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Travel to the Stars May be Much Closer than Previously Thought

The speed of light may be the key to our getting off this planet. NASA physicist Harold G. White and his team are trying to determine whether faster-than-light travel--a "Star Trek"-type warp drive--might someday be possible (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show). In the July 23rd edition of the New York Times, Danny Hakim quotes White as saying, "Space has been expanding since the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, and we know that when you look at some of the cosmology models, there were early periods of the universe where there was explosive inflation, where two points would've gone receding away from each other at very rapid speeds.

Einstein established that the speed of light was the highest possible speed in the physical universe, but in 1994, a Mexican physicist, Miguel Alcubierre, theorized that faster-than-light speeds would be possible in a way that did not contradict Einstein. This would be theoretically possible if space was bent or warped, so that two distant points came together. However, the amount of energy necessary to do this is far too great for it to ever be a practical solution.

White believes that advances he and others have made render warp speed less implausible. Among other things, he has redesigned the theoretical warp-traveling spacecraft--and in particular a ring around it that is key to its propulsion system-- in a way that he believes will greatly reduce the energy requirements. Other scientists have discovered that wormholes might be far easier to create than previously thought. Interestingly, it might be easier to create wormholes that open doors to parallel universes than doors to other parts of our own universe, meaning that, if somebody is already doing this, they might well be coming from a parallel universe.

A team of physicists in Greece and Germany has shown that wormholes can be created without any energy at all. Burkhard Kleihaus of the University of Oldenberg told the New Scientist that 'wormholes can be propped open with nothing.'

Scientists believe that such wormholes might exist naturally, and even that natural processes might exist that make them large enough to travel through, so explorers seeking to travel to other universes might need only to find the right spot, or possibly draw it to themselves. In mystical thought, there is a long tradition of gateways to other worlds, which is also something that is explored in Unknowncountry.com's Meditation Group.

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