The idea of faster-than-light travel has been one of the greatest staples in science fiction for as long as the genre has been around.
The idea of traveling to other planets with terrestrial technology seemed impossible for a long time - but, with the power of faster-than-light travel, moving from planet to planet would be almost instantaneous.
Who wouldn't want to go zipping through the galaxy, discovering and visiting all sorts of different planets?
Unfortunately, science hasn't done much to encourage mankind's dreams of planet-hopping our way across the galaxy.
Much of the scientific community believes that faster-than-light travel is physically impossible, and no matter the material, accelerating something to such ludicrous speeds simply can't happen.
However, there are also those who believe that faster-than-light travel is possible - and one team may have just accidentally stumbled onto it.
A team at NASA may have unintentionally accelerated particles to faster-than-light speeds while using the EmDrive resonance chamber - basically, if their findings turn out to be accurate, the team may have just discovered faster-than-light travel.
To clarify, the EmDrive resonance chamber is a proposed method of interstellar propulsion: basically, this could end up being the engines that the starships of the future use. The advantages of using such a device are numerous: it's electrically powered, it features no moving parts and doesn't require any material fuel to move. If it ends up working as planned, there's a good chance that it could lead to a new breed of engine.
NASA is currently studying the technology for future applications, but few expected anything like this to happen: according to a post over at the NASA Space Flight forums, when a team of researchers fired lasers into the resonance chamber, the particles were accelerated to astronomical speeds...with some moving even faster than the speed of light.
"...this signature (the interference pattern) on the EmDrive looks just like what a warp bubble looks like. And the math behind the warp bubble apparently matches the interference pattern found in the EmDrive."
So, what does this mean? Well, it's entirely possible that NASA just created a 'warp bubble,' - while that sounds like something out a bad episode of Star Trek, it could also lead to a huge advancement in space travel technology. Traveling the distance between Earth and our neighboring planet Mars is still a one-way trip using conventional methods, but if the EmDrive were able to create something like a stable warp bubble and faster-than-light travel became a reality, that may no longer be the case.
Granted, it'll likely be years before any real conclusions can be made, let alone actual faster-than-light tests - not to mention that accelerating matter and accelerating light are two entirely different things. That being said, NASA could seriously be onto something huge...something that could end up redefining how mankind looks at space travel.
If you want to try and decode all of the EmDrive's technobabble (there's a lot), you can find the post over at the official NASA Space Flight forums.