A group of American physicists presented the first model for a real curvature drive, which would allow travel faster than light through space on warped spacetime waves and in that way to be able explore worlds much farther from Earth, becoming an interstellar species.
In theory, bend drives bend and change the shape of space-time to exaggerate the differences in time and distance that, in some circumstances, could see the star travelers move across distances faster than the speed of light.
One of those circumstances was outlined more than a quarter of a century ago by the Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre. His idea, proposed in 1994, was that a spacecraft powered by something called the ‘Alcubierre drive’ could achieve this faster-than-light travel. The problem is that it requires a lot of negative energy in one place, something that is simply not possible based on existing physics.
“We don’t need to travel faster than light to be an interstellar species”
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But the new study has a solution. According to researchers at the New York-based independent research group Applied Physics, it is possible to get rid of the negative energy fiction and still do a bend push, though perhaps a little slower than ideal.
They suggest that a massive gravitational force could be used to bend space-time. The trick is to find a way to compress a planet-sized mass to a manageable spacecraft module size to use its gravity. Due to the difficulties involved, a curvature impulse created from the model developed by the researchers could not be built today, but they suggest that it might one day be possible.
“While we still can’t break the speed of light, we don’t need to to become an interstellar species,” says Gianni Martire, another Applied Physics scientist.