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Faster than light

2020-03-26 04:37 GMT

One of my guilty pleasures is watching fictional spaceships enter and leave faster-than-light states. If you didn’t know, in Star Wars it’s called hyperspace and in Star Trek it’s called warp.

Here is a compilation of what I’m talking about from Star Wars TV shows and the newer movies. Here (in 4K!) is more from Rogue One. In Star Trek you get the sense that the ships are moving more in real space. It seems like a bigger operation. See these.

They are very fast. From Wikipedia,

In the episode Bloodlines from the series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Riker claims that the Enterprise would need around 20 minutes for a 300 billion kilometer flight at warp 9. Thus warp 9 corresponds to a speed of 900 billion kilometers per hour (= 250 million kilometers per second) or about 830 times the speed of light.

And from Wookiepedia,

In reality, though, a class 1.0 hyperdrive motivator could propel a ship through hyperspace over one hundred thousand times faster than light, allowing a ship to cross the galaxy in a matter of days.

The Millennium Falcon had a class .5 hyperdrive (twice as fast). I guess a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away was still a lot better than a long time in the future in this galaxy.

I read that the most likely method in real life is through wormholes and moving space around you, because information can’t actually travel faster than light with respect to the locally distorted spacetime region. So it sounds like real life would just look way less cool.

There’s something very imposing about warp and hyperspace. To me it’s also very graceful. There’s these massive things stopping so quickly. Seeing it happen with special effects defies my intuitions about how huge objects move. I could watch it all day.