Daydreaming Beyond the Solar System with Warp Field Mechanics

posted by Harold Sonny White on July 30, 2012

This article was authored by Harold “Sonny” White and Catherine Ragin Williams Sure and is a submission of the Exotic Research Group of Icarus Interstellar.

Sure, the Red Planet or an asteroid are enticing destinations, but what if one day we wanted to go really, really far out? With the technology we have today, it’s not in the realm of possibility. But it could be … and the Eagleworks Laboratories at Johnson Space Center are doing the mathematics and physics required to find the answers that defy traditional Newtonian laws.

Enter: The space warp. It’s the same space, and the same standard of time, but if we can theoretically manipulate it for our purposes, interstellar flight could be an option on a future technology roadmap. The first question you might start with is, “How hard is interstellar flight?” The Voyager 1 spacecraft is sometimes lifted up as our first interstellar spacecraft. It’s not a very big fella—it’s just a little bit under a metric ton, and it’s been going on now for about 33 years, headed straight out away from our solar system about as fast as it can go. If you stuck a measuring stick out to it, it’s about 119 astronomical units (AU) away from the sun. (An AU is the distance from the sun to the Earth.) It’s one of the highest energy objects that’s been launched to date, and nothing that we’ve launched will pass it. But if you wanted to predict how long it would take to get to the nearest star system, like Alpha Centauri, it would take around 75,000 years to get there. In terms of our galactic neighborhood, Alpha Centauri is right around the corner at 4.3 light years (271,931 AUs), so 75,000 years would not be ideal—especially for a human crew. But if you threw a bunch of power and propulsion behind it, then what?

Back in the 1970s, the British Interplanetary Society looked into what it would take to send a robotic probe to reach Barnard’s Star, about 6 light years (or 380,000 AU) away, within 50 years. Oh, just a 54,000-thousand-metric-ton spacecraft—92 percent of which is fuel. And, if you’re curious, that mass is well over 100 times the mass of the International Space Station, which weighs in at 400 metric tons. That suggests we may need to look at some possible loopholes in physics to see if we can find other ways to make this problem a little bit more tractable.

The loopholes, amazingly, can be found in mathematical equations. Those equations are tested using an instrument called the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer. At JSC, Eagleworks has initiated an interferometer test bed that will try to generate and detect a microscopic instance of a little warp bubble. Although this is just a tiny instance of the phenomena, it will be existence proof for the idea of perturbing space time—a “Chicago pile” moment, as it were. Recall that December of 1942 saw the first demonstration of a controlled nuclear reaction that generated a whopping half watt. This existence proof was followed by the activation of a ~ four megawatt reactor in November of 1943. Existence proof for the practical application of a scientific idea can be a tipping point for technology development.

By harnessing the physics of cosmic inflation, future spaceships crafted to satisfy the laws of these mathematical equations may actually be able to get somewhere unthinkably fast—and without adverse effects. The math would allow you to go to Alpha Centauri in two weeks as measured by clocks here on Earth. So somebody’s clock aboard the spacecraft has the same rate of time as somebody in mission control here in Houston might have. There are no tidal forces inside the bubble, no undue issues, and the proper acceleration is zero. When you turn the field on, everybody doesn’t go slamming against the bulkhead, which would be a very short and sad trip.

When you think space warp, imagine raisins baking in bread. When you put dough in a pan there’s little raisins in the bread. As you cook the bread, the bread rises and those raisins move relative to one another. That’s the concept of inflation in a terrestrial perspective, except in astrophysics it’s just the actual physical space itself that’s changing characteristics. But for futuristic space travel, we aren’t going to be a passive player. We’re trying to do something locally so that we compress the space in front of us and expand the space behind us in such a way that allows us to go wherever we want to go, really fast, while observing the 11th commandment: “Thou shall not exceed the speed of light.”

What about the colossal energy requirements discussed in the literature? In the past, the literature has quoted Jupiter amounts of exotic matter/negative pressure necessary to implement a “useful” warp bubble, making the idea mostly of academic interest at best. However, sensitivity analysis started by White in 2011 and completed this year has shown that the energy requirements can be greatly reduced by first optimizing the warp bubble thickness, and further by oscillating the bubble intensity to reduce the stiffness of space time. The results, to be presented at the 2012 100 Year Starship Symposium in Houston, will discuss the findings in detail, but have yielded a reduction from Jupiter amount of exotic matter to an amount smaller than the Voyager 1 spacecraft (500kg) for a 10-meter bubble with an effective velocity of 10c, which is a handy improvement.

Surface plots of York Time.


Surface plots of T00 (zero-zero component of the stress-energy tensor).

While we are trying to reach neighbors within our solar system for the time being, we cannot help it if visions of distant star systems exist in our daydreams. Perhaps a “Star Trek” experience within our lifetime is not such a remote possibility.


Catherine Ragin Williams Sure: PR Specialist, JSC External Relations, Office of Communications and Public Affairs.














Daydreaming beyond the solar system with warp field mechanics

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126 Responses to Daydreaming Beyond the Solar System with Warp Field Mechanics

  1. Adam Crowl says:

    Any warp-field interferometer tests coming up, Sonny?

    • Harold White says:

      Yes, fairly soon – next couple of months?. We completed and validated the 2D analytic signal algorithms with some fringe patterns from the rig with known phase shift.. Also developed a new software filter to deal with diffraction & noise. This was unexpected, but nice side benefit. Dr. Juday will write an article for an optics journal.

