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RE: starship-design: Zero Point Energy

Walker, Chris writes:
 > </Inserts tongue into cheek/>
 > So maybe one method would be to have a drive based around a singularity. I
 > remember an episode of ST: TNG ("Timescape") which mentioned that Romulan
 > ships are powered by artificial singularities...maybe they figured this out
 > ;)

A drive powered by evaporation from a small black hole isn't that
physically untenable.  The problems are that "small" is still the mass
of a mountain or so, and that you have to keep feeding the black hole
continuously or it will evaporate completely and blow up your ship.

 > Seriously though, if Hawking radiation means that negative energy can exist,
 > isn't that good news for the Alcubierre drive? I suppose we just have to
 > figure out how to create -ve energy, if indeed we ever can.

You really should see the January 2000 _Scientific American_ article.
Negative energy can exist, but only temporarily, and the negative energy
densities needed for the original Alcubierre drive or the newer
"lightweight" version are very, very difficult to form.