The dream is that interstellar travel will be possible via some form of hyperspace, warp or what have you such that other planets can be traveled to in periods of time not measured in decades or centuries. In his movie Space Balls, Mel Brooks spoofed this concept by calling it Ludicrous Speed, he may have been on to something.
Last year, Masters students in physics at the University of Liecester in England tackled the science of warp speed and where the common portrayal of it in Star Wars and Star Trek would be that of the light of stars stretched into streaks as the ship accelerated to the speed of light. http://www.livescience.com/26272-star-wars-hyperspace-physics-reality.html
They determined that because of the doppler effect that the light of stars would shift into the X-ray spectrum becoming invisible and the left over microwave radiation from the Big Bang would shift into the visible spectrum. This would impact the observers on the space craft who happen to be looking out a window in two ways. They would likely be irradiated to death from the X-rays but before hand they would need a pair of sunglasses. All around the ship would become light.
Their findings suggest that ships designed to travel at warp or hyper speed will require shielding to protect the crew from X-ray radiation as well as some form of internal navigation device that tracks the ships position since stars will not be visible points with which to fix the ships position. “Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, and that’d end your trip real quick, wouldn’t it?” -Han Solo
Another problem with warp speed is that the pressure created by all the extra X-ray radiation from shifted star light would push back on the ship and slow it down. They likened it to the force of pressure at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Apparently hyper speed will require unlimited reserves of energy to maintain speed.
For now hyper speed remains little more than magic and Mel Brooks may have pegged it accurately: Ludicrous Spreed.
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