      • Neil Munson says:

        Dr. White,
        Will you have a web page or e-mail list someone could get on to follow your experiments? I am quite the layman about this whole thing but I would really be interested in hearing how things are going and how they come out!

      • derek says:

        I am curious about the results of this experiment. Have current experiments confirmed warp bubble behavior?

      • luke galutia says:

        i had a question, in creating a warp field for space travel, wouldnt the warp field effect gravity waves in the area where it was started? would this disrupt the orbital path of objects in its location? such as earth, the moon, mars, asteroids? what would the risk be?

        i was just wondering. aside from that it sounds like awesome tech!

      • luke galutia says:

        p.s. also what possible effects on the human body would the warp field / gravity wave have ?

  2. Astronist says:

    For comparison with other concepts, would you happen to know the energy cost of manufacturing or mining 500 kg of exotic matter, please? And does the amount required scale with the radius of the bubble?

    • Harold White says:

      Well, our current plan is to attempt to generate a microscopic instance of the phenomenon in the lab, and then explore how/if the magnitude of the phenomenon scales with dphi/dt.

      Yes, the amount depends on bubble size.

  3. Rick York says:

    What is York Time? I cannot find it through either Google or Wikipedia>

  4. Gerry says:

    If this kind of space-warp is possible, even a very small one might be enough to allow tests of causality violation, I should think. Do you have any guesses about what the successful creation of a spacetime warp would mean for questions of causality and paradox? Might the very possibility of an FTL effect lend weight to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics (time travel = travel to a different universe/timeline)?

    • Harold White says:

      nothing locally exceeds the speed of light – remember this is a loop hole in general relativity that allows you to go long distances in a short time.

      • Gerry says:

        Thanks for your reply, Dr. White. I am still confused about a related issue, and I apologize if this is one of those naive questions you hear too often: Even if there is no local FTL travel within the warp bubble, wouldn’t there still be the possibility of causality violation by an FTL ship, from the viewpoint of distant observers?

        • Kenneth says:

          I want to say that information would still travel at the speed of light.. locally? Even if the vehicle zipped 20ly to another solar system and witnessed a star go super nova, then zipped back to Earth to tell us about it, we couldn’t prevent the super nova despite “knowing” about it close to 20 years before Earth will receive that light information. We may be able to travel faster than light information travels but we’re not seeing the “future”. I think of it like how I can know whats going on in Europe almost real-time thanks to the internet, despite them being a 16 hour plane ride away.

          • Gerry says:

            The situation is a little more complicated than that. It’s a tricky-to-visualize issue of geometry and light-cones. Essentially, as long as things or information cannot travel from A to B beyond light speed, all observers in whatever inertial frame will agree on the causality of the observed transmission or trip; the traveler will arrive at their destination after they leave, the information will arrive at its destination after it is sent from the transmitter. With FTL, there is always an inertial reference frame from which an observer will see the departure preceed the arrival. This isn’t just a question of seeing something that’s “already happened” after a signal delay. It’s actually possible, using FTL, to set up a situation where one sees an event, but then travels through space-time in such a way as to reach the location of the “cause” of that event before it occurs, and prevent it. That’s where the problem with paradox and causality arises. Some believe that ideas such as the Many Worlds Interpretation provide an out, wherein “altered history” just means a different branch of the multiverse is created. (see for example the work of David Deutsch).

        • rama says:

          Gerry, the only weird thing that would occur is the ability to see the past again, not the future.

          Thinking about that, that could be very useful for future cops… if we master that technology and go FTL, we can potentially watch a crime scene under any angle without previously putting a video camera in here :)

          JFK anyone ?
          1st moon landing

        • rama says:

          Gerry, the only weird thing that would occur is the ability to see the past again, not the future.

          Thinking about that, that could be very useful for future cops… if we master that technology and go FTL, we can potentially move a telescope and watch a crime scene or historic fact under every possible angle without previously putting a video camera in here :)

          JFK anyone ?
          1st moon landing, etc.

    • DC says:

      The way I understand this is that for the traveller, time will be slowed down proportionally to the acquired speed. Saying that we go 10 times the speed of light is a bit like saying that time will be 10 times slower than for the external observer. So in essence, this will permit the traveller to still be alive after its journey, but it won’t let him exceed effectively the speed of light. From the outside observer not moving at relativistic speed (that is not close to the speed of light), the traveller’s travel will still take an enormous amount of time.

      In other words, a travel will take a long time (say 4.3 years at light speed to alpha centauri), but the traveller will only have spent a few weeks of lifetime during the flight.

      • Gerry says:


        That is how things would work, if you had a starship traveling in normal space, close to light speed. Lorentz contraction would be such that, to those on the ship, far less time would pass during the trip than for those back on Earth.

        Within a warp-bubble such as is being contemplated here, there would actually be no such effect. The trip would take the same amount of time for both those on the ship, and those back on Earth (except perhaps for any time dilation effects incurred by the ship’s speed in normal space, before the warp-speed “boost” is activated).

  5. Lance Williams says:

    Sonny, I don’t understand how you get macroscopic warps with small amounts of energy. It seems the coupling of mass/energy to spacetime curvature, the factor G/c^4 in the Einstein equations, governs how much mass is necessary to warp spacetime on a given lengthscale. How do the optimization procedures you mention alter this basic scaling? It seems you are saying you have found a way to reduce the effective G/c^4.


