Two years after announcing that he had begun research on a faster-than-light ship, a NASA scientist has revealed renderings of what the warp drive might actually look like (via io9).
The resulting drawings, a collaboration between NASA physicist Dr. Harold White and artist Mark Rademaker, are pretty wild.
Dr. White’s warp-drive ship would function based on concepts first presented in 1994 by Mexican theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre. According to Alcubierre, a craft can cover great distances at high speed in a “warp bubble” by expanding the space behind it while contracting the space in front of it.
The design shows a ship surrounded by two giant rings, which would create the “warp bubble,” according to io9.
Since it is impossible for an object to actually reach the speed of light in normal time space, the NASA warp drive would simply deform the space around the ship so that it can make to its destination before a light in normal space can do so, thus creating the semblance of faster-than-light travel.
At this point, faster-than-light travel is just theoretical. But these gorgeous designs give us plenty of food for thought about the future of space travel.
The ship has been given the name IXS Enterprise.
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