The Status of the Warp Drive

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K.F. Long (2008), JBIS, 61, 347-352

Refcode: 2008.61.347
Keywords: Warp drive, space drive, general relativity, horizon mission methodology

The prospects for a realistic engineered warp drive are currently within the realms of scientific speculation. The pioneering paper by Alcubierre has started a new field of research and in a period of a little over a decade has seen some encouraging developments. This has led to a better definition of the problem using the mathematical tools of general relativity and quantum field theory. Many publications now exist which have identified many technical problems and explored realisable solutions. Some of these ideas may one day make warp drive a genuine contender for breaking the interstellar distance barrier - the biggest obstacle towards the potential interaction of interstellar civilizations. This paper will review the current status of the warp drive since the seminal paper and discuss the tremendous theoretical advances that have been made. The problem definition will be considered in the context of the NASA Horizon mission methodology.

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