Favourite faster than light technology

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Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Jessica » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:40 pm UTC

So, we've got floating islands, what about FTL? It's the big important tech that makes the future not suck for humans. Yay! So, what's your favourite theoretical way to bypass that oh so important cosmic speed limit?

I've always thought that either you have to move space (a la Star trek warp drive) or find way to get to another universe where C isn't the speed limit.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby broken_escalator » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:47 pm UTC

I've always liked the idea of somehow using quantum tunneling to breach space and allow people to travel 'through' space. I don't pretend to understand it but I like the idea of tunneling through space!

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Magnanimous » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:52 pm UTC

Mr. Gaeta, begin jump prep. On my mark...

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby rath358 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:57 pm UTC

what about "wormholes"?
do they count as the second category, or are they their own category?

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:42 pm UTC

Hawking drives, like throwing TNT behind a ship and riding the waves! Or the fatline, like making an earthquake through a crowded city and listening to the falling buildings! Or the freecaster gates, like holding open a gaping wound!

Oh man, I loved Stephen Baxters idea of folding a wormhole in on itself as a means for dilating time. My brain hurts whenever I think about that one.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby grythyttan » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:16 pm UTC

I like the one where you travel to an identical parallell universe. The only difference being that everything is shifted 40 lightyears so the right.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Antimony-120 » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:36 pm UTC

grythyttan wrote:I like the one where you travel to an identical parallell universe. The only difference being that everything is shifted 40 lightyears so the right.


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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Diadem » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:17 pm UTC

I like the way they do it in the Ender books. Step outside the universe, focus really hard on who you are and what your made of, so you don't lose coherency, and step back into the universe in a different place.

Wormholes or BSG-style jumping is pretty nifty too.okay too. What I don't like is the type of FTL where they are still traveling, like warp in Star Trek or hyperspace in Star Wars. That always seems to get silly.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Boreeas » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:29 am UTC

I like the idea of going into a paralleluniverse, were the speed of light is, like, 100 times as high.

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Cynical Idealist » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:06 am UTC

From a storytelling point of view, I really like the Alderson drive. The fixed nature of the jump points means that systems can be defended without resorting to absurd accelerations, but it does that while still having a reason to have manned space travel (you have to get to the points, after all!). Most of the other drives I've seen either let spaceships enter/exit FTL from anywhere (which is a big problem if you want to defend your local space with realistic accelerations), or make it so there's no real reason for manned spaceships (If you've got a fixed network of wormholes, why not put them on the planets and do your interstellar travel with trains? If you need microgravity manufacturing capabilities, put a wormhole endpoint somewhere in orbit and build a factory there. If you need to drag an endpoint of a wormhole with you to expand the network, why not use an unmanned probe?)
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby netcrusher88 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:21 am UTC

FTL is easy. Shift into a universe where you're already at your destination, annihilating the copy of you in that universe and replacing it with you (or just becoming it) and destroy the old universe.

Or, mass drivers/jump gates.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby RoadieRich » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:11 am UTC

Diadem wrote:Wormholes or BSG-style jumping is pretty nifty too.okay too. What I don't like is the type of FTL where they are still traveling, like warp in Star Trek or hyperspace in Star Wars. That always seems to get silly.

The warp drive is actually physically plausible - if prohibitively expensive in terms of energy requirement.
The key (according to my understanding from The Physics Of Star Trek is that it causes space behind the ship to expand, whilst contracting space in front. Space in the vicinity of the ship is unchanged, so the starship never actually exceed the speed of light according to a local reference frame, (handily also avoiding all the problematic time-dilation effects). The only actual movement carried out by the ship is done using the "impulse" drive. This also explains why you only ever see the Enterprise engaging warp drive in open space: I'd imagine the "warping" of space might not be too good for anything in the vicinity.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:57 am UTC

Fuck rockets and warp drives, I just want an ansible. Instant communication but the same prohibitions when it comes to actually travelling anywhere, which means cooperation is the only way the diverse civilizations interact with each other rather than by warfare and resource-trading.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Dark567 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:11 pm UTC

