It may not be as difficult to traverse space and time as we think it is right now.
#149 | POSTED BY DONNERBOY
Our understanding of the universe and its operations is relatively limited. It has been hypothesized that if you can manipulate space, you can also manipulate time to a degree.
Einstein's theory of general relativity presents a four-dimensional space-time fabric in which objects with mass or energy cause a distortion. This distortion creates what we perceive as gravity. If one could create a craft capable of significantly warping this space-time fabric, it could theoretically create a shortcut between two points. This is often illustrated as a sheet of paper: if you draw two points on one side of the paper and then fold the paper over, the two points are now much closer together.
This theoretical shortcut is commonly referred to as a "wormhole." If a craft could create and stabilize a wormhole, it could jump between vast distances instantaneously, seemingly bypassing the speed of light limit established by Einstein's theory of special relativity.
Another concept related to manipulating time and space is the idea of a "warp drive," which again is purely theoretical. Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre first proposed the concept, and it involves a spacecraft creating a bubble of space-time that contracts space in front of it and expands space behind it. Inside this bubble, the spacecraft would be stationary relative to the space immediately around it but could effectively move faster than light relative to the space outside the bubble.
As fascinating as they are, both of these concepts face significant challenges. Creating and stabilizing wormholes or a warp drive would require a type of exotic matter with negative energy density or pressure, something that we're not sure even exists. Additionally, the amounts of energy required would likely be astronomically high, far beyond anything currently achievable.
A Type II civilization on the Kardashev scale can harness and control the total energy output of its host star (the human civilization is estimated to be 0.7 on this scale). This includes all the radiation the star emits and could potentially involve constructions like a Dyson Sphere, a hypothetical megastructure completely encapsulating a star to capture its energy output.
Possessing such a vast amount of energy would mean a Type II civilization has made significant technological advancements beyond our current understanding. With the power equivalent to the output of an entire star, they might theoretically have the resources necessary to experiment with the extreme energy requirements associated with manipulating space-time, such as for creating wormholes or a warp drive.
Wormholes, if they can exist, are predicted to be incredibly unstable, collapsing instantly unless held open by some form of "exotic" matter or energy with negative density or pressure. While this is purely theoretical, and such matter or energy has not been definitively proven to exist, a Type II civilization might have the technological sophistication to either discover or create it.
The concept of a warp drive involves warping space-time in such a way that space behind a spacecraft expands while space in front of it contracts, allowing the craft to traverse vast distances quickly. While not violating Einstein's theory of relativity, this concept would require a similar level of technological sophistication and understanding of physics as would be necessary for stabilizing wormholes.
The abilities of a Type II civilization to experiment with these concepts could potentially extend to exploring parallel universes, if such universes exist, as their high-energy physics might allow them to probe dimensions beyond our own.