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SpaceX's Elon Musk and Friends Look to the Far Future: Engage Warp Drive!

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk. Credit: SpaceX photo

What will the far future look like? For actor Will Smith and his son Jaden, the next generation could mark a "tipping point" for the environment. For futurist Ray Kurzweil, solar power is the solutionto our energy ills. But for a look at the really far future, turn to Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. He's already thinking about spreading out from Earth to other planets — and engaging the warp drive to get to other star systems.

"There's some potential, even though it sounds science-fictiony, for warp drive to work," Musk said on Tuesday during a Google+ Hangout to publicize "After Earth," Smith's upcoming movie. "Technically, to warp space such that you're traveling at the speed of light, but you've warped space so that space is actually traveling."

Musk was referring to recent studies updating the "Star Trek" conception of warp travel, in which a whole region of the space-time continuum zips along at faster-than-light speeds. Researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center say the idea isn't as crazy as it sounds, and they're trying to create space-time perturbations on a microscopic scale.

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