In 1994, Dr. Miguel Alcubierre, a physicist at the University of Wales, published a paper that caught the attention of quite a number of scientists, as well as science fiction enthusiasts. The paper, entitled "The Warp Drive: Hyper-fast travel within general relativity" presents a model which claims that faster than light travel was indeed possible within the rules of General Relativity.

Alcubierre basically reversed the regular way General Relativity is applied; Instead of going from massive objects to space-time curvature, he constructed a model that could transport a volume of flat space inside a "bubble" of highly curved space, much like a crease in a sheet. This bubble is driven forward by creating and annihilating space, much as if a local Big Bang were occuring at the rear of the spaceship, and a Big Crunch in front of it.

The key to this model is the so-called "exotic matter". Exotic matter has the provoking property of having negative energy density. (While two "normal" particles would attract eachother by their gravity, a "normal" particle and an exotic particle would repel eachother.)

Needless to say, there are still technical details to be resolved, first and foremost regarding the creation of exotic matter.

The flat space bubble is not driven forward by creating and annihilating space. This would appear to be done from an outside frame of observation. His model produces a bi-polar gravitational field to produce a de sitter expansion or inflation of space in the rear of the bubble and a contraction of space ahead of the bubble with the use of negative energy. The assumption was that negative energy was required to produce a stable bi-polar gravitational field.

The amount of energy he calculated to need was about the amount of energy you would get by turning Jupiter into energy.

After the Scientific community started looking at his metric they found some problems like there would be no way to stop or steer the bubble. The shape of his metric is sometimes called a top hat because the inflation field and the contraction field are so close to the flat space field. So it was found that because the fields being too close and the amount of energy needed so large that the gravitational forces of the fields would collapse into a singularity in other words a black hole. From then there have been a lot of warp drive models proposed so Warp Drive Theory is now a scientific field of study.

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