    • Harold White says:

      I will be publishing a paper and presenting the findings at the upcoming 100YSS.

      To echo your observation, yes spacetime is really stiff. The findings suggest that if you oscillate the warp bubble, you can reduce this stiffness, and hence the energy required. I will explain this connection in the upcoming paper.

      • Evan Schrantz says:

        Will this paper be available online? I’m doing a presentation about the 100 Year Starship program, specifically Icarus Interstellar and the Exotic Research Group, to my senior spacecraft design class and would love to include this information!

      • john says:

        i was wondering if you have considered using dielectric nano structures in your experiments?it seems that you assume vacuum fluctuations are the key to faster than light travel and if that’s the case do you plan on using meta-materials to change the density of the vacuum? or test the idea of Riddler space to generate a huge casimir force?

    • c1c2c3c4c says:

      If I understand correctly you are tuning the bubble to the resonate frequency of space/time to eliminate most of the power requirements… that being said are you worried about adding more cracks to an already fractured membrane? last I heard the rapid cooling associated with its expansion was believed to have caused some…

  6. Robert CB Miller says:

    This is completely nuts. It depends on ‘optimising the warp bubble’. And how exactly would you do that? We can’t know whether this is possible or practicable – or even desirable. We can’t even get power generation by nuclear fusion to work despite trying for 50 years plus, why should we believe that this exotic technology is possible?

    • John Culver says:

      Are you kidding? No advancements come without people being willing to contemplate the impossible or
      improbable. What I thought impossible has ALREADY been busted.

    • DC says:

      Unfortunately, advance in these matters cannot be as fast as in say computer science, because it requires much more caution and hard work to get something substantial. Take for instance nuclear fusion as you mentioned it: the Iter experiment started a few years ago, is an international enterprise, and will not be ready until 2018 (estimated) for the first runs. The time necessary to build a tokamak style reactor at almost full scale like this one is huge.
      Have a look at the 3rd video on their website ( to get you an idea of the amount of work they’re facing.
      The wendelstein experiment is another ongoing one which demonstrate how hard the problem is. The core controlling system in that case relies on computing technologies which weren’t available until ver recently, for a theory which dates back several decades earlier.

      So yes, it is reaaaally slow, but it’s moving, although we may not see it blooming in our lifetime (if we already had a FTL travel device however…).

  7. Tim says:

    Can a fully-developed system be used to propel vehicles off Earth’s surface or will a separate system be needed?

    • Raka says:

      Though I have only a layman’s understanding of space expansion/contraction, consider this. As space contracts in front of you, the space between intersteller hydrogen atoms (or plain old air, here on earth) will decrease, effectively compressing it. Local overpressure from this compression will be trying to expand back to equilibrium, but… any gas that expands “foreward” will be scooped up as the warp field continues on it’s way, so barring leakage out the sides, all that hytrogen will need to pass through the warp bubble. So, despite the vessel not actually moving (relative to it’s own space time) there’s going to be a “headwind” that is actually accellerating you BACKWARD the longer the drive is on, depending on the aerodynamics of the vehical.

      Hmm… I wonder if this could be combined with a Buzzard Ramscoop field?

  8. Adam says:

    For someone whose interested in the math side of things but new to this. Where would you recommend they start learning and continue learning through?

  9. Pingback: NASA’s Newest Project: Warp DriveDistinctly Oklahoma Magazine | Distinctly Oklahoma Magazine

  10. Gary says:

    Dr. White, I’m curious as to the exotic matter used. My understanding of the Alcubierre drive had always been that it would require exotic matter as in “has a negative mass” or “has an imaginary rest mass” rather than simply “unusual.” So far as I’m aware, materials with either of those properties haven’t been found as yet. How does your experiment function without them?

    • Rutger says:

      I would like to know this as well

      • Farrukh Azfar says:

        Dear Dr. White,
        as a particle physicist I am puzzled about the negative energy densities and exotic matter that is proposed for use. What sort of real exotic matter would this be ? Could this be an “aggregrate” effect for example one can create an effective negative energy density such as in the Casimir effect… Is this what is proposed ? Exotic matter is a bit unclear.


    • Chris M says:

      If you read this paper:

      You’ll see that “exotic matter” is actually “negative space-time pressure.” The Cassimir Effect, which Dr White is focusing on, goes like this:

      1) Make a metal donut.

      2) Run a ridiculous amount of electricity into it.

      3) Space-time should expand at the center of the donut, or, if you blast enough electricity, around the donut.

      This space-time expansion (also called an increase in York Time) IS exotic matter. In other words, physicists have a weird name for the expansion of space-time.

      The question is how much energy will it actually require to achieve this expansion. The current experiments focus on determining whether the Cassimir Effect even works as we’ve theorized, and then how much energy delivers how much expansion.

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  12. Aizenmyou says:

    What are you going to do about inertia? To prevent everyone from “pancaking” going in and out of warp.

    • Gary says:

      The space within the warp bubble remains flat, so from the perspective of an observer within the bubble there is no acceleration.

  13. Andrew Brown says:

    Hey Dr. White,

    I know it’s a bit to ask, but would you be able to expound upon how the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer works?

    I’ve asked on Quora, but if you’d like to answer in the comments here, any place would be much appreciated.

  14. bubba j tarandfeathered says:

    I saw the news article on NBC and then watch the video at NASA and a few questions popped into my mind.

    Caveat: I’m not a scientist.

