Star Trek question
Name: Andre J Zielinski
Is it possible to propel a starship through space in the same manner as they
do on "Star Trek"? Is there such a possibility as warp speed?
Okay, this is only an educated guess (since Star Trek is, as you know,
science fiction) According to what I understand about Star Trek, the main
power source for Federation starships is a matter-antimatter reaction.
Therefore, it is logical to assume (sorry) that the impulse drive is nothing
more than thrust from the controlled explosion resulting from large quanti-
ties of matter and antimatter colliding. As for warp speed, this is REALLY
hypothetical, since the concept of the warp nacelle depends highly on the
distortion of space itself. Warp is theoretically possible, but we do not
have the nearest inkling how to attain it -- basically, it involves (near as
I can figure it) the folding of three dimensional space in such a way that
you do not actually travel IN our universe, but rather ALONG it, so you can
travel faster than light (my high school physics teacher told me that warp 1
is a speed equal to the speed of light (c) to the c power... that is fast!
I really do not have time or the patience to print out the number that
results (nor do I have any idea what units of measurement they would be in),
so you will have to take my word for it. We simply do not have the technol-
ogy or the math skill to attain warp.
Great Question for a fifth grader. No, there is no way to have warp speed
greater than the speed of light. It would take an infinitely large amount
of energy to get any massive object moving up to the speed of light and no
one knows how to get anything moving faster than that.
Samuel P Bowen
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Update: June 2012