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'Warp drive' systems could turn spacecraft into 'Death Stars'


LONDON (PTI): A 'Star Trek-style' spacecraft - capable of travelling faster than the speed of light - could obliterate any planet it landed on, a new study has claimed.

NASA researchers suspect such speeds could turn the spacecraft into 'Death Stars' after new analysis revealed a flaw in designs for a so-called 'warp drive'.

They fear the theoretical technology that would propel spaceships to speeds faster than light could cause catastrophic explosions the moment intrepid space explorers reached their destination, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Scientists at the Space Agency have been researching the possibility of a spaceship that could achieve warp speed travel via a real-life warp drive, the fantasy version of which is familiar to fans of Star Trek.

Equations based on the laws of relativity have allowed warp speed in theory, however, the energy required to make it happen would require the energy-mass of a planet the size of Jupiter.

Recently scientists studying the model for a warp drive proposed by the Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre concluded its power requirements were not as impossible as once believed.

However, new research from the University of Sydney has suggested that, while the warp drive could work, disengaging the system at the end of a journey could prove extremely problematic.

Alcubierre's design features a ship made of a central pod surrounded by a large, flat ring - scientists are yet to establish what matter this ring would be made of, as it would need to be capable of bending the very fabric of the universe.

They claim that, with enough energy, space and time can be bent to allow the spacecraft to travel through 'loops' in space, the report said.

When activated, space behind the drive would expand while that in front of the drive would contract.In the meantime the ship would travel in a stable 'pocket' or 'bubble in space', according to extremetech.com.

The Australian research, however, indicates that the high-energy particles that are constantly shooting around space could get swept up in the ship's warp field and become trapped in the 'bubble', with more and more of the particles filling the stable pocket the longer the journey lasts.

They believe those particles would be blasted out in front of the ship, destroying anything around it.

This means a long trip powered by a warp drive could see entire planets vapourised upon arrival.

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