    I was wondering if an advanced space faring civilization were to develop a warp drive, would the usage of such a device have a measurable effect upon space-time. If one were to warp space or fold or compress space and then space-time were to retract or decompress, would this form a ripple or an echo, much like a ripple on water. It seems to me that warping space would also have the same effect as gravitational lensing, light from a distant object would bend around the warped space creating a distortion or a detectable anomaly viewable by a telescope or detectable in some manner.

  15. Tibor says:

    There must be something that I’m missing. Have we discovered exotic matter? If so what it is exactly and how can you harness its energy?

    If we haven’t than what energy source will you use in the upcoming experiment?

  16. SHANE says:

    This concept matches the description of ufo’s (almost)?

  17. Shawn says:

    What about the heat? The last paper I saw discussing warp bubbles had the inside of the bubble heating up to millions of degrees.

  18. Aaron says:

    Dr. White

    Absolutely fascinating work you are doing. Couple questions and I must apologize as I’m not a scientist or physicist by any means…
    1. As another commented and to take the question a step further, would the be any lingering effect on the space time fabric after it’s been “warped” or will it return to exactly the state that it was in?
    2. Could there be any negative interactions between the atmosphere or gravitational field from the planet that would possibly interfere with the formation of the bubble?

  19. Paul says:

    Exotic matter sounds like something that would be rather difficult if not impossible to obtain even if detectable. Is excitation/stimulation of various types of normal matter or meta-material such that it behaves in an exotic state also being considered? Hypothetically there might be some material that only exhibits interesting properties under the right conditions, much in the way that most known superconductors do. (Maybe by some other means too. Instead of supercooling, perhaps exposing it to high magnetic flux or bombarding it with X-rays, etc.) Since a working “exotic material detector” seems possible, is there a process to try and identify these materials and the mechanism by which they work in addition to detecting any exotic matter existing “in the wild”?

    Also if we find something interesting enough to be useful for warp drives, won’t we also understand a lot more about how gravity actually works? (Something beyond an acceleration force is there because a mass is there distorting space-time. More like having a better clue regarding how that mass distorts space-time.)

  20. Dilard says:

    This would be an Alcubierre drive which is only representing our lack of understanding in the field of quantum gravity and generally in physics.

    So basically you have a self-consistent theory without proper understanding and feasibility.

    It’s safe to say that this theory is only going to boost the ego of it’s researchers (especially with all this media attention) but not an actual spaceship.

    Nevertheless it’s important to explore the possibilities and to have faith (to maintain an ego) so keep up the hard work.

    • Dilard says:

      “boost … but not an actual spaceship”

      Which is funny because the Alcubierre drive never meant to be boosting the spaceship.

  21. C. Mason says:

    Dr. White, I read above you will soon be publishing a paper on this work… I was wondering what journal and recommendations for getting involved in your research. I am currently doing research into cheap methods of propulsion in LEO, but this greatly interests me. Thank you for your time.

  22. Vladimir Koller says:

    Hello Dr. White

    More layman questions here : )

    I´m also very interested in the so called exotic matter. How close are we to actualy produce it? And how can you conduct your experiments if you don´t have it yet?

  23. Mohammad Mansouryar says:

    Nice try! If you want to know how to produce exotic matter, read this paper:
    Emitting solitonized laser beams to boost the negative energy density of squeezed regions of the vacuum
    Anyway, my suggestion is shifting your focus from warp drive to wormhole. Good luck anyway!

  24. Brad Neuberg says:

    Exciting work! Two questions:

    * It’s unclear from your paper how the negative mass/pressure will be produced for the tabletop experiment you propose. Do you have more details you can share on that?

    * Will this work be published in a peer-reviewed journal soon?

    Brad Neuberg

  25. Jeremy says:

    Sonny. What would happen if you simply injected photons into the warp bubble? Would the effect be similar to traveling into the future? I would assume you will put a gravity sensor on board and take into account the movement of the planets so the craft will not end up in the crust of the earth upon arrival. Lol.

  26. Ladislas says:

    I, like many a person who has written to you, can pretend to nothing more than curiosity, with no background in Physics or Mathematics. But I would have regretted it for the rest of my life if I hadn’t ask the following questions:
    Q1) Has Physics begun to explore the possibility of space-time dilation?
    I have often wondered that if space-time can be compressed so that time appears to slow down in the presence of high density mass, could it be dilated in the presence of extremely low mass in a greater void?
    Q2) Would a superconductive surface help in any way to lengthen the warp bubble?

  27. Mohammad Mansouryar says:

    Hi Brad, IMO, the paper is clear, have more review on the references please. I just proposed some ideas, according to past works, done by other experts. BTW, I released that paper for all people & I don’t have a definite decision to send it to a journal, arXiv is nice enough, I guess. BTW, I am not active in this field anymore … Cheers, MM.

  28. Ken Jason says:

    HAROLD “Sonny” WHITE, can you please ANSWER my QUESTIONS (BELOW).

    1. Have you guys or NASA looked into the (MARTIN TAJMAR) experiment using a Gravitomagnetic Field of a Rotating Superconductor to produce a so called (GRAVITY SHIELDING) – ESA. Maybe this EXPERIMENT might ALSO give some ideas about a NEW type of propulsion.

    2. This would be one of the MOST FANTASTIC inventions in HISTORY, if we could ACTUALLY develop technology that could take us to OTHER planets and worlds like STAR TREK!

