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The Star Trek Warp Drive vs The Alcubierre Drive vs The Spore Drive - Star Trek Physics Fun!

The Star Trek warp drive, the Alcubierre drive, and the spore Drive... what a mouthful. 


The Star Trek warp drive is a fictitious propulsion system which allows space craft in Star Trek to travel at velocities faster than light. The warp drive does not break the laws of physics because instead of actually traveling faster than light, it simply bends the space time around the space craft which results in faster than light travel. As you can see in the image below, a region of space around the ship remains in unchanged space. The area around this unchanged space is warped. 

Star Trek Warp Drive
Star Trek Warp Drive

The Alcubierre drive is a real life attempt to create a Star Trek warp drive. It's only an idea at this point, but in 1994 theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre proposed a solution in which a spacecraft could achieve faster than light travel assuming that negative matter could be harnessed. The math is very complicated, but the short answer is that it requires this exotic matter. Exotic matter has never been found, but it is theoretically possible to exist. Particles like this have negative mass and would show very strange behavior like moving toward (against) a force on it. 
2-Dimensional Visualization of warped space time - Alcubierre drive
2-Dimensional Visualization of warped space time


The spore drive is a theoretical organic propulsion system that operates under the premise that there is an infinitely complex mycelial network and would allow for near instantaneous travel to anywhere in the universe. This propulsion system was introduced in Star Trek Discovery (Disco). I wrote a post explaining the spore drive here.
spore drive is a theoretical organic propulsion system
The spore drive in action

Comparing the warp drive against the spore drive

Fastest propulsion: The spore drive - basically capable of teleporting vast distances of space instantly

Most realistic: The warp drive is not theatrically ruled out why the spore drive seems to be complete fiction, for now. 

Most efficient: The spore drive - increasing distance doesn't increase input energy. 


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