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Warp Drives May Come With a Killer Downside 458

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-a-killer-upside-if-you're-a-klingon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Alcubierre warp-drives (theoretically) allow rocket ships to travel faster than the speed of light, while staying within the rules of Einstein's general theory of relativity. New research (PDF) has shown that as such warp-drives zip through the universe, they gather up particles and radiation, releasing them in a burst as the warp-drive slows down. This is bad news for family and friends waiting for the ship to arrive, as this intense burst will fry them."
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Warp Drives May Come With a Killer Downside

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    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Can't they wrap the dock in tinfoil or something?

  • duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:42PM (#39222789)
    Because we all know you drop to sublight IN the docking station.

    >thisfuckingguy.jpg

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:43PM (#39222801)

    Yup.

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Friday March 02, 2012 @02:05PM (#39223103)
      You mean, just like the A-bomb?
    • Everything that uses and harnesses energy inherently is a weapon.

      Fire can cook and protect. It can also kill.

      Nuclear energy can provide energy for thousands of people. Nuclear materials can also be constructed in a way to kill those thousands of people too.

      Any future technology that could create an artificial star may in fact be used to blow one up. Or at the very least snuff one out.

      Dynamics change, but the proportions of nurture to kill do not.

  • ... May the force be... uh... ummmm... so, sorry!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "I sense a great disturbance in the Force. As if millions of voices all cried out in terror, and then were suddenly silenced. So ease up on the damn brakes next time, Solo."

  • Seriously? (Score:5, Funny)

    by AmigaMMC (1103025) on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:45PM (#39222845)
    They came to that conclusion now? Every newly certified spaceship pilot knows that you must drop out of warp no less than an AU from destination.
  • by Tekfactory (937086) on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:46PM (#39222857) Homepage

    So you drop out of warp outside the Van Allen belts and everybody gets a nice light show.

    Worst case you only use Warp Drive as far in system as Mars and use more conventional means from there to Earth.

    Hell using Warp drive through the Oort cloud or Asteroid Belt might be troublesome if you just start picking up crap when passing through dense matter. You slow down and all of the asteroids and comets you picked up are on a colission course for Earth. I suggest some different approach vectors might be the first precaution.

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      So you drop out of warp outside the Van Allen belts and everybody gets a nice light show.

      Worst case you only use Warp Drive as far in system as Mars and use more conventional means from there to Earth.

      Hell using Warp drive through the Oort cloud or Asteroid Belt might be troublesome if you just start picking up crap when passing through dense matter. You slow down and all of the asteroids and comets you picked up are on a colission course for Earth. I suggest some different approach vectors might be the first precaution.

      An Aggie with warp drive is what caused the Oort cloud.

    • Actually using Mars as a dumping ground to add more Mass and Heat, that was in Red Mars right?

    • by CompMD (522020)

      "Everybody gets a nice light show"

      Yeah, except all the people you just gamma ray'd.

  • by guspasho (941623) on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:46PM (#39222859)

    This is what the deflector array is for. Like, the original purpose, not the solution-of-the-week it usually gets jury-rigged for.

  • by RapidEye (322253) on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:46PM (#39222861) Homepage

    Makes a visit to the Mother-In-Law worth while now!

  • Helluva weapon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kissing Crimson (197314) <jonesy&crimsonshade,com> on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:52PM (#39222943) Homepage

    Sent from a long distance, nearly undetectable, essentially unstoppable. When it arrives, its arrival is itself a weapon, plus whatever payload it is carrying.

    • by Bentov (993323)

      No doubt, instant destruction, and occupation force in one nice and tidy package :) Galactic conquest can be in your hands now!

  • Queller Drive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kharbour (559204) on Friday March 02, 2012 @01:56PM (#39222997)
    In Space:1999, the Alcubierre warp-drive was known as the Queller Drive. There was an episode about this exact subject (the drive killing everyone) in the first season episode, Voyager's Return: http://www.fanderson.org.uk/epguides/spaceyr1eg3.html#Episode%20Twelve [fanderson.org.uk]. In an almost unbelieveable coincidence, I happened to be watching it at the exact moment this Slashdot story came in. Spooky.
  • No brakes!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gregarican (694358) on Friday March 02, 2012 @02:01PM (#39223049) Homepage

    Not sure about the theoretical effect of stopping, since the original theory [wikipedia.org] postulates that once riding that warp bubble there's no way to stop...

