Hyperdrive Travel: Life Imitates Art

December 4, 2013 – To allow Star Wars’ characters to travel the vast expanses of space-time, Lucasfilms’ creative minds had to invent vehicles capable of faster-than-light travel. And thus was born the hyperdrive docking ring. (I’ll save the Millenium Falcon’s hyperspace drive for another article.)

Obi-wan Kenobi's Delta-7B Aethersprite-class jedi starfighter with a Syluire-31 hyperspace docking ring.

Obi-wan Kenobi’s Delta-7B Aethersprite-class jedi starfighter with a Syluire-31 hyperspace docking ring.



Now comes word from NASA that, in theory at least, a warp drive can be built which allows a vehicle to reduce interstellar flight from years to a matter of weeks. The genesis of the warp-drive theory is a white paper produced by Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre in 1994, in which he posits that space-time could be “warped” both in front of and behind a spacecraft. In short, space behind a vehicle would be made to expand rapidly, thus propelling the craft forward, and without violating Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

In 2011, physicist Harold G. “Sonny” White publicly announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. By altering the Alcubierre Drive, White believes that travel to, say, the nearest star from earth, Alpha Centauri (4.3 light miles away), could be done in two weeks. White presented his hypothesis at the “100 Year Starhip” conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more here.

Artist's rendering of what a spacecraft with an Alcubierre drive might look like

Artist’s rendering of what a spacecraft with an Alcubierre drive might look like


If any of this sounds or looks familiar to Star Wars’ fans, there’s a good reason: The Star Wars prequel films introduced this concept when Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker were shown in their jedi starfighters either flying with, or docking into/out of the hyperdrive docking rings.

Interesting how life imitates art.

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