RoadieRich wrote:The warp drive is actually physically plausible - if prohibitively expensive in terms of energy requirement.
The key (according to my understanding from The Physics Of Star Trek is that it causes space behind the ship to expand, whilst contracting space in front. Space in the vicinity of the ship is unchanged, so the starship never actually exceed the speed of light according to a local reference frame, (handily also avoiding all the problematic time-dilation effects). The only actual movement carried out by the ship is done using the "impulse" drive. This also explains why you only ever see the Enterprise engaging warp drive in open space: I'd imagine the "warping" of space might not be too good for anything in the vicinity.


This is what I think you are talking about. Basically you create a bunch of gravity in front of you, and create a bunch of anti-gravity behind you, and you 'slide' down space-time to your destination. It also avoids all that time dilation stuff that seems inevitable from FTL.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Robert'); DROP TABLE *; » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:41 pm UTC

...Except the causality violations, which are the most fun.

And my vote goes to wormholes.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Antimony-120 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:23 pm UTC

This has an interesting approach to FTL travel. It's gateless, but can only go from star to star, along direct vectors between them, and is limited to less than 10ly (approx). It's also very supply dependant.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Hobbes_ » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:32 am UTC

Diadem wrote:I like the way they do it in the Ender books. Step outside the universe, focus really hard on who you are and what your made of, so you don't lose coherency, and step back into the universe in a different place.


That's mine too. OSC isn't the only one to use the "step-out-then-in" method of FTL travel, but he defines his quite well. He also makes use of "Outside" in a very interesting and imaginative way so that the travel is only a kind of a bonus to discovering this truth in the same way computer are a bonus to learning about E&M. Or some more meaningful simile.

I'm not aware of any Sci-Fi books that use it (though I'm sure there are some), but I think the Alcubierre Drive has been mentioned on these forums before. That's a pretty imaginative way of gaining FTL travel and doing so in an at least semi-feasible manner.

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Levi » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:17 am UTC

And by semi-feasible you mean only just barely less impossible than most ways.

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Hobbes_ » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:13 am UTC

Levi wrote:And by semi-feasible you mean only just barely less impossible than most ways.


Precisely.

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Arariel » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:14 am UTC

Tachyons, although they're obviously imaginary.


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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby SlyReaper » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:23 am UTC

I'd have to go with wormholes, because as a certain cake-obsessed video game has taught us, doing stuff with portals is fun. You could create a wormhole with one end in Sweden, and the other in the back of your wardrobe, and pretend you're going to Narnia. You could vent much of the Earth's atmosphere into space. You could create perpetual motion machines with a water wheel and two wormholes. You could incinerate your enemies (and pretty much everything else) by opening one end in the core of the sun. You could create stars by wormholing a bunch of gas giant planets together. If you move one end of the wormhole, and have the other stationary, not only can you violate causality, but conservation of momentum too - the object coming out of the stationary end will be moving as fast as the other end of the wormhole: you could play cosmic snooker with neutron stars!

Oh and you could also explore the universe.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby RoadieRich » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:56 am UTC

I'm not too sure about the efficaciousness of a wormhole PMD - you need to inject energy into a wormhole to prevent it closing under its own gravity. It makes sense to assume that matter passing through the wormhole, increasing the gravitational field in its vicinity, would increase the energy injection requirement. Also, the density of mass around the exits will probably also have an effect on the energy requirement - it makes sense (to me, anyway) that having denser material (i.e. more mass) either side of a wormhole-type distortion in space would increase the gravitational force across the mouth. So you have large energy requirements from the environment of the underwater mouth, large energy requirements from the transmitted matter. Then you have the energy debt from actually creating the wormhole in the first place. Something makes me want to believe that the power output from a turbine in the resulting flow would be insufficient to maintain the wormhole.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Antimony-120 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:56 am UTC

RoadieRich wrote:I'm not too sure about the efficaciousness of a wormhole PMD - you need to inject energy into a wormhole to prevent it closing under its own gravity. It makes sense to assume that matter passing through the wormhole, increasing the gravitational field in its vicinity, would increase the energy injection requirement. Also, the density of mass around the exits will probably also have an effect on the energy requirement - it makes sense (to me, anyway) that having denser material (i.e. more mass) either side of a wormhole-type distortion in space would increase the gravitational force across the mouth. So you have large energy requirements from the environment of the underwater mouth, large energy requirements from the transmitted matter. Then you have the energy debt from actually creating the wormhole in the first place. Something makes me want to believe that the power output from a turbine in the resulting flow would be insufficient to maintain the wormhole.


