February 17, 2015

Intergalactic Traveling In Science Fiction VS Reality

I just finished the second book in Scott Westerfeld's awesome duology Succession: The Killing of Worlds. In it, First Engineer Frick aboard the Lynx, a space frigate, describes the way the ship’s power is generated for its interstellar traveling:

   What a strange way to generate power, the First Engineer wondered: Making pocket universes, the false (?) realms formed whenever a starship bigbanged its drive. How many other realities had humanity created with this process?
   And would there one day be other thinking beings inside them, in the small realities born of humanity’s hubris? Then those, making pocket universes of their own…
   Frick shook his head. There was no time for philosophical digression.

Rendition of what a future Warp Drive spaceship
could look like

I just wanted to share this with you because I found the way devised by Westerfeld to be quite intriguing (of course, the actual physics behind any real theories being beyond me, I may also be completely blind to any flaws it might contain). Many theories have been expounded on faster-than-light travel, such as Warp Drive (bending space around the ship to have it then propel the ship at speeds exceeding that of light, as people surmise happened right after the big bang), which is what NASA is looking into building, apparently. Then there are other things to consider, like black holes, antimatter, quantum entanglement… Who knows?

I still like Scott Westerfeld’s idea, it is, after all, rather poetic. And after all, we are supposedly near creating our own black hole already!

Have a great day!

OK, so technically the black hole in Westerfeld's ship is used to power "the ship's photon canon, artificial gravity, [and] life support," not allow it to travel through space at a FTL* speed. But it's still a really cool concept!
*FTL = Faster Than Light


  1. We all love to point out the ridiculous bad physics in science fiction — it's like an awesome sport that everybody wins. (Except physics.) But the truth is, sometimes you have to violate the laws of physics to create science fiction stories that people want to watch.

    1. I agree, yet I know many SF authors (more so in books than in movies, I believe) try to be as true to the then current physics theories as they can. It's only later, when (if?) such theories have been disproved, that the books' physics seem outdated or "bad." But even such fiction is still fun to watch/read, as you say.

  2. Nothing,so far as we probably am aware,can travel faster than light,as per one of the mainstays of modern physics,Einstein's general theory of relativity.While,general relativity says objects can't travel faster than the pace of light as measured in nearby encompassing space it doesn't place limits on the velocities at which space itself extends or contracts.It's this "loophole" a few physicists are hanging their faster-than-light cap on.

    1. Yes, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with!