It's no secret that NASA have been working on a warp drive project for some time, even mocking up concept pictures of what a ship with a faster than light (FTL) propulsion system might look like. The idea centred around bending space to create "warp bubbles" which would make interstellar space travel possible without journeying across the cosmos for years and years.
And now it seems they've made a potentially groundbreaking discovery, albeit accidentally. It centers around technology they're working on called EmDrive (short for electromagnetic drive) and some recent tests they were performing with it. The news came to light on the forums of NASASpaceFlight.com where a bunch of space nerds and NASA engineers discuss the technical details of space travel.
The ideas and theories behind how EmDrive works are, as you might expect, mind-boggling for us norms (it is rocket science, after all), but the EmDrive (read more about it here) is somehow able to create propulsion using microwaves generated with a magnetron, even though the very idea goes against the law of conservation of momentum. Which is exactly what I was thinking (only kidding).
Still, the EmDrive was built and recently scientists were testing it by firing lasers through its resonance chamber—while doing this they realised that some of the beams were moving faster than the speed of light.
Here's what one of the people on the forum said:
That’s the big surprise. This signature (the interference pattern) on the EmDrive looks just like what a warp bubble looks like. And the math behind the warp bubble apparently matches the interference pattern found in the EmDrive. Seems to have been an accidental connection. They were wondering where this ‘thrust’ might be coming from. One scientists proposed that maybe it’s a warp of the spacetime foam, which is causing the thrust.
It all needs to be checked and tripled check. Maybe they'll even check it four times, but if it all adds up it seems like the EmDrive may be able to produce some kind of Star Trek-like warp field or warp bubble.
Which could pave the way for the building of a warp drive and possibly even... time travel.