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5 (theoretically) possible sci-fi ideas

Science fiction novels and movies are full of weird ideas. Most of the time, they are just the background to the plot, with no serious attempts to predict future trends in science or technology. And this is a shame, because science fiction does not predict the future, but inspires it. Some concepts we find in movies and novels are not possible under the laws of physics as we understand them. Sorry, no warp drives. However, these same laws seem to allow other seemingly far-fetched ideas. Here’s a look at some sci-fi concepts that are truly achievable, at least in theory.

1 wormholes

Wormhole (I know I should call it Punt Einstein Rosen) is an acronym through space that allows nearly instantaneous travel between the distant parts of the universe. Does this sound like an idea for a science fiction novel, perhaps born after a couple of bad beers? However, it is a serious theoretical concept, leaving general relativity to Albert Einstein. Working with physicist Nathan Rosen, Einstein theorized in 1935 that extremely strong gravitational points, such as black holes, could relate to each other directly. Thus the idea of ​​wormholes was born.

Of course, the forces surrounding a black hole are supposed to destroy anyone who approaches it, so the idea of ​​traveling through a wormhole was not taken seriously. At least until the 1980s, when the astrophysicist Carl Sagan He decided to turn it into a science fiction novel. Sagan did more than that: cheer up his physical teammate Cape Thorne To find a viable way to travel interstellar distances in a flash. And Thorne found a way. Unlikely, of course, but it is possible. From there “Contact” was born, a great book (made into a big movie with Jodie Foster).

As mentioned, wormholes are unlikely to become a means of transportation as they are in the movies. But scientists invented it two years ago A more viable way to build a wormhole From Thorne’s original suggestion. And if wormholes already exist in the universe, their location can be determined using a new generation of gravitational wave detectors.

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2 chain drives

Science Fiction Ideas - Warp Engine

One of the “classic” sci-fi tactics of most “space” is being able to get from point A to point B much faster than we can today. Aside from wormholes, there are many obstacles to achieving this using a conventional spacecraft. Minor details, such as the massive amount of fuel required and the massive effects of acceleration. As if that weren’t enough, there’s a small problem: the universe has rigidly enforced speed limits. This is the speed at which light travels. To be precise, it takes a light year… to travel in a light year. No, it’s not high speed, you know? Proxima Centauri, the second closest star to Earth, is 4.2 light years from the Sun, but the galactic center is 27,000 light years away.

Because it’s not science fiction

Fortunately, there is a (theoretical) flaw in the cosmic speed limit. As Einstein explained, space itself can be distorted, so it may be possible to manipulate the space around the ship in a way that subverts the speed limits. The spacecraft will still travel through surrounding space at a speed slower than the speed of light, but the space around it will move faster than that.

That’s what Star Trek writers had in mind when they came up with the concept of Warp Engine in the 1960s. But to them, it was just a sentence that seemed reasonable and not real physics. Until 1994, when the view Miguel Alcubierre I found a solution to Einstein’s equations. Of course, Alcubierre’s solution is no less artificial than the passable wormhole at Thorne, but scientists are trying to perfect it with the hope that one day it will be practical.

3 time travel

Science Fiction Ideas - Time Travel

The concept of a time machine is one of the best tools in science fiction. Should we summon her? mention it. Back to the future, back to the future, guys. Brilliant trilogy, also known as Exposition of Logical Paradoxes. On the other hand: Doc would have built his own time machine if he hadn’t received a visit from future Marty… with the same time machine? You already have a headache, right? Because of paradoxes like this, many people find time travel impossible. But according to the laws of physics, this is not the case.

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Because it’s not science fiction

Just as with wormholes and the curvature of space, physics tells us that it is possible to travel through time. This also comes from Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Just as we talk about warping space with a wormhole or a curvature unit, time can also be warped enough to bend on itself, in what scientists call a “time-like closed curve.” But to us, we’re just human… Time Machine!

In 1974, the physicist even published the design of the prototype Frank Tipler. another physicist, David Lewis Anderson, describes the research at the Anderson Institute, a private research laboratory. Dubbed the Tipler cylinder, this tunnel is expected to be at least 97 kilometers (60 miles) long and of high density, with a total mass comparable to that of the Sun. To make it work like a time machine, the cylinder would have to spin fast enough to warp spacetime to the point where time folds in on itself. Instead, physicist Ron Mallett recently developed another project: in his case, a laser would replace a rotating cylinder. I know it’s not as simple as putting a stream channel in DeLorean, but they have the advantage of actually working. At least on paper.

4 instant transfer

Science Fiction Ideas - Teleportation

Here, too, science fiction went to a wedding, and here, too, the beloved “Star Trek” got the lion’s share. What an idea, right? Instead of the traveler moving through space from the starting point to the destination, teleportation creates an exact copy at the destination point while the original is destroyed. Given these terms (and at the subatomic particle level), teleportation is indeed possible, according to IBM.

Because it’s not science fiction

This is called quantum teleportation. This process copies the exact quantum state of a particle, such as a photon, into another particle that can be hundreds of miles away. Quantum teleportation destroys the quantum state of the first photon, so it appears that the photon has been magically teleported from one place to another. The trick is based on what Einstein called “remote spectroscopy,” but is officially known as Quantum entanglement.

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If this sounds like a complicated process, even for a single photon, you’re right. It’s complicated. And there’s no way to match it to the kind of teleportation system seen in “Star Trek.” However, quantum teleportation will have important real-world applications, such as hacker-resistant communications and ultra-fast quantum computing.

5 parallel universes

The visible universe is a huge thing: billions of galaxies expanded outward from the Big Bang. But is that all? The theory says “maybe not”. There can be many, many universes. The idea of ​​”parallel universes” is well known in science fiction, but think about it: the reality may be much stranger than what you see in science fiction. Regardless, perhaps, “Not even the gods,” Asimov’s brilliant novel.

The key to understanding modern theories of parallel universes is the concept of “eternal inflation”. It represents the infinite fabric of space in a state of constant and incredibly rapid expansion. Occasionally, a localized point in this space (the independent big bang) exits its general expansion and begins to grow at a quieter rate, allowing physical objects such as stars and galaxies to form within it. According to this theory, our universe is one of these regions, but there can be countless others.

As in Asimov’s novel, these parallel universes can have very different physical parameters than ours. Scientists once believed that only universes with the same parameters as ours could support life, but recent studies suggest that the situation may not be as restrictive as this. Can we discover these parallel universes? Who knows: the effects of other universes may be discovered for us by other means. It may not just be science fiction.