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.