January 7th, 2006

go strap yourselves in for the jump to hyperspace*

Take a leap into hyperspace

05 January 2006
NewScientist.com news service
Haiko Lietz
EVERY year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics awards prizes for the best papers presented at its annual conference. Last year's winner in the nuclear and future flight category went to a paper calling for experimental tests of an astonishing new type of engine. According to the paper, this hyperdrive motor would propel a craft through another dimension at enormous speeds. It could leave Earth at lunchtime and get to the moon in time for dinner. There's just one catch: the idea relies on an obscure and largely unrecognised kind of physics. Can they possibly be serious?

It's a long article but well worth reading. I like this for several reasons.

I like that it sounds like you'd have to calculate jumps, as in Star Wars, rather than just drive around wherever as in Star Trek.

On the other hand, I like that movement along the other dimensions might be more like Star Trek's warp drive, where you still have a presence in normal space, than Star War's jumps.

I like that the antigrav drive engine's description, involving a huge rotating ring, suggests the classic flying saucer design. Forbidden Planet, here we come!

And finally, I like the hope that we can indeed still get around the limitations of travel in normal space, and become an interstellar society.

(*Han Solo's actual line: "Go strap youselves in, I'm gonna make the jump to lightspeed.")