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday March 02, 2012 @02:05PM (#39223111)
    From tfa:

    In the case of forward-facing particles the outburst can be very energetic — enough to destroy anyone at the destination directly in front of the ship. “Any people at the destination,” the team’s paper concludes, “would be gamma ray and high energy particle blasted into oblivion due to the extreme blueshifts for [forward] region particles.”

    I do not see anywhere where it is mentioned how far in front of the ship the blasted into oblivion effects will occur. How close is directly in front of the ship?

  • It causes abnormally intense tetryon fields. This requires that all ships must travel under warp 5. http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Force_of_Nature_(episode) [memory-alpha.org]
  • so they're really only Alcubierre drive-equipped ships slowing down in our direction.

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Friday March 02, 2012 @02:10PM (#39223157)

    I hate to be the party pooper, but:
    All the energy for those high energy particles has to come from somewhere, which means that it'll take ridiculous amounts of energy to create an Alcubierre drive, it it's possible at all.

  • And here I thought we were going to get a warp drive without having to solve any difficult problems!
  • ... and very slow rockets. There are only behind the ship deadly. ;-)

  • Helicopters (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ukab the Great (87152) on Friday March 02, 2012 @02:14PM (#39223225)

    Can injure boarding/deboarding passengers with the intense amount of static electricity that builds up on the rotors. Getting fried by discharge of built-up charged particles is not a new downside to travel methods.

  • This is bad news for family and friends waiting for the ship to arrive, as this intense burst will fry them

    Not only that, but since you're traveling faster than light they wouldn't see you coming in time to duck.

  • by greg_barton (5551) <[moc.oohay] [ta] [notrab_gerg]> on Friday March 02, 2012 @02:15PM (#39223243) Homepage Journal

    Jet engines (theoretically) allow large metal objects formed into a lifting body to fly though the air at great velocities. This causes them to accumulate great momentum. This is bad news for family and friends waiting on the runway for the aircraft to arrive, as this momentum will cause the aircraft to run into them and kill them.

  • The falcon, being the first spaceship in the SW universe to be seen going into (and out of) FTL, makes Han Solo the first fryer. Stuff it George Lucas!

    But seriously, wouldn't solar winds and a habitable planet's magnetic field tend to deflect the vast majority of this crap? I mean, without either of these, we'd be getting fried by our own sun.

  • Have they never watched an episode of star trek before... you drop in or out of warp drive at a safe distance from any other planet/lifeforms
    so you would never hi warp drive until you actually where outside orbit...a safer distance then this guy thinks it would be...

  • How dare someone interject reality in to my SciFi visions of the future!

    On the more serious side, I'm sure that by the time we could develop something that could warp space, we will also have developed some sort of frictionless space flight. If we flew in space without friction, we would not be collecting all of those loose particulars.

  • by Kohenkatz (1166461) on Friday March 02, 2012 @02:24PM (#39223367) Homepage Journal
    So basically, Asimov was right when he predicted that any interstellar travel would require death. See I, Robot chapter "Escape!" (or short story "Paradoxical Escape") http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape [wikipedia.org]! He was just wrong about whose death it would be.
  • Well as long as we're talking about stuff that doesn't exist, it's an easy solution: just add a dampening field generator.

  • Easy to fix. It's just like in Mass Effect 2: there would be a "safe zone" for where ships traveling at FTL speeds to come out of FTL safely. The zones would just have to be large enough to accommodate the largest of ships. The station where you would disembark and your family would be would be outside this zone.

    Also, if you are a Star Trek person, you will remember the episode of TNG where the ship had to be evacuated at an orbital platform so that it could be "cleaned" as it built up particles along the h

  • by telso (924323) on Friday March 02, 2012 @02:41PM (#39223671)

    Remember when the Millennium Falcon jumped out of hyperspace and Alderaan was gone? What we now know is that the dust on the leading edge of the ship is what actually destroyed the planet, arriving just before the ship, leaving it in the middle of an "asteroid field". However, this would have been mighty embarrassing for the Rebellion, so they made up this myth of destruction by the "Death Star" (which wasn't even operational yet!) as the killer. Who do we have to prove otherwise, Leia? She's from the planet that got destroyed and head of the Rebellion; of course she'd lie to protect it (remember, she'd never consciously give it up)! Let's stop the propaganda in its tracks!

    Oh, and when Kenobi felt that disturbance in the force: it was a premonition of what they were about to do, but Mr. "I've seen a lot of crazy things" didn't believe in some "force"

  • by Anarke_Incarnate (733529) on Friday March 02, 2012 @02:47PM (#39223773)

    Why do you think all warp capable vessels in Star Fleet have deflector arrays? Gosh, kids today not paying attention in interstellar physics...

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