    3. From ME and SO MANY OTHERS like me DREAMING and wishing you much SUCCESS with your (WARP DRIVE EXPERIMENTS)!

    4. And please DO NOT give up…even if the EXPERIMENT and TEST for the WRAP DRIVE does not work right NOW. As a SCIENTIST, (YOU) have to KEEP TRYING and KEEP (DREAMING) and APPLYING yourself. That is how we went from DREAMING of (FLYING), to thinking of a way to ACTUALLY fly a PLANE, and then fly into SPACE in a ROCKET.

    5. NEVER give up DREAMING! Whether it is a STAR TREK (WARP DRIVE), or (TELEPORTATION)….as a SCIENTIST, it is YOUR JOB to DREAM and make a REALITY the the IMPOSSIBLE!

    Because you NEVER know! And (SOMEONE) has to INVENT it!!!

    6. Could this be used as a ENERGY SOURCE on (EARTH)?

  29. Michel Mantha says:

    Hi Sonny,

    You wont have to work on a double matrix to be able to create your bubble on a 2D pattern and another one in 3D for the spaceship itself ?
    A little bit like the matter transfer experiments done in the 70′s and 80′s ?

  30. Ken Jason says:

    HAROLD “Sonny” WHITE, can you please ANSWER my QUESTIONS (BELOW).

    Sorry. My PREVIOUS post at the end of the post said,
    make the (REALITY the IMPOSSIBLE)! Of course I meant to say, make the (IMPOSSIBLE a REALITY)!

    1. Have you guys or NASA looked into the (MARTIN TAJMAR) experiment using a Gravitomagnetic Field of a Rotating Superconductor to produce a so called (GRAVITY SHIELDING) – ESA. Maybe this EXPERIMENT might ALSO give some ideas about a NEW type of propulsion.

    2. This would be one of the MOST FANTASTIC inventions in HISTORY, if we could ACTUALLY develop technology that could take us to OTHER planets and worlds like STAR TREK!

    3. From ME and SO MANY OTHERS like me DREAMING and wishing you much SUCCESS with your (WARP DRIVE EXPERIMENTS)!

    4. And please DO NOT give up…even if the EXPERIMENT and TEST for the WRAP DRIVE does not work right NOW. As a SCIENTIST, (YOU) have to KEEP TRYING and KEEP (DREAMING) and APPLYING yourself. That is how we went from DREAMING of (FLYING), to thinking of a way to ACTUALLY fly a PLANE, and then fly into SPACE in a ROCKET.

    5. NEVER give up DREAMING! Whether it is a STAR TREK (WARP DRIVE), or (TELEPORTATION)….as a SCIENTIST, it is YOUR JOB to DREAM and make a the (IMPOSSIBLE a REALITY)!

    Because you NEVER know! And (SOMEONE) has to INVENT it!!!

    6. Could this be used as a ENERGY SOURCE on (EARTH)?

  31. Jesse M. says:

    Alcubierre’s original paper didn’t address the issue of where the warp bubble would come from, just how it would behave if it already existed. Has anyone actually found an exact solution to the equations of general relativity where a warp bubble is created in a previously bubble-free region of space, perhaps using a theoretical model of the “White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer”? If there are no exact solutions, are there numerical simulations that show this happening? If neither, what is the basis for the claim that the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer might plausibly be used to create one?

  32. sr says:

    I live in a log cabin in the Yukon. I am not a scientist whatsoever. I am wondering if there are any artistic renditions of the proposed ‘space ship’, or any thoughts on its shape. For those of you who think people who ‘have seen a ufo’ are wierdos not worth wasting your time on, here is your wierdo alert, stop reading now. 36 years ago, when I was 10 years old, I either saw or hallucinated a large object in the sky. For that reason, I pay attention to all these new technologies. My thought is that time and place are like a radio dial: you tune into a frequency. Things can appear and disappeer. Anyway, the object I saw was very large, like 100 feet by 60 feet or maybe much larger. It was rectangular and tubular with a hollow centre. The tubes would be maybe 3.5 feet in diameter, given the other dimensions being 60×100. The ‘skin’ of the tubes reminded me of the texture of shark skin (I had seen a shark in South Carolina). The object spun in place, which was frighteningly impressive. It spun on an axis such that two opposite corners tumbled over each other – ie, not in a flat manner but in a diagonal manner. After a few seconds of watching this, it hit a flat aspect during its tumbling, from my perspective on the ground, and it disappeered. I also saw a shadow, but that’s another fairly strange story. Anyway, I am not making this up and I do realize how it sounds. But many people have had strange experiences of one sort or another and this is the strangest experience of mine. I am writing just because I wonder if some other human in the future, or some other being, has already accomplished this experiment and if maybe occasionally they travel to our time and place. These details might help stimulate some thought among people who understand the physics of what you are trying to accomplish. That’s it.

  33. Dr. Robert Indech says:

    Having a fairly good knowledge of classical physics and of relativity, I would be interested in just how one proposes to manufacture a warp field of any size. On another note, a working design for a completely scalable deuterium fusion “impulse” engine, without the need for a fission core, and neither laser activated nor inertially confined is possible (and actually not too expensive either).

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  36. Gary Murray says:

    Thank you for the article and replies … it’s this kind of thing that really captures the imagination of laymen like me. I do have one question that springs to mind if anyone would be kind enough to answer:

    When the bubble reaches its destination, does a “retro” warping in the opposite direction to travel have to take place to “slow” the bubble down or would you simply switch it off and it remain in-place with no inertial effects on the surrounding spacetime? i guess what i’m asking is; would the warp field in spacetime have “momentum”?

