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July 13, 2006
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WORMHOLES

Yes, wormholes are the most efficient form of interstellar travel. Basically, wormholes are areas of warped space that connects two points. There are two main types of wormholes: Euclidian Lorenzian. Since "Lorenzian" usually means something to do with time, we'll be working with the Lorenzian wormholes.

Inter-universe wormholes connect two different universes that would otherwise be closed to us. In any normal circumstance, you can't go to another parallel universe; it's just not possible. The exception would be traveling to some other universe by wormhole.

Intra-universe wormholes connect two points in the same universe at the same time. That is, if you travel through one end of the wormhole, you will come out the other end at a different point in space, but no time will have passed. This effectively creates instantaneous travel between points connected by a wormhole. This is what we'll be talking about today.

Theoretically, one could create a wormhole by inducing large amounts of gravity to a specific area. If this is done at two locations in the correct way, a wormhole would successfully be created. This might allow a sort of interstellar highway that would make space travel between long distances much more efficient. Also, you would not have to deal with the time debt of time dialation. That is, when traveling at near light speed, you age slower than the rest of the universe. When going through a wormhole, you simply go through one end and come out the other without having to accelerate to sub-light speeds.

Unfortunately, to create these highways in space, one would have to be able to travel to these points by another means so that the highways could be created. However, the effort would pay off, since if successful, wormhole travel could allow for easy passage between many areas of our galaxy.

WARP DRIVE

This is what you see on Star Trek. A warp drive would reshape space to shorten distances. This process would be similar to scrunshing up a map. However, this could cause serious problems, since shortening distances in space could only be done in areas without planets and stars near by, and even then, it cause catastrophic results. The goal would be to use the warp drive as little as possible, so as to not "pollute" space.

HAWKING DRIVE

The Hawking Drive is my idea, but first I must talk about Hawking radiation.

Physicist Stephen Hawking theorized that Black Holes can "leak" radiation by a process called Hawking Radiation. The process is complicated, but I will attempt to give you a simplified version.

In theoretical particle physics, there are things called virtual particals that represent possible paths a "real" particle could take. This theory seems credible enough, as it explains many phenomena quite well.

Now theoretically, to an accelerating observer, virtual particles acutally appear to be "real" particles, so it is possible that around a black hole, where objects are accelerating toward the gravitational field, virtual particles may acutally appear to pop into existence for a brief period of time.

When a particle is created, an antiparticle is also created to counter-balance. Out of the particle-antiparticle pair that was just created from virtual particles, one of them is destroyed by the black hole while the other escapes. In this scenario, in order to fill the "energy hole" left by the process, the black hole releases some energy, and therefore some of its mass (energy and mass is related by the equasion E=mc^2). If the black hole cannot absorb more energy (in the form of radiation) than it loses from Hawking Radiation, then the black hole will eventually evaporate.

This theory was intended to be an insight into quantum gravity. That is, the theory that gravity is caused by a particle (dubbed the Graviton). However, it may provide a form of trasportation.

The less mass a black hole has, the less radiation it will absorb, and the faster it will evaporate. Now, according to Hawking's equasions, a black hole with a mass of 2.28 × 10^5 kg would last for one second. In this one second, all of its energy would be released, which is equal to 5 × 10^6 megatons of TNT. A megaton is 1,000,000 metric tons, and we're talking about 5,000,000 megatons. Imagine an explosion caused by 5,000,000,000,000 tons of TNT! If channeled through a propulsion system to give it even greater pressure, such a force could propell a ship at speeds very near the speed of light if not the speed of light itself, and since there is no friction in space, you would only need one burst of black hole energy.

As you probably know, creating a black hole in your ship is very dangerous, but here's how it could be done safely.

Take a particle accelerator, since particles accelerated at enough speed can create a black hole. This accelerator would be power by matter-antimatter anihilation, which creates an extreme amount of energy. Around the area where the black hole would be created, there would be a gravity containment field, which could be anything that filters out gravitons. The purpose of this would be to make sure that the black hole doesn't destroy anything. As soon as the black hole evaporated, the containment field would be released, and the energy would tavel through thrusters using electromagnetic fields to contain the energy and make sure the ship doesn't get scorched.

Now, when accelerating from 0 to 300,000 kilometers per second, the inertial effect would certainly disintigrate the ship and anyone on it. This is why a gravity containment field would be put in place for the whole vessel. Not only would it keep the passangers on the floor, but it would eliminate all inertial effects and keep everyone safe.

However, what happens when the energy leaves the ship? If anything was in the path of the energy, it would be desintigrated. It would have to be used with care, but you only have to use it once to get where you're going. One of the potential dangers it running into a planet or star at the speed of light. One would have to plot out a detailed course before jumping to light speed. Another potential danger is if the black hole containment field fails. Although the black hole would only last for one second, it could destory the entire propulsion system, if not the hole ship. The containment field would HAVE to work, and if there was anything potentially wrong, the jump to lightspeed would have to be postponed.

Despite the dangers, I think that it's a rather good idea, and it is possible, but a few advancements will have to be made first:

1. Gravity containments fields

We haven't proved the existence of gravitons yet, and can't control them.

2. Antimatter

We can't produce large amounts of antmatter yet, but that will change in the future. A super-particle accelerator that would be required to create a black hole could be powered another way, but matter-antimatter anihilation is the most effecient.

CONCLUSION

There have got to be other ways to achieve near-light speeds, but these were my only credible ideas.
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