The Alcubierre warp drive is an exotic solution in general relativity. It allows for superluminal travel at the cost of enormous amounts of matter with negative mass density. For this reason, the Alcubierre warp drive has been widely considered unphysical. In this study, we develop a model of a general warp drive spacetime in classical relativity that encloses all existing warp drive definitions and allows for new metrics without the most serious issues present in the Alcubierre solution. We present the first general model for subliminal positive-energy, spherically symmetric warp drives; construct superluminal warp-drive solutions which satisfy quantum inequalities; provide optimizations for the Alcubierre metric that decrease the negative energy requirements by two orders of magnitude; and introduce a warp drive spacetime in which space capacity and the rate of time can be chosen in a controlled manner. Conceptually, we demonstrate that any warp drive, including the Alcubierre drive, is a shell of regular or exotic material moving inertially with a certain velocity. Therefore, any warp drive requires propulsion. We show that a class of subluminal, spherically symmetric warp drive spacetimes, at least in principle, can be constructed based on the physical principles known to humanity today
The Alcubierre drive, Alcubierre warp drive, or Alcubierre metric (referring to metric tensor) is a speculative warp drive idea based on a solution of Einstein's field equations in general relativity as proposed by theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre during his PhD study at the University of Wales, Cardiff, by which a spacecraft could achieve apparent faster-than-light travel if a configurable energy-density field lower than that of vacuum (that is, negative mass) could be created.
Two-dimensional visualization of an Alcubierre drive, showing the opposing regions of expanding and contracting spacetime that displace the central region
Rather than exceeding the speed of light within a local reference frame, a spacecraft would traverse distances by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it, resulting in effective faster-than-light travel. Objects cannot accelerate to the speed of light within normal spacetime; instead, the Alcubierre drive shifts space around an object so that the object would arrive at its destination more quickly than light would in normal space without breaking any physical laws.
Although the metric proposed by Alcubierre is consistent with the Einstein field equations, construction of such a drive is not necessarily possible. The proposed mechanism of the Alcubierre drive implies a negative energy density and therefore requires exotic matter or manipulation of dark energy. If exotic matter with the correct properties cannot exist, then the drive cannot be constructed. At the close of his original article, however, Alcubierre argued (following an argument developed by physicists analyzing traversable wormholes that the Casimir vacuum between parallel plates could fulfill the negative-energy requirement for the Alcubierre drive.
Another possible issue is that, although the Alcubierre metric is consistent with Einstein's equations, general relativity does not incorporate quantum mechanics. Some physicists have presented arguments to suggest that a theory of quantum gravity (which would incorporate both theories) would eliminate those solutions in general relativity that allow for backwards time travel (see the chronology protection conjecture) and thus make the Alcubierre drive invalid.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive