Well, I thought I would start here. It's sometimes nice to have a little foundation when you get started.
I wrote this a couple years ago, to try explain the mechanism by which starships whiz about in my universe.
Mostly to myself... as it was something that I made up off the top of my head because I didn't want to use the usual suspects like warp drive, hyperspace and jumpgates... I wanted something original. I kept at it and I think I have hammered it out into something that might make sense.



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Good afternoon listeners, I'm your host Marcus Jones and this is The Weekly Science Update. Today we are broadcasting to you from our studios here in Endeavor City, the Capitol of Alpha Centauri Prime. We are going to be talking about the Transitionary Space Effect, the driving force that took Humanity to the stars.

(Theme plays)

Next month, May 8th, will mark the 100th anniversary of the United Earth Space Agency ship the Pioneer having reached near light speed and breached what is now commonly referred to as the ďTrans-Space Barrier.Ē Today in the studio I have with me the renowned Theoretical Physicist and Science Communicator, Doctor Jens Trommler. He's the lead Physicist and Director of the Institute for Transitionary Space Effect Research here at the MIT C-Prime campus.
Doctor, on behalf of all our staff, our readers and viewers Iíd like to thank you for joining us today for this interview.

Doctor Trommler:
Thank you for the opportunity, it is always a pleasure to come on.

MJ:
Tell me Doctor, do you even think it is possible to summarize the impact that the discovery of the Transitionary Space Effect has had on the Human Race?

DJT:
(Laughs) Simply? No. What I can say is to compare it to other milestones in Human technological evolution. Things like fire, the wheel, aviation, the Moon landing, and First Contact to name a few. Without it we would still be loitering in our own stellar system and we certainly wouldnít have made first contact. Instead, with the continued development of Trans-Space engines, we have expanded the sphere of human influence and human habitation to a volume of space over 100 light years across.

MJ:
Those are certainly auspicious milestones in our development as a species. I know that there is a significant amount math accompanying the principles, of which few can grasp and even fewer can understand, but can you explain the concept in laymanís terms?

DJT:
Yes, I canÖ but I may become a bit long winded, so please bear with me. I think I should be able to frame it such that at least an "arm-chair" Physicist will understand.

MJ:
Of course Doctor. By all means.

DJT:
Thank you. First let me start by saying that the TSE and Higgs Field Manipulation go hand in hand. TSE drives simply would not be useful without HFM. During the beginning stages of manned exploration of our solar system, research into producing an electromagnetic shield for those ships was one of the biggest endeavors of the time, particularly after the Explorer Three disaster. When the existence of not just one, but a whole family of Higgs gauge Bosons were discovered at the LHC-II and further explored, it was quickly discovered that the mathematics and principles of some of them closely correlated with the research in EM shielding. When the Higgs discoveries were incorporated into their research, it was discovered that not only was it easier to generate a protective EM shield, but it was accidently discovered that the Higgs field itself could be manipulated.

MJ:
For our listeners, could you touch on the Higgs field a little further?

DJT:
Of course. The Higgs Field is a universally all encompassing force that at the quantum level takes the form of the Higgs Particles. They, in a sense, tether matter to the fabric of space time in our universe. This has the effect of conferring mass and subsequently, with mass we have inertia. All matter in the universe is subject to it.

Bear in mind now, that Higgs Field Quantum Manipulation is not inertia-less as some have mistakenly called it. It instead, this is where it gets tricky mind you, it Ďlocksí the mass-inertia Higgs field relationship effect to itself within a given manipulation field and partially decouples it from the Higgs field outside the field of manipulation. This has the effect of dampening inertial effects within the field, but the contents of said field still has inertia as an aggregate in relationship to the universe outside the field.

MJ:
It sounds devilishly tricky.

DJT:
Indeed. Although fascinating, the mathematics are quite devilish. On the surface, the equations seem quite novel and compact. However, when the numerous variables start to get plugged in though, a very delicate balancing act comes into effect to keep the equation stable and sensible. If even the smallest variable is off by even the smallest of fractions, the entire thing caves in on itself like a house of cards. I have witnessed many a grad student reduced to tears working on the calculations in long form.

MJ:
Would the TSE been viable without it?

DJT:
Well, that question is debatable. It isnít strictly required for TSE travel but without it, the time to accelerate to a significant percentage of the speed of light to reach the synapse point to enter Trans-Space is greatly lengthened. At an acceleration of one Earth gee, an acceleration that the human body is comfortable with it would take months to reach near luminal velocities. I should also state again that the discovery of manipulation was tied directly to the development of electromagnetic shielding. Without it not only would be time consuming, but also very, very dangerous. Let us not forget the Explorer 3 disaster I mentioned. That occurred at less than one third light speed. Possible? Yes, but time consuming and dangerous.

