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Warp Drive – Fiction or The Future?



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New developments in the warp drive field have taken researchers closer than ever to achieving their goal of light-speed travel. Until recently, anyone familiar with physics would tell you that you can't travel faster than the speed of light. However, sci-fi novels and creatives have always questioned this law through innovative and sometimes outlandish concepts. Interestingly, a group of researchers may have just unlocked warp drive potential, laying the first building blocks for true interstellar travel. Here's everything you need to know.

A New Type of Warp Drive

This month, researchers published a study revealing that they succeeded in creating a constant-velocity subluminal warp drive that meets all mathematical requirements on paper. This crucial first step lays the groundwork for further R&D efforts. In the future, this style of propulsion will help to take humans into deep space and more.

What are Warp Drives?

A warp drive is a theoretical form of transportation that would enable superluminal travel. The concept revolves around creating a warp bubble in space-time. This bubble would enable items to travel at these speeds while not experiencing the tidal forces such travel would create. Think of how the planet is moving thousands of miles per hour and you can’t feel it.

Source - Arxiv

Source – Arxiv

Warp Bubble

Warp bubbles are crucial to faster-than-light travel because they encapsulate matter, bypassing Einstein's laws of relativity without breaking physics. Warp bubbles are created when you contract space in front of a point in time while expanding it behind it. This space-time vortex enables an item to travel at relative light speeds without being ripped apart from the force. Theoretically, wave bubbles allow an object to move faster than light without breaching the speed limit set by Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Notably, the closer an item goes towards the speed of light, the slower time goes for the passenger. As such, the warp bubble concept has seen some iterations over the last 30 years. From sci-fi dramas, like Star Trek, to testing facilities in aerospace manufacturing firms, warp drives have come a long way.

Warp Drive History

The concept of warp travel has been on TV and in books for decades. In 1994, an innovative physicist named Miguel Alcubierre published a paper where he explained how a real-life warp drive could accomplish near-light speed using a warp bubble. His paper describes a new type of propulsion drive called the Alcubierre drive.

The drive could overcome the limitations of light travel, leveraging the mysterious dark energy that many scientists believe permeates through the universe. Alcubierre theorized this negatively charged layer of energy provided the perfect gravitational environment for FTL travel.

NASA Finds First Warp Bubble

In February 2022, a group of NASA engineers who were studying the Casimir cavity's energy production capability for DARPA  noticed something. One of the highly trained experts realized they had created a tiny warp bubble. This discovery took the concept of warp drives from theories to mathematical formulas, preparing for the next stage, prototyping.

How a Constant Velocity Warp Drive Works

The latest attempt to take humans faster than the speed of light leverages some new technologies to extend the constant velocity of the warping process. The constant-velocity subluminal warp drive leverages multiple mathematical concepts to create a warp shell that still falls within the bounds of physics.

The researchers discovered that by adding a regular matter shell with a positive ADM mass, the hyper shell could be strengthened. This structure would enable the drive to modify the hyperbolic spacetime to provide travel with zero velocity. Additionally, the research required the creation of a new numerical toolkit, called Warp Factory. This purpose-built toolkit streamlined the mathematical equations and helped researchers better achieve their goals.

The development began by focusing on building a matter shell. This strategy enabled them to use the ADM mass parameter to engineer positive energy density into the solution. This solution did away with the need for dark matter as was first theorized by Alcubierre. Notably, the concept creates a warp effect that uses a linear frame dragged inside the matter shell.


The authors of the paper admit that the experimentation and theories are still in their fledgling state. However, they are confident that they have laid the groundwork for truly revolutionizing warp drive innovations. The lead author, Jared Fuchs, is from the University of Alabama, Huntsville, and is a member of Applied Physics.

Why Warp Drives Matter

There is a huge amount of pressure and determination within the aerospace community to create deep-space propulsion methods that don’t require fuel. The current forms of space propulsion require some matter to be displaced to create inertia in the opposite direction. Every gram matters when discussing space travel. As such, eliminating fuel is paramount to long-term travel.

