Warp Drives are what makes
starships go faster than light and energy. Warp speed is fast. But how
does the engine really work?
The warp drive is perhaps the most complex part on a starship. Without
it, getting across galaxies would be functionally impossible. Perhaps our
biggest obstacles to inhabiting other solar systems as envisioned by Star
Trek are the physical limitations of space and time.
Warp travel is anon- "propulsive" technology. It moves the ship, hut it
doesn't propel it in any particular direction. ,,Impulse power" operates
in the same way as twentieth-century rocket technologies and is thus propulsive
with inertial effects; that is, once you turn off the rockets you keep
Warp drive does not share propulsive effects or the additive advantages
of inertia. Since it operates by creating a separate subspace field, you
could instantly stop a ship under warp drive if you could kill the subspace
field rapidly enough.
The "stress-energy tensor" mathematically describes each point in four
dimensional spacetime it is linked to the mass and energy distribution
of normal space (nonsubspace). This distribution and flow of the stressenergy
of matter is dependent on the surrounding stress-energy tensor, which defines
the curvature of four-dimensional space-time. Matter-energy within the
warp (or subspace) from the matter- energy outside of the field due to
the violent change in the frame of reference produced by the plasma stream
within the warp field coils in the nacelles.
This violent change in the local stress-energy within the subspace coils
would rip the fabric of space except that nature produces a subspace field
around the event to gradually fix the tear. This in effect spreads the
event over a general area in a subspace field that looks similar to a gravity
field originating from a gravity well and protects the spacetime continuum.
It can be manipulated into asymmetric propulsive fields.
Matter within the field is removed from normal space and anchored
to the frame of reference of subspace. The effect of this is to allow matter
within the field to almost completely bypass relativity's obstacles and
allow phenomena such as FTL travel. The limiting factor is the energy required
to disassociate the matter from normal space. This energy must be continuously
applied or the subspace field gradually dissipates and brings the matter
back into normal space.
Subspace is a field that defines a particular frame of reference at all
points in known space. It is composed of an infinite number of cells like
a honeycomb. A ship entering warp uses subspace so as to keep its frame
of reference regardless of speed. The asymmetrical peristaltic warp field
propels a ship by pushing against each anchored reference frame of subspace.
The first field coil anchors the ship to the occupied position in subspace,
then passes the field along to the next coil along with its anchored position
in subspace, and so on down the nacelle.
It is not necessary to add extra nacelles to increase warp speed. Once
a warp field is established, it takes pure engine power to push toward
warp 10. The nacelles create the warp field and sustain it. The number
of nacelles is determined by the size and mission of the starship, although
three nacelles is a very unstable design (the U.S.S. Tritium Warp 4
Cruiser, designed with three nacelles, was canceled in 2155 due
to severe instability during warp flight). Two extra nacelles made the
Constellation-class starships very agile.
Before the current environmentally friendly, movable warp coils on the
Intrepidclass starships, ships that went faster than warp 5 polluted space
with localized "rifts." The Voyager
can safely reach a top speed
of warp 9.975 for short periods. The new warp drive technology is top secret,
but it has been publicly speculated that the drive could eliminate the
risk of pollution because of the orientation of the warp fields (nacelle
position), new materials, the configuration of the warp coils in the nacelles,
or by computer manipulation of warp formula to synchronize and shape the
Dedicated warp coils may produce a subspace distortion field around the
nacelles to facilitate moving them quickly. Gravimetric force fields may
also be used to move the nacelles.
from some books