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  38. Jumper says:

    so if I have a ship with your FTL, I can fly to Betelgeuse, take a photo when it goes to supernova, fly back, and show the photo to the kids while Betelgeuse is intact on the sky atm?

    casuality seems destroyed.

    • Greenbandit says:

      What? No. If Betelgeuse has gone supernova, it’s gone supernova, and the fact that you return to earth while it still APPEARS intact in the sky doesn’t mean it hasn’t gone supernova. It just means the light from the supernova hasn’t reached earth yet.

  39. Kirk says:

    We don’t need fuel to go to warp speeds… take a look at this –>

  40. john says:

    it seems that you assume vacuum fluctuations are the key to faster than light travel and if that’s the case do you plan on using meta-materials to change the density of the vacuum? or test the idea of Riddler space to generate a huge casimir force?

  41. Elliot says:

    Sonny, Good luck on your experiments! I (and I’m sure many others) admire you for doing the hard work to make this a reality and hope you are very successful!

  42. Anthony says:

    Dr. White what would happen to a living being inside the ship in the warp field? Is there any way you can experiment and find out if everything would just be a stand still for everyone or would time be passing in real time for the travelers?

  43. pv says:

    I’ve noticed a lot of people bringing up causality on this subject. As I understand it, at no time does the vehicle ever exceed the speed of light, the vehicle, in fact, only has the relative motion imparted by whatever orbits it is a part of and whatever gravity systems its exposed to. (that’s a problem that any propulsion system along these lines will need to address, as a vehicle in earth orbit moving to, lets say, mars will still have all the momentum and energy from its earth orbit – something that unless you’re very careful will play havoc once the warp field is dropped.)
    Since the vehicle never approaches the speed of light relative to the space surrounding it, and since the observers exist in the same space-time as the vehicle, there is no causality because the only thing being moved is space-time, and it takes a finite amount of time for the bubble of space-time to move.

    I’ll give an example using three observers: observer on earth, observer on Alpha-cent (example) and an observer on the ship. Lets say the vessel has enough Exotic Matter to push the ship to AC in 1 minute. An observer on earth would see the ship leave, and one minute later the observer on AC would see the ship arrive. The Observer on AC sends a message back to earth via radio that there was an arrival. The ship stays for 5 minutes, then returns to earth. The AC observer sees the ship leave, and 1 minute later the observer on earth sees the ship arrive. The total time seen by each observer, including the observer on the ship, is 7 minutes. 4.3 years later, or something to that sort depending on the observers exact location in the AC system, a transmission is recieved on earth recording the arrival of the vessel. No time travel is involved, and no chance for causality, because all events have already occurred in the past. Just as if you see the light from a supernova. It doesn’t matter if you have a ship 1 light second from the event, and can travel back to earth in 1 second to tell us about it, the event has already occurred and barring some unknown manipulation of space time or encounter with a black hole or other phenomenon that can cause gravity-induced temporal issues, there is no way for that information to be incorrect since the event has already occurred. If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Well, assuming that the tree is on earth, that the atmospheric conditions are correct (ie, there is an atmosphere), and gravity is the same, yes, it will always make a sound. It could be a small sound, it could be a large sound, but without interference, even if nobody observes its occurrence, it made a sound. It would not violate causality if a person was able to hear the tree fall, move faster than sound, and hear it fall again some time later after telling his friends about it. Please keep in mind, this is a simplistic explanation, and that there are likely things in the universe we haven’t experienced yet that can change these circumstances. But like the warp field itself, they would be exceptions, not violations. Remember, time travel is as theoretically possible as warp travel.

    • Gerry says:

      Hi, PV-

      I was one of those asking about causality. It’s true that in your example there would be no real violation of causality, just a different flow of information to the observers as you described. But the problem is that while there was no actual time-travel experienced by your particular experimenters, the fact remains that since there was FTL travel between two points in spacetime, there are frames of reference wherein such causality violation would be possible. This causality problem is an actual effect, not a trick of perception caused by the delay between an event and an observer due to the finite speed of light. As long as FTL transmission or travel is not undertaken, all observers in all reference frames will always agree on the causality of events. I’m not saying this makes FTL impossible, but I am saying that this is a question which needs to be addressed. One possible “out” comes from the “many worlds” view of reality, whereby a time-traveller doesn’t really change their own past, but instead travels along a new branching timeline. From their view, then, they have changed the past. From the view of those left behind in the original timeline, they have not. Perhaps from that perspective, they just disappear, who knows? It’s highly speculative.

      • Steve Schaper says:

        The whole causality-violation ‘problem’ is just an artifact of a *philosophical* desire to not have a universal frame of reference.

        Other matters: Can you accelerate with the q-thrusters in side the warp bubble?

        You talk about a capacitor ring, or a plasma ring: How do you generate the field effect ring from within the warp bubble, or else avoid the tidal forces and Lorentz ‘drag’ that your warp bubble generator would seem to encounter if it is on that margin between the warp bubble and the rest of space?

        • Gerry says:

          I came back to see if anyone was still commenting here, and saw this:

          “The whole causality-violation ‘problem’ is just an artifact of a *philosophical* desire to not have a universal frame of reference.”

          Hah! If only it were really that simple…but this is physics (GR specifically) first, philosophy second.

