Is it Possible to Travel via Hyperdrive?

This Summer, I finally sat down and decided to watch all of the Star Wars movies. I absolutely fell in love with these films, and now regard them as some of my favorite movies of all time. One question I frequently wondered while watching these films was if achieving hyperdrive is possible. Just like how Han Solo uses hyperdrive to go into light-speed on the Millennium Falcon, I wondered if scientists in the future could make this possible too. If so, it would certainly make travel through space a lot easier, and possibly even help us reach places we never thought we could.

Chewbacca, C-3PO, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) aboard the Millennium Falcon as it navigates through an asteroid belt. © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Chewbacca, C-3PO, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) aboard the Millennium Falcon as it navigates through an asteroid belt. © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

In order to answer the question of whether achieving hyperdrive is possible, we first must understand what exactly hyperdrive is and how it works. The official Star Wars wiki page describes that hyperdrive essentially allows ships to travel faster than the speed of light to reach other galaxies and planets. In order to achieve this, a ship would need a working hyperdrive motivator. From there, hypermatter particles are released that essentially cause the ship to propel across the universe at the speed of light. Since all of this is pure fiction, actual science isn’t necessary in explaining how it works; but some scientists may have a few theories that can lead to the development of similar technology. 

According to , studies in Physics proposes that alternative and quicker routes through space are a possibility—notably, the wormhole. A wormhole allows space to essentially fold over in itself to make point A to point B next to each other, instead of on opposite sides of a given plane. I think the movie Interstellar did a solid job explaining how wormholes work.

I do believe wormholes are a missing link to reaching hyperspace, and traveling at the speed of light. If we are able to travel through wormholes from point A, and reach point B immediately, that is essentially the same thing as Han Solo entering hyperdrive and reaching Tatooine in the blink of an eye. Both methods are taking a shortcut that occurs instantaneously. So could unlocking the secrets of a wormhole help us to achieve hyperdrive? Possibly. But for now, this is all just theory and speculation.

According to NBC News, fans at the Star Wars Celebration in Florida asked representatives from NASA to build a hyperdrive that will allow people to travel at the speed of light. Joseph Tellado, a logistics manager for the International Space Station, admitted that first NASA would need to develop better propulsion systems before attempting to develop complex and intricate technology like a hyperdrive. And while the reality of a hyperdrive is not currently tangible, NASA has been researching ways to make the hyperdrive a reality. Probes such as the Deep Space 1 and Dawn missions utilized advanced propulsion systems, intensified by ion engines that allowed them to move faster than ever before. It may be a small step, but every stride leads us closer to a reality of a future of traveling at the speed of light.

While wormholes are certainly a possibility, a more realistic action would be for NASA to further develop and enhance technology that allows things like probes, and even space ships to accelerate at a rate that is much faster than currently possible. So, for now, achieving hyperdrive is not possible.  But who knows what the future will bring. Maybe in the next 50 years we will have achieved that technology, and be able to traverse across the galaxy, just like Han Solo and Chewbacca.

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