I just re-read an article about space travel, and the same article claimed that Star Trek-type 'warp' nuclear engines ARE theoretically possible, but that it will take around 500 years for humans to develop and adapt them for use in the engines of space craft.

How true is this statement?

  • $\begingroup$ Not true. There are theoretical calculations about it, all of them would require matter with negative mass (imagine a ball whose mass is $-1kg$), and it is very strongly estimated that it doesn't exist. Nice to read: motls.blogspot.com/2013/07/… $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Sep 19, 2018 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


False. These devices require a type of matter that has not been shown to exist, and would become a time machine if they did exist -- I could use it to send signals into the past.


The article almost certainly refers to the hypothetical Alcubierre drive.

Jerry is quite correct to say that the drive requires exotic matter, and that we have never observed any exotic matter and that if exotic matter existed it would cause all sorts of problems including closed timelike curves. However exotic matter is theoretically possible in the sense that you can feed it into Einstein's equations. So the pedant in me insists that a warp drive is possible, though the pragmatist in me agrees with Jerry that a warp drive isn't possible.


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