Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Warp Drives and Acoustic Levitation

I like to watch the Vsauce channels on YouTube, which feature a variety of information including science, art, gaming, and internet culture.  An episode of "Mind Blow" I saw today featured two intriguing topics -- the potential for developing an actual warp drive (yes, the kind from Star Trek used for flying through space) and acoustic levitation.

Warp Drives

A ring-shaped warp drive device could transport a football-shape starship (center) to effective speeds faster than light. The concept was first proposed by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre. Harold White (From Discovery.com)
An article from Discovery news elaborates on the concept:
A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel -- a concept popularized in television's Star Trek -- may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say. 
 A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, however subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy. 
 Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially bringing the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.
The article goes on to describe how the process would work:
An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shape spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind. 
 Meanwhile, the starship itself would stay inside a bubble of flat space-time that wasn't being warped at all.
"Everything within space is restricted by the speed of light," explained Richard Obousy, president of Icarus Interstellar, a non-profit group of scientists and engineers devoted to pursuing interstellar spaceflight. "But the really cool thing is space-time, the fabric of space, is not limited by the speed of light." 
With this concept, the spacecraft would be able to achieve an effective speed of about 10 times the speed of light, all without breaking the cosmic speed limit.
The article goes on to say to say that the minimum amount of energy necessary to power a warp drive would be about equal to the mass-energy of Jupiter.  So it's still not really all that feasible...at least not yet.  But hey, at least it is theoretically possible!

Read the whole article at the link below:

THE WARP DRIVE COULD BECOME SCIENCE FACT

Although being a Star Wars guy myself, I'd prefer if they called it a hyperdrive instead of a warp drive!
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Acoustic Levitation

Acoustic levitation got me thinking about old theories that the ancients may have used some form of levitation to move megalithic stones.  While I think it it's unlikely the ancients were floating stones around, I guess I consider myself to be an open-minded skeptic on the subject.  I won't rule out the possibility of an ancient levitation technique just because it seems unlikely considering that acoustic levitation today requires complex machines and electricity and it's only used for liquids and small objects.  But perhaps the ancients found another method of doing so?  We would do well to remember that Edward Leedskalnin famously built the Coral Castle monuments using megalithic stones back in the 1920s and 30s without using modern machinery.  He never revealed his secret for moving and placing the megalithic stones (see my post about Coral Castle here).  Maybe Edward Leedskalnin and the ancients knew something that the rest of us don't?

Nevertheless, acoustic levitation isn't just a theory.  It is reality.

Watch acoustic levitation.



See an article about it here.  Also see how acoustic levitation works here.

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Watch the episode of Mind Blow below.

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