Below is a video from the third day of this past week’s Icarus Interstellar Starship Congress. Dr. White of NASA updated the progress of his experiments (at the NASA Houston space center) to create a tiny warp bubble (yes, like the warp drive in Star Trek); the data is very preliminary but, as he says in the video, it is a “non-null” result. If the results pan out, then perhaps the stars will not forever be out of reach of humanity.
Dr. White also talked about Q-Thrusters, which he also helped develop for NASA; they are a deep-space thruster that does not require any propellants. Instead, it uses quantum vacuum fluctuations: that is, the virtual particles that are constantly popping into and out of existence. If I understood the video, it sounds as if they’ve already built some of these and they actually work–and they will be useful in their experiments with warp drive. All q-thrusters need is energy, such as something like a nuclear reactor in a submarine or air craft carrier: they only have to be refueled every 20 years or so. Besides not requiring any propellant, another advantage of Q-Thrusters is that they significantly reduce the travel time for space ships within the solar system; instead of taking five years to get to Pluto (the current New Horizons space craft which will fly by Pluto in 2015), a Q-Thruster reduces travel time to only 167 days; instead of 9 months to Mars (how long it to Curiosity to get there), a Q-thruster gets you there in less than one month.
All in all, I found it very interesting. So check it out: