How fast is WARP speed?

By Sunil Kumar

WARP speed is a totally fictional construct; from Star Trek. But; it’s fascinating.

English: A representation of a Star Trek Warp ...

English: A representation of a Star Trek Warp Bubble. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Warp drive; see link here;

“Warp drive was a technology that allowed space travel at faster-than-light speeds. It worked by generating warp fields to form a subspace bubble that enveloped the starship, distorting the local spacetime continuum and moving the starship at velocities that could greatly exceed the speed of light. These velocities were referred to as warp factors”.

Invented by Zefram Cochrane in the fictional universe; the usual fastest speeds achieved by starships was 9.95(USS Voyager).

According to Einstein’s theory of special relativity; energy and mass are interchangeable, thus, speed of light travel is impossible for material objects that weigh more than photons. This indicates that the problem of a material object exceeding light speed is that an infinitely increasing amount of kinetic energy is required to attempt moving as fast as a massless photon. This problem can theoretically be solved by warping space to move an object instead of increasing the kinetic energy of the object to do so.

According to the Star Trek episode writer’s guide for The Original Serieswarp factors are converted to multiples of c with the cubic function v = w3c, where w is the warp factor, v is the velocity, and c is the speed of light. Accordingly, “warp 1” is equivalent to the speed of light, “warp 2” is 8 times the speed of light, “warp 3” is 27 times the speed of light, etc.


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