  44. Thomas Eduard D says:

    Hi Sonny, hi all,

    I would be glad if you/someone could explain this to me, probably a fairly easy to answer technical question…

    Concerning the torus encircling the object at the center of the bubble.
    What is the torus doing?
    Is it rotating along an axis at very high speeds?

    How does the rotation determine a front or back of the bubble?
    As seen from the perspective of the torus, there is no front or back, there is only an axis of rotation, and everything is symmetric around that axis …
    How do you break symmetry so that space-time is compressed at one point of the bubble more than it’s opposite point on the other side of the bubble?
    Is something being done to the torus while it is rotating and thus breaking symmetry?

    cheers from Germany,

  45. Joseph Cauley says:

    OK folks, while this is exciting stuff, and the math and logic look consistent, remember this is proof of concept stage work here. All those talking about ships and such need to calm down. let us wait to see what the Interferometer detects and if the Q-thruster can scale.

  46. Blake says:

    My biggest thank you to everyone who is working on this project. The possibility of warp drive is amazingly exciting to me. Where’s the best place to go to keep up on the status of this project? Is there a blog tracking the progress?

  47. Dr. Suresh Iyer says:

    22 Oct 2012

    Space Time Warping or Space Bubble – Warp Drive Explanation

    Dr. Andreas Tziolas – I had written to you regarding joining – participating in your Icarus Programme – I thought I could mention your name and Participate in this Forum ?
    Sorry Guys – I couldn’t understand all this Mumbo – Jimbo of Warp Bubble etc. and so went ahead with my own explanation of this Space Bubble or Schrodinger’s Particle in a Box phenomena and Realized that it was indeed the Space Time Curvature which is the Space Bubble as I call it and then rest of the Phenomena of Space – Time Travel. All it now needs is to observe Nature and then Engineer such a Space Ship or Time Machine which can Create such a Space Bubble around it. Alternatively as our Space Ship achieves Light Speed, Space and Time will now Curve and thus form a Space Bubble around the Space ship or Time Machine ! Eureka – Have I understood the Phenomenon ! This is what is Einstein’s Space Time Curvature or Warping !

    Warp – Space Bubble is like the Schrodinger’s Particle in a Box where the Infinite Potential Energy wall curves (Falls or Collapses on itself – Because of the Gravity and Infiniteness) on itself creating a Warp – Space Bubble ? This then having Infinite Potential energy can convert the Potential energy into Kinetic energy and then easily travel (Conventional travel or Displacement) ? Here the (Warp) Space Bubble should travel in a different from Conventional Displacement or it should now Transcend Space and Time or Translate Space and Time which is an Unconventional Travel which is thus a Conservative travel, thus not undergoing the frictional – Gravitational and other counter effects of Conventional Space travelling. This could be by the Opening and Closing of the Space Bubble which due to the infinite energy involved, cause Displacements of Light years – An Amoeba like Movement – where the Particle is Ingested by the Amoeba and later again opened and exuded the Particle within ? at a different Space and Time or Location ! thus causing it to travel in Space and Time. Alternatively one can have Hydra like or Spider like locomotions – here it is left to the Engineers ingenuity !
    Here the Warp or Space Bubble is a Inertial Object and thus needs a Conventional or Non conventional Lever ? to initiate the Displacement of the Space Bubble. Here the Opening – Closing of the Space Bubble is the Non conventional alternative S and T travel ? Basically the Object remains stationary or rather Travels Relatively and it is the Bubble which travels ? How to Create such a Space Bubble or Trigger a Space Bubble ? Being of Infinite Potential Energy, such a Space – Time Wall would fall on itself and thus undergoes the Space – Time Curvature and thus is now a Spherical Bubble which has been Triggered or Created by the Space ship or Time Machine !
    Quantum Tunneling is an alternative and well known phenomenon in Quantum Chemistry where the Object in the Schrodinger’s Box as well as any practical chemical molecule. Here I go back to my Prof. John Loeffler’s Physical Organic Chemistry class in FSU ! The electron tunnels through this Infinite Potential wall and thus gets out of the Box ! This can be also a way of Generating Infinite Kinetic energy by constant collisions against the Potential wall – So how would one design a Space ship which could Tunnel through Space and Time both being Infinite Potential Walls surrounding the Space ship or any object ? But fundamental is the Generation of a Space bubble wherein the Space ship or Time machine has several alternatives to create the Bubble without itself having to generate Light Speed which is the Conventional Travel ? Quantum tunneling is a Real Alternative !
    But this Warp or rather Space Bubble is Just Einstein’s Relativity – The bubble is formed by the Newton’s Law of Reaction of the Space and Time around the Space ship or Time Machine ! But this could also be by Non-conventional means – Basically you Create a Natural Amoeba which ingests you at one loci and excretes you in another loci – Viola you have Time travel as well ! Call it Amoeba or Energy Well or Warp Bubble ! or Quantum Tunneling !

  48. Dr. Suresh Iyer says:

    Natural Space – Warp Bubbles

    Quantum Tunneling is a known phenomena and so is there somewhere in the vast Cosmos a equivalent Cosmic Tunneling phenomena going on and if so are there also Warp Bubbles or Space Bubbles in the Galaxy or in Space – Time like Black Holes waiting for Humanity to Discover ! Here we can try to use these already existing Warp Bubbles and also mimic Nature and make our own Space – Warp Bubbles. It would be indeed interesting for Astronomy to point there Telescopes to these Natural Space – Warp bubbles ? What would be the Signature of these Bubbles ? In this connection is the Natural phenomena of Stars and Galaxy travelling at light speed and expanding in the process — Would these Natural phenomena be mimicable ?

