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Warp Engines In Development?

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the i'm-giving-her-all-she's-got-captain dept.

Space 1016

Toloran writes "Although a staple of Sci-Fi space travel, it is often deemed to be just that: Fiction. However, it seems that one is currently in development. "The theoretical engine works by creating an intense magnetic field that, according to ideas first developed by the late scientist Burkhard Heim in the 1950s, would produce a gravitational field and result in thrust for a spacecraft. Also, if a large enough magnetic field was created, the craft would slip into a different dimension, where the speed of light is faster, allowing incredible speeds to be reached. Switching off the magnetic field would result in the engine reappearing in our current dimension.""

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1016 comments

This is SO neat! (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404056)


It reminds me of the experiments with the first atomic bombs: they didn't know that the chain reaction wouldn't ignite the atmosphere. Who knows what considerations they've given it. Will it jerk the earth out of it's orbit? Will it open a wormhole that sucks out the earth's atmosphere? Will it end life as we know it? I was under the impression that extreme magnetic fields were fatal to humans, to say nothing of throwing birds off of their migration patterns.

I wonder who they will bestow the honor of first flight on...

Like the WB Gophers:

"After you!"
"I wouldn't think of it, after you!"
"Oh, but I insist you go first!"
"I am most undeserving of that honour, you go first!"
"I couldn't live with myself it I did, you first!"
etc.
Latest news: Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott still dead.

wwgd: what would google do?

Re:This is SO neat! (0, Redundant)

jekewa (751500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404132)

Heck. I'll go. I'm sure you saps won't miss me.

Re:This is SO neat! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404169)

Heck. I'll go. I'm sure you saps won't miss me.

Thanks, W!

Re:This is SO neat! (5, Informative)

s20451 (410424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404141)

It reminds me of the experiments with the first atomic bombs: they didn't know that the chain reaction wouldn't ignite the atmosphere.

This is mostly a myth. Virtually every physicist associated with the Manhattan Project came independently to the conclusion that a nuclear bomb would not ignite the atmosphere, based on what was known about the nuclear cross-sections of atmospheric atoms (which was a lot).

I guess it's possible that some unknown physics could have resulted in ignition of the atmosphere anyway, but we are always at risk from that, so it's somewhat silly to worry about it. For instance, if current physics is wrong, a passing strangelet [wisegeek.com] could destroy the Earth at any moment.

Re:This is SO neat! (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404240)

It did ignite the atmosphere- just in a dimension with much slower time than our own;-) On a side note...

"I canna change the laws of physics cap'n!"
"Could you at least bend them a bit then?"

Re:This is SO neat! (5, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404251)

This is mostly a myth. Virtually every physicist associated with the Manhattan Project came independently to the conclusion that a nuclear bomb would not ignite the atmosphere, based on what was known about the nuclear cross-sections of atmospheric atoms (which was a lot).

Having had one of said people as mathematics instructor; he said it was about 1/3 of the team members who thought it would probably kill us all via igniting the atmosphere, or jettisoning a significant amount of it into space.

Re:This is SO neat! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404157)

Latest news: Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott still dead.

Even later news: The hyperdrive motivator is still damaged, and it is still impossible to go to light-speed. But it's not my fault.

Re:This is SO neat! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404158)

It reminds me of the experiments with the first atomic bombs: they didn't know that the chain reaction wouldn't ignite the atmosphere.

And what of those poor army lads who stood there gazing into the light of a million suns and standing but a few mere miles away from the nuclear blasts? You know, just like the guys on the navy boats who drank fallout until they got home? I can see something similar happening here.

Re:This is SO neat! (1)

mendaliv (898932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404181)

Interesting point, but could we really generate an artifical magnetic field THAT powerful? What would the energy requirement be to shift a planet out of orbit?

My concern is more the havoc it would wreak with our satellites. Heck, what about its own internal computer systems?

