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Living in the Future: Warp Drive, Green Bean Galaxies, and Nighttime Solar-Planes

Harold White, a physicist with NASA, has announced that he and his team have begun work on a warp drive. Anyone who has seen Star Trek has heard of this device, but how can this science-fiction staple become a reality? Well, the theory has been in place for years as to a device that can warp space and time itself – but the energy needed to do so was considered insurmountable. After tweaking the equations, Dr. White thinks that it could be done with much less power, if the fields are spinning rather than stable. He believes that the warp drive could allow travel between our solar system and our second-closest star, Alpha Centauri, in about a two-week voyage, despite the 4 light-year distance.

Astronomers have discovered a new type of galaxy, which they have dubbed “Green Bean” galaxies, because they glow with an eerie green glow. This green glow is because these galaxy’s central black holes spew X-rays at a huge rate – and at their (fortunate) distance from Earth, the X-rays lose energy and appear green when interacting with our atmosphere.

Betrand Piccard, the first person to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon, wants to follow up his feat by being the first person to make the trip – in a completely solar-powered aircraft. This plane is the first solar-craft designed to fly both during the day and at night. It’ll be a slow trip, at about 30 miles per hour, but the plane never has to land, and its efficient batteries will store the suns energy until the next sunrise. Piccard plans to launch his 20-day global trip in 2015.