I think you're confusing FTL fun wormholes with regular wormholes. In particular he mentions the Portal games, which clearly don't work with those requirements.

Mainly I'm a fan of gated FTL, at least for long distances. I like what they do to strategy, I like how they affect exploration, but more than anything else I like what they do for economics.

For many years ships (which for a long time have been the largest manmade transportation) stalled at a certain size of 80 000tons, and more recently there is a tendency to build ships at 150 000tons. The reason is the Suez canal, which before 1967 could only carry 80kt, and after the 1975 reopening could carry 150kt. This has restricted some of the size of ships (for comparison the largest commecial vessels are oil tankers at ~ 500kt). In a similar vein, although space is not an ocean, a gate system that was incapable of carrying beyond a certain volume would restrict the size of ships. The importance of this is that, provided the gate system remained the same size (most likely for physical reasons), spaceships might go down in price per volume, while volume per ship remained relatively low. This gives the possibility of small independant traders being capable of entering the market without being bankrupted by corporations with massive economies of scale. In short it allows for an independant merchant captain to be not only possible but common.

As an additional bonus, if gates are relatively simple to create, or they are difficult to police, or both, than this allows for relatively unhindered and unwatched movement. With ships being not too large, and the drive to lower costs, many merchant companies are going to go fairly light on the weaponry department, allowing for the flourishing of piracy. Naturally merchants will respond by having SOME weaponry, (so our independant merchant captain now has a reason to be a gunslinger) but the cost-effectiveness of this will most likely balance out s.t. some piracy is still around, particularly in less patroled areas.

In short, a gate system with the right characteristics allows for a defence strategy that isn't "watch every bit of sky constantly" but also allows, and sometimes demands, the independant trader with light weaponry. It cries out for plot, instead of having to be wrested around to fit the plot.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby mbrigdan » Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:02 am UTC

I like the way Neal Asher does it: Slip into "underspace", where there are no speed limits. Of course, time and space don't quite have the same meanings as the do in realspace, and without an AI to pilot you through, you'll probably be lost forever. Also, looking into underspace will drive you insane (I mean, why wouldn't it?)
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:13 pm UTC

RoadieRich wrote:
Diadem wrote:Wormholes or BSG-style jumping is pretty nifty too.okay too. What I don't like is the type of FTL where they are still traveling, like warp in Star Trek or hyperspace in Star Wars. That always seems to get silly.

The warp drive is actually physically plausible - if prohibitively expensive in terms of energy requirement.
The key (according to my understanding from The Physics Of Star Trek is that it causes space behind the ship to expand, whilst contracting space in front. Space in the vicinity of the ship is unchanged, so the starship never actually exceed the speed of light according to a local reference frame, (handily also avoiding all the problematic time-dilation effects). The only actual movement carried out by the ship is done using the "impulse" drive. This also explains why you only ever see the Enterprise engaging warp drive in open space: I'd imagine the "warping" of space might not be too good for anything in the vicinity.

The only problem is that while time-dilation effects are avoided, you still end up separated from your point of origin by a significant amount of light-time, which (for all intents and purposes) is equivalent to real time. In other words, even if FTL travel was possible, it would still present the "objects that exceed the speed of light travel backward in time" problem. Any suggestions on how to get around that, guys?

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:48 pm UTC

FTL data transmission/clock sync. You're not actually moving backwards in time, so if you find a way to distend your light cone the whole time thing is irrelevant.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby frezik » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:33 pm UTC

Andromeda had a pretty interesting one. Navigation within the wormhole couldn't be predicted by AIs, even strong ones. To get anywhere without random jumping around, you need a well-trained person who could intuitively navigate the stream.

