By: April Carson
Dr. Harold G "Sonny" White, a former NASA warp drive specialist, claims to have discovered a real-world "Warp Bubble." According to White, the LSI team's first of its kind breakthrough establishes a new starting point for those attempting to build a full-sized, warp-capable spacecraft.
“Our fine numerical analysis of our bespoke Casimir cavities helped us discover a genuine and manufacturable nano/microstructure that is expected to produce a negative vacuum energy density in such quantities that it would manifest a genuine nanoscale warp bubble, not an imitation.” To summarize, under these specific circumstances, a warp bubble structure will appear. White explained that this does not imply we are close to creating a fully functioning warp drive; there is still a lot of research to be done.
“To be clear, our conclusion is not a warp bubble analogue; it's a genuine, albeit modest and tiny, warp bubble," White explained to The Debrief.
THEORETICAL WARP DRIVES AND SCIENTIFIC VISIONARIES
In 1994, Mexican Mathematician Miguel Alcubierre offered the first mathematically sound solution to the warp drive. He presented a spacecraft propulsion method that would enable a vehicle to travel at speeds faster than light without breaking current laws of physics, which had previously been just imagined in science fiction.
The laser, some believed, was an exciting prospect in the 1960s. However, it had one major problem: numerous scientists drew attention to how impossible it would be to construct any practical method utilizing theoretical materials and a large amount of energy.
Over a decade after that, Dr. White, a NASA-employed warp drive researcher and the founder of the highly regarded Eagleworks laboratory, reworked Alcubierre's original measurement and made it canonical. The redesigned project, which featured a dramatically altered design, appeared to offer researchers and science fiction fans alike at least a sliver of hope that a real-world warp drive might become a reality. Aside from the fact that, according to NASA's website, the White Warp Drive was first seen on Discovery Channel in October 2002, it also led to the informal renaming of the original theoretical design, which is now more commonly referred to as the "Alcubierre/White Warp Drive."
Since then, The Debrief has covered several physicists and engineers attempting to construct a feasible warp drive, including an entire group of international researchers developing a warp drive that does not require exotic matter. These would-be visionaries, on the other hand, continue to operate under the belief that a space warp is possible. However, as happened with Alcubierre and White previously, these would-be warp innovators' warp concepts remain purely theoretical.
It appears now, however, that things have changed.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO WARP SPEED
It's often said that timing is crucial. Back then, therefore, when Dr. White began his latest DARPA-funded study on custom Casimir cavities (a tiny, micro-scale structure with all kinds of fascinating applications), he certainly didn't intend to make this potentially game-changing discovery, which lends support to a theoretical idea that has often defined his public image.
“Some of the research that we've been doing for the DARPA Defense Science Office is a study of certain bespoke Casimir cavity geometries,” White said at an AIAA Propulsion Energy Forum in August 2021, which was attended by The Debrief. “I guess it was on the job that we made an accidental discovery.”
It should go without saying that warp drive theory and mechanics have nothing to do with them. It suffices to say that they are unrelated to Casimir cavities, the intriguing quantum-scale forces often observed in these unusual constructions, or any other aspect of warp drive research. But, says White, his LSI crew is enthusiastic about the work and something DARPA believes has a number of potential uses.
So, whether by chance or fate, it appears that one of the few engineers on the planet who would immediately understand what he was looking at when conducting his Casimir cavity research was in the proper place at the proper time to notice a remarkable resemblance to his warp drive interest project and his current work, an observation that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
“I think this is a fantastic illustration of how sometimes you're doing work for one purpose and then you find something else that you had not expected to discover,” White added at the AIAA conference.
As a result, it appears that the timing was crucial in this case at least.
PEER REVIEW AND WARP BUBBLE CONFIRMATION
"While analyzing the energy density present in a Casimir cavity as predicted by the dynamic vacuum model for a DARPA-funded study to assess possible structure, a micro/nano-scale structure was discovered that suggests negative energy density distribution that approximates the Alcubierre metric. "
As White explained in a recent email to The Debrief, “To my knowledge, this is the first paper in the peer-reviewed literature to propose a feasible nano-structure that is expected to generate a real, albeit minor, warp bubble.”