Light Speed Propulsion Research

A warp drive would enable interstellar space travel without the need to bring massive, heavy, and dangerous fuel. This step would enable mankind to travel further in the universe, reduce the weight of space crafts, and create interstellar communities. Here are a few other methods that could one day push space travel to new heights.

Hyper Tubes

Hyper Tubes are an innovative concept discovered by author Dr. Lorenzo Pieri, presented to the scientific community in his paper “Hyperwave: Hyper-Fast Communication within General Relativity”. In this paper, he describes how warp bubbles could be used to send information rather than matter.

His theory revolves around the creation of small radius warp bubbles designed specifically to send info. This style of communication would be essential for deep space travel as it would allow astronauts to stay in contact with their home base as they traversed the interstellar mysteries.

Propellantless Propulsion

Another propulsion system that has the space community interested is propellentless systems. These devices leverage electrostatic electricity fields to generate trust. The concept was explained at the recent Alternative Propulsion Energy Conference (APEC) during the ” The Discovery of Propellantless Propulsion: The Direct Conversion of Electrical Energy into Physical Thrust” discussion.

According to the lead researcher for NASA on electrostatics, Dr. Buhler, they can create enough thrust to overcome Earth's gravitational field by charging certain materials. Interestingly, his study revealed that some materials retained thrust until they fully displaced their charge, meaning that they didn’t need to have constant electricity to provide thrust.

Like the other space drive concepts, the idea of not using fuel during deep space travel is one that engineers and scientists keep reexamining. As technologies, such as AI and robotics expand, the idea of interspace travel becomes more feasible, albeit without a human passenger.

Aerospace Companies Worth Watching

The aerospace industry is heating up with the entry of personal spacecraft into the market. These advancements made by the commercial sector have helped to drive innovation in the government sector as well. The space race is in full effect. Here are a few firms set to cash in on any major developments.

RTX Corporation finviz dynamic chart for  RTX

The RTX corporation is the umbrella company for some of the most advanced aerospace firms in the world. RTX includes Pratt and Whitney, Colin Aerospace, and Raytheon Technologies. These firms create military and civilian aerospace solutions and are regarded as industry leaders in each sector. Pratt and Whitney are credited with creating some of the most iconic engines ever and Raytheran has an equally impressive resume as the creator of the famed sidewinder AIM 9 missile and many more game-changing technologies.

RTX could leverage research conducted by this team and try to expand on the concept of their constant velocity warp drive. This maneuver would add necessary funding and place the project in the hands of some of the world's brightest minds.

RTX is a popular stock for individual and institutional investors. The stock shows 85% ownership as institutional investors, demonstrating its strong support from the traditional financial sector. Notably, RTX showed 1st qtr 2024 earnings of $1.34 per share on 4/23/24. This revelation equals a 1-year growth rate of 6.4%. Analysts predict this trend will continue as global tensions rise and demand for their services increases.

GE Aerospace finviz dynamic chart for  GE

Cincinnati-based GE Aerospace has been a pivotal influence in the aerospace industry since its inception in 1917. At one time, it was focused on creating engines that would eventually power the US Air Force to victory. Fast forward to today's market and GE Aerospace remains a pioneering force.

Ge Aerospace specializes in jet and alternative propulsion systems. They have a strong influence in both the commercial and military sectors. Currently, the firm's subsidiaries include Avio Aero, Unison, GE Additive, and Dowty Propellers.

GE Aerospace stock is another coveted option that has institutional ownership as its majority holders. Notably, the GE Aerospace stock is in high demand and was last split on 8/2/2021. At the time of writing, the stock has a market cap of $174B with analysts predicting further expansion along with growth in the aerospace sector.

Warp Drives – Still Sometime Before You Get to Ride One

The latest developments represent a milestone in the warp drive research field, when combined with other approaches, this research could help to shed light on this often cloudy research. For now, you shouldn't expect to travel faster than light any time soon as these are the building blocks of a larger scientific field.

Constant Velocity Warp Drives

The revelation that warp drive technology is already in its fledgling design phases is an eye-opener. This technology could be what helps humans expand to other galaxies and beyond. For now, it opens the imagination and makes you wonder how long until you see interstellar travel on peoples' itineraries.

You can learn about other exciting aerospace projects here.

David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including