Archive for the ‘FTL’ Category

FTL Drive – Second Thoughts

July 14, 2011

In a previous post I stated Faster Than Light (FTL) Drives are impossible considering the energy that it would take to warp space. I now have second thoughts If a time machine can be constructed. Professor Ronald Mallett in 1999 showed that using Einstein’s general Theory of Relativity it’s possible by creating closed timelike curves. Stephen Hawking. however, proved this impossible without exotic matter with negative energy. Olum and Everett argued that with current laser technology the laser ring would be the size of the known Universe. Even with these detractors I’m not ruling this out in the far future.

Now, given a time machine, how do you achieve FTL? My first approximation is to have a time machine at the destination and the passengers go into stasis for the journey and upon arrival go into the time machine and come out when they left. Due to stasis and time dilation (traveling close to the speed of light) they have aged very little. They have already beat the clock but now comes the tricky part.

They decide on a return trip to Earth so they get into the time machine again and go back in time to when the machine was still on Earth. They pop out and are back on Earth way before they left. Very weird, but the time machine has become an FTL drive on the way back without going anywhere. Note that it is also a teleportation machine. The odd part of this is it has to work if time machines are to work at all since the reference frame of the time machine shouldn’t make any difference. If it did, the Earth rotation and its orbiting the Sun would cause the time machine to malfunction. There is no such thing as an absolute coordinate in space. I guess I will have to allow FTL drives and teleportation if I allow time machines in distant future fiction.

I’m using this in Volume III of the Tillian 5 Series. It needs FTL.

FTL Drive

November 21, 2010

A wormhole bypass


Are FTL (Faster Than Light) Drives possible? The short answer is yes but the long answer follows:

The amount of energy required is super-galactic in scale. It would take more energy that the entire energy output of a large galaxy to power such a contrivance which really makes FTL impractical. Another important detail is the craft itself cannot create its own space distortion like most Sci Fi depictions show. For this reason I don’t use FTL drives in my Sci Fi stories.

There was a Sci Fi author, I don’t remember his name, that stated a true Sci Fi story should never use more than one improbable device per story. A simple counter example is Star Trek which uses at least two in every episode; FTL drive and matter transporters. I’m not saying that matter transporters cannot exist but certainly not in the way used in Star Trek. I will discuss matter transporters (teleportation) in my next blog.

An important thing to keep in mind is FTL is possible for those on board the craft due to time dilation. If they are accelerating at a continuous one G they will reach the speed of light in one year according to their own on board clock. In two years, if they continue to accelerate at one G, they will reach two times the speed of light in two years and so on. This process must also be reversed on the latter half of the journey by merely flipping the ship and continuing to accelerate. An advantage is you would have artificial gravity but you would probably be in stasis anyway so it wouldn’t really matter. The ship would be controlled by an intelligent computer.

This is the method I chose for Tillian 5 – A New Beginning since the trip was going to take 65 Earth years to complete but only 5 years according to the onboard clock. I used a higher acceleration since the passengers, in stasis, could handle the higher acceleration. The intelligent computer system, Maggie, handled all the systems and emergency situations (except one).

If they would find Tillian 5 uninhabitable they would have to turn around and return to Earth. Considering that this journey would take another 65 years it would be 130 years since they left the planet and they would be a faint memory and perhaps only a legend. Even small children they knew would be long gone. This becomes important background for casting the mindset of those making the journey in this story and it plays and even more important role in Tillian 5 – Return to Earth the follow on volume, which is now available as well.

Now let’s suppose there is a super-galactic civilization out there somewhere that is perhaps a billion years ahead of us technologically with FTL drives. Do you think they would share that technology with us? Would we share our technology with sewer rats giving them jumper jets and cannons they can operate? I guess I have to take that one back since we did successfully train alley cats to use machine guns during WWII. Thankfully, the military officer in charge of this operation (a cat lover), when he found out, quickly killed the plan.