Starship Century is a symposium coordinated by the new Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination in collaboration with Gregory and James Benford, presenting ideas from their anthology of science and science fiction.
John Cramers gave a talk, which was based on his May 2012 AV Column, “Shooting Wormholes to the Stars.” [full article at the link] John’s basic premise was that if one can create a microscopic wormhole mouth and give it the charge-to-mass ratio of a proton, it could be accelerated to near light-speed with existing accelerator technology, e.g., the LHC. Then because of relativistic time dilation, as viewed through the wormhole itself, the tiny “wormhole starship” will reach the stars in a matter of days or weeks, instead of the decades or centuries required by alternative technologies.
John Cramer a physicist from the University of Washington, well-known to SF fans via his “Alternate View” columns in the “Analog” science fiction magazine, as well as several novels. John focused on the use of wormholes to allow rapid transit to other star systems. Simply put, wormholes are “tunnels” between two regions in space-time, compatible with Einstein’s equations of General Relativity as one possible mathematical solution. Outside a wormhole itself, observers would see two “ends” of the one space-time structure. Whether wormholes exist or not is a matter for astronomical observation, as larger wormholes should produce distinctive gravitational lensing patterns that astronomers might be lucky enough to see. If the connection formed between the two ends of a wormhole is shorter than the distance through regular space-time, then passing through the wormhole allows apparently faster-than-light travel, though nothing ever exceeds lightspeed locally. Thanks to time-dilation — the slowing of time experienced when approaching lightspeed — a time-lag can be developed between the two ends if one end is sent to a distant star. For example, if a one end is accelerated to a time-dilation of 7,000 (0.99999999c), then only 75 minutes is required for the traveling end to appear to travel 1 light-year from the stationary end’s point-of-view. John Cramer discussed how this might allow a network of rapid-transit wormholes to be set-up throughout the Galaxy – with the caveat that the network can’t be allowed to form a “Closed Time-like Circuit,” else this might destroy the wormholes via amplifying quantum fields.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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