Zoom, Zoom, Zoom: Gorgeous Warp Ship Design Delights The Internet

by Elizabeth Howell on June 11, 2014

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Artist's impression of the IXS Enterprise, a warp ship. Credit: Mark Rademaker

Artist’s impression of the IXS Enterprise, a warp ship. Credit: Mark Rademaker

“Let me take you on a little trip … we’re gonna travel faster than light,” the Kinks sang 42 years ago. Well, maybe this was the warp ship they were dreaming of.

Howard White (who we can confirm was a NASA employee as late as 2013) has a vision for a warp-drive ship that he’s been working on for a few years. White, whose biography describes him as the advanced propulsion theme lead for NASA’s engineering directorate, recently released his new vision of the spaceship in collaboration with artist Mark Rademaker. The result is gorgeous. More pictures below the jump.

As for how realistic his concept is, as non-physicists it’s tough for us to evaluate. Essentially, White is proposing some modifications to this warp drive concept by Miguel Alcubierre, which would create a zone of warped space time in front of and behind the spaceship to get it to move quickly. But White has been making the professional and media circuit in recent years touting his theories, and they are getting attention.

For more information on White’s theories, check out this research paper on NASA’s Technical Reports Server and this 2012 story in io9, where he was interviewed and explained his thinking back then. Also view the video below the pictures. Let us know what you think in the comments!

(h/t io9)

Artist's impression of the IXS Enterprise, a conceptual warp ship. Credit: Mark Rademaker

Artist’s impression of the IXS Enterprise, a conceptual warp ship. Credit: Mark Rademaker

Artist's impression of the IXS Enterprise, a conceptual warp drive ship. Credit: Mark Rademaker

Artist’s impression of the IXS Enterprise, a conceptual warp drive ship. Credit: Mark Rademaker

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Jason Major June 11, 2014 at 4:51 PM

I see he didn’t forget the lens flares!

Jeffrey Boerst June 13, 2014 at 1:03 AM

LMAO! Huzzah!

rc davison June 12, 2014 at 7:17 AM

Gee, it looks like a warp-driven space ship as much as the USS Enterprise, Romulan Warbird and Klingon Battle Cruiser do, but wait, they’re only science fiction!

As an exercise in imagination it’s great, but until you have a warp-drive engine sitting in your lab, you have no idea what kind of vessel you will need to build around it. Let’s hope NASA didn’t spend too much of our tax dollars on this.

Drunk Vegan June 12, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Actually NASA hasn’t spent any money on this, it’s more of a hobby at this point. If you want to complain about waste, you should focus on their real project, the SLS, which is a rocket that is going to take $20 billion to develop, take 20 years before its first launch, has no actual purpose beyond vague theoreticals at this point, and never needed to be built in the first place because private industry already has a comparable rocket (The Falcon Heavy, which cost about $400 million to develop and only took 6 years, and didn’t cost the taxpayers anything).

The only purpose of the SLS rocket is to provide kickbacks to the industries in the Senators in states that already had NASA facilities.

Olaf June 12, 2014 at 2:01 PM

That is no excuse to make it an ugly looking spacecraft.
You get more funding if you make it a sexy spacecraft.

Olaf June 12, 2014 at 1:58 PM

The kerbals already built a real one:
http://imgur.com/a/GyiBt

Jeffrey Boerst June 13, 2014 at 1:05 AM

Go KSP!!

Aqua4U June 14, 2014 at 1:11 AM

This video got me wondering what a passing warp drive signature might look like? Would it appear as a moving bubble of distortion? Distorting and/or magnifying distant objects or light? Got warp drive artifact streaks in any of your images?

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