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This warp-drive spaceship could take us to new star systems - in our lifetime

This warp-drive spaceship could take us to new star systems - in our lifetime
Mark Rademaker

A warp drive is under way at NASA's Johnson Space Center, and while the work is still in the beginning stages, it's not hard to imagine what these spaceships would look like.

"Perhaps a Star Trek experience within our lifetime is not such a remote possibility," said Dr. White, the lead scientist on the Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate. His team is currently working on creating tiny warp bubbles that would, when large enough, bend space around a ship to create faster-than-light travel.

In theory, we would be able to travel to Alpha Centauri, which is 4.367 light years away, in just two weeks. And it may be possible within our lifetime.

Without violating the first law of Einstein, "Thou shalt not travel faster than the speed of light," scientists have found loopholes in the laws of physics that would allow us to bend space.

How do these warp bubbles work? Imagine that you are in a race. The race track is 100 miles long, and your opponent's car can go 25 mph. But your car can only go 10 mph. The other car would obviously finish the race faster.

But, if you knew of a shortcut that made the race only 20 miles long, you could complete the race faster than the other car, and you would only travel a portion of the distance.

Next page: Find out what interstellar travel will look like!
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