For Science!
5 Faster-Than-Light Travel Methods and Their Plausibility

CJ Miozzi | 18 Jun 2014 19:00
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4. Slipstream

The concept of slipstream can be found in such works as Star Trek, Doctor Who, and the Halo video game franchise, but there is no widely-agreed upon definition of what slipstream is or how it works beyond it being a means of FTL. We'll consider the slipstream seen in Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, where it is "not the best way to travel faster than light, it's just the only way," as per the show's protagonist.

Slipstream is a form of interdimensional highway in which ships ride a series of slipstream "strings" - the unseen connections between all objects in the universe. These strings are in constant flux and form a tangled mess of intersections and divergent paths. Any time a pilot reaches a fork in the road, he has to guess which is the correct path to take to continue along toward his desired destination. Before the pilot makes that decision, both paths are simultaneously the correct and incorrect route, and it is the act of choosing a path that forces one to be correct and the other to be incorrect - if this made you think of Shrödinger's cat, that does seem to be the basis for this concept. A computer selects the "correct" path 50% of the time, but due to intuition, a human picks the correct path 99.9% of the time.

Is it plausible?

There are no mainstream scientific theories that support this idea of slipstream. Reading the "lore" of this means of FTL evokes fantastical interpretations of string theory, quantum entanglement, and other concepts in modern physics, but the ideas are supported only through their internal consistency rather than actual fact, much like a well-explained magic system that allows fictional wizards to cast spells.

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