April 03, 2009
Warp Drive Destabilizes At Light Speed

Captain, the warp drive is destabilizing.

Bad news I'm afraid -- it looks as if faster-than-light travel isn't possible after all. That's the conclusion of a new study into how warp drives would behave when quantum mechanics is taken into account. "Warp drives would become rapidly unstable once superluminal speeds are reached," say Stefano Finazzi at the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, and a couple of friends.

The details.

I'm more interested in visiting parallel universes. Parallel Earths of universes that diverged from our timeline within tens or even hundreds of millions of years are more likely to be compatible with human life than other planets in our universe where life separately evolved.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 April 03 11:14 PM  Space Exploration

K said at April 4, 2009 11:06 AM:

I wish our language and brain were better tools for thinking about parallel universes and time travel.

Some playful thoughts over coffee.

In a parallel universe you don't exist. So how do you visit? And while you are visiting would you still exist in this one? Would time would stop here until you came back? If not your return is time travel - you have returned in the future.

And as you arrive for your visit every universe changes, both the one you visit and the one you came from, and those you aren't visiting at all.

I think Fermi's insight about aliens can be applied the PU idea too. "where are they?" That is, if travel between PU could happen then it would have happened and we would see evidence. Lacking any evidence it probably hasn't happened because it can't happen.

Since I don't buy the parallel universe idea I will make more coffee. In the ideal PU a new cup would magically appear before me about now.

Vanilla Thunder said at April 4, 2009 1:13 PM:

Funny you mention parallel universes. I just finished reading S.M. Stirling's Drakon, which deals with a woman from a parallel universe trying to enslave the human species.

Aki_Izayoi said at April 4, 2009 8:49 PM:

Would those parallel universes you speak of Randall would be anthropically tolerable?

Allan said at April 5, 2009 10:56 AM:

Yea and scientists once said that it would impossible for humans to travel faster than 35 mph (or something like that) because the force of the wind would break the neck ...

Lono said at April 6, 2009 9:02 AM:

Frankly I think the idea of travel to parallel universes is a no go.

I don't know why, but few discussions of parallel universes discuss the inevitable "Butterfly Effect" where tiny changes between the Universes would be exponentially magnified over time.

And Randall, I would think that parallel Earths could actually be MORE dangerous to us than less hospitable worlds in our own galaxy, due to the fact that bio-compatible virii/parasites would be much more likely.

And, I know that this is a "scientific" web site - but as far as Fermi's Paradox is concerned - there certainly seems to be a wealth of radar tracked UFO cases now on the web/TV - seems worthy of further investigation.

Perhaps they ARE from a PU...

Randall Parker said at April 6, 2009 6:18 PM:


Some of the parallel universes will no doubt have intelligent cro-magnons who will hunt us down. Sliders already showed us some of what to expect. Also, smart dinos might exist on some worlds and similarly will hunt us down. But on other worlds there won't be anything as intelligent as us. Yet other worlds will have humans who split off from us a few thousand years ago.


We spread out across this world and were able to handle a large assortment of pathogens which were new to us. Of course, there was a lot of natural selection going on in Europe as explorers brought back different diseases. Also, the Spanish brought Euro-Asian and African diseases that caused massive die-offs of Amerinds. So whether we do well depends on how our immune systems stack up against pathogens on different worlds. But overall I expect we'll do pretty well, especially since the bacteria on parallel worlds won't have encountered some of our antibiotics.

Actually, what we can do is visit parallel universes, test their molds against our own bacteria and other worlds' bacteria and come up with even better antibiotics.

Engineer-Poet said at April 6, 2009 9:43 PM:

Leaving aside the stability of warp drives, I'd like to see the intelligent dino that is both sufficiently larger/faster than a human to be a big danger and also bulletproof.  (It would be vulnerable to something, but whatever innovations it had would be interesting, perhaps marketable.)

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright