Hyperspace, Warp Drive, and Wormholes

37 MinutesLast week it was announced that neutrinos are not faster than light after all. As we reported in October (Faster than What?), tests at CERN seemed to indicate that neutrinos were actually faster than light. CERN then asked if any other lab had these results.

The whole scientific community took up the challenge. Sadly, it seems neutrinos are bound by the same old Einsteinian speed limit. So what are we, as science fiction aficionados to do?

Well we always have Hyperspace, Warp Drive, and Wormholes to rely on. After all, they have been powering science fiction for years and years. Here is a brief overview of these three elements of science fiction space travel.


Hyperspace was one of the earliest forms of faster than light travel. It relied on a ship (person or etc) transferring to another dimension (hyperspace) and reappearing elsewhere in the space time continuum.

Hyperspace was extremely unreliable. One could reappear in an asteroid (remember the game “Asteroids”?), in a planet ala “Defender”, or even in an atmosphere as per “Marooned on Planet X“.

Rarely is hyperspace used in current stories.

Warp Drive

Warp Drive is part of the whole Star Trek world. The drive allowed to ships to travel faster than light. Scientifically, the ship itself did not travel faster than light. The engineering to warp drive is somewhat complex.

Star Fleets ships were powered by dilithium crystals. These crystals channeled the energy of matter and anti-matter. As everyone knows, should matter and anti-matter come together, the result would the end of the universe.

What the dilithium crystals do is combine this energy in a way that doesn’t bring total destruction, but messes with the whole time/space continuum. It basically “warps” space. As space warps, the ship travels in a straight line. Very much like the “sine” wave.

The higher the “warp” the faster the ship will travel, achieving faster than light speeds, without actually traveling faster than light.


Wormholes are a rather new feature to science fiction space travel. Wormholes are like shortcuts through space. Wormholes are unpredictable. As in the case of Star Trek: Voyager, this journey may only be one way.

The movie and series “Stargate” was based on this principle. An older wiser race, developed ways of harnessing wormholes for travel to various planets, including earth.

Wormholes are little dimensional rips, allowing access to places massive distances away. This is a way of travelling without breaking the speed limit of the universe.

As of yet, Albert Einstein has not been proved incorrect. Although every now and then there seems to be a little loophole. Someday, perhaps that loophole will turn into a wormhole.

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