NASA’s Concept Design for a