One last point about the HFM that bears mentioning, though it is no less important than the first two. HFM not only allows us to form a deflector shield and to draw a line between external and internal inertia, its manipulation also allows us to form a false gravity field within it as well. Another creature comfort that our frail human bodies prefers to have.

MJ:
I gather then, to summarize, that it may very well be possible without it but that you might as well not.

DJT:
Perhaps, but honestly, when it comes to adventure, exploration and discovery, how often have we humans really been Ďsensible?í There still would have a rare few who would have done it. Those that didnít throw caution to the wind because they didnít have it to throw in the first place.

MJ:
True, so very true. Now, about the TSE itself. You Doctor, as the Director of the Institute for Trans-Space Research, are referred to by many as the leading scientist in the field itself. What can you tell us about the TSE? Where we stand and where it is going in the future?

DJT:
Well, I fear that I may get long winded a bit again. In order to get to the current state of TSE research we need a bit of history first.

In many regards Trans Space is much like Steam Power. The earliest uses of steam date back over two thousand years ago with the Aeliophile, but the first practical applications only date back to about five hundred years ago. Even then, the principles werenít fully understood. It wasnít until about three hundred years ago that the underlying mechanics behind why it worked were understood. Engineers and inventors of the time knew it worked and could put it to use, but the understanding of the underlying principles of why it worked eluded them.

It may come as an alarming surprise to some, but that is approximately where we stand with the Trans-Space Effect. Right now at this moment, why the Trans-Space Effect behaves the way it does is an unsolved quanta. We know it works and have demonstrated it. We have facilities to govern its function, but the underlying mechanics as to why the TSE behaves the way it does is a mystery. Some of the most highly educated and brilliant minds of our time are working on it and yet we really donít know all the answers.

MJ:
That is a bold admission for yourself and the scientific community to make Doctor. Will any of your colleagues within the community be upset that you have said so?

DJT:
MY colleagues and contemporaries would have, given a similar opportunity, made the same admission. Other members of the scientific community, I will leave their remarks to them.

MJ:
I sense Doctor, that the explanation of the TSE is a point of contention among your peers.

DJT:
Yes, without a doubt it is. There is a strong, yet healthy rivalry within the community, even among my peers. Regrettably in some cases though, it has degraded to vitriolic debate. There are numerous theories out there. Some stand alone while others complement or work within others. They all have merit and are mathematically sound, yet work in unique ways. In some ways it is similar to the String revolution at the end of the 20th century yet a bit more polarized.

MJ:
Perhaps then, Doctor, my question of a laymanís explanation would have been better worded as a laymanís explanation of the current theory.

DJT:
Of course, I will attempt to the best of my ability. To get started, we need a bit of the underlying physics in the revised view of the Big Bang. First though let me saying TSE and Ďtheoryí in the same sentence is generous. We have good working models that make sense, but we are still trying to piece it all together.

For a long time, popular convention held that the Big Bang was the creation of the entire known universe and the matter within it from a singularity. It exploded and the massive amounts of energy cooled, coalescing into particles, then atoms which gave rise to stars, galaxies and so on.
While not too far off the mark, the continued deeper understanding of Doctor Whittenís M-Theory has given rise to several mitigating points. In M-Theory, the math has shown us that there are actually 11 dimensions. Up-down, left-right, back-forth and time are the familiar ones we know and understand in our everyday experiences. The remaining 7 lie in the sub-atomic realm, wound up so tightly they canít be experienced directly. The last of those seven can only exist at extremely high energies.

We have learned with greater and greater certainty those vibrating strands of energy we call strings are the primary building blocks of the Universe. M-Theory has shown us that the last extra dimension allows for a string, given enough energy, to inflate into a membrane of multiple dimensions. Theoretical work has shown thatís what the Universe is, a three dimensional membrane that exists in a higher dimensional space. The revised theory of the Big Bang is that two multi-dimensional membranes in this higher dimensional space collided, and this collision imparted enough energy to cause a string to inflate into three of the nine spacial dimensions and propagate enough energy to fill it with the matter we see thus creating our Universe.

This begs the question though, why did the energies of the Big Bang cause inflation into only three dimensions instead of all nine? That answer is another line of research entirely, but the fact that question exists for us to ask is crucial to TSE. It is a point that I will come back to momentarily.

Imagine now, if you will, a two dimensional construct, the surface of a calm lake and a medium sized watercraft on its surface. At rest, the watercraft sinks slightly into the lake itself. The hull of the craft easily pushes the water out of the way. Even with the application of energy, in this case to produce movement through the water, at low speeds the craft still pushes the water out of the way. When you continue to increase the speed of the craft, there is a threshold point where the hull stops pushing the water and the water starts pushing on it. This causes the craft to rise out of the water. At even higher speeds, the craft will be seen to skip across the surface. This is due to the density differential between the water and the air above. The water will push properly designed craft out of the dense water and into the less dense air. There are numerous racing craft that exploit this principle and barely touch the surface at all once they reach speed.
Space, unlike common belief, isnít empty but actually a very busy place at the quantum level. Particles are able to zip about near and at light speed easily because they are part of that realm. When a macro scale object is accelerated to an appreciable percentage of the speed of light, the quantum density of space starts to become apparent. Particles, both virtual and real, the Higgs field and even the theorized atomic structure of space itself play a role in this.