Basically, I like FTL that has some kind of built-in limitation like that.

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Antimony-120 wrote:Mainly I'm a fan of gated FTL, at least for long distances. I like what they do to strategy, I like how they affect exploration, but more than anything else I like what they do for economics.


Agreed. 4X space games are almost always better off with this mechanic. There are exceptions, like MOO2, but gates change strategy in interesting ways.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby mark88man » Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:04 am UTC

very old fashioned/unfashionable but I like the neutralisation of inertia ideas from e.d doc smith. the "ignoring of relativity" drive as it could be called

never did quite fathom work out how it worked, but I was only 14

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Technical Ben » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:52 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
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RoadieRich wrote:
Diadem wrote:Wormholes or BSG-style jumping is pretty nifty too.okay too. What I don't like is the type of FTL where they are still traveling, like warp in Star Trek or hyperspace in Star Wars. That always seems to get silly.

The warp drive is actually physically plausible - if prohibitively expensive in terms of energy requirement.
The key (according to my understanding from The Physics Of Star Trek is that it causes space behind the ship to expand, whilst contracting space in front. Space in the vicinity of the ship is unchanged, so the starship never actually exceed the speed of light according to a local reference frame, (handily also avoiding all the problematic time-dilation effects). The only actual movement carried out by the ship is done using the "impulse" drive. This also explains why you only ever see the Enterprise engaging warp drive in open space: I'd imagine the "warping" of space might not be too good for anything in the vicinity.

The only problem is that while time-dilation effects are avoided, you still end up separated from your point of origin by a significant amount of light-time, which (for all intents and purposes) is equivalent to real time. In other words, even if FTL travel was possible, it would still present the "objects that exceed the speed of light travel backward in time" problem. Any suggestions on how to get around that, guys?

I'm up for an answer to this too. Need a "gated", "wormhole" or "hyperspace" FTL system that does not break relativity. :( For fiction I go with "pretend it works". :wink:
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Robert'); DROP TABLE *; » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:01 pm UTC

Technical Ben wrote:I'm up for an answer to this too. Need a "gated", "wormhole" or "hyperspace" FTL system that does not break relativity. :( For fiction I go with "pretend it works". :wink:

I don't think that's possible, sorry. (And some fiction I've seen goes with "Oops, you've just invented a time machine. Have fun!")
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Idhan » Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:15 pm UTC

The system I'm thinking of for the retro space-opera I'm trying to work on is one where this "plane" of the universe overlaps with many other "planes" stacked very close in orthogonal dimensions. Basically, for every 3-D location (x, y, z) in our plane, there is a corresponding location (u, v, w) in the other planes. Overall, these planes are about the same size as ours, and the limit of light speed still applies, but certain locations are longer, and certain ones shorter. It could be that there's a plane where Sol to Alpha Centauri is 8000 light years -- yet where Sol to Betelgeuse is only twenty kilometers. (Obviously, physical objects are plane-specific) So there's no single plane which is uniformly "the best" for travel -- optimizing travel distances might involve multiple plane-shifts.

Plane-shifts are another issue. Plane-shifting in most locations destroys the shifted object -- successful shifts require you to go through a plane-transition eigenvector with an eigenvalue of 1, or very close to 1. If the direction isn't an eigenvector (or very close), you're torn apart as you're shifted around in the transition. If the eigenvalue isn't very, very close to 1, you get stretched apart or squished together, or something like that. So there are certain "jump point"-type locations where you can get to other planes safely, but these are not fixed relative to anything like, say, star systems, but generally drift (sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly) relative to everything else as the planes shift relative to each other.

So you effectively have a system where things are a bit unpredictable and dangerous, and, while travel times are somewhat consistent, there's also a lot of variation. It's kind of "age of sail" like in feel, as are many sci-fi FTL systems. (I've read it suggested that the best Star Trek films in history may be ranked as follows: 1) Galaxy Quest, 2) The Hunt for Red October, 3) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and 4) Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)

As for time-travel and such... I'll just ignore that, I think.

