Hyperspace

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Hyperspace is another term for the higher dimensions of string theory and it's also used as a superluminal method of traveling between star systems in science fiction. It is typically described as an alternative "sub-region" of space co-existing with our own universe which may be entered using an energy field or other device. [1] In most fiction, hyperspace is described as a physical place that can be entered and exited. Once in hyperspace, the laws of general and special relativity do not behave in the same way when compared to normal outer space, allowing travelers though hyperspace to go great distances without being physically present in normal space and taking less time, measured from normal outer space, to travel said distance. Because of these properties of hyperspace, matter accelerating in hyperspace can exceed the speed of light with out being converted into energy allowing hyperspace travelers to travel faster than light. "Through hyper-space, that unimagineable region that was neither space nor time, matter nor energy, something nor nothing, one could traverse the length of the Galaxy in the interval between two neighboring instants of time." [2] Hyperspace is a part of the universe where time can be traveled just like normal space's distance. This allows faster-than-light travel which is necessary to have practical outer space travel.

String theory theory in physics

In physics, string theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. It describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other. On distance scales larger than the string scale, a string looks just like an ordinary particle, with its mass, charge, and other properties determined by the vibrational state of the string. In string theory, one of the many vibrational states of the string corresponds to the graviton, a quantum mechanical particle that carries gravitational force. Thus string theory is a theory of quantum gravity.

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. It often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.

Universe Universe events since the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago

The Universe is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. While the spatial size of the entire Universe is unknown, it is possible to measure the size of the observable universe, which is currently estimated to be 93 billion light-years in diameter. In various multiverse hypotheses, a universe is one of many causally disconnected constituent parts of a larger multiverse, which itself comprises all of space and time and its contents.

Astronomical distances and the impossibility of faster-than-light travel pose a challenge to most science-fiction authors. They can be dealt with in several ways: accept them as such (hibernation, slow boats, generation ships, time dilation – the crew will perceive the distance as much shorter and thus flight time will be short from their perspective), find a way to move faster than light (warp drive), "fold" space to achieve instantaneous translation (e.g. the Dune universe's Holtzman effect), access some sort of shortcut (wormholes), utilize a closed timelike curve (e.g. Stross' Singularity Sky ), or sidestep the problem in an alternate space: hyperspace, with spacecraft able to use hyperspace sometimes said to have a hyperdrive.

A generation ship, or generation starship, is a hypothetical type of interstellar ark starship that travels at sub-light speed.

Time dilation actual difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers either moving relative to each other or differently situated from gravitational masses

Time dilation is a difference in the elapsed time measured by two clocks, either due to them having a velocity relative to each other, or by there being a gravitational potential difference between their locations. After compensating for varying signal delays due to the changing distance between an observer and a moving clock, the observer will measure the moving clock as ticking slower than a clock that is at rest in the observer's own reference frame. A clock that is close to a massive body will record less elapsed time than a clock situated further from the said massive body.

Warp drive hypothetical and fictional faster-than-light technology

A warp drive is a theoretical superluminal spacecraft propulsion system in many science fiction works, most notably Star Trek and I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. A spacecraft equipped with a warp drive may travel at speeds greater than that of light by many orders of magnitude. In contrast to some other fictitious FTL technologies such as a jump drive, the warp drive does not permit instantaneous travel between two points, but rather involves a measurable passage of time which is pertinent to the concept. In contrast to hyperdrive, spacecraft at warp velocity would continue to interact with objects in "normal space." The general concept of "warp drive" was introduced by John W. Campbell in his 1931 novel Islands of Space.

Detailed descriptions of the mechanisms of hyperspace travel are often provided in stories using the plot device, sometimes incorporating some actual physics such as relativity or string theory.

Physics Study of the fundamental properties of matter and energy

Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its motion and behavior through space and time, and that studies the related entities of energy and force. Physics is one of the most fundamental scientific disciplines, and its main goal is to understand how the universe behaves.

