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Thread: What would happen if a spaceship with an Alcubierre/Warp Drive went through a planet?

  1. #1 What would happen if a spaceship with an Alcubierre/Warp Drive went through a planet? 
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    I was wondering for a novel I'm working on what it would look like if a spaceship that is about the size of 20 Earths, rammed through Saturn while using an Alcubierre Drive? I am not certain about the physics involved, or the results.


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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Alcubierre Drive still need empty space in front of it to "ride the wave" of compacted space-time safely in a ship? Hence if you hit a planet, you would actually still hit a planet.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Alcubierre Drive still need empty space in front of it to "ride the wave" of compacted space-time safely in a ship? Hence if you hit a planet, you would actually still hit a planet.
    I recently read an article that was talking about the fact that particles that got caught up in an alcubierre drive's distortion would be brought along for the ride (and then at the end would be released with massive force during deceleration, basically killing everybody at the other end. So I was wondering if that would happen, a hole is blasted in the planet and the matter gets caught up in the drive.
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    Sounds like a fatal event. If you are in real space and hit something, then you have hit something. Any sort of FTL drive that works in real space will have this problem. Even interstellar space is not really empty, there is dust and hydrogen out there, oortcloud objects, even dark planets. The leading face of your space ship will need a significantly massive bumper and the bumper will experience erosion.

    If your drive pushes a wave ahead of itself effectivly clearing a path, then all that "crap" arrives at your destination before you do and arrives with rediculous velocity. Gonna make a mess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    Sounds like a fatal event. If you are in real space and hit something, then you have hit something. Any sort of FTL drive that works in real space will have this problem. Even interstellar space is not really empty, there is dust and hydrogen out there, oortcloud objects, even dark planets. The leading face of your space ship will need a significantly massive bumper and the bumper will experience erosion.

    If your drive pushes a wave ahead of itself effectivly clearing a path, then all that "crap" arrives at your destination before you do and arrives with rediculous velocity. Gonna make a mess.
    The wave we are talking about is a wave of space-time, not an energy wave through space. It doesn't clear a path, it compacts it in front of you and stretches it out behind you. Think of the way a worm moves forwards.

    An analogy would be that you are not traveling along a wave, but you are the wave.
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    Quote Originally Posted by willbell View Post
    I was wondering for a novel I'm working on what it would look like if a spaceship that is about the size of 20 Earths, rammed through Saturn while using an Alcubierre Drive? I am not certain about the physics involved, or the results.
    The result would be certain annihilation of the spaceship, and likely also of the planet. It would no doubt be a spectacular event with permanent changes to the planetary system, due to the conservation of linear and angular momentum during such a collision.
    Question - how do you propose to construct a spaceship with a size of 20x that of the earth ?? Do you have any comprehension what it would take to accelerate such a ship, and form an Alcubierre bubble around it ?
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    20 times earth?
    Maybe the infinite probability drive is more your taste :P
    In the information age ignorance is a choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by willbell View Post
    I recently read an article that was talking about the fact that particles that got caught up in an alcubierre drive's distortion would be brought along for the ride (and then at the end would be released with massive force during deceleration, basically killing everybody at the other end. So I was wondering if that would happen, a hole is blasted in the planet and the matter gets caught up in the drive.
    [1202.5708] The Alcubierre Warp Drive: On the Matter of Matter

    The Alcubierre Warp Drive: On the Matter of Matter
    Brendan McMonigal, Geraint F. Lewis, Philip O'Byrne
    (Submitted on 26 Feb 2012)
    The Alcubierre warp drive allows a spaceship to travel at an arbitrarily large global velocity by deforming the spacetime in a bubble around the spaceship. Little is known about the interactions between massive particles and the Alcubierre warp drive, or the effects of an accelerating or decelerating warp bubble. We examine geodesics representative of the paths of null and massive particles with a range of initial velocities from -c to c interacting with an Alcubierre warp bubble travelling at a range of globally subluminal and superluminal velocities on both constant and variable velocity paths. The key results for null particles match what would be expected of massive test particles as they approach +/- c. The increase in energy for massive and null particles is calculated in terms of v_s, the global ship velocity, and v_p, the initial velocity of the particle with respect to the rest frame of the origin/destination of the ship. Particles with positive v_p obtain extremely high energy and velocity and become "time locked" for the duration of their time in the bubble, experiencing very little proper time between entering and eventually leaving the bubble. When interacting with an accelerating bubble, any particles within the bubble at the time receive a velocity boost that increases or decreases the magnitude of their velocity if the particle is moving towards the front or rear of the bubble respectively. If the bubble is decelerating, the opposite effect is observed. Thus Eulerian matter is unaffected by bubble accelerations/decelerations. The magnitude of the velocity boosts scales with the magnitude of the bubble acceleration/deceleration.
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    Jupiters a gas giant. if you hit it, you would certainly punch a large hole in it, but you should be safe, assuming you miss the solid core.
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