Why Warp Drives Aren't Just Science Fiction
[...] According to Einstein's theory of special relativity, an object with mass cannot go as fast or faster than the speed of light. However, some scientists believe that a loophole in this theory will someday allow humans to travel light-years in a matter of days.It goes on to describe a theoretical device called a "Ford-Svaiter mirror", and how it would work to create this "wave". Fascinating stuff.
In current FTL theories, it's not the ship that's moving — space itself moves. It's established that space is flexible; in fact, space has been steadily expanding since the Big Bang.
By distorting the space around the ship instead of accelerating the ship itself, these theoretical warp drives would never break Einstein's special relativity rules. The ship itself is never going faster than light with respect to the space immediately around it.
Davis's paper examines the two principle theories for how to achieve faster-than-light travel: warp drives and wormholes.
The difference between the two is the way in which space is manipulated. With a warp drive, space in front of the vessel is contracted while space behind it is expanded, creating a sort of wave that brings the vessel to its destination.
With a wormhole, the ship (or perhaps an exterior mechanism) would create a tunnel through spacetime, with a targeted entrance and exit. The ship would enter the wormhole at sublight speeds and reappear in a different location many light-years away.
In his paper, Davis describes a wormhole entrance as "a sphere that contained the mirror image of a whole other universe or remote region within our universe, incredibly shrunken and distorted." [...]