Larry Niven, in his 1973 Westercon GoH speech, gave us a new collective noun for the technology that allows starships to span the galaxy: doubletalk drives.
Yet only a few decades later, the news is constantly reporting new ideas for making real FTL drives.
Cleaver and Richard Obousy, a Baylor graduate student, tapped the latest idea in string theory to devise how to manipulate dark energy and accelerate a spaceship. Their notion is based on the Alcubierre drive, which proposes expanding space-time behind the spaceship while also shrinking space-time in front.
String theorists had believed that a total of 10 dimensions exist, including height, width, length and time. The other six dimensions exist largely as unknowns, but everything is based on hypothetical one-dimensional strings. A newer theory, called M-theory, suggests that those strings all vibrate in yet another dimension.
Manipulating that additional dimension would alter dark energy in terms of height, width, and length, Cleaver and Obousy theorize. Such a capability would permit the altering of space-time for a spaceship, taking advantage of dark energy’s effect on the universe.
However, one of the quote’s internal links, to a Space.com article about the 2006 meeting of STAIF, the Space Technology & Applications International Forum, contains a bracingly skeptical remark from John Cole, formerly in the Advanced Space Transportation Project Office at the
Cole said that those at STAIF presenting exotic ideas are racking their brains…finding “little niches or peculiarities” in the hopes of insight and possible breakthrough. “But they are advocates…so it’s hard not to drink your own bathwater.”
[Thanks to David Klaus for the link.]