Written by Harrison Solow in 1993, for Skybox and Paramount Pictures, Inc. (within the Matter of science fiction):
"The theory that space could be warped was first proposed by Albert Einstein in 1905, and first demonstrated by Zephraim Cochrane in 2061, proving that objects could travel faster than the speed of light. Warp Factor One is the speed of light, approximately 670 million mph. If this seems fast, consider that the Enterprise normally clips along at a modest 263 billion mph, and is theoretically capable of briefly achieving speeds of up to 134 trillion mph. Of course, in reality the Enterprise is not travelling at these outrageous velocities. Rather, it appears to move this rapidly by ‘warping’ space. This effect reduces the distance between two points without actually drawing them closer together. For example, at Warp Two the Enterprise could travel the length of our solar system (7,440,000,000 miles) in 1 hour. The way we normally calculate velocity (distance divided by time) we would arrive at a figure of approximately 7.5 billion mph. However, 7,440,000,000 miles is not the distance travelled, but rather the net displacement of the vessel. It is this subtle difference that creates the illusion of great speed.
Warp Drive is a delicately balanced, intricate web of chemistry, physics, mathematics and mystery. Basically, Warp Drive involves the bending or ‘warping’ of space, to allow two points to become closer to each other without moving them. Although measured in terms of the speed of light, warp drive has more to do with energy than speed. Nevertheless, Warp Factor One is the speed of light, and no ship exceeds Warp Ten, which is the absolute limit of the universe. In other words, Warp Ten is the factor at which all points in the universe occupy the same timespace; an object travelling at that ‘velocity’ would inhabit all of space – all points in the known universe – concurrently. Factors in warp terminology are ‘asymptotic’ which means that Warp Factor Four is over twice the ‘speed’ of Warp Factor Three. The normal cruising speed of the Enterprise in deep space is Warp Factor Six, about 326 times the speed of light, which while not a bona fide cloaking device, allows the Enterprise to remain undetected by less advanced technology.
Information on actual current scientific research relevant to the warping of space for both speed and invisibility can be found at several universities and research centres. Three such institutions are: The Glenn Research Center at NASA at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/technology/warp/possible.html-prep Archive on Physics Research: http://arxiv4.library.cornell.edu/ (specifically, http://arxiv4.library.cornell.edu/ abs/1003.3441); and the Center for Metamaterial and Integrated Plasmonics at Duke University at: http://people.ee.duke.edu/~drsmith/cloaking.html "
Thanks to Christopher Simmons for editorial assistance.
Causes Harrison Solow Supports
Lupus Foundation of America
Museum of Tolerance