In 1994, theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a scheme for virtual faster than light travel using a real-world analog to the familiar science fiction trope known as "Warp Drive."
The basic premise exploited certain space-time warping effects predicted by General Relativity to fold space-time
, theoretically allowing a specially designed space craft to reach distant destinations effectively at FTL speeds without actually having to accelerate to light speed or beyond at all. There was, however, at least one major problem with the proposal: The math suggested it would require as much energy as the mass of the planet Jupiter to power the thing. But according to newer calculations based on a modified version of Alcubierre's original proposal
, warp speed travel may now theoretically be within reach
(warning: eyeball-gouging Space.com link), requiring drastically less energy than originally thought. Of course, not everyone's convinced
there's anything to see here. And even so, prohibitive energy input requirements may not be
the only serious challenge
facing the development of real-world warp drive technology, so don't go packing your bags for that long overdue vacation to Risa just yet.
posted by saulgoodman
on Sep 17, 2012 -
Chilling amateur home video of the Challenger disaster "Obviously a major malfunction."
Those words have always haunted me, but to hear them here, echoing across a PA system as shocked onlookers come to terms with what they have just seen, they carry even more power than they did when they were just an anonymous voiceover on a TV shot.
posted by LondonYank
on May 2, 2012 -
The Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-135, is scheduled to lift off this morning from Kennedy Space Center. The time was originally scheduled for 11:26 AM EDT, but that has been
pushed back, despite "no technical concerns and... weather is a 'go'."
Astronauts aboard are Commander Chris Ferguson
, Pilot Doug Hurley
, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus
and Rex Walheim
Watch live coverage, with some archival footage, on NASA's Ustream
or on NASA.gov
. NASA has provided countdown highlights of the day
to get you up to speed.
Read NASA's feed on Twitter
. At the time of this post's writing, the countdown clock is on a scheduled hold with 9 minutes to go.
Previously, STS-134, on the Blue
posted by knile
on Jul 8, 2011 -
The Women@NASA website was developed to encourage more young women to pursue careers in math, science, and technology. Through a collection of videos and articles, the Women@NASA project shares the stories of 32 women across the agency who contribute to NASA’s mission in many ways.
posted by Horace Rumpole
on Mar 27, 2011 -
Challenger . . . . go with throttle up
Twenty-five years ago today the U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger exploded
73 seconds into the 25th space shuttle flight. The reports (pdf)
tell us of O-Ring failures. Today, we remember
one of the most tragic days in the history
of the U.S. manned spaceflight program. Today, January 28, 2011, we remember: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe
posted by IvoShandor
on Jan 28, 2011 -
"I can sense stars, and their whispers amid the roaring of our own Sun." So goes one poetic status of the Voyager 2 twitterfeed
, which appeals to my sense of wonder like nothing else on the internet. Interstellar space probes and microblogging go hand in hand in the 21st Century.
posted by Kattullus
on Dec 21, 2010 -
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year
, NATO may lose in Afghanistan
, the UK gets a regime change
, China needs to chill
, India's factories will overtake its farms
, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum
, the stimulus will need an exit strategy
, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2"
, African football
will unite Korea
, conflict over natural resources will grow
, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled
, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable)
, technology will grow ever more ubiquitous
, we'll all charge our phones via USB
, MBAs will be uncool
, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest
, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world
. And so the Tens
The Economist: The World in 2010
. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Nov 14, 2009 -
Move over X-Prize
- in order to win the next big space prize($50 million) one will have to build a spacecraft capable of taking a crew of no fewer than five people to an altitude of 400 kilometers and complete two orbits of the Earth at that altitude. Then they have to repeat that accomplishment within 60 days.
posted by sourbrew
on Nov 8, 2004 -