Theory of relativity physical theory

The theory of relativity usually encompasses two interrelated theories by Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. Special relativity applies to all physical phenomena in the absence of gravity. General relativity explains the law of gravitation and its relation to other forces of nature. It applies to the cosmological and astrophysical realm, including astronomy.

Early depictions

Though the concept of hyperspace did not emerge until the 20th century, stories of an unseen realm outside our normal world are part of earliest oral tradition. Some stories, before the development of the science fiction genre, feature space travel using a fictional existence outside what humans normally observe. In Somnium (published 1634), Johannes Kepler tells of travel to the moon with the help of demons. From the 1930s through to the 1950s, many stories in the science fiction magazines, Amazing Stories and Astounding Science Fiction introduced readers to hyperspace as a fourth spatial dimension. Kirk Meadowcroft's "The Invisible Bubble" (1928) [3] [4] and John Campbell's Islands of Space (1931) features an early reference to hyperspace. [5] In John Buchan's Ruritanian romance novel The House of the Four Winds (1935), the young Scotsman John "Jaikie" Galt is said to know "...less about women than he knew about the physics of hyperspace."

Oral tradition form of human communication wherein knowledge, art, ideas and cultural material is received, preserved and transmitted orally from one generation to another

Oral tradition, or oral lore, is a form of human communication wherein knowledge, art, ideas and cultural material is received, preserved and transmitted orally from one generation to another. The transmission is through speech or song and may include folktales, ballads, chants, prose or verses. In this way, it is possible for a society to transmit oral history, oral literature, oral law and other knowledge across generations without a writing system, or in parallel to a writing system. Religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, for example, have used an oral tradition, in parallel to a writing system, to transmit their canonical scriptures, secular knowledge such as Sushruta Samhita, hymns and mythologies from one generation to the next.

<i>Somnium</i> (novel) science fiction novel by Johannes Kepler

Somnium is a novel written in 1608, in Latin, by Johannes Kepler. The narrative would not be published until 1634 by Kepler's son, Ludwig Kepler. In the narrative, an Icelandic boy and his witch mother learn of an island named Levania from a daemon. Somnium presents a detailed imaginative description of how the Earth might look when viewed from the Moon, and is considered the first serious scientific treatise on lunar astronomy. Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov have referred to it as one of the first works of science fiction.

Johannes Kepler 17th-century German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer

Johannes Kepler was a German astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer. He is a key figure in the 17th-century scientific revolution, best known for his laws of planetary motion, and his books Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae. These works also provided one of the foundations for Newton's theory of universal gravitation.

Writers of stories in magazines used the hyperspace concept in various ways. In The Mystery of Element 117 (1949) by Milton Smith, a window is opened into a new "hyperplane of hyperspace" containing those who have already died on Earth. In Arthur C. Clarke's Technical Error (1950), a man is laterally reversed by a brief accidental encounter with "hyperspace".

Arthur C. Clarke British science fiction writer, science writer, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host.

Hyperspace travel became widespread in science fiction, because of the perceived limitations of FTL travel in ordinary space. In E.E. Smith's Gray Lensman (1939), a "5th order drive" allows travel to anywhere in the universe while hyperspace weapons are used to attack spaceships. In Nelson Bond's The Scientific Pioneer Returns (1940), the hyperspace concept is described. Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, first published between 1942 and 1944 in Astounding, featured a Galactic Empire traversed through hyperspace. Asimov's short story Little Lost Robot (1947) features a "Hyperatomic Drive" shortened to "Hyperdrive" and observes that "fooling around with hyper-space isn't fun". In the 1955 classic Forbidden Planet, the crew is in a hyperspace suspended state during interstellar travel.

<i>Gray Lensman</i> book by Edward Elmer Smith

Gray Lensman is a science fiction novel by American writer E. E. Smith. It was first published in book form in 1951 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 5,096 copies. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Astounding in 1939. Gray Lensman is the fourth book in the Lensman series and the second to focus on the adventures of Lensman Kimball Kinnison.

Isaac Asimov American science-fiction and non-fiction writer

Isaac Asimov was an American writer and professor of biochemistry at Boston University. He was known for his works of science fiction and popular science. Asimov was a prolific writer who wrote or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. His books have been published in 9 of the 10 major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification.

<i>Foundation</i> series Science fiction book series by Isaac Asimov

The Foundation series is a science fiction book series written by American author Isaac Asimov. First collected in 1951, for thirty years the series was a trilogy: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. It won the one-time Hugo Award for "Best All-Time Series" in 1966. Asimov began adding new volumes in 1981, with two sequels: Foundation's Edge, Foundation and Earth, and two prequels: Prelude to Foundation, Forward the Foundation. The additions made reference to events in Asimov's Robot and Empire series, indicating that they were also set in the same fictional universe.

By the 1950s, hyperspace travel was established as a typical means for traveling. Hyperspace is often depicted as blue, pulsing with Cherenkov radiation. Many stories feature hyperspace as a dangerous place, and others require a ship to follow set hyperspatial "highways". Hyperspace is often described as being an unnavigable dimension where straying from a preset course can be disastrous.

In some science fiction, the danger of hyperspace travel is due to the chance that the route through hyperspace may take a ship too close to a celestial body with a large gravitational field, such as a star. In such scenarios, if a starship passes too close to a large gravitational field while in hyperspace, the ship is forcibly pulled out of hyperspace and reverts to normal space. Therefore, certain hyperspace "routes" may be mapped out that are safe, not passing too close to stars or other dangers.

Starships in hyperspace are sometimes depicted isolated from the normal universe; they cannot communicate with nor perceive things in real space until they emerge. Often there can be no interaction between two ships even when both are in hyperspace. This effect can be used as a plot device; because they are invisible to each other while in hyperspace, ships will encounter each other most often around contested planets or space stations. Hyperdrive may also allow for dramatic escapes as the pilot "jumps" to hyperspace in the midst of battle to avoid destruction.

In many stories, for various reasons, a starship cannot enter or leave hyperspace too close to a large concentration of mass, such as a planet or star; this means that hyperspace can only be used after a starship gets to the outside edge of a solar system, so the starship must use other means of propulsion to get to and from planets. The reasons given for such restrictions are usually technobabble, but their existence is just a plot device allowing for interstellar policies to actually form and exist. Science fiction author Larry Niven published his opinions to that effect in N-Space . According to him, such an unrestricted technology would give no limits to what heroes and villains could do. In fact, every criminal would have the ability to destroy colonies, settlements and indeed whole worlds without any chance of stopping him.

Other writers have limited access to hyperspace by requiring a very large expenditure of energy in order to open a link (sometimes called a jump point) between hyperspace and normal space; this effectively limits access to hyperspace to very large starships, or to large stationary jump gates that can open jump points for smaller vessels. These restrictions are often plot devices to prevent starships from easily escaping by slipping into hyperspace, thus ensuring epic space battles. An example of this is the "jump" technology as seen in Babylon 5.

See also

Related Research Articles

Known Space is the fictional setting of about a dozen science fiction novels and several collections of short stories written by Larry Niven. It has also become a shared universe in the spin-off Man-Kzin Wars anthologies. ISFDB catalogs all works set in the fictional universe that includes Known Space under the series name Tales of Known Space, which was the title of a 1975 collection of Niven's short stories. The first-published work in the series, which was Niven's first published piece was "The Coldest Place", in the December 1964 issue of If magazine, edited by Frederik Pohl. This was the first-published work in the 1975 collection.

Superluminal communication is a hypothetical process in which information is sent at faster-than-light (FTL) speeds. The current scientific consensus is that faster-than-light communication is not possible, and to date it has not been achieved in any experiment.