Re:This is SO neat! (1)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404267)

t reminds me of the experiments with the first atomic bombs: they didn't know that the chain reaction wouldn't ignite the atmosphere. Who knows what considerations they've given it. Will it jerk the earth out of it's orbit? Will it open a wormhole that sucks out the earth's atmosphere? Will it end life as we know it? I was under the impression that extreme magnetic fields were fatal to humans, to say nothing of throwing birds off of their migration patterns.

Also reminds me of Guy Fleegman on Galaxy Quest: Don't open that! Is there air? You don't know! [holds his breath}

You'd really hate to be the guy who develops a working warp drive but dies because he was stupid enought to just turn it on...

Warp FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404060)

In some dimensions, this will actually appear before the story.

Original article (4, Informative)

rfinnvik (16122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404061)

Original article from New Scientist [livejournal.com] - (also) stolen from digg.com :)

Re:Original article (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404189)

All I want to know is why no one on Slashdot has pointed out yet that the link about warp drives comes from scotsman.com.

Slower Dimension (5, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404070)

What if my Apocalypse battleship slipped into a different dimension where the speed of light is slower, and it would take me another 200 years to move my finger to the 'OFF' switch 2cm away just to come back again.

Re:Slower Dimension (5, Funny)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404110)

You rock. Someone who GETS the law of unintended consequences, and sees its incredible potential for humor.

Re:Slower Dimension (1)

malelder (414533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404162)

heck, what if it sucks the ship and the island its being launched from and sends it all the way to Pluto? The possibilities are endless! (;

Re:Slower Dimension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404122)

Then as you press the stop button you will reenter the normal dimention, but 200 years forward in time. :o

Re:Slower Dimension (1)

valrog77 (887083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404142)

That would mean that in just a few seconds you time traveled 200 years into the future.

Re:Slower Dimension (1)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404182)

Physically, yes, only a few seconds, but all the valuable asteroids will be mined by then!

Re:Slower Dimension (5, Funny)

murphyslawyer (534449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404174)

What if my Apocalypse battleship slipped into a different dimension where the speed of light is slower, and it would take me another 200 years to move my finger to the 'OFF' switch 2cm away just to come back again.

Or worse yet, due to a great miscalculation in size, the entire battlefleet could be swallowed by a small dog.

Gotta have... (1)

LeeItson (943487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404073)

More power!!! Bring on the geekyness! I love this....being both a star trek geek and a space nut in general, I think its about time that we have been able to expand more into the world of space travel. Maybe man will finally be able to get out of the solar system.

I call shenanigans! (2, Interesting)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404074)

Sounds like a half-baked Star Trek explanation.
Just doesn't sound realistic to me.
YMMV

Re:I call shenanigans! (3, Funny)

DJenk47 (212581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404179)

It's not a Star Trek explanation until you see statements such as "reversing the polarity" or "low-yield tachyon burst". Or a red-shirted ensign gets killed on the planet's surface.

Re:I call shenanigans! (2, Funny)

rmjohnso (891555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404193)

It's a half-baked Star Trek explanation because they haven't invented a new particle and reversed that particle's field polarity.

As Scotty said, "I canna break the laws of physics!" I'll believe this when I see an actual FTL ship.

Warp 7..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404078)

Engage!!!

Dreams of a madman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404086)

Does it have an "L" unit?

Whacky science.... (5, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404087)

This should be a fun post. At any rate, the interest of the Air Force does not provide any more credibility to this story. I've seen some *really* whacky ideas based on science fiction rather than science fact move through the DOD that says more to me about the state of science education in the US than anything else.

Re:Whacky science.... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404261)

Dude, the Air Force remote viewers told them the North Koreans already have a prototype that almost works.

We can't allow a whacky idea gap.

KFG

Death (1)

ModifiedDog (514241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404088)

Needless to say, any passengers would be dead.

Re:Death (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404256)

passangers are overrated. an automated probe that could reach another star, gather info and return would suffice for years of entertainment.

Know what's probably a more difficult problem than FTL travel? Getting people off the planet earth as fast (or faster) than population increase.

Even if you had some mechanism like stargate (That could take people off the earth as fast as you wanted to feed it) and you had people running into it constantly, I don't think you would even slow the rate of world population growth much.

