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back to article NASA working on faster-than-light drive capable of WARP TEN

A top NASA boffin has outlined ongoing lab experiments at the space agency aimed at first steps towards the building of a warp-drive spacecraft theoretically capable of travelling at 10 times the speed of light. The latest developments at the "Eagleworks" super-advanced space drive lab at NASA's Johnson Space Center were …

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Anonymous Coward

Warp Ten is not 10x SOL

As its from the Star Trek Universe... I think you should re-research that bit.... cause according to the Enterprise Technical manual... its alot faster.....

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Thumb Up

Re: Warp Ten is not 10x SOL

How did I just know that the first comment was going to be "That's not what warp 10 is, as any fule noe"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Warp Ten is not 10x SOL

OK, so just how fast is is compared to - say - greased weasel shit off a very shiny stick?

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Re: Warp Ten is not 10x SOL

An African or European weasel?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Warp Ten is not 10x SOL

AFAIK Warp was always meant to be an exponentially increasing scale, with 10 being "infinity" (or at least that's what they called it in the series "everywhere in the universe at the same time").

It was far from 10 times the speed of light. But that's by far the least of the problems with this article, and presumably NASA's research. If anyone comprehends a speed faster than light in the real world, the Universe may wish to ask them a few questions...

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Happy

Re: Warp Ten is not 10x SOL

With all of the crap that is going on in the planet earth today, all i got to say is "beam me up Scotty".

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Re: Warp Ten is not 10x SOL

That is correct. It changes also with the show. http://www.star-fleet.com/ed/warp-chart.html

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Boffin

Re: Warp Ten is not 10x SOL

Classical trek, warp speed was the cube of the warp factor, which would make 10c about warp 2.15.

Next generation, they changed that into a log scale, where warp 10 is infinity, if I remember right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 10 = infinity?

I'm sure I remember them talking about Warp factors of 13 and 14 in the later ones, possibly Voyager.

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TRT
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Re: 10 = infinity?

I'm sure I read somewhere that sub-space communications took place at the equivalent of Warp 13.

Anyway, that's not what bothers me. What bothers me is when they use the slingshot effect to time travel. What numbers to they read out there?

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Warp is not a linear scale

I thought the Warp speeds were logarithmic - Warp 1 being lightspeed, Warp 2 being 10x lightspeed?

Ah, no, it's cubic. 10x light speed is therefore more like Warp 2.15 ...

Aaaaand, that's for the original series. The later ones do it differently with no apparent formula and a false upper limit of Warp 10 for plot-line reasons.

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Re: Warp is not a linear scale

I thought Warp10 was transwarp or is that when you turn it up to 11 ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Warp is not a linear scale

They rewrote the warp speed tables after the 3rd movie I believe

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Pint

Re: Warp is not a linear scale

Transwarp is different to warp, the Borg use Transwarp conduits (as seen in the final episode of Voyager). Warp 10 apparently should be impossible as if you hit Warp 10 you would be everywhere at once, though, again in Voyager, Tom Paris did actually get to Warp 10 and somehow turned into a lizard due to evolving the human species several billion years.

Beer, because at Warp 10 you're inside every beer at the same time.... nice.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Warp is not a linear scale

"Beer, because at Warp 10 you're inside every beer at the same time.... nice."

Paris, because at Warp 10 every crew member's member would be in Paris at the same time.

(And because he was on Voyager, of course.)

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Coat

Re: Warp is not a linear scale

"Warp 10 apparently should be impossible as if you hit Warp 10 you would be everywhere at once"

Much like the Infinite Improbability Drive then, yes?

Sorry, sorry, shouldn't mix up my scientifiction.

Mine's the one with the thermos of strong brownian motion producer in the pocket, thanks.

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Boffin

Re: Warp is not a linear scale

FWIW, the writers declared that the "warp 10 is infinity" episode was non-canon because they and most everyone hated the hell out of it. Other episodes have referred to warp figures over 10.

So I think we can safely say that the warp scale is based on "like, whatever or something".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Warp is not a linear scale

Thanks for the clearing up of that. I'd probably right off most episodes as "non-cannon". Especially the new movie!

