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In search of a warp drive



We live in an accelerating Universe. Which means that the space in the Universe is expanding all the time. This means that many of the galaxies are moving away from the Earth at a speed greater than that of light. So, if you start now and travel at the theoretical maximum speed, which is the speed of light, you will still not reach these galaxies no matter how long you travel for. At the same time, the light being emitted from these galaxies will never reach us because we are receding from the point of view of these galaxies. We won't ever know that they even exist.

Unless...

Unless, we master the warp drive.

Warp drive is a faster-than-light spacecraft propulsion system in many science fiction works, most notably Star Trek. A spacecraft equipped with a warp drive may travel at speeds greater than that of light by many orders of magnitude.

But is it possible to build something like that? Won't that violate the laws of Physics? Einstein's theory of relativity?

Turns out it is possible. Theoretically, at least. Those galaxies so far away that are receding away from us at speeds faster than that of light? Well, they aren't really moving faster than the speed of light. That's impossible as it violates Einstein's relativity. But the effect is still true. What is actually happening is that the space in the Universe is expanding, and the expansion is at such a rate that galaxies beyond a certain distance (~15 billion light years) will always recede from us at a speed faster than light.

And this is our key to building a warp drive.

What we need to do to make it happen is the opposite. If the warp drive could contract the space right in front of it, then the distance to these galaxies is reduced. And if it can contract the space significantly, then the distance is reduced significantly. So much so that we can now actually get there in a reasonable amount of time.

So, there's hope of space travel to unreachable corners of the Universe.

While we live in a physical Universe that is expanding, we also live in a metaphorical Universe that is expanding. The possible places we can get to (or not get to) in this metaphorical is as plentiful as the places we can get to in the physical Universe. And depending on where we start, all but 3% of this Universe is reachable no matter what we do (except build the warp drive, of course!).

And so we run.

We run as fast as we can towards one pitstop and then another and then another. We run without ever taking the time to look back, because if we do, we might not see everything there is to see in the Universe.

We run so that we can buy more things. We run so we can get bigger titles. We run so that we can one day stop running.

But we can never stop running. Because we live in an expanding Universe that is constantly creating places for us to run to.

 So we look for warp drives. Short cuts. Anything that will reduce the distances so we can get there faster.

Maybe we should build the warp drive.

Or maybe we should stop running.

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