Faster Than Light?
Zila's Space Yacht in "Sage of Sagittarius"?
Ever consider how dull it would be to read about the thousand year passage for some hero to join the war against the alien princess? Yeah, I’ve tried that in “Cosmic Rift”, but I only managed 100 years.
Science fiction at the speed of light is confining. Read my last blog on the size of the universe and see why. We are like ants crossing the Pacific. Precisely like ants who can’t swim.
In my novel, “Sage of Saggitarius,” I invented a new method, the Allurion Seed, a 6-dimensional object with peculiar attributes, that enabled those few FTL ships that could afford one. They cost about the same as a small country, but Zila, the protagonist, gets an FTL yacht and a crew for her adventures. It’s made-up physics, sure, but at least I tried and it is plausible physics. Most writers just hand-wave at the problem: the Captain announces “Warp Speed” and the ship disappears in a cone of horizon lines.
That’s cheating. Why not just invoke the power of the charcoal yellow gemstone and go “POOF”?
But there is hope, all you star-farers. Spanish physicist Miguel Alcubierre worked Einstein’s field equations for General Relativity backward and found that there was a math solution to go faster than light. His ideas have been expanded by NASA’s Dr. Sonny White in his paper, “Warp Drive 101”.
While no information, object or energy can travel faster than c (the speed of light in a vacuum), space itself can expand at unlimited speeds. In fact it's doing that right now, out beyond the parts we can see with the most powerful telescopes, still stretching out after the Big Bang. Of course, while a myriad of galaxies are retreating from us faster than c, we can never see them or have any causal interaction with them.
Alcubierre calculated that a vehicle could stretch space behind it and compress space in front of it in such a way that it rode a wave of shaped space. In this warp bubble, passengers would feel no acceleration and their watches would keep Earth time while the bubble traveled at, maybe, 1000 times c.
Of course there is a hitch. Actually, a lot of serious hitches.
The warp bubble requires negative mass, which may not even exist. It requires so much of it that we would have to convert a moon to negative mass. As an SF writer, I’ll call this one and just claim my people have access to “exotic matter”. There may be such a thing.
No one has a clue as how to start a warp bubble without already having a warp bubble.
The transition from warp to inertial motion may create a kind of Bremstrahlung, high energy rays caused by your slowing down, that would destroy your destination just as you reached it. Imagine coming home after your successful space battle to a cooked Earth, all your fault.
Still in all, I’ve done the research and some calculations and I’m using the Acubierre-White Warp Drive (AWW Drive) in my new novel, the Curtain of Heaven. I’m using the 6-dimensional version of it.
I hope you like it!