- Claim made by Professor Geraint Lewis from the University of Sydney
- Physicist says warp speed was part of Einstein's theory of relativity
- This describes how we can bend space and time around a spaceship
- We are yet to discover materials with negative density energy to do this
This is according to Professor Geraint Lewis, from the University of Sydney, who claims the idea of warp speed is, in theory, possible.
He claims the futurist concept was part of Einstein's theory of relativity, which describes how we can bend space and time.
'Einstein's theory is already a hundred years old, but we have only started to scratch the surface,' Professor Lewis told ABC News.
'I think in the next 100 or 1,000 years we will reveal a lot more about the universe and maybe this hyper-fast travel will be realisable.'
However, whether scientists are able to get the materials needed to create such a machine is still open to debate. 'If you look at the equation that Einstein gave us, it shows you can bend and warp space so you can travel at any speed you like in the universe,' he said.
'It's theoretically possible, but can we ever build a warp drive?
'We have hints that the kind of materials that we would need exist in the universe, but whether or not we could get them together and build a warp drive, we still don't know.'
The astrophysicist claims that without Star Trek-style space travel, mankind will be unlikely to colonise the universe.
'The big problem we have, the speed of light, while fast - 300,000 kilometres per second - the distances involved are immense.
'So even travelling at the speed of light, it would take four years to go to the nearest star and two million years to go to the nearest large galaxy.
'These distances would stop you colonising the universe...so you would need some sort of way to beat that speed limit, and Einstein's theory of relativity gives it to you.'
Professor Lewis, who is set to deliver a talk at the National Science Week in Sydney, claims an ordinary rocket thruster is not up to the task of warp speed travel.
He argues we need materials with a negative density energy to make warp travel possible as part of Einstein's equations, something that scientists have yet to discover.
'It is not a material that we actually have in our hands, but there are signs that there are aspects of the universe that actually have this kind of property,' said Professor Lewis.
'You just have to look at the work of Newton 400 years ago, and even people who work in quantum physics 100 years ago, and those things are real today and they started off as dreams essentially.'
In March, Nasa said that warp speed is impossible at the moment, but could be a reality someday.
'Science fiction writers have given us many images of interstellar travel, but travelling at the speed of light is simply imaginary at present.
'There are many 'absurd' theories that have become reality over the years of scientific research. But for the near future, warp drive remains a dream.'