative energy. Lentz’s solution would allow the bubble to travel faster than the speed of light.

    It is essential to point out that these exciting developments are mathematical models. As a physicist, I won’t fully trust models until we have experimental proof. Yet, the science of warp drives is coming into view. As a science fiction fan, I welcome all this innovative thinking. In the words of Captain Picard, things are only impossible until they are not.


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  3. Dejan Corovic

    Dejan Corovic Celestial

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    Since that well-publicized US NAVY UFO incident, a whole new cottage industry sprang up in theoretical physics where physicists are trying to find new, more practical, solutions for warp drives.
     
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