I've occasionally blogged over the years about the USA's interest and desire to achieve some sort of warp drive capability within the next century. One of the advantages of a site such as this, where the subject of blogs is in part community-driven, is that people always send such interesting and important information, and that's the case today with this paper that Mr. A.K. found and sent along, for which we all, I think, are profoundly grateful. The paper purports to be an unclassified report on the subject of warp drives for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA):
Now, there are a number of very intriguing things about this paper, at least, to my mind, for it clarifies a number of details.
In my previous reviews of this whole project, I've pointed out two crucial pivots in the history of the interest in warp capabilities on the part of the American defense and aerospace establishment: (1) the original paper on space warping by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, and (2) the metric modification of that paper undertaken by NASA's Dr. Harold "Sonny" White. Basically, in Alcubierre's paper, the amount of energy needed to achieve a warp capability would be a mass-energy conversion factor of the size of the planet Jupiter, a capability, obviously, far beyond the reach of humans for any foreseeable future. In Dr. White's reworking of this, the mass-energy conversion factor was much smaller, and within the possible bonds of human capability. It was Dr. White's reworking that spurred the practical interest in the subject on the part of the aerospace and defense establishments.
But there may have been something entirely different percolating in the background of this interest, and the current paper hints at it on page vi:
Until гecently, the warp drive was а concept reseгved for science fiction. However, а 1994 рарег Ьу Miguel AlcuЬierre placed the idea on а more solid theoretical footing. Alcubierre (Reference 1) demonstrated that а specific Lorentzian manifold could Ье chosen that exhibited bubЬle-like featuгes reminiscent of the warp drive from the popular Star Trek television series, The ЬuЬЫе allowed for the surrounding spacetime to move at FTL speeds, and the inhaЬitants of the ЬuЬЫе would feel no acceleration effects because spacetime
itself would Ье in motion instead of the spacecraft and its inhabltants. А number of papers have emerged in recent years that buПd on this original idea. However, these papers do not typically address how one might actually create the necessary spacetime ЬuЬЫе. Our own research directly addresses this question from а new and unique perspective and introduces а novel paradigm shift in the field of warp drive study (Reference 2). More importantly, our work approaches the physics of warp drive from the perspective of quantum f1eld theory; th1s diverges from the more trad1t1onal approach to wаrp dгives, which utilizes the physics of general relativity. One of the improvements the model introduces is а dramatic reduction in the overall energy required to create such а phenomenon. The roadmap to this new idea was the observation that spacetime is currently known to Ье in а state of accelerated expansion, as demonstrated Ьу the redshifting of galaxies, and the belief ,that if the mechanism for this expansion could Ье understood, then it might ultimately Ье controlled.
Section 4 introduces the Casimir energy, which, under certain conditions, may Ье the phenomenon that physically generates the cosmological constant. Section 5 discusses higher dimensiqns in physics and their importance in the context of Casimir energy calculation. Section 6 introduces the formulas that demonstrate that the Casimir energies in higheг dimensions may in fact bе the dark energy that is responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe. Section 7 relates all the previous concepts together and introduces the novel warp drive paгadigm. Section 8 performs original calculations of the energy required to сгеаtе а superluminal warp drive. Finally, the paper speculates about the technological progress that would Ье necessary to turn this model into а reality. (Emphasis added)
In its most basic form, the Casimir Effect it is realized through the interaction of а pair of neutral parallel conducting plates (with separation distance d). The presence of the
plates modifies the quantum vacuum, and this modification causes the plates to be pulled toward each other .... This is а profound result in the sense that the origin of this force cannot bе traced back to one of the four fuпdamental forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetism, and the two nuclear forces), but is а force that is entirely due to а modification of the quantum vacuum. '
The quantum modes оп the iпterior region of the plates .are restricted, and there is а pressure difference when compared to the quantum vacuum on the exterior region of the plates.
It is this pressure difference that causes the plates to attract.
Although а practical warp drive could Ье many years away from realization, there are а number of technological developments that may, in fact, bе necessary in order to allow prototype experiments to begin. First; а more complete understanding of dark energy is of paramount importance. As mentioned earlier, dark energy contributes approximately 70 percent of the overall energy density of the universe, and is responsible for the expansion of space. As one acquires deeper understanding of this energy, attempts to generate dark energy in the !аЬ would п о doubt Ье а critical compoлent to а working warp drive. Other crucial developments include determining whether extra dimension are, in fact, real. Once it his has bееп determined with absolute certaiпty, the role of extra dimensions апd their relationship with the universe that we а ге more familiar with will become а more serious focus of scientific research and atteпtion. As has been discussed, the stabllization of the extra dimensions and the accelerated expansion of the remaiпing four dimensions сап bе realized via the Casimir energy. The acceleration of the 3-dimensioпal subspace is а naturally occurring phenomeпon which occurs when the extra dimensions are stabilized. (Emphasis added)