Broadcast 3026, Dr. Miguel Alcubierre

The Space Foundation Conference

Feedback: What did you think of this show?: 

Guest:  Dr Miguel Alcubierre;  Co-host: John Hunt; Topics: Warp Drive, negative energy, anti-matter, advanced propulsion, black holes, FTL travel, E.T. & much more!  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See

We welcomed Dr. Miguel Alcubierre to the program along with co-host John Hunt for a wide ranging discussion of many exciting and interesting physics subjects including warp drive, gravitational waves, advanced propulsion, SETI and more.  During our 64 minute one segment discussion with Dr. Alcubierre, John Hunt and I spoke with Dr. Alcubierre regarding his graduate school paper on creating a warp drive.  Our guest told us how he got the idea to write the paper, how he got it published and then given the main challenges to a warp drive, why he moved on with his regular work around gravitational waves, black holes and other topics in the expanding world of theoretical physics.  We talked about warp drive and the three main challenges to it which included the need for negative energy of which there is none, lots and lots of negative energy, again of which there is none.  Listen carefully for the third big challenge that he described.  Our warp drive discussion was most interesting, challenging and grounded in reality.  For those that think warp drive is about here, you may want to polish off your physics and thinking.  When asked about scientists doing active research to solve the three problem areas he mentioned, well, not really, but listen carefully to what he said about research and also the NASA group that was looking into the Alcubierre Drive (warp drive). During this warp drive discussion, we took several listener email questions. 

Another topic of great interest for us was taster than light travel (FTL).  Dr. Alcubierre said FTL was unlikely but there were futuristic concepts such as worm holes that might make it possible though we do not know how to do any of this at this time.  He suggested lots and lots of energy would be needed to be manipulated and that is beyond our technical capability and knowhow.  I asked about laser propulsion such as what we have talked about in the Breakthrough Imitative.  While this was plausible, the mass that can be propelled is tiny plus there is no known way to slow it down as it approaches the target.  To laser beam a mass the size of a starship with people on board would be way beyond our ability as we do not have that level of energy available to us at this time.  He did say that potentially nuclear propulsion could do a much better job within the solar system and if we could harness anti-mater, that might make larger spaceships possible.  He was quick to point out that these concepts for advanced propulsion do not violate any laws of physics.

Next, we jumped to a discussion of gravitational waves.  This was a detailed discussion that continued for pretty much the balance of our program.  Our guest went into the history of gravitational waves, talked about black holes, and the recent discovery of the two neutron stars that collided.  In fact, since that discovery, more have been discovered so the field is going to expand.  Einstein, going back to 1916, noted the probable existence of gravitational waves but it was not until 2015 that we actually "saw" one.  Don't miss this history and description. 

Kim called and talked for several minutes about black holes, detection, waves of light and more.  Next, an email came in from Carl who wanted to know about the possibility of there being "new physics" given he thinks ET has visited us using some sort of very advanced propulsion.  Miguel did not think there was any evidence to think there was ET advanced technology, propulsion, or Earth visits.  That said, he did say we were learning more and more all the time and that we were not through discovering physics and the universe.  He did think there was probably life out there but also did believe it would be that interesting to come to Earth or study us, especially if they were much more advanced than we were.  As for taking resources from us as many believe, he did not think that to be logical given the universe is full of resources which are available for the taking. 

Co-host John brought up black holes and galaxy formation.  This too was a very interesting discussion so don't miss it.  Listener Carolyn asked about time travel.  Our guest said it was impossible to go back in time but that it was possible to go forward in time. He said we could already do it too, then he explained how.  Don't miss what Miguel said about this because it did not seem to be the type of time travel most of us have in mind when we think about time travel possibilities.  Before our hour with Dr. Alcubierre ended, John asked him for his thoughts on EmDrive.  He said he was skeptical and gave us detailed reasons supporting his position.  He again spoke to the positive about ion drives and in the future anti-matter propulsion, even the possibility of nuclear fusion propulsion someday. 

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for everyone along with our guest to see.  You can reach our guest through me or his Facebook and Twitter pages.




Warp Drive, gravity waves, theoretical physics and more w/co-host John Hunt

WARNING: Using Disqus Comments on the Space Show:

To ensure your comments do NOT get caught in the Disqus automatic spam filter systemplease login to your Disqus account or create a verified/approved Disqus account.

Posting multiple URL links WILL TRIGGER the Disqus automatic spam filter system.

01 Dec 2017 John Hunt, Dr. Miguel Alcubierre
Your Amazon Purchases Helps Support TSS/OGLF (see

The Space Show Toll Free Number is only available on live broadcast programs. Please call 1-866-687-7223

  • moonwards-logo

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference