The good news is, Italian physicists think it's possible we could travel faster than light by creating a kind of "warp drive," encasing a spaceship in a bubble and warping space, so that space itself travels faster than the speed of light. And the spaceship, safe in its bubble, could "surf" that wave of space. The bad news? The warp drive could turn into a black hole that would incinerate the ship, and suck Earth inside. That's according to physicist Stefano Finazzi of Italy's International School For Advanced Studies:
Finazzi and his colleagues propose creating this bubble of space-time by using a massive amount of "exotic matter," or dark energy. (Exactly how this bubble would be created is still a mystery.) According to their calculations and simplified, it would take a huge amount of energy to create the bubble, and then increasing amounts of energy to contain the highly repulsive dark energy.
Eventually the energy would run out. The bubble would rupture, with catastrophic effects. Inside the bubble the temperature would rise to about 10^32 degrees Kelvin, destroying almost anything on the bubble.
Anyone watching the ship nearby wouldn't be much better off.
"We know that the warp drive will be destabilized," said Finazzi. "But we do not know if it will in the end explode or collapse to a black hole."
Oh well. But it would probably look really cool while it lasted. [Discovery News, thanks Evan!]