A NASA scientist and a renowned graphic artist have teamed up to produce designs for a vessel that may someday allow human beings to travel the universe and beyond in a first-of-its-kind warp drive spacecraft faster than light.
Impressive illustrations of the work-in-progress — NASA’s New Design for a Warp Drive Ship” — made their way to the web this week while NASA researcher Harold White and Dutch artist Mark Rademaker continue to fine-tune the concept behind a type of craft that may actually be able to travel faster than the speed of light.
White, a physicist for the aeronautics administration that has been studying a faster-than-light propulsion concept for years, has previously gone public with his research concerning a craft capable of that sort of travel. As far back as 2011, in fact, he attracted the attention of other scientists by publishing a report that set out to prove the feasibility of the F-T-L propulsion concept. Now for the first time, his cohort has come up with designs that begin to show the sort of spacecraft they’re striving to create.
Rademaker, who has in the past been known to produce graphics inspired by the Star Trek television series, told NBC News that he has been studying the research White has been doing at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and felt determined to come up with a viable concept worth showing the public.
“I could have walked away, but I wanted this to be really good, so I put in an extra three months of spare time, with the new images as the result,” Rademaker NBC in an email.
In a matter of one day this week, Rademaker said, copies of the designs posted on his Flickr account garnered more than two million views.
And true to the Star Trek concept, the team says the latest blueprints are for a spacecraft they’ve dubbed the “Enterprise.”
"My own designs for the most part followed these guidelines. I do put research in things like era, events in the Trek timeline, plausible registry numbers and specifications of a ship. I put about three months of research in theXCV-330Ringship that Matt Jefferies sketched in the 1960s. I was asked to convert that sketch/blueprint as a 3D CGI model, I wanted it to look spot on,” the artist told CNET.
Speaking to io9, Rademaker said his latest design “includes a sleek ship nestled at the center of two enormous rings, which create the warp bubble” that would, in theory, make White’s F-T-L propulsion plan possible.
“Essentially, the empty space behind a starship would be made to expand rapidly, pushing the craft in a forward direction — passengers would perceive it as movement despite the complete lack of acceleration,” io9’s George Dvorsky added in his report.
“White speculates that such a drive could result in ‘speeds’ that could take a spacecraft to Alpha Centauri in a mere two weeks — even though the system is 4.3 light-years away.”
“Perhaps a Star Trek experience within our lifetime is not such a remote possibility,” White said previously of his plans.