Word Usage (0)

valrog77 (887083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404094)

Someone needs to learn the difference in the words "stable" and "staple". IE "Although a stable of Sci-Fi space travel,"

Where do I sign-up to test? (1, Funny)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404097)

Where can I sign-up to test something like this? Please, someone -- anyone -- get me off the fucked-up people on this crazy rock!

Re:Where do I sign-up to test? (2, Funny)

gotkube (912919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404195)

"get me off the fucked-up people on this crazy rock!" What are ya doin' on ON those fucked-up people in the first place!?

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404099)

getting struck by lightning can send you back in time.

Seriously, wtf?

Come again, please? (4, Interesting)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404109)

The theoretical engine works by creating an intense magnetic field that, according to ideas first developed by the late scientist Burkhard Heim in the 1950s, would produce a gravitational field and result in thrust for a spacecraft.

OK - so far, so good.

Also, if a large enough magnetic field was created, the craft would slip into a different dimension, where the speed of light is faster, allowing incredible speeds to be reached. Switching off the magnetic field would result in the engine reappearing in our current dimension.""

Err, what? I hope this is a joke...

Re:Come again, please? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404248)

Geez doesn't anyone remeber the philidelpiha project?

the one where the Navy put a bunch of big tesla coils on a ship, turned them all on, and she ship dissappeared, only to (reportedly) show up in a different port, with the crew either insane, or dead.

Would it be fit for human travel? (1, Insightful)

RickPartin (892479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404112)

I admit my science knowledge is somewhat lacking but what effects would a huge magnetic field have on the human body? Or would they be able to create some sort of shielding?

Re:Would it be fit for human travel? (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404145)

it's going to be sweet to go to warp and have the ship slip out of our dimension leaving the passengers behind ;o

Re:Would it be fit for human travel? (2)

BWJones (18351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404172)

The effects of magnetic fields are actually an area of study here in the US with some groups funded through the DOD. Others in the Netherlands and Russia have been interested in them for a few years now.

Anyhow, it turns out that we are able to withstand pretty stunningly high magnetic fields. For instance, research magnets for MRI, fMRI and MRS are pushing 5-7 Tesla, but there are some absolutely stunningly high magnetic fields (starting at about 10 Tesla) that are contained in small areas that actually cause things to levitate. Right now there are folks that are looking at the biological effects on small organisms in those fields.

Re:Would it be fit for human travel? (1)

Cmdr-Absurd (780125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404197)

what effects would a huge magnetic field have on the human body?
Forget the magnetic field. What would the enormous gravitational field do to the human body? -- Oh yeah, inertial dampeners will take care of that.

Re:Would it be fit for human travel? (1)

CBob (722532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404244)

Other than death? None.

The fusion lab folks have already made magnetic fields stong enough to kill even Keith Richards & the only other worldly thing they've gotten is bigger budgets and a few REALLY neat pix of the secondary discharges.

Actually, I think they're well into to the "even kills roaches" levels.

Re:Would it be fit for human travel? (1)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404260)

Don't take this article seriously. The only thing they'll ever make is a good chuckle for physicists.
Hey, why didn't they throw in levitation as well? Didn't someone do an experiment where they levitated a frog by putting it over a strong magnetic field?
I don't know the frequencies and amplitudes required for damaging human cells. Is there a radio-physicist in the audience?

Hoax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404113)

Nothing more to say.

How do you test this? (2, Interesting)

cli_man (681444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404128)

After reading the article I am confused as to how you would test such a thing? Do you build a super ship, arm it with a magnet that will probably draw the moon into the earth and then blast off into space going faster than your body can handle thus exploding?

WARP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404133)

i thought it was called a warp drive because it warps the space around you, making the space immediatlely in front of the craft shorter and the space behind it bubble so at to propel you through space by riding the equalization and MORE POWER TO THE FLUX CAPACITOR WITH THE REVERSING OF THE L BEAMS POLARITY OF 1.21 SCIZOMETERS

The engines cannae takit captain! (3, Funny)

Odonian (730378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404165)

Anyone else find it amusing that the warp engine story appears on 'scotsman.com'? James Doohan's probably smiling somewhere...

