A German scientist has claimed that we could have a working Star Trek style warp drive in the next five years.
Professor Dr Jochem Häuser, a member of the Nuclear and Future Flight Propulsion work group at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), told The Scotsman that the device, called the Z Machine, could be ready to test in early 2011. The US Air Force is interested in funding the tests.
"I have been working on propulsion systems for quite a while and it would be the most amazing thing. The benefits would be almost unlimited," said Professor Häuser.
The system is based on the theory that by rotating a permanent magnetic ring with a large trapped magnetic field, thrust is generated.
If a strong enough field is built up it would allow the spacecraft to slip into a different dimension, where the speed of light is faster, allowing incredible speeds to be reached.
Professor Häuser co-authored a paper on the topic for the AIAA last year, and received the organisation's Best Paper of the Year award in July.
His work is based on theories put forward by German physicist Burkhard Heim, who developed his ideas during the 1940s and 1950s.
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