An “hyperspace” engine that could make interstellar space travel a reality by flying into other dimensions is being investigated by the US government.
The hypothetical device could potentially allow a spacecraft to travel to Mars in three hours and journey to a star 11 light years away in just 80 days.
The engine would create an intense magnetic field that, according to ideas developed by Burkhard Heim in the 1950s, would produce a gravitational field and result in thrust for a spacecraft.
Also, if a large enough magnetic field was created, the craft would slip into a different dimension, where the speed of light is faster. Switching off the magnetic field would result in the engine reappearing in our current dimension.
The US air force has expressed an interest in the idea and scientists working for the American Department of Energy – which has a device known as the Z Machine that could generate the kind of magnetic fields required to drive the engine – say they may carry out a test if the theory withstands further scrutiny.
Professor Jochem Hauser believes that a working engine could be tested in about five years.
“But this thing is not around the corner; we first have to prove the basic science is correct and there are quite a few physicists who have a different opinion,” warned the scientist.