A team of physicists has reported the accidental discovery of a real-world “warp bubble” whilst observing the structure of Casimir cavities – a small step towards building a potential warp drive.
The Debrief reports that Dr. Harold G. “Sonny” White and his team stumbled upon the existence of a warp bubble whilst conducting DARPA-funded research into Casimir cavities and the energy density present in those structures. White acknowledged the significance of the fluke findings but asserted that it was only a small step forward in regards to actually building a warp drive.
“Our detailed numerical analysis of our custom Casimir cavities helped us identify a real and manufacturable nano/microstructure that is predicted to generate a negative vacuum energy density such that it would manifest a real nanoscale warp bubble, not an analog, but the real thing,” White explained in a statement to the publication.
He emphasized that the findings recorded by his Limitless Space Institute (LSI) team centered around “a real, albeit humble and tiny, warp bubble” as opposed to a warp bubble analog, and confirmed that the structure “predicts negative energy density distribution that closely matches requirements for the Alcubierre metric,” hence the significance of the observation.
IGN previously referred to the Alcubierre metric and the possibility of warp drives becoming a reality, as Space.com noted that “a concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre; however, subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy.”
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As mentioned, this isn’t the first time that scientists have considered manufacturing a warp drive or warp-capable spacecraft. A previous report suggested that Star Trek’s warp drive could really happen, whilst NASA also toyed with the idea of inventing a warp drive — something that would be especially useful in its ongoing search for extra-terrestrial life.
Adele Ankers is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.