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Which is more likely to work and which is more based on fact, the modified alcubeirre warp theory or the hiem hyperdrive Answered

Which is more likely to work, the alcubierre drive which allows for superluminal travel using a
Jupiter's mass of energy or the superconducting gravito-photon effect that powers the theoretical hiem theory hyperdrive?



Best Answer 7 years ago

As the professional physicist on this site, I guess it's time for me to weight in. Neither one is based in fact.

Alcubierre's work is a solution to the standard field equations of general relativity. Is it not a "warp drive" in any propulsive sense, in that he makes no claims about how to actually create the "bubble" he analyzes. His solution presupposes the existence of a bubble of flat spacetime surrounded by a soliton (a localized wave), and works out how that bubble travels through the metric. It is therefore meaningless to ask about whether it "works" or not.

Heim (not "hiem") is a crackpot. The vast majority of his work was self-published and self-promoted, with nothing accepted (and most likely not even submitted) to peer-reviewed journals. He's thrown a few things onto the arXiv, but that's about as close to "accepted scientific publication" as a forum post here on Instructables. His theory is basically nonsense; if you really want to understand why, I recommend a good series of graduate courses in quantum field theory and general relativity.

but that's about as close to "accepted scientific publication" as a forum post here on Instructables

What ? I thought this WAS "peer reviewed" ;-)

Any chance you could explain what is wrong with both? There were theories I found online that claim how manipulation of micro dimensions predicted by string theory can create a similar effect to the alcubierre drive but without the requirement of negative matter.

And I have yet to find any clear explanation of heim theory except that the use powerful magnets to manipulate photons into gravitophotons or something.

I am mainly interested in the possible aspects of theses theories that allow for faster than light travel without time dilation and actual relativistic speeds. If you could explain both it would be a great deal if help.

The easiest way to explain what's wrong is for you to have a graduate level understanding of both quantum field theory and general relativity. Both of those are covered in first- or second-year courses in a physics masters or Ph.D. program.
As Orksecurity said, somethings can only be explained "briefly" if you already have sufficient understanding that all of the past century's worth of research doesn't have to be re-explained to you.

There is actually nothing wrong with Alcubierre's analysis. It's a perfectly reasonable solution to the field equations. The point, which all of the crackpots don't seem to recognize or understand, is that Alcubierre's study is not a "constructive solution" -- that is, there is no mechanism by which his soliton can be created (or destroyed). If it already exists, then it has the properties he demonstrated.

Heim's model, on the other hand, is pure crap. Some people would be more polite, but there are times when it's most useful to call a spade a spade. What Heim did, basically, was to pick and choose a bunch of really cool-sounding words in modern physics, string them together in ways that sounded like sentences, and pubish them. You might as well talk about how a collection of green and goldenrod cats could partake of equinoctal rainfall to generate happiness beams.

"use powerful magnets to manipulate photons into gravitophotons or something" -- Gibberish, as far as I know. There's no such thing as a gravitophoton, at least by any currently credible theory, and using magnets to manipulate photons is pretty much covered by electromagnetic theory without gravity getting involved at all.

The fact that you can't find a clear explanation is also a strong indication that it isn't considered particularly credible/interesting by the experts.

Re explanations: Some things can't be explained briefly unless the person hearing the explanation already understands a lot of the background theory. Which is presumably why Kelsey suggested that you might need a few college-level classes, to provide that background.

And if it can't be answered reasonably briefly, it's probably not a good question for this venue.

Thank you; that's what I thought I was seeing. BEST ANSWER, definitely.

I'd offer a third option, the Bussard ramjet.

Perhaps, but although it's pretty much out of our scope, at least it has some limited degree of practicaility behind it, even if slim (there are a lot of gaping problems with the Bussard ramjet, specifically encountering anything larger than an atom and actually generating the magnetic net)

Theorizing about going thru black holes and what dark matter is and will we make transporters are neato questions, but they're not grounded in realworld practicalities. First the moon, using big old ugly ships and clumsy spacesuits, Mars next..No jump starting, no friendly alien dwarf who hands us a hyperdrive craft with swimming pools and Holodecks and food-replicators and transporters and bridges with carpeting suitable for a high-rise office, no amazing stargates found in Egyptian ruins, no extraspeshul crystals in Mayan temples...Space is going to be a brutal place for quite a while. Necessary, but brutal.