  49. Fred McMurray says:

    Dr. White, I produce a weekly internet radio show. Would you be willing to be a guest? This is awesome stuff.

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  51. Charles White says:

    Would the signature of a warp bubble be detectable at interstellar distances? If so maybe searching for such a signature could be done as a proof of concept, because if found it could answer several questions. Such as are we alone in the universe ( it would also explain why SETI searches never turn up any interstellar radio chatter ), hints on how to fine tune the field and maybe even whether or not we even want to turn such a field on and announce our presence.

  52. Chris Manchitt says:

    I believe you can warp a field by the use of a rotating mass. I have been a fan of the SEG for a while and Robert Searl says that inside the SEG there is no feeling of inertia during flight hence i would believe the space-time is flat while the rotating magnets around the central ring distort the space-time. Similar to the effects being hypothesized by Dr. White. All theory of course.

  53. IX says:

    Good Evening everyone!

    The Warp Field is nothing else than the Aether Engineering:

    Please visit my web site to take a taste and to watch a real and interesting experiment (Propulsion without moving parts) in YouTube Channel (scroll down on the Web Site).

    Be inspired!

    Ioannis Xydous

    Electronic Engineer


  54. Eli says:

    I wonder how closely this can relate to star trek. Does this warp drive need matter and antimatter,and does it need negative energy?

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  56. Aleem Tariq says:

    Dr.White, it is an honor to be able to send you my regards. I do hope this project yields bountiful fruit, and accelerates humankind to the stars.

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  59. TimeTraveler says:

    Dr. White

    Has probably by now figured out that time stops.

    At speeds faster than light – stops.

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  61. william f collins says:

    I salute Dr. White’s efforts and I look forward to hearing about the results of his experiments. However, I would urge caution for those who look forward to signing up themselves or their children for Starfleet Academy just yet- or ever. I am reluctantly very skeptical of the utility much less the development of “warp drive” because of the immense power needed to warp space or develop a “tunnel in the sky” from as yer undiscovered or unobserved “wormholes”. Having said all of that, I believe that humankind is destined to be a spacefaring race/species beginning with the exploration and development of interplanetary space. We will attain the stars albeit gradually, The future voyagers will most likely be folks who be folks with enhanced life spans and enhanced adaptability to the deadly hazards of space travel. Once again, thank you for your work.

  62. Taylor says:

    Dr. White, I’ve been fascinated by your work and was considering the experiments involving superconductive toroids being radially accelerated, reportedly causing anomalous measurements of mass. Could this be explained by the non-uniform acceleration of electrons through Minkowski spacetime already moving in the superconductor?

    I can only hazard a guess at the proprietary technology you’re using, but if the ring capacitor is using AC current to make negative energy as I speculated above, wouldn’t you need to rapidly change the AC frequency in order to cause the non-uniform acceleration?

    This is incredibly optimistic of me to suggest this will become a problem anytime soon, but the accumulation of energy and space debris at the fore of a warp enabled ship could be mitigated and purged if you used two separate warp fields could it not? The concentric spheres could be expanded until the outer field was shut off, and replaced by the one underneath, which would then have a new warp field generated beneath it to start the cycle again. This way you could slough off accumulated radiation around and away from the fore like a worm tunneling and expanding the dirt in front of and around it.

    Good luck Dr. White! May you live long and prosper!

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  64. Eli says:

    How do you create the negative energy needed for the warp field?

  65. cosmin nicolae says:

    how much power would you use in your warp experiment ???

  66. Dr Sheldon Cooper says:

    If space is curved could the voyager probes in theory one day return to earth?

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  69. William Thornton says:

    May 1st, 2014… Any educated guesses on when the first warp drive prototype ship may become reality… 300 years ? 650 years, 1000 years ?
    Conditions: Moore’s law does not apply (not good) societal retardation… Planned Obselencense Postulate… S -shaped technology curves… (propeller to jets…jets to ram jets, etc)
    Multiple break through’s in physics needed…

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  80. Keith says:

    Dr. White,

    I am of the mind set, that we should of been traveling at warp speeds over 20 years ago; and that with today’s technology, we should be able to use a light drive for propulsion.

    I also believe we do not need the two giant rings to create your bubble.

    I would love to see your detailed work. This project is one that I wish I had seen years ago!

  81. David says:

    What I can’t figure is why all of these scientist at NASA haven’t figured it out yet wait I know they still think inside the box like E=MC^2 and such sit back think for a moment don’t we live on a “spaceship” what does planet Earth have??? The Earth provides everything we need “gravity, shielding from the sun and its all from inside the earth “the core” we all ready know if you rotate something in space it will produce gravity HUMM so now all we need to do is make a “warp bubble” well the earth has one so that being the case wouldn’t some type of “iron generator” create a “shield that shield would warp space just like the earth does now motion is the only thing left “sun” is the focal point of the earth moving in space, space is a vacuum so here we have to think out side the box again E=MC^2 doesn’t apply if you could focus the generator power in the opposite direction wouldn’t that be your motion? I’m just a dumb mechanic that doesn’t know to much but that is my 2 cents worth

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  86. Warner Chicker says:

    Given that the warpdrive would work, how would the communication look like? Is there a plausable way to imagine warpmessages or they would have to wait few centuries for their message to reach the earth?

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