Feature

Warp Drive, When?
 

Have you ever wondered when we will be able to travel to distant stars as easily as in science fiction stories? NASA Glenn's Marc Millis, who has taken a break from Project Management for NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics (BPP) Project to return to conducting research, offers this assessment of the prospects for achieving the propulsion breakthroughs that would enable such far-future visions of interstellar travel.

This web site focuses on the propulsion related issues, explaining the challenges of interstellar travel, existing propulsion ideas, and the possibilities emerging from scientific literature that may one day provide the desired breakthroughs. To simplify the presentation for the general public, analogies to familiar science fiction are used. This site is intended for public audiences, whereas researchers might want to check out the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project web site.

Contents

Why is interstellar travel so tough?
Before we begin to look the answers, we need to define the problem. Let's start by looking at just how big the challenge is and the radical breakthroughs that will be required.
From Inspirations to Inventions
Some ideas for interstellar travel have been proposed. Let's examine them and the status of some of the technologies.
Ideas based on what we know
A brief description of some ideas that have been suggested over the years for interstellar travel, ideas based on the sciences that DO exist today.
Ideas based on what we’d like to achieve
A brief description of some ideas that have been suggested more recently which will require major breakthroughs.
Some Emerging Possibilities
Some more advanced concepts based on emerging physics.
Links to Related NASA Activities
A variety of links to official NASA activities with implications for interstellar space travel.
So, can we do it?

Resources

Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to a few of questions that you are likely to have.
"Science fiction or fact?" - An MSNBC Survey
So what do you think about interstellar travel?
Lewis News Article
A general discussion of the issues and concepts as printed in Glenn's (formerly Lewis) internal newsletter.
Detailed Narrative
The requirements for and an explanation of the emerging physics associated with intersellar travel.
Annotated Bibliography
A list of relevant books, articles, etc. with Marc's notes and comments.


Engineers recording sounds at GRC
In October 1995, Telarc International sampled sounds at 14 locations across NASA Glenn that served as the raw material to create "Symphonic Star Trek" -- a collection of the series' most memorable music and sound effects.

Hear some of the sounds!