THE WORMSHIP: A DARK ENERGY RAMJET – Engineering, SETI Detectability, and Implications for Cosmic Expansion
S. Baxter. (2021), JBIS, 74, pp.56-63
In this paper a tentative dark energy ramjet design, the wormship, is proposed. Dark energy is a still poorly understood cosmological phenomenon which appears to be driving an accelerating expansion of the universe. Its density is very low, but it is all pervasive, and so suggests itself as a useful fuel for a ramjet craft. This is highly speculative, and depends on the nature of dark energy. Indeed it may prove to be impossible in principle to tap dark energy in this way. But if it could be built, such a vessel would be well suited to journeys in intergalactic space, and indeed between galactic clusters, where alternate potential fuel media, baryonic and dark matter, reach very low densities. Suggestions as to the SETI detectability of such craft are given. Further – again depending on the physics – if the technology were adapted to support self-replicating machines designed to convert the dark energy into baryonic or dark matter equivalents, perhaps on very long timescales the dark energy component could be removed from spaces on the scale of superclusters. The purpose would be to mitigate cosmic expansion and thus increase the mass-energy available to future civilisations on very long timescales. Again, the result might be SETI-observable.