Another tiny children’s article that didn’t get published, but I had fun doing it.


Does that black hole in your pocket weigh you down? Give it to physicist Miguel Alcubierre for his warp drive theory. It requires the power of a black hole to fuel the warp drive machine, an idea inspired by his love of the TV series Star Trek. In turn, William Shatner presented these ideas to the world in his book I’m Working on That.

If you could hop a light beam and ride to the closest star Proxima Centauri, it would take 30,000 years. Since we agree with Einstein that light is constant (the “c” in mc2), we know it doesn’t break for traffic nor does it speed up at traffic lights! Hitching a ride on light is turtle-slow, galactically speaking. What is a starship captain to do? 

In comes warp theory to give moving from A to B a boost with the Theory of General Relativity for space distortion shortcuts in both time and space. It isn’t about getting to one’s destination faster, but getting there sooner. Alcubierre calls for a bubble around the person or object which would wink out like a disappearing act to the destination in no time at all.

Let’s say the bubble is a balloon. Blown up, you put a dot on one side of the balloon. Collapse the balloon. The dot transfers from one side to the other at no distance or time involved in the travel. Re-expand balloon. To deflate and inflate your bubbled self to a distant star or galaxy requires power like that of a black hole. The heavy black hole’s strong gravitational energy force might be strong enough to fuel a warp drive engine. Do you have a ticket to ride in your back pocket?