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I've just read an Article on the new approach on Warp Drives Dr. Erik Lentz describes. Instead of creating a bubble with negative energy density, he describes a Soliton in spacetime, which he apparently calculated based on General Relativity. Using huge amounts of energy, the gravitational forces should bend space in such a way that it compresses in front and dilates behind a spacecraft. I was wondering how that would work "in practice".

Obviously it wouldn't. But, for example, it is entirely possible to create wormholes, and the step by step instructions are basically:

  1. Get yourself a black hole. If you can't make one, storebought is fine.
  2. Use an equal but not as dense amount of exotic matter, and pour it into the black hole.
  3. This will neutralize the gravitational forces, but will still "force" the hole in spacetime the black hole originally created open.
  4. Now depending on which branch of physics you ask, this hole will either lead into the past, another universe, or to the same point in spacetime. You can freely move these wormholes by applying charges to them.

Again, purely theoretical, but if we had the means, even a little kid could build a wormhole, so to speak. So, while I get the theory behind this new approach, I don't quite get how exactly this would be applied in the real world. As far as I know, extremely dense bodies don't move above c, so how would the warp drive accomplish this?


Discussions in the popular press:

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  • $\begingroup$ From the abstract of the Lenz-paper "The solitons are also shown to be capable of being sourced from the stress–energy of a conducting plasma and classical electromagnetic fields. " That may be your 'in practice' construction of GR solitons. I don't understand that part of the paper though, which shows how reasonable the EM-fields needed would be. $\endgroup$ – AtmosphericPrisonEscape Mar 22 at 0:41
  • $\begingroup$ I love the optimism in our theories, and for sure they're the best we have... But in science, theory isn't enough to say wormholes exist/can be made. You have to demonstrate experimentally, because all theories have limitations, and you don't know if you've overstepped them. So first things first: we need to demonstrate in a lab environment that wormholes exist and can be made. Then we can start saying that making wormholes is basically this or that recipe. I don't think we can say we know what the recipe would be or if there would be one. Has this ever been done and validated in a lab? $\endgroup$ – user39728_i_said_user_39728_i_ Mar 22 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ Plus, there are serious limitations to relativity and quantum mechanics in the areas where they overlap. They are phenomenally accurate in their predictions where they don't overlap, but they completely fall apart where they do. They pretty much start spewing nonsense that you can't and shouldn't trust. And I'm pretty sure wormholes fall right in that overlap zone. I would be supremely skeptical of any predictions made there until we at last close the divide, and that will take at least a sound theory of quantum gravity. We're not there yet, and I don't think we can say wormholes are possible. $\endgroup$ – user39728_i_said_user_39728_i_ Mar 22 at 1:48
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    $\begingroup$ @user39728: Your comments are completely missing the point. Lentz's paper has nothing to do with wormholes. $\endgroup$ – AtmosphericPrisonEscape Mar 22 at 12:00
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    $\begingroup$ A preprint of that paper is available on arXiv. Since any of these mechanisms result in causality violation (ie time machines) if they're going to be useful (specifically: if you can get back to where you came from), I'd strongly assume that they get ruled out. $\endgroup$ – tfb Mar 22 at 13:22

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