The space opera interstellar epic Star Wars uses science and technology in its settings and storylines. The series has showcased many technological concepts, both in the movies and in the expanded universe of novels, comics and other forms of media. The Star Wars movies' primary objective is to build upon drama, philosophy, political science and less on scientific knowledge. Many of the on-screen technologies created or borrowed for the Star Wars universe were used mainly as plot devices.

Hyperdrive is a name given to certain methods of traveling faster-than-light (FTL) in science fiction. Related concepts are jump drive and warp drive.

In science fiction, a jump gate or alternatively, a stargate, is a fictional device able to create an Einstein–Rosen bridge portal, allowing superluminal travel between two points in space. Several works use this term extensively.

A jump drive is a speculative method of traveling faster than light (FTL) in science fiction. Related superluminal concepts are hyperdrive, warp drive and interstellar teleporter. The key characteristic of a jump drive is that it allows a starship to be instantaneously teleported between two points. A jump drive is supposed to make a spaceship go from one point in space to another point, which may be several light years away, in a single instant. Like time travel, a jump drive is often taken for granted in science fiction, but very few science fiction works talk about the mechanics behind a jump drive. There are vague indications of the involvement of tachyons and the space-time continuum in some works.

<i>Frontier: Elite II</i> 1993 video game

Frontier: Elite II is a space trading and combat simulator video game written by David Braben and published by GameTek in October 1993 and released on the Amiga, Atari ST and DOS. It is the first sequel to the seminal game Elite from 1984.

"Slipstream" is a science fiction term for a fictional method of faster-than-light space travel, similar to hyperspace travel, warp drive, or "transfer points" from David Brin's Uplift series.

The Alliance–Union universe is a fictional universe created by American writer C. J. Cherryh. It is the setting for a future history series extending from the 21st century out into the far future.

Wormholes in fiction wormholes apperances in fictional stories

An Einstein–Rosen bridge, or wormhole, is a postulated method, within the general theory of relativity, of moving from one point in space to another without crossing the space between. Wormholes are a popular feature of science fiction as they allow superluminal interstellar travel within human timescales.

Jump is a fictional technology used by spacecraft in science fiction author C. J. Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe to travel faster-than-light (FTL). Jump can also be a verb, and is the act of travelling FTL using jump technology.

Tachyons in fiction

The hypothetical particles tachyons have inspired many occurrences of tachyons in fiction. The use of the word in science fiction dates back at least to 1970 when James Blish's Star Trek novel Spock Must Die! incorporated tachyons into an ill-fated transporter experiment.

Technology in science fiction

Technology in science fiction examines the possibilities and implications of new technological concepts. Authors have taken, or created, new innovations and technologies, and elaborated on what they might be and how they might be used. This exchange goes in both directions – sometimes the technology appears first in science fiction, then becomes reality and other times the real technology comes first, and science fiction authors speculate about how it might be used, and how it might affect the human condition. Likewise, the accuracy of the technology portrayed spans a wide range – sometimes it is existing technology, sometimes it is a physically realistic portrayal of a far-out technology, and sometimes it is simply a plot device that looks scientific, but has no basis in science. Examples drawn from space travel in science fiction include:

Interstellar travel is a common feature of fiction such as science fiction and fantasy.

Star Light is a science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the October 1962 issue of Scientific American and reprinted in Asimov's 1968 collection Asimov's Mysteries.

References

  1. Westfahl, Gary (2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders. 3. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 404. ISBN   978-0-313-32951-7 . Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  2. Asimov, Isaac (1991). Foundation . N.Y.: Bantam Books. p. 5. ISBN   0-553-29335-4.
  3. The Invisible Bubble title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  4. Jesse Sheidlower, Science Fiction Citations: hyperspace. Last modified 4 June 2009
  5. Stableford, Brian M. (2006). Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. pp. 238–239. ISBN   978-0-415-97460-8 . Retrieved 29 August 2014.

Further reading