Warp Drive - From Imagination to Reality

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J. Gardiner (2008), JBIS, 61, 353-357

Refcode: 2008.61.353
Keywords: Faster-than-light, futurology, space travel, warp drive

The realisation of warp drive is far beyond current science and technology; nevertheless, setting out a timetable for the realisation of warp drive is instructive as this will set expectations for the progress of future research. It is proposed that a time scale for the realisation of warp drive can be estimated by historical analogy with the development of manned space travel to the Moon, using conventional project estimation techniques. A timeline for space travel to the Moon begins with Cyrano de Bergerac's Voyage dans la Lune in 1657 and culminates with the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969, a little over 300 years later. A similar timeline for warp drive begins with John W. Campbell's novel Islands of Space in 1930. Fictional conjecture on the warp drive has given way to serious scientific speculation following publication of Alcubierre's seminal warp drive paper in 1994. It is concluded that the realisation of warp drive might be achieved around the year 2180. A projected timetable for the realisation of warp drive through phases of conjecture , speculation , science , technology and application suggests that the warp drive proposal should enter the science phase around the year 2030.


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