Feb 24, 2009

The Leibniz Drive

Every aspiring Mad Scientist must invent at least one scheme for an FTL drive. So here's mine.

My proposal does not use any speculative physics, such as wormholes or large amounts of negative mass. It is based 100% on physical laws we know today. What I propose, however, is the application of molecular nanotechnology on a very large scale.

First let's make it clear what we want:

Goal: A galactic empire in which Cpt. Cabonza and his motley crew can travel from Arghra V to Balubius II in one day.

We now add the following insight (which, as far as I know, has not yet the status of a physical law)

Insight: Information cannot travel faster than the speed of light.

We derive a conclusion from that:

Conclusion: Cpt. Cabonza's journey must not carry any information from Arghra to Balubius.

Now we know what we have to do in order to construct a scenario where FTL travel is possible:

Plan: Make physical reality an epiphenomenon of a pre-synchronyzed, parallel, redundant, computing process.
In practice that means each star system consists solely of programmable matter. The surface dynamics of that programmable matter, and that of any star system reachable by FTL drive, is pre-computed in a "hidden layer". To repeat: all connected star systems simulate the whole of the "Empire", but control only the "local" manifestations of physical reality. This includes any inhabitants, sentient or otherwise. Balubius can therefore let Cpt. Cabonza pop out of immaterial nothingness one day after Arghra disassembled him (motley crew and all).
Information coming in from outside the empire to Arghra can potentially break this pre-established harmony. It is therefore necessary to funnel any such information through "gateways", which retain the physical carrier of the information for as long as it takes to disclose the information to all connected system (in the case of a galaxy, ~50.000 -100.000 years). After this time, the carrier is released, and is allowed to interact with the "pre-informed" star systems. This does not mean the carrier has to come to a stop - it just has to cross the gateway region sufficiently below lightspeed. (I just retconned the Zones of Thought!)
I will add a FAQ here as questions come up.