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Humanity ripping around the galaxy using warp drives is still the stuff of science fiction, but propulsion scientists are getting closer to understanding the physics that could take us there. And an undergraduate student at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, is now one of the leading scientists exploring the physics.

Popularized on Star Trek in the 1960s, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew could galavant around the galaxy all because of their ship’s warp drive. The original TV series was based on some sloppy science, as the writers of the show needed a sci-fi loophole to get around the fact that traveling faster than the speed of light is technically impossible.

In August, undergraduate researcher Joseph Agnew spoke to a full house at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Propulsion and Energy Forum in Indianapolis about the current theories of how a warp drive could work. Indeed, scientific progress has developed quickly, bringing this technology seemingly closer to reality.

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Category: Science