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Hyperspace (Also referred to as Slipspace, Witch-space, or The Void) is a collective term for the eleven non-visible dimensions used for faster-than-light travel. Several spacecraft both large and small may utilize Hyperspace to travel between planets and star systems. Hyperdrives remain the single most expensive objects ever created by penguinkind, causing many nations to be blocked from hyperspace from the sheer financial investment in such equipment. For countries that do not (and cannot) produce hyperdrives at a reduced cost, they can be priced hundreds of billions of coins per unit, easily throwing a country into bankruptcy. As of now, only the USA, Shops Island, Snowzerland and Ed Island produce hyperdrives, and the total number of drives in Antarctica does not exceed 30.
Hyperspace is a specific set of eleven dimensions existing in a very small bundle. While these dimensions are present in normal space, they do not have an effect on the physics of normal space. By moving matter from the three 'normal' space dimensions to Hyperspace, one effectively changes the laws of physics for that piece of matter. This allows faster-than-light travel without relativistic side-effects i.e., the occupants do not "warp" time, despite their superluminal speed.
Scientific theories and research on faster than light travel have existed since the early 1900s. The term "Hyperspace" was coined by Walter Rosenberg, an Ed Islandian theoretical physicist who theorized transdimensional travel was not only possible, but could be used to travel faster than light within normal space.
The discovery of teleportation - and by extension the Borderworld - in the mid 1990s only further fueled research into faster than light travel. The string-based short range teleportation is not viable for long distance, potentially interplanetary or interstellar distance. Instead, Hyperspace was viewed as a feasible alternative to dark energy-based long-range teleportation which was not known to be physically possible at the time.
In the year 2008, a multinational team led by Tobias Shaw (an Antarctican scientist) and Wallace Fujikawa (a Japalandese physicist) were able to to successfully implement a device that could transition normal matter into slipstream space, the Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine. While the earliest variants of this device could not break the speed of light, they could consistently travel at or just below lightspeed. This "hyperdrive" as it later became known as, was later adapted by both the USA and Snowzerland in the Race to Mars.
As of 2016, very few countries operate hyperspace drives due to their costly nature. Most space programs operate ion drives utilizing the principles of magnetohydrodynamics in order to reach high subluminal speeds, as the cost is a small fraction of that of a hyperdrive.
Hyperdrive technology continues to be perfected. While faster-than-light travel still has not been achieved, it has been determined by scientists of several nations that it is a question of penguin technology rather than physics.
In order for a spacecraft to access Hyperspace, it must be equipped with a Frame Shift Drive, colloquially known as a Hyperdrive. This drive works by creating a stable wormhole for the ship to enter Hyperspace.
Hyperspace is a tangle of intertwined spatial dimensions, comparably similar to a wadded up piece of paper, which lie underneath the three conventional spatial dimensions of the universe; rather like taking the classic "flat sheet" used to represent gravity and crumpling it up into a ball, thereby creating extra dimensions and shorter spaces between points. Hyperspace can be thought of as the detectable universe (which, technically, it is), but with a greater number of dimensions. Our plane of existence is thought to have four dimensions but hyperspace is an eleven-dimensional spacetime.
The slipstream also possesses different laws of physics than our "normal" universe (having been called "impossible" by some), although some basic ones, such as energy transfer and momentum, remain the same. Due to the different laws of physics in the slipstream, times, masses, positions or velocities in hyperspace are impossible to accurately measure based on the standards of normal space.
Hyperspace is not completely empty; clouds of primordial atomic hydrogen are relatively frequent. Occasionally, even comets and other astronomical objects are known to somehow find their way into slipstream. Objects close to one another such as fleets often group together in mass Hyperspace transit and may appear to sensors as a large, singular object. An object in Hyperspace can pass through a mass, such as a planet, without causing a collision in normal space; such an event may often go completely unnoticed. However, there is still a great danger in performing a Hyperspace jump while within the gravity well of a planet or other object.
Hyperspace appears in a multitude of ways, depending on the speed and power of the Hyperdrive powering it. Some have noted Hyperspace as resembling a purplish nebulae, bluish-white tunnel of lines and quadrilateral figures, a multicolored expanse, or simply solid blackness. This effect does not seem to be tied to any physical properties of the drive, though faster ships tend to see Hyperspace as an empty void.
In addition to having to deal with temporal anomalies, Hyperdrives are not able to jump with exact precision. A ship may transition back to normal space many kilometers from its intended destination. As a result, ships often transition in and out of hyperspace far from any gravity wells of celestial bodies. In-system jumps are also generally considered impractical, even dangerous, due to this lack of precision.
Although they are not present as tangible objects within Hyperspace, the gravitational pull of large masses, such as stars, affects the geometric trajectory of objects traveling in Hyperspace much like it would in normal space. This effect typically distorts and scatters clouds of dust drifting in the slipstream.
It is extremely dangerous for weaponry to be fired in Hyperspace. Energy weapons will be horribly misdirected, and their shots may pop in and out of existence seemingly at random, causing them to be just as dangerous to the shooter as they are to the target.
Additionally, a hyperdrive does not actually "accelerate" a spacecraft through the slipstream; this is performed by the ship's conventional reaction thrusters. Thus, ships with more powerful conventional engines are also faster within Hyperspace.
Hyperspace has been observed to carry many advantages with it that normal space physically could not achieve, leading scientists to develop advanced usages of it other than transport.
- Main Article: Ed Island Teleportation Program
Puffles use a subdimension of hyperspace (or as they sometimes call it, Hammerspace) to store their belongings as an alternative to inventories, as the BOF does not grant them to puffles. This subdimension is not able to be used as a method of transportation by itself, but is theorized to be one of the eleven dimensions present in hyperspace.
In addition to navigational hazards, there was also the difficulty inherent in communicating with a starship while traveling at hyperspeed. Since ships in hyperspace do not exist, in a conventional sense, they are largely cut off from conventional radio or subspace communication, since wavelengths of any signal would be massively distorted even if they reached the vessel. Superlumial communication is theorized to be possible by utilizing constantly-active Hyperspace probes, which would relay a message through the slipstream.
An application of Hyperspace used by Ed Island in particular is the use of its eleven-dimensional spacetime as a platform for abstract fractal housing and processing structures for "smart" artificial intelligence constructs. The extra dimensions grant AIs faster-than-light processing speeds but more importantly, it would give unlimited room for extended neural linkages—by extension, making the AI virtually immortal, free from the limitations of a matrix which normally cause a smart AI to descend to rampancy. As of now, only the Smart AI Myria is housed within Hyperspace.