The hypothesis raises the possibility of traveling to how long it would take for different types of spacecraft to travel from our solar system to Proxima Centauri (the closest known star).

The latest approach to superluminal transport (faster than light) based on Einstein's theory of general relativity would require large amounts of hypothetical particles and states of matter that have "exotic" physical properties such as negative energy density. This type of matter cannot currently be found or cannot be manufactured in viable quantities.

But the new study solves this problem by building a new class of 'solitons' - compact waves that hold their shape and move at constant speed - hyperfast using sources with only positive energies that can allow travel at any speed.

The research is published in Classical and Quantum Gravity. In parallel and published in the same journal, a group of physicists exposed the first model for a real curvature drive, which would allow faster than light travel on the waves of warped space-time.

The author of the paper, Dr. Erik Lentz, noted that there were still unexplored configurations (gaps) of curvature of space-time organized into 'solitons' that have the potential to solve the puzzle while they are physically viable. A soliton in this context is also informally known as a "warp bubble".

Lentz derived Einstein's equations for unexplored soliton configurations (where the displacement vector components of the spacetime metric obey a hyperbolic relationship), finding that altered spacetime geometries could be formed in a way that works even with conventional energy sources.

The new method uses the very structure of space and time arranged in a soliton to provide a solution to faster-than-light travel, which, unlike other research, would only need sources with positive energy densities. Exotic negative energy densities are not required.

If enough power could be generated, the equations used in this research would allow Proxima Centauri, our closest star, to travel through space and return to Earth in years rather than decades or millennia. That means a person could travel back and forth during his lifetime.

By comparison, today's rocket technology would take more than 50,000 years for a one-way trip. Additionally, the solitons (warp bubbles) were configured to contain a region with minimal tidal forces, so that the passage of time within the soliton coincides with the weather outside - an ideal environment for a spacecraft.

This means that there would not be the complications of the so-called 'twin paradox' whereby a twin traveling close to the speed of light would age much more slowly than the other twin that stayed on Earth: in fact, according to the Recent equations, both twins would be the same age when reunited.

However, the amount of energy required for this new type of space propulsion is still immense, as Lentz explains: "The energy required for this impulse traveling at the speed of light and encompassing a spacecraft with a radius of 100 meters is of the order hundreds of times the mass of the planet Jupiter, the energy savings would have to be drastic, about 30 orders of magnitude to be in the range of modern nuclear fission reactors.

Fortunately, previous research has proposed several energy-saving mechanisms that can potentially reduce the energy required by almost 60 orders of magnitude. "Lentz is currently in the early stages of determining whether these methods can be modified or whether new mechanisms are needed. to reduce the energy required to what is currently possible.

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