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Pint

Re: Warp is not a linear scale

That Paris? Hm, no, better the Paris with the beer commercial in brazil!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cannon

We're not talking about explosively-propelled projectile weapons.

How can you read a word on one line and then spell it wrong immediately on the next line when you can still see the correct spelling right next to what you're writing? And you even use quote marks as well!

To even write the word "write" incorrectly requires a special level of ineptitude.

So not only can you not do it, you can't even spell the action in the first place. There's some recursive idiocy in there, for sure.

I despair. They shouldn't let low-level life forms near computers.

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Facepalm

Repeat after me:

Star Trek is not real.

Fictitious scales made up within something that isn;t real, are also not real. Particulalrly when they are changed at the writers' whim.

Sheesh.

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FAIL

Re: Repeat after me:

No shit.

But when you're writing about fiction, it generally makes sense to utilize the fiction itself for your reference. Presumably by your definition it would be just fine to describe The Lord Of The Rings as being about a super-sentient planet of five-story-tall baboons who face famine when their butter factory breaks down, thus paralyzing trade with the Biloxi, a race of butter ants from the Mississippi system.

I mean, after all, it's not *real*, is it? So why bother with defining anything at ALL - after all, it's just defined "at the writer's whim", and who are we to let THAT define our conversations about that very topic?

Hell, as far as I'm concerned, your post is about the Samsung lawsuit. It's not REAL, after all; just a bunch of words! They might as well say anything!

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Re: Warp is not a linear scale

I'd probably right off most episodes as "non-cannon".

Agreed. Few episodes feature cannons, and the ones that do are right off.

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Re: Warp is not a linear scale

"I thought Warp10 was transwarp or is that when you turn it up to 11 ?"

Only if you have a Marshal warp drive. ;-)

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Re: Warp is not a linear scale

It's Treknology. Meaning, it's whatever scale the writers need for the plot point this week. So I won't fault the author for making it mean what he needs it to mean in this article.

I love Star Trek as much as the next geek, but I do recognize it's limitations. I mean, do you REALLY think humans would ever encounter what is effectively a dead world with far more advanced technology that is easily readable (For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky, Spock's Brain) and not make a copy before running off? Or fail to record all of Earth's History (City on the Edge of Forever)? Or, given a transporter accident that regresses your physical age to 12-14 (Next Gen, don't recall title), not work with that accident to come up with a way to regress your physical age to 21-25? And let's not even get started on how badly they mangled the timeline with Enterprise.

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Re: Repeat after me:

I'd read that book!

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Happy

Re: Warp is not a linear scale

"Beer, because at Warp 10 you're inside every beer at the same time.... nice" Better if every beer is inside you at the same time, you probably would then be everywhere in the universe at once.

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JDX
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It doesn't take take thousands of years

If you're the one doing the travelling it doesn't take long, only if if you want to remain in contact with Earth is it an issue.

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Re: It doesn't take take thousands of years

I wonder how many times your post will 'whoosh' past the eyes of readers. But never a truer word said.

IFIAK it's around 30 years to reach any point in the universe. Yep, only 30 years. Providing you have 1g acceleration constantly. Just remember at half way to turn around and start slowing down. Oh, add an infinite supply of energy too.

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Re: It doesn't take take thousands of years

2 years

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Re: It doesn't take take thousands of years

Yeah, but that's still kind of inconvenient in many ways. There's a Heinlein (IIRC) book about a generation-ship where they finally get to their destination planet and find that a few centuries of research has resulted in a way of getting there in a half-dozen years. Or if we turn out not to be the only ones out there, the "Forever War" scenario of trying to strategise over centuries.

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JDX
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Re: It doesn't take take thousands of years

Forget Heinlein, Douglas Adams made the point better :)

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Boffin

Bring Back V'ger

(before the Borg get it) and put it on display at Udvar-Hazy.

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Re: It doesn't take take thousands of years

The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks had some similar issues in the semi-background.

People on the slow ships being overtaken by the quicker method.

