Summary of “Warp Drive Research Key to Interstellar Travel”

The text “Warp Drive Research Key to Interstellar Travel” was written by Mark Alpert and published as an article in the Scientific American.

The author starts off with the history of the fictional warp-drive engine, which is a really important piece of technology in the Star Trek Universe. For example, it enables the famous starship Enterprise to travel faster than light.

This technology however is currently investigated in the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The head of the advanced propulsion program there, Harold White, works on an experiment with only $50,000 funding for this project. If it is successful, it may provide clues for the development of a device, that could warp space time. With the help of this device, faster-than-light travel could be possible. This is important, because the only spacecraft, that left our solar systems until now, would need about 70,000 years to reach any nearby star. With a warp-drive the amount of time needed to get to another star system would shrink down to mere weeks.

Voyager I is the name of this probe that has left our system behind. It was originally send out by NASA to study Jupiter, Saturn and their moons.

Because many people share the enthusiasm for interstellar travel, organisations were created, that explore more realistic means of space travel, which come with their own unique challenges. One of them is Icarus Interstellar, which is looking into nuclear fusion propelled craft. Their problem is mainly that nuclear fusion is not yet fully developed, despite being researched since 50 years.

Interstellar travel itself comes with a myriad of problems. For example there is space dust, which doesn’t sound dangerous at all, but becomes quite lethal at high or even relativistic speeds. Spacecraft need protective plating to withstand those impacts. Additionally, deceleration is needed to arrive safely at a destination. Therefore, additional fuel is needed.

Regardless of the challenges, research into interstellar travel is still ongoing. The exploration of other star systems or even earth like planets is said to be essential to the survival of mankind. If humanity is spread out across multiple worlds, planetwide calamities, like asteroid impacts or a nuclear war, are less likely to wipe out all human beings.

2 thoughts on “Summary of “Warp Drive Research Key to Interstellar Travel”

  1. Josi says:

    Hi Norman,
    I really liked that you paraphrased the text in a very reader-friendly way and followed the structure of the original text. Well done 🙂
    One very small advice: You have some unintended typos (e.g. ist, astroid or likley) that could have been avoided with the usage of a spelling check programme. But ITs don’t use Word, right…? A spell checker might be worth it for your thesis. Or just re-read the text in case you didn’t ^.^
    Then you wrote “since 50 years” (5th paragraph). I do not often comment on English language rules, but as I am also doing that mistake from time to time: “since” is used for a specific point in time, “for” is used for a time span. So either you write “since 1966” or “for 50 years”.
    Just very small points, I really enjoyed reading it! And btw, your summary was the only one so far that had an introductory sentence and mentioned the author in the next paragraph. Thank you!

    Greets and have a nice weekend,

    • Norman says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Josi. 🙂
      I had a lot of single sentences and paragraphs and changed their order really often until I found ways they fit together. This took far too long for my taste, so I skipped the proof reading part. Sorry about that.
      I do my homework for this course in a program like word (Libre Office Writer), but I didn’t change the spell checker to English, yet. Next time I will have less typos. 🙂
      About the language rules: I would like you to point some out from time to time. Maybe not every rule I ignored by accident at once. That could turn out to be depressing. 😀
      Btw, I was surprised about how little I know about summaries. I am pretty sure I wrote a few dozen of those things in school. The introductory sentence and the tense were the only things I remembered. I wasn’t even sure if I should mention the author at all.

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