“If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance”*…
Some guys spend their spare time restoring automobiles, devoting garage space to chocked-up Corvettes and Camaros. Dave Pares, an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska- Omaha, is making his own warp drive.
In theory, a warp drive contracts space in front of a space vessel and expands it at the back. The ship itself speeds along inside what is called a “warp bubble.” As theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre explained in 1994, if such an artificial warping of space — essentially picking up a piece of fabric of space=time at two points and bringing them together — could be accomplished, it would allow a space ship to travel incredible distances incredibly quickly, while avoiding the speed-of-light problem.
NASA has explored the prospect, but been put off by the technical and financial challenges of developing the power source that it believes would be necessary. But Pares believes he can accomplish warping with low power– indeed, with the voltage available in his garage.
So far, Pares seems primarily to have attracted the attention of UFO enthusiasts; NASA and academic journals have (more and less politely) turned him away. But retired UN-O physics professor Jack Kasher is cautiously optimistic:
It is so far out there, he’s not going to get funding to do it. If it’s going to be done, it’s going to be done in his garage… A lot of people are going to flat-out dismiss it off the top, but I think he’s crossed some kind of bridge here, just showing this is possible with reasonable energy. It wouldn’t surprise me if NASA latches on to this.
In any case, as Kasher notes, at a time when the scientific and technical mainstream had written off manned flight, the Wright Brothers took their first critical steps in their Ohio bike shop.
C.F. also the warp drive’s bizarro twin: the EM Drive (which seems to work in practice… though it doesn’t work in theory).
* Orville Wright
As we put on our helmets, we might recall that it was on this date in 1949 that Britain’s first “launderette”– self-service, coin-operated laundry– opened on Queensway in London. The very first coin-op laundry had opened in 1936 in Ft. Worth, Texas (where it was known for a time as a “washateria”).
While these self-service laundries are still known as launderettes in the U.K., they are now widely called “laundromats” in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand (a genericization of the trademark of the coin-op washers and dryers developed and sold by Westinghouse).