And then the quicker method gets broken.

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Alien

Ye cannae change the laws o' physics, laws o' physics, laws o' physics...................

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Anonymous Coward

If my calculations are correct...

We would need 151,239.5349 Norris's to get to 10,000 % of the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fool

Norris's what?

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WTF?

And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

When it decelerates? Or was that a different FTL mechanism that caused that?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

Wasn't that the buzzard drives? (Or ram drives? or some such)

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Re: And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

A Bussard Ramjet isn't particularly more dangerous than a standard fusion drive,

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Re: And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

a) Space is big, incredibly big, no really really humongously big. And therefore mostly harml...errrrmmm empty.

b) See that big light in the sky? That's a really, really big thermonuclear device, which does not pump out gamma radiation at all. Really.

Alternatively, I believe NASA.gov and other boffinry centers dealing with astronomy have some nice footage of the sky when the big light isn't around in the gamma spectrum.

All the If-but's aside concerning a wholly theoretical mode of propulsion, a potential gamma wake, or deceleration pulse would be like a drop in the ocean compared to what a planet is bathed in on a daily basis.

It would put a crimp on close formation flying though.

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Re: And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

I think you're referring to this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/04/killer_warp_drive/ Roughly the idea that any particles picked up at the front of the bubble get released on deceleration and anyone standing in the way is going to need SPF 1e10 to survive it ...

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Meh

Re: And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

Any useful space drive is a useful weapon.

(Niven) ish

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Coat

Re: And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

Apparently, the scientists will inadvertently explain the Gamma Ray Bursts enigma while developing the drive.

I'll get my hazmat vest.

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Re: And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

New rule: No warping within inhabited planetary systems.

Problem solved.

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Re: And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

> No warping within inhabited planetary systems.

I foresee customers rioting due to boredom while waiting for the ship to get down from the Kuiper belt.

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Re: And the gamma ray mega radiation kill thing?

Roughly the idea that any particles picked up at the front of the bubble get released on deceleration and anyone standing in the way is going to need SPF 1e10 to survive it ...

While we're idly speculating on almost-certainly-completely-impractical ideas, I'll mention another of Niven's: you move the whole solar system. Build a whacking great ring of magnets around the sun (I think he said roughly around the diameter of Mercury's orbit). Squeeze that bugger a bit, so it jets out roughly normal to the plane of the ecliptic. That pushes the system out of its normal position in the galactic arm. By the time you start running out of sun, you're going fast enough to turn the apparatus into a big Bussard ramjet.

The advantage is that the Earth makes as good a "living quarters" for a "generation ship" as we're likely to get: it's big, comfortable, pretty well shielded (we'd have trouble building better shielding, particularly in the hemisphere away from the direction of travel).

Niven said the only reason to do this was to flee a galactic-core explosion, but you could use it to get closer to other systems of interest - probably within a couple lightyears. Then you could use smaller craft to commute between Earth and plants-of-choice.

Of course the whole thing is predicated on a ridiculous engineering feat (similar in scale to his other mega-engineering concepts, like ringworlds); Niven himself mentions a couple of snags, like needing to be able to transmute Jupiter's mass into something useful for building magnets from.

But it beats puttering about the galaxy in a tin can.

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Boffin

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Warp_factor

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WTF?

Interesting article

I'm a big fan of Star Trek and sci-fi in general but it never ceases to amaze me the lengths some people are prepared to go to explain away discrepancies between episodes / series / films rather than just accept that it's ultimately all made up and subject to human error.

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Re: Interesting article

Started with Sherlock Holmes. In the early 20th century there was a great amount written to try to paper over the gaping discrepancies between Conan Doyle's stories. Essentially, ACD was a very talented story teller, but was hopeless at keeping character continuity, or keeping a timeline of events. In fact, Sherlock Holmes isn't really a "character", but more a device hoisted out by ACD to take the reader through a mystery. He didn't care for the timeline of Watson's marriage, or at which point recurring characters first appeared etc.

Holmes fans were the first uber-nerds who tied themselves in knots trying to reconcile al the problems between the Holmes stories.

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