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Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity famously dictates that no known object can travel faster than the speed of light in vacuum, which is 299,792 km/s. This speed limit makes it unlikely that humans will ever be able to send spacecraft to explore beyond our local area of the Milky Way.

However, new research by Erik Lentz at the University of Göttingen suggests a way beyond this limit. The catch is that his scheme requires vast amounts of energy and it may not be able to propel a spacecraft.

Lentz proposes that conventional energy sources could be capable of arranging the structure of spacetime in the form of a soliton – a robust singular wave. This soliton would act like a “warp bubble’”, contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind. Unlike objects within spacetime, spacetime itself can bend, expand or warp at any speed. Therefore, a spacecraft contained in a hyper-fast bubble could arrive at its destination faster than light would in normal space without breaking any physical laws, even Einstein’s cosmic speed limit.

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