Because some scientists have have jobs where they can sit around and speculate about the effects a sci-fi series' spaceship would have on the universe (I'm jelly!), researchers at the University of Sydney have decided that Star Trek's warp drive would destroy the universe. Me? I'm convinced with a big enough laser anybody could destroy the universe.
...Space is not just an empty void between point A and point B... rather, it's full of particles that have mass (as well as some that do not.) What the research team -- led by Brendan McMonigal, Geraint Lewis, and Philip O'Byrne -- has found is that these particles can get "swept up" into the warp bubble [when traveling faster than light] and focused into regions before and behind the ship, as well as within the warp bubble itself.
When the Alcubierre-driven ship decelerates from superluminal speed, the particles its bubble has gathered are released in energetic outbursts. In the case of forward-facing particles the outburst can be very energetic -- enough to destroy anyone at the destination directly in front of the ship.
"Any people at the destination," the team's paper concludes, "would be gamma ray and high energy particle blasted into oblivion due to the extreme blueshifts for [forward] region particles."
Meh, who cares if you kill everyone at your destination? It's not like that wasn't the plan anyways. Kill everybody, deplete their natural resources, and move on. It's the circle of
life the future. DUM DUM DUM!
Warp Drives May Come With a Killer Downside [universetoday]
Thanks to Mr. Spork and Mutty, who're convinced if they just renamed the warp drive something less intense maybe its effects wouldn't be so extreme. Now THAT -- that's what I call thinking with science.