Concept of the IXS Enterprise
Recently, a NASA physicist Harold G. White made headlines in the science and technology media by showcasing a 3-D artist's render of a "real life" warp drive starship (affectionately named the "I.X.S. Enterprise" - not sure what the "I.X.S." stands for). The starship model poposed is based on mathametical calculations that suggest that the Alcubierre warp drive could actually work!
In the 1990's, theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre, mathematically demonstrated that a warp field could be created which could contract the space ahead of an object and expand the space behind said object, allowing the warping of space to effectively propel the object faster than the speed of light. The theory does not violate the "cosmic speed limit" imposed by relativity, since the object isn't being accelerated past the speed of light. Instead, the space around it is being manipulated to reduce the distance between the source and the destination by taking advantage of the fact that space itself is permeable and its motion is not constrained to the cosmic speed limit. Best of all: astronauts inside such a ship would not be subject to relativistic time dilation effects. A one-year trip for the astronauts would also be only one year for the people of earth!
One of Matt Jefferies' original concepts for Star Trek's starship Enterprise.
Alcubierre freely admitted that his ideas were inspired by concepts from Star Trek, and considering that no similar theory of warp propulsion existed at the time of Star Trek, the concept and designs of the show are surprisingly prophetic. Alcubierre's models were met with early excitement when they were first proposed, but examinations by other physicists exposed certain flaws that made the effect impractical for human space exploration and travel:
- The drive would require a tremendous amount of energy ranging from the equivalent of the total mass of Jupiter to the more mass than is contained in the observable universe! This, by itself, made the theory a non-starter.
- The drive also may not be steerable or controllable from within the ship.
- Also, there were concerns that a build-up of particles along the front of the bubble during travel would be shot forward when the drive slows down or stops, potentially destroying anything in its path (including the destination, whether it be a planet, another ship, or a space station).
- There were also concerns about whether Hawking radiation inside the bubble would destabilize the bubble and/or kill the crew.
But that hasn't stopped physicists from thinking about the possibility... [More]
Big news on February 15: a meteor struck Russia at the same time that an asteroid passed within the orbit of geo-synchronous satellites.
Today, guitars all over the world are gently weeping to mark the passing of George Harrison 10 years ago today from cancer.
George (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) is certainly the most underrated Beatle, and was unique in the group in that his musical talents and abilities were at their height and still improving at the time when the Beatles broke up, whereas the other members had peaked well before then (although I'm sure I'll trigger a lot of debate and possibly some hate for that). [More]
George, we miss you.
"If I had some more time to spend, [More]
then I guess I'd be with you my friend..."
- "If I Needed Someone" (George Harrison, 1965)
And I missed it...
I thought the shuttle was supposed to be launched at 2 pm eastern time, but when I turned on the television at 10:30 am Pacific time (half an hour before I thought the launch was), I saw that it had already been launched earlier in the morning.
So I missed the launch live.
Fortunately, there are videos and photos of it all over the internet, including this official video from www.Nasa.gov:
Video footage of the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-135), July 8th, 2011
Considering the recent claims from the fundamentalist Christians over at Family Radio that the world is going to end, and the Rapture will occur, this coming weekend (May 21, 2011), I thought I'd take a look at how the world would be different if all the Christians were, in fact, Raptured.
While those who claim that the end is nigh will argue that anybody left behind is in for a world of misery, I thought I would lighten the load by offering the following Top 10 reasons why the Earth might be a better place after the Rapture: [More]