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An Alcubierre Warp Drive could theoretically achieve faster than light space travel but requires exotic matter or negative energy to compress space in front of the spaceship and expand space behind it. Could a similar effect be achieved by only compressing space in front of the spaceship? As the spaceship fell into the gravity well and moved forward, space would automatically expand back to normal behind the ship as it rode the distortion wave. If this propulsion method worked, it would require only a fraction of the energy needed by the Alcubierre Warp Drive. Also, if space could be compressed ahead of the spaceship using a very, strong magnetic field, no exotic matter or negative energy would be needed, just the electromagnetic force. Even if faster than light travel could not be achieved this way, a small constant acceleration, maintained over a long period of time would achieve a high near light velocity.

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More Phys.SE questions about Alcubierre drive: physics.stackexchange.com/search?q=is%3Aq+alcubierre –  Qmechanic May 3 '13 at 22:35
Neat article: hawking.org.uk/space-and-time-warps.html and this video: youtube.com/watch?v=YzMrNFd4oOk –  MacGyver Jun 1 '13 at 8:50

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