(short form of faster than light drive)
Any form of propulsion that allows a spaceship to travel faster
than the speed of light. Since to our current knowledge this is not possible
within our universe, science fiction authors have come up with
various concepts to avoid 100 year-long, boring breaks while the
spaceship travels to the next star. All of them somehow circumvent
the restrictions set up by Einstein's theory of relativity.
- Hyperspace drive:
- The spaceship is pushed out of the
known 4-dimensional space into something called hyperspace, subspace, or similar , where
either the theory of relativity does not hold or the light is faster
or the way is shorter. The remaining problem normally lies in navigating
there and avoiding to reemerge within a sun/planet.
- Jump drive:
- If activated at certain points in the
universe (jump points) the ship will be thrown through some
mysterious tunnel which shortcuts the known space (through
hyperspace ?) to a far away point. May take some time or happen
instantly. No navigation is needed while jumping, but one might
have to find (and travel to) the jump points first. Other names for
jump points are wormholes or stargates (the latter are an artificial
construct). Happen to exist e.g. in Niven's "The mote in god's eye", in Brin's Uplift series and of course in Deep Space Nine.
- Warp drive:
- The ship remains in conventional space but
somehow modifies space around itself (e.g. compressing it) which
allows it to appear to travel faster than light to an observer outside the
warped region. An alternative realization would be a drive which
makes extremely short but frequent jumps through hyperspace so the
ship appears to move FTL in normal space while in reality is moving
only in hyperspace. Warp drives are of course used in Star trek.
Don't forget to add a write-up once you got one of these things
Other things needed to conquer the universe: FTL communication and