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The danger of Alcubierre warp drive, and not to the ship itself


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Saw this article today:

http://www.geekologie.com/2012/03/stark-treks-warp-drive-would-destroy-eve.php

Kind of sleepy atm and my mind is not exactly sharp, but apparently when using the warp drive, the warp bubble will catch stuff while in transit, and all the stuff being caught will be concentrated at certain location in the bubble as space being compressed and expand. As soon as we arrive, all those stuff will be released all at once and cause some spectacular burst of energy, destroying whatever around the destination.

Seems like anything human can think of can be turned into weapons.

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*groan* This is one of those blogs: "Meh, who cares if you kill everyone at your destination? It's not like that wasn't the plan anyways. Kill everybody, deplete their natural resources, and move on. It's the circle of life the future. DUM DUM DUM!"

-Duxwing

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The burst would end up being a bunch of gamma radiation last I heard, and this radiation would be released in a forward direction (relative to the direction of travel), meaning that the ship itself will be fine. Now, while yes this does present a danger if you just crossed a bunch of light years and you shut down right next to the Earth or something, it really isn't that big of a deal. You plan your first leg to end in the outer solar system, far away from anything. Then you do shorter hops on your way in. Your last hop in should have you arriving next to the planet, but not facing it. Everything is fine after that.

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What type of "stuff"/debris are we talking about here anyway, dust, asteroids?

More in lines with dust. It gets caught up in the 'eddies' of the shell of the warp drive and ripped apart/charged until its just a bunch of gamma radiation. It isn't particularly known (in the theoretical context of the drive) what would happen if the drive were to run into an object of mass. Some predict the ship would just continue on mostly unaware of anything, others think it could cause damage or the destruction of the ship.

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That would require you to travel through a planetary atmosphere in a gravitational bubble made of the warped fabric of space while moving multiple times the speed of light (or at least a considerable fraction thereof). Does anyone else see a problem with that logic?

Just compare this to the original idea: transfer these materials as jet-powered portions. At least, here you would transfer many tons in several minutes at once.

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"You run a good risk of dropping your ascent efficiency to zero by making your rocket come apart during launch." -Ferram4

The same idea applies. I don't see how you can "travel through a planetary atmosphere in a gravitational bubble made of the warped fabric of space while moving multiple times the speed of light (or at least a considerable fraction thereof)" without inducing rapid unplanned disintegration. Even if we're bending space time, hitting an atmosphere at high velocity (which you will be at) usually results in a fiery death.

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Any place in the space is filled with gas, only density varies. So, if you can find a compromise density, you could establish a network of oscillating bubblemachine pumps between two planets. Or could not  that's also possible.

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"You run a good risk of dropping your ascent efficiency to zero by making your rocket come apart during launch." -Ferram4

The same idea applies. I don't see how you can "travel through a planetary atmosphere in a gravitational bubble made of the warped fabric of space while moving multiple times the speed of light (or at least a considerable fraction thereof)" without inducing rapid unplanned disintegration. Even if we're bending space time, hitting an atmosphere at high velocity (which you will be at) usually results in a fiery death.

For fits and giggles, we should shoot an unmanned alcubierre ship into a brown dwarf and watch it explode.

-Duxwing

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For fits and giggles, we should shoot an unmanned alcubierre ship into a brown dwarf and watch it explode.

-Duxwing

I think that is what we would call a warp missile. Geeze, it is like, all humanity weapons are based on launching things super, super fast and lets physics takes care of the rest.

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@Captain Sierra I'm not so sure that you'd break apart. Isn't the point of the warping drive to make an accordion like bends in front and behind the ship so that you don't need the incredible ISP otherwise needed for some silly velocities? Relatively to the bubble you're in, you might as well not move.

Wouldn't that mean that anything that actually goes through the bubble to your ship would already be slowed down by the bubble itself?

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You're not seriously planning to discuss real science basing on Start Trek technofantasies?

In order for AD to operate you must first obtain something called 'exotic matter' - matter that consists of particles with negative mass.

Just because some general relativity equations become valid if you change the sign of mass doesn't mean that you can actually build something on that principle.

Just a silly illustration - if you have a rocket with negative mass it will fly itself into the skies with no drive whatsoever.

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More in lines with dust. It gets caught up in the 'eddies' of the shell of the warp drive and ripped apart/charged until its just a bunch of gamma radiation. It isn't particularly known (in the theoretical context of the drive) what would happen if the drive were to run into an object of mass. Some predict the ship would just continue on mostly unaware of anything, others think it could cause damage or the destruction of the ship.

I wouldn't say it's not known. The trajectories in Alcubierre Metric are well studied. We know that under Alcubierre drive, the ship will be in a lot of trouble. There will be gamma radiation due to blue shift. Gamma bursts from various impacts, and there are trajectories for encountered matter through the ship. Nothing can take that sort of beating.

What isn't known is whether there can be something done about it. Alcubierre Metric is the simplest, most studied warp metric. But the possibilities are limitless. It might be possible to arrange the gravitational fields in a way that leaves the ship in a "blind spot". That way, neither radiation nor matter are a problem to the ship.

The problem with causing radiation damage to whatever's at destination is trickier. Matter can't move faster than light with respect to ship while in the bubble. So fundamentally, anything that gets into the bubble has to be dragged along. That guarantees a shower of gamma radiation from the edges. But there might be ways to minimize the effect and to try and direct it in a predictable way so as to avoid damaging anything.

You're not seriously planning to discuss real science basing on Start Trek technofantasies?

The article talks about Alcubierre Drive. Reading an article, rather than just looking at pictures, usually helps.

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Very apt description, because it is exactly like pulling yourself up by bootstraps. It's the same reason why you can't put a windmill on an airplane to help power the engines.

In principle, you could have a Bussard ramjet in there. That at least doesn't have you going against conservation laws. But these things also tend to generate far more drag than thrust.

Your best bet is still avoiding interaction. Cloaking the ship in the blind spot of the bubble is the best option for that. But that would require a very creative warp bubble geometry.

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I think that is what we would call a warp missile. Geeze, it is like, all humanity weapons are based on launching things super, super fast and lets physics takes care of the rest.

There is a reason Sir Isaac Newton is called deadliest son-of-a-booster in Universe. Also, velocity kills :)

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