Assuming the Alcubierre drive can be made to work, there are issues with it, like the creation of black holes and white holes in front of/behind the ship. There is also the having to be on tracks probably thing. Also the field ends up having cosmic ray particles pushed along with the ship which get ejected at the target destination. That being the case it seems like a really impractical FTL, but assuming these are all true, would they hold true for a warp track that went slower than light? And would you need a special vehicle to use it? Could you just step in it and be rushed to your destination without problem, or could you get away with a simple capsule?

Basically I'm suggesting using a Warp bubble track, with at maximum the need of a capsule to ride in, that you'd use for travel around a city, planet, or possibly even a solar system. Would there be problems with it, so long as you keep it under FTL, assuming all the possible problems of the warp bubble do happen?

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    $\begingroup$ I think this is more a question about physics than anything (how would a STL Alcubierre Drive work) $\endgroup$
    – SJuan76
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ @SJuan76 Maybe, I just had this idea a few years ago. It came to mind again so I asked because I was curious is all ^.^ $\endgroup$
    – Durakken
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ You need to exploit various kind of exotic matters that probably only exists as mathematical expressions, and given their volatile nature they can be difficult to contain. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 5:31

1 Answer 1


The model of Alcubierre sublight travel proposed here could be used for interplanetary travel, so you travel around the solar system. However, the collateral effects of an Alcubierre highway for travel inside cities or on planets could do serious damage to the surrounding real estate. Sequentially having spacetime expanding and contracting will do that to material structures. This does include the ground itself, buildings and people.

It seems reasonable to assume that an Alcubierre vehicle will still pile up matter and energy including cosmic rays in front of it. Stopping without harming or destroying your destination is easy. Make sure the Alcubierre capsule stops at a point where the pulse of accumulated mass energy when it is released will miss its destination. For example, if you travelled from Venus to Neptune by Alcubierre capsule, either stop to one side of or just beyond the planet Neptune.

As maximum speed, the Alcubierre highway only has to calibrated for travel at a reasonable speed. Within a solar system, this doesn't need to right up close to lightspeed it just needs to be sufficiently close to enable travel times to be convenient to get your travellers there without too much time wasting.

Alcubierre highways connecting the inner planets, because they are light minutes part and up to fractions of a light hour. The inner planet Alcubierre highways only need to run at most one third of lightspeed, but mainly can be slower. That means Earth to Mars trips, when Earth and Mars at their furthest apart, of around one hour.

Alcubierre highways connecting the outer planets will need be calibrated for much faster fractions of lightspeed, for example 90% of lightspeed. These trips will typically take several hours.

Urban, interurban or planetary surface Alcubierre travel is definitely too hazardous. Interplanetary transportation by Alcubierre highway, around the solar system, although conditions will apply, provided care is taken when and where the capsules stop, is feasible.

  • $\begingroup$ I thought he radiation build up was more due to traveling at FTL speeds. I know there is Hawking Radiation that is produced from the supposed black/white hole which I assume is caused by FTL and so I'd think without the FTL no Black/White hole thus no Hawking radiation... and the particle/ray build up i assumed wouldn't happen at smaller distances and in atmospheres or at least not significantly... $\endgroup$
    – Durakken
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ I can't claim to be absolutely certain about the radiation accumulation, but I decided to play safe and assume that it can happen at sublight speeds too. The contraction phase would crush ordinary matter like air down into something resembling pure radiation. This is a somewhat not insignificant traffic hazard. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 5:15

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