Humans far in the future have found a way of manipulating the fabric of space. They use this ability to hair advantage in warfare by inventing a sort of a bow and arrow in space. What I mean by that is that they use the fabric of space as a bow and pull it back then they "let go" and allow it to warp back to normal and push the projectile forward at amazing speeds.

The question

Is such a weapon scientifically sound and not too hand wavish? And if such a weapon is, how might I make it different to be more realistic?

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    $\begingroup$ Theoretically yes, but warping spacetime is significantly more difficult and energy-intensive than just building a battering ram with rockets attached to the back and accelerating it to half the speed of light. Really, it'd see more use as a shock and awe weapon than anything practical, assuming you're not using it to launch black holes at people or something. Plus engineering such a precise deformation of spacetime would require a lot more fine control compared to a relatively simple warp bubble (and calling that "simple" is a lie that'd get you laughed out of Congress) $\endgroup$ – Z.Schroeder Oct 14 '16 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ What kind of punctuation mark is two dots before the “IN”? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Oct 15 '16 at 1:44
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    $\begingroup$ “hair advantage” means the bearded army gets more hit points? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Oct 15 '16 at 1:45
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    $\begingroup$ Taking the rubber sheet analogy too far. $\endgroup$ – ApproachingDarknessFish Oct 15 '16 at 3:36
  • $\begingroup$ are you asking about micro black hole? or a Photon torpedo a.k.a alcubierre warp drive carrying payload? or a hypothetical cosmic string? (I seriously doubt you can pluck it) or Gravitino? (superpartner of force carrier responsible for gravity why because it is heavier) or casimir-Polder wormhole something featured in the film "Interstellar"? (regrettably I slept through most of it) or damn it I'm running out of space... $\endgroup$ – user6760 Oct 15 '16 at 4:40

Your Spacebow (Probably) Doesn't Work

Such a process isn't scientifically possible by any science we know of. However, there are some hypothetical models based on relativity that do similar things. Like enable FTL travel via warp drive engines.

The problem here is that "warping space" just moves the object with respect to something else by adding or removing space between the two objects. To my knowledge, it doesn't add or subtract momentum from the object in question. So when you release your spacebow, the projectile will simply return to its original position and sit there.

Another Form of Spacebow

An actual bow and arrow will work just fine in a vacuum. In fact, they'd work better in a vacuum since they aren't slowed by air resistance (so they hit the target with as much momentum as they left the bow, as opposed to normal arrows that slow down with distance). But really, it seems kind of silly for a group of people capable of warping space to be using primitive weapons for anything but sport.

Still, if you just want it to be cool, there's nothing wrong with a half-mile megaspacebow made of some kind of carbon nanotube springs that launches a projectile at relatively high speeds.

Just realize that it's not nearly as effective as putting a couple tons of conventional rocket fuel behind it.

Gravity Bows

Something done defensively in Killing of Worlds is gravity hills. This involves artificial anti-gravity (also not scientifically possible under current theories, but remotely plausible for future science), where they create these areas of intense anti-gravity around their ship, so incoming projectiles "climb the hill" until they lose most or all of their momentum.

You could potentially drop a projectile down the "hill" and accelerate it to high speeds this way, but the energy would undoubtedly be better spent just accelerating the projectile through more conventional means. However, I could see it being used defensively, then the ship just dumps a few hundred tons of ball bearings in front of the gravity generators to blow holes through the opposition.

Now, relativity models gravity as a form of space warping. Under this model, antigravity would be a way to warp space "the other direction". I don't know nearly enough about relatively to say more than that, but it sounds less hand-wavey than your spacebow. Although not necessarily as cool.

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Space doesn't actually work like a flexible rubber sheet and "snap back" if it is twisted or bent.

However, one possibility you might consider instead is the use of warp drives for weapons. As noted in here, Alcubierre drives may have a tendency to pick up and blueshift the cosmic rays it encounters during its travel, and when it stops the energized radiation is released in a cataclysmic blast.

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Another way to interpret your space bow is the Alcubierre Warp Drive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive

In the case of the Alcubierre Drive its a space ship that warps itself to great speeds, but I don't see why you couldn't use that method to shoot a huge projectile instead.

Another advantage of this is that when something is sent into warped speed this way it unleashes a huge amount of energy when it slows to a stop. That explosion could be your destructive element, but the projectile itself should be enough.

The major problem with using this method is that you'd need MASSIVE amounts of energy, and its got to be NEGATIVE energy too! Probably more trouble than it's worth. But lets assume your futuristic society has hand wave science for that.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't see how this is significantly different from stellatedHexahedron's answer $\endgroup$ – bendl Apr 25 '18 at 19:06

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