Now, Einstein's Theory of special relativity is also important here, specifically the principle of mass-energy equivalence. Everyone knows it as E=MC^2Ö that energy is equal to the mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light. To put that into perspective, one gram of matter has a mass-energy equivalence to be able to power the entirety of Endeavour City and its suburbs for four hours. Conversely because of equivalence, as velocity is increased, the mass also increases. You can imagine the mass-energies present with a starship of significant size traveling at near luminal speeds.

If your listeners are still with me, itís time to take a deep breath, Iím about to tie it all together.

All of my teamís research seems to indicate that the ships speed, its mass-energy, is forcing our dimensional membrane to stretch and the extra dimensions to inflate to macro scale like a tiny little localized big bang. Like the watercraft riding on the surface of the water I mentioned, the Trans-Space Effect is similar in that it seems the density of the universe itself pushes against the spacecraft and with the localized dimensional inflation, it is pushed into these inflated dimensionsÖ essentially pushing the spacecraft out of the universe itself. By "traveling" in these inflated dimensions, the travel "time" is greatly reduced.
Einsteinís laws of relativity still hold true though, starships never actually exceed the speed of light. The transition into a TSE envelope occurs just short of light speed. It only seems that the ship exceeds the speed of light based on the duration of the trip. It is as though the universe wonít allow a macro scale object to travel at the speed of light and rejects it from existence. In attempting to do so, we inadvertently discovered a new physical property of the universe.

MJ:
Wow. With the water analogy, it sounds a bit like inter-dimensional wave riding.

DJT:
Yes it is, after a fashion. The water analogy is more representative than many may think. Using specially equipped science vessels, while inside a TSE envelope we have detected eddies and currents. On long journeys there can be a small, but non-zero, difference in the duration of the outbound and return legs. This difference also seems to be dependent upon the direction of travel relative to the rotation and movement of the Milky Way itself. We have also noticed a marked increase in these tidal forces the deeper into the TSE we go.

MJ:
I have to ask Doctor, how deep into the TSE have you gone?

DJT:
Well, most everyone is familiar with the Earth-Centauri Prime Equivalency scale. A common Mark 6 drive system can easily push an ECPE of just under two weeks. We have worked with engine drive systems on our science vessels that have pushed an ECPE as hard as two hours. Even faster than military grade drive systems. Bear in mind though, while a Mark 6 is nearly a set and forget system, our engines are dangerous experimental prototypes that require constant maintenance and supervision. Often, they are scrapped when they return. Although our tests have yielded invaluable data on the improvement of conventional engines, usually in the form of fine tuning and patches of the drive system control software, the public shouldnít expect ECPEís like ours for a while yet.

MJ:
Have there been any left stranded or other disasters?

DJT:
None this far, though there have been a few close calls. We have had more than one TSE drive system fail while inside a Trans-Space envelope. As catastrophic as that may sound, it isnít. Not immediately, anyway. When that occurs, the TSE envelope collapses, pops if you will, and the ship is deposited back into real space. The trouble is that since the TSE transition is achieved by pushing a ship to the edge of light speed, the ship returns to real space at the same speed the transition was made. Our ships, much like many larger vessels, have a secondary TSE drive system. On those ships the drives purpose is for supplemental power and emergency maneuvering, ours are for slowing the vessel from luminal speeds in the event of drive failure.

MJ:
You speak of drive failures and TSE envelopes collapsing. I donít think we have heard of this happening before. Why is this?

DJT:
Well, to start with, all existing standard engine designs almost never fail. Additionally, those same standard engines have fail-safes built right into them. In the extremely rare circumstance of a failure, the fail-safe systems deposit the ship back into real space more gently. In those events it usually seems to have been a loss of power and the ship slows down, returning to real space. Ours on the other hand, the safeties are either bypassed or built without them outright. That, coupled with the extreme virtual velocities we are pushing, makes the potential for failure a bit greater and much more spectacular.

MJ:
Spectacular in what ways?

DJT:
Well, bursting from a collapsing TSE bubble sideways at nearly light speed like a runaway amusement ride spectacular. Iíll leave it to the imagination of your readers and viewers to fill in the yelling, fires and heroic battle to wrestle the vessel back under control.

MJ:
Well Doctor Trommler, it has been a pleasure having you here today. Thank you again for coming in.

DJT:
My pleasure and thank you for having me.



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