Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis - Campus Access


Physics (PHYS)


The Alcubierre drive, proposed in 1994 by Miguel Alcubierre, suggests that is is possible for a spaceship to travel faster than the speed of light. This is achieved by expanding and contracting space-time behind and in front of the spaceship respectively, while the spaceship remains in a region of flat space-time within the warp bubble. However, Alcubierre's theory, which is based on Einstein's general theory of relativity, has a gap: such speeds can only be obtained with large quantities of exotic matter--matter with negative mass which (with our current knowledge) can only theoretically exist in small quantities. To improve upon this theory, we approach the warp drive idea under the framework of conformal gravity, an extension of Einstein's relativity based on a supposed invariability of the universe's space-time fabric. With a Mathematica program we designed to calculate tensor quantities in both general relativity and conformal gravity, we have observed that the latter does not require exotic matter for a specific choice of the shaping function which describes the form of the warp bubble. These results suggest that if conformal gravity is a correct extension of general relativity, faster-than-light interstellar travel via an Alcubierre metric might be a realistic possibility.