According to White, this fortuitous finding not only confirms the predicted "toroidal" structure and negative energy qualities of a warp bubble, but it also opened up new avenues for him and other scientists to pursue when attempting to create, and one day perhaps build, a real-world warp-capable spaceship.
“We believe that this is a potential structure we can propose to the community that one could construct that would produce an awful vacuum energy density distribution comparable to what's required for an Alcubierre space warp,” White added.
A PROPOSED COURSE OF ACTION
They've also developed a design for a testable, nano-scale "warp drive spacecraft" to further examine his ground-breaking findings and move the research forward.
“Specifically,” stated White during the AIAA presentation, “a toy model with a 1-micron diameter sphere centrally located in a 4-micron cylinder was evaluated to show a three-dimensional Casimir energy density that corresponds well with the Alcubierre warp metric demands.”
“This qualitative correlation,” he concludes, “suggests that chip-scale experiments may be used to attempt to detect small signatures indicative of the presence of the postulated phenomenon: a genuine but minor warp bubble.
Another email from Wider on this concept came after the previous one.
“This is a potential design for a structure that we might propose to the community that would create an unpleasant vacuum energy density distribution, which is very comparable to what's required for an Alcubierre space warp.”
“We haven't created a one-micron sphere in the middle of a 4-micron cylinder,” White told The Debrief in December when asked if his team has created and tested this proposed nano-scale warp drive design since their August announcement. However, he stated that if the LSI team were to do so at some time, they “would almost certainly use a nanoscribe 3D printer that prints at the nanometer scale.” In other words, they have the capability; it's now a question of opportunity.
Despite the fact that there is no current plan to implement it, White continued, “we are laser-focused on bespoke Casimir cavities.”
Nonetheless, after proposing this further avenue for future study, White and his colleagues have also outlined a second testable experiment that involves linking several Casimir-created warp bubbles in a chain-like formation. This design, he said, will let scientists study the physics of the warp bubble structure that has already been built and how a spacecraft may journey through actual space within such a warp bubble in the future.
“We may assess the optical characteristics as a result of these tiny, nano-scale warp bubbles,” added White at the AIAA conference. “Collecting a large number of them in a row allows us to increase the magnitude of the influence, allowing us to observe (and investigate) it.”
CRAWL, WALK, RUN
Given that LSI Eagleworks is being paid by DARPA to look into Casimir cavities, not the accidental identification of a warp bubble (at least, not yet), it's no surprise that White and his team are "laser-focused" on their task. Furthermore, given the often covert nature of work funded by organizations like DARPA, even if White and his team had intended to perform the two tests outlined after their current project is finished, it may not be made public immediately.
White informed The Debrief that the present DARPA-funded study is not classified, therefore he has freedom to publish the warp bubble result. However, the usually communicative scientist became more tight-lipped when asked if any future, potentially DARPA-funded work on a nano-scale warp bubble spacecraft would be coming once this current project is completed.
In the end, with the scale of this discovery and its far-reaching ramifications, White feels it's only a matter of time before his mini-warp ship is developed and tested, which he feels will eventually lead to the development of a warp-capable spacecraft.
“In the future, we'll be able to make a physical structure that will manifest a genuine warp bubble.
When asked by The Debrief how quickly a successfully-tested nano-scale "craft" like the one his team proposed could be scaled up to something that can actually be flown in space, he offered a more feasible strategy for this study as well as an almost poetic piece of hard-earned advice.
“It's too soon to ask questions about some sort of real flight experiment,” White added. “For me, the first step is to simply delve into nano/microscale science before progressing to a larger spacecraft.”
As a follow-up to that same email, White wrote, "Crawl, walk, run.”
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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