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Squid Tamer » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:42 am UTC

I found my favorite reading some old random sci-fi story on the Internet (Here). How it works is: You point your FTL drive anywhere. You disappear, and instantly appear at the next location (Along the path that you pointed) that has the same gravitational potential energy as where you are at the moment.

Unlike a lot of FTL methods, this still leaves you with some work to do. Sure, you can, with the right technology, go from the orbit of one planet to another, in a different star system, but you have to know exactly where this planet is going to be. Also, if you miss, you'll probably end up really close to the star of that system, or even of another system, which is probably a bad thing.

The only safe option is to manually climb out of your planet's gravity well, and then zap over to the destination star system, and then manually travel to the destination planet.
If you're feeling lucky, you can also go from the orbit of your planet over to really close to the destination planet's sun, and then quickly find the destination planet and zap over to it, but it can suck if that doesn't work for some reason :lol:

I realize that there are still a lot of problems in the physics, even though it tries to address conservation of energy. Though, given that pretty much all Sci-Fi FTL systems will let you break causality and become your own grandfather, physics isn't very important for fictional FTL systems.

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Cobramaster » Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:28 am UTC

Hobbes_ wrote:
Diadem wrote:I'm not aware of any Sci-Fi books that use it (though I'm sure there are some), but I think the Alcubierre Drive has been mentioned on these forums before. That's a pretty imaginative way of gaining FTL travel and doing so in an at least semi-feasible manner.


Warp Speed by Travis Taylor is a pretty good book, if you can accept that the book is what he wants his biography to read as. THough he does not exaggerate much in the non-fiction aspects.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Thesh » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:09 am UTC

I had an idea a while ago that there are a finite number of universes, say 1 million. Each universe can be thought of as a string, and they are tangled up in a ball. Any point on one of these strings corresponds to a point in that universe, but not in a linear relationship; if you converted your 3D position to the position on the string it would seem like you were plugging it into a random number generator rather than a vector projection. Now, you can hop from one point on one string, to a touching point on another string. When all is said and done, between any two points in any universe the distance to travel never exceeds ~14.57 kilometers.

I thought it could make an interesting story for a video game, but have absolutely no clue how a game could work around that concept.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Sandor » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:25 pm UTC

Technical Ben wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:In other words, even if FTL travel was possible, it would still present the "objects that exceed the speed of light travel backward in time" problem. Any suggestions on how to get around that, guys?

I'm up for an answer to this too. Need a "gated", "wormhole" or "hyperspace" FTL system that does not break relativity. :( For fiction I go with "pretend it works". :wink:

I think I posted this on another thread recently. It is true that FTL travel does involve travel backwards in time for some reference frames (and is instantaneous or forwards in time in others), but this does not in and of itself "break" relativity. What unrestricted FTL travel breaks is causality. As the saying goes: "FTL, relativity, causality; pick any two".

However, one FTL journey is not enough to violate causality. If you consider the start and end of the FTL journey (or jump) as two events, then you can say that the jump itself has a frame of reference - that frame(s) where the start and end events are instantaneous. To violate causality you need two jumps with sufficiently different frames of reference, and sufficiently close together in space and time(*)

This gives a way out - you somehow restrict FTL journeys to those that can't be used to violate causality. The simplest is to have it so FTL travel is only possible in a single special reference frame (this doesn't have to be the reference frame of the traveller, it is the reference frame where the journey appears instantaneous). Physicists don't like special reference frames, but if you have one for FTL, then I think the obvious choice would be that reference frame where the cosmic microwave background radiation appears the same temperature in all directions (i.e. it's not blue shifted in one direction, and red shifted in another). We move through this at about 600 km/s.

Another is to have your FTL journey fail if it could be used to violate causality (perhaps spectacularly - there's almost certainly going to be a lot of energy involved). That would be my choice, as it offers some plot possibilities. It works well for wormholes - a network could be deliberately created all with the same reference frame (and so be safe to use), but one rogue created with a different reference frame could bring the whole lot crashing down.

