I know I’ve been writing quite a bit about Star Trek lately – lord help me, I’m currently watching through Voyager, the uneven series that’s notable for it’s badass female captain and reams of lesbian subtext between her and buxom borg Seven of Nine – but this time, there’s actual science news to justify the double dip! It sounds crazy (in the best way), but NASA scientists are actually working on a warp drive. Yes, a warp drive.
The spacey tech is the core of the series, allowing humans (and all the lovely species of the Trek universe) to travel faster-than-light speeds and explore the galaxy. It’s perhaps the most out-there of all the tech in the show, based on the principle of literally warping space around you to move great distances — but here’s the kicker — it’s also the most plausible.
When I was younger, I used to check out every book in the Providence public library on real-life possibilities of sci fi tech. A favorite of mine, naturally, was The Physics of Star Trek, which laid out the actual science behind the technobabble, and sought to discern which technologies were likely possible — and which were not. I’ll always remember that the author made a real case for warp drive being theoretically possible — so while the news doesn’t completely surprise me, it does knock my geeky little socks off with excitement. However, don’t hold your breath for transporter beams — those are probably out of the equation.