Personally, I'd rather get there at 7/10th the speed of light rather than never getting there at all because of indoctrination to unrealizable fantasy technologies offered by Hollywad and speculists who, imo, actively serve to stop us from pursuing space by using these both unrealizable technologies and forwarding unrealistic expectations rather than promoting it by explaining the necessity and being frank about what to expect.

And guess what else, you won't be getting a first class stateroom like they have on the Starship enterprise. Pure management class frivolity and absolute elementary-school fantasy for anything approaching near term. In other words, it's neato to imagine, but it's far more neato to conceive of things that CAN be done.

Even all this chatter about solar sails is practically absurd except as an academic exercise, since you'd be limited to space well inside the Kuiper belt and they'd even get torn to shreds by all the things flying about when operating for any appreciable period of time well inside.

BTW, lol to "just bending space time" how very trivial...

Honestly, one of the reasons we're not getting anywhere wrt space is because too many people think that the only way to be practical is to be completely unpractical. Too much movie and scifi series and too little realizing that the early explorers did not hop into a first class barkolounger and get flown to the places they discovered by a team of shortskirted skygirls that handed them fresh G&Ts as they sat down in their ubercomfie seat and plugged in their balckberry into the console. They got there by using the things at their disposal. We need to start thinking that way again instead of living as though the TV wasn't telling us a boatload of convenient lies to satisfy our need for entertainment..

Sure that is why many people wish for interstellar travel, but there are few like me who only wish to see the actual stars and see something that no eyes have ever seen. Nothing else has ever had any interest in life for me. I do not want a "hollywood" solution i want to find and if i have the honor to implement a real solution. I ask about these theories because they are the closest thing i have found to actual research on this subject.


If I were to suggest something practical that needs improvement, I'd say it's ion propulsion. It's real, it works, but it has a lot of room for improvement, and it will need serious attention for quite a while to garner the next step in our development. (imo)

That is, if you feel you could contribute, it might be a good direction to follow that might lead to serious gains, and in the process, you develop the skills necessary to professionally evaluate and or pursue these alternate theories.

BTW, I am no enemy of scifi. Love the stuff. It just needs to be remembered that a whole lot of it is true and pure fiction, just as many of the wild theories that it itself spawns amongst some people who don't read the fine print.

Is funny then how alcubierre's theory is a clear solution and while without an actual way to be implemented basically says "this can happen". there is an old saying "todays science fiction is tommorow's reality" i wouldnt hold my breath but at least that one has a basis in fact.

Not exactly, what Alcubierre's solution (it's not a theory, it's a particular solution to the GR field equations) says is that "if such a soliton already exists, it will continue to exist and to propagate in such-and-such a way." Not only does it not provide any sort of construction (or destruction, meaning you can't get out of the bubble!), his solution requires pre-existence of the solition.

Dr Kelsey just dissed Instructables! Let's get him!


7 years ago

I'll put my money on the "Superman Reverse Continuum." That is, fly around the earth in a counter-clockwise direction at faster than light speed until time itself is reversed. It worked in Issue #135 of Action Comics.

that is unrealistic

I think what you need to do is find a practicing high-energy physicist and ask them... since most of the rest of us are not competent to have an opinion.

The former has a Wikipedia entry. It is described as a "speculative mathematical model of a spacetime continuum", meaning that (at best) the math is self-consistent but it may or may not have anything to do with reality. Particularly see the section labelled "difficulties" which discusses what the problems are with this proposal.

Wikipedia has nothing on the second. Others are welcome to go hunting for a citation and/or analysis; I''m not sufficiently interested to dig further. I will say that any time something has that many buzzwords in its name you should be especially skeptical.

And remember: Both are looking for loopholes in accepted theory. Until and unless someone derives experimental tests from them, they're an interesting idea but not much more than that. If it isn't testable, it may be interesting math and/or philosophy but it isn't science.

"... since most of the rest of us are not competent to have an opinion."

Gee that never stopped some of us before.

Since both appear to be vanishingly close to impossible anyway, either option may be right.

Neither are impossible, heim drive uses a strong magnet and disks supposedly, and alcubierre warp is just bending spacetime, and the modified theory does not require negative energy. Anyone have an actual helpful comment that answers the question and not just run away from the question?

Why do you think "neither are impossible"? I would be very grateful for any peer-reviewed citations, as I'm primarily an experimental high-energy physicist, not a theorist.

. Although we do just happen to have an honest-to-goodness Physicist that frequents this site, for the most part, if you want answers to questions about cutting-edge theories, you'd be better off asking at a site that is oriented more toward the scientific than DIY.

Neither principle seems to have even the tiniest chance of working a least in this lifetime.