(*) If you are actually trying to violate causality using FTL, then what you do is make an instantaneous jump a long way away, change your reference frame by accelerating, then jump back in this new reference frame. This can get you into the past. The further the jump, the less acceleration is needed.

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Robert'); DROP TABLE *; » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:57 pm UTC

Does the concept of "same reference frame" make sense on an absolute scale, since the uncertainty principle limits how precisely you can measure velocity?
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Technical Ben » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:42 am UTC

Thanks Sandor.
I was going with "hyperspace" in as such, that you move your craft in a different dimension. This dimension is in effect the speed of travel. You leave "real" space altogether. But the further you go in the "hyperspace" dimension, the higher the multiplication of your speed. So all in all the dimension ends in a singularity. You would travel "FTL" but no causality is broken because light is faster in the other dimension. The "universal" reference frame would be the (undefined for the fiction) singular point of "hyperspace". So it's kind of like a personal worm hole, but you could theoretically intersect with other craft. But I doubt that works either.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:27 pm UTC

Robert'); DROP TABLE *; wrote:Does the concept of "same reference frame" make sense on an absolute scale, since the uncertainty principle limits how precisely you can measure velocity?

They're not, to my knowledge, related concepts. You can only pin down a reference frame so precisely due to the uncertainty principle, but you could still specify "x's reference frame" coherently.
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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby Turtlewing » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:34 pm UTC

Personally I'm a fan of a Babylon 5's "hyperspace".

Essentially:
there some naturally occurring "other space" that can via big expensive technology be accessed and used to travel faster, but navigating that space is difficult, and doing something distracting like having a battle is a surefire way to get ships lost for good. It can be accessed by any ship from fixed points "jump gates" which also form a navigational network "beacons", however larger ships may have the ability to enter/exit under their own power, and even "hold the door open" for other smaller ships. Ships with good sensors can travel further "off the beacons" without loosing track of their position.

I also like the feel of the newer Battlestar Galactica's FTL system basically: just disappear on on end and reappear on the other (if you did the math right).

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Re: Favourite faster than light technology

Postby HiFranc » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:23 am UTC

I came up with another FTL technology when I was a teenager. I still like it (even though it causes massive environmental damage):


The Drive:
It workes by stretching/compressing the space that the craft is flying through to so that the local value of c is higher. The drive also pulls space through it to propel it along. This is aided by folding space near the craft so that it is further pushed along as space returns to its normal state.


Energy:
The energy requirements for such a drive are immense so the energy is not stored on board. The energy company has found another dimension where we cannot dectect life. Energy is produced, in the other dimension, by that dimension's equivalent of a matter-anitmatter reaction. It's then transmitted to our universe.

In order to make money from it, the company encodes the energy by altering its pattern. The nature of of the alteration is constantly changing. As long as you have paid your bill, your energy receptor is transmitted the current pattern. Most of the energy losses are in the encryption process. Receptors also have anti-tamper devices to stop theft of energy.


Problems of the FTL Drive:
A virtual skin is a special kind of forcefield used to give craft an aero/hydrodynamic outer shape. This is to take into account the fact that, at FTL speeds, the gas and dust in the universe would feel much thicker.

If the local value of c is high then the fundamental constants would be different. This would mean that life on the craft would cease. To counteract this another set of fields exist on the craft to make sure the normal laws of physics apply on the craft.

Large ships (that are being used as a base for other ships) would find it difficult to launch/receive ships while its FTL drive is in use because the fields its drives are producing would interfere with those of the other ship and vice versa.


Problems of means of energy distribution:
Energy is being taken from outside our universe and put into it. This will effect the energy balance of both universes. This means that the fundamental constants are changing in both universes. For the energy company, this means that their equipment constantly needs to change to keep up with the changing laws of physics. In our universe it means that everybody has to live in an environment where fields keep the values of the fundamental constants what they were as life outside of those artificially generated fields is now impossible (as our fundamental constants would have changed as well).


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