*Staple*. *Staple*. *Staple.* (5, Informative)

namespan (225296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404166)

Although a stable of Sci-Fi space travel

Staple. A *staple* of Sci-Fi space travel. A stable would be... well, I don't know what it would be, but it would be something else besides a staple.

People: spelling phonetically doesn't always work. This is getting "rediculous" [sic].

hey!! (2, Insightful)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404176)

The hypothetical device, which has been outlined in principle but is based on a controversial theory about the fabric of the universe, could potentially allow a spacecraft to travel to Mars in three hours and journey to a star 11 light years away in just 80 days, according to a report in today's New Scientist magazine.

Wow, I just logged onto their "theoretical" website and bought me some "hypothetical" tickets. I'll be staying in the VaporWare Resorts located on the crater-rific Southern Highlands, where I'll play Duke Nukem Forever on my Cold-Fusion powered Phantom Game Console....

Sigh.

OMGWTFBBQ! (2, Funny)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404178)

I think more "Fake" sci-fi stuff becomes reality than not, but honestly I never thought there would be a way to implement a practical FTL engine.

On top of this, it works exactly as specified on startrek, with the "Warping" entering another dimension, ...

If they figure out that they can creat some new crystal that will power such a monster, I'm going to quit my job and start designing a world that can wrap all the way around a star.

Re:OMGWTFBBQ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404258)

On top of this, it works exactly as specified on startrek, with the "Warping" entering another dimension, ... That's not at all how warping works on Star Trek...

Nonsense (2, Insightful)

hcg50a (690062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404183)

The engine is based on physical theory that doesn't exist, therefore, it's not based on anything.

There is no theory of gravity or electro-magnetism that ties these things together. If there were such a theory, it would be huge news indeed.

Materials (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404184)

What kind of materials should be used in that kind of ships? Really strong magnetic fields could have some impact over current manufacturing components for space ships. Also would be nice to have some kind of magnetic isolation, tripulation and cargo could depend on that.

Warp drive? (4, Informative)

AC-x (735297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404187)

Forget that! We could've had interplanetary ships by the 70s if Kennedy hadn't killed Orion.

What? (1)

NoseBag (243097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404192)

...Did I skip ahead in time to April 1?

Magnetic fields producing gravity?

Damn, I guess I'll have to trash all that physics I learned in school.

In another dimension... (1)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404198)

Also, if a large enough magnetic field was created

Yet another application of the well-known dimension-slipping properties of magnetic fields!

The craft would slip into a different dimension

Then it would be what, a one-dimensional craft?

where the speed of light is faster

And they know this how? Why wouldn't the speed of light be slower? Why would it be different?

Hah.

Sounds nice and safe. (1)

mogrify (828588) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404207)

Just be sure that you don't have a pacemaker, braces, plates, pins, screws or other assorted metal items embedded in your body. Don't wear glasses, jewelry of any kind, anything with a zipper, or metal eyelets, buttons, or rivets. Don't carry your keys, a pocketknife, a USB key, or any writing implements. For that matter, the use of nearly all office supplies is prohibited, including staplers, hole punches, binder clips, hanging files, and push pins. Be sure not to use any silverware or cookware nearby, and you can't use any tools - no screwdrivers, pliers, or hammers. Motorized electric tools are out as well.

Oh, and be sure not to use any metal at all when you build it.

Otherwise, enjoy your travels!

At last (2, Funny)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404208)

Clearly a warp engine in the garage would more than make up for science and progress failure for not delivering a practical flying car and dishwashing robots.

Oh, *come* on, now... (4, Insightful)

Control Group (105494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404216)

The theoretical engine works by creating an intense dark energy field that, according to ideas first developed by the late scientist Burkhard Heim in the 1950s, would produce a gravitational field and result in thrust for a spacecraft. Also, if a large enough dark energy field was created, the craft would slip into a different dimension, where the speed of light is faster, allowing incredible speeds to be reached. Switching off the magnetic field would result in the engine reappearing in our current dimension.

And really, they might as well replace "magnetic" with "pork chop," for all the real science that's discussed here.

FTA: But this thing is not around the corner; we first have to prove the basic science is correct and there are quite a few physicists who have a different opinion.

Yeah. Like almost all of them. This, however, is the most reasonable statement made in the whole article.

I'm not normally on the "bash slashdot" bandwagon, but...come on. Since when are completely unsubstantiated claims that it might be possible someday to violate fundamental physical laws news? If they are, here's more news:

A method to cheaply and easily turn any given substance into gold has long been the goal of alchemy, and widely regarded as fantasy. However, it seems that one is currently in development. According to slashdot user Control Group: "the theoretical process works by imbuing heavy metals - such as lead - with the essence of the sun's emanatory spirit, resulting in the lead taking on a yellowish hue. Also, if enough essence is crammed into any given substance, the very nature of it is changed, allowing incredible transformations to be performed.

*eyeroll*

Some Links (1)

alanw (1822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404223)

A web site with several of Jochem Hauser's papers
http://info.uibk.ac.at/c/cb/cb26/heim/theorie_raum fahrt/raumfahrt.html [uibk.ac.at]

Including Jochem Hauser and Walter Droscher's paper (PDF) that won the AIAA prize: Guidelines for a Space Propulsion Device AIAA 2004-3700
http://info.uibk.ac.at/c/cb/cb26/heim/theorie_raum fahrt/guidelinesforaspacepropulsiondeveiceaiaa2004 -3700.pdf [uibk.ac.at]

The web site referenced at the end of the dead tree edition of the New Scientist article: http://www.heim-theory.com/ [heim-theory.com]

only a three hour trip?? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404231)

What do they propose calling the first such warp ship, the StarShip (SS) Space Minnow?

"Come on lovey, it's only a three hour trip to Mars, what could possibly go wrong??"

Fastest Honda evar! (1)

saintp (595331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404245)

How long before we see "Warp Engine" stickers appearing on yellow Hondas with giant mufflers and cosmetic hood scoops?

But.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404246)

Will it run Linux?

Another dimension... pah! (1)

EvilPickles (943600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404247)

Contrary tom popular belief and popular belief of science fiction, there is no such thing as 'another dimenson'. What is trying to be referred to is "another universe", not another Dimension. A dimension is a way int which objects can move. No, you cannot just 'go into another dimension' because that is perfectly, impossible. It is impossible to even imagine a third dimension because, well, try it for yourself. I'm 15, and I know this shit, this article is a compelte lie. Science fiction authors often use the shortcut of 'other dimensions' simply to make their story work.

Philadelphia Experiment (2, Interesting)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404253)

My first thought in reading about huge magnetic fields was that this is the modern-day equivilant of The "Philadelphia Experiment" [navy.mil]. If you've seen the move by the same name you know the basics. Supposedly the US Navy tested using huge magnetic fields around a ship in the 1940's to see if it would make it invisible. The story goes that the ship disappeared but also phase-shifted and some sailors on board ended up partially embedded within the hull of the ship when it finally re-appeared.

Poor Scouts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14404262)

An unfortunate side effect to this extraordinary engine is that while the engine is turned on, all boy scouts will fail their orienteering merit badges.

Paper this is based on (4, Insightful)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404271)

This [uibk.ac.at] is a paper on the subject. The only thing that differentiates this from crackpot science is that it is testable. The authors won an award from AIAA for suggesting a method for testing the theory. There is no reason to believe that the theory won't be falsified.

Phily experiment all over again. (1, Flamebait)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404272)

All geeks know the philadelphia experiment.

None REALLY knows what happened.

One of the conjectures were a massive gravitational field was formed, (that was part of the goal to render the ship invisible to radar, by warping (not space warp) the radar by using magnetism, the fact that both einstein and tesla were involved makes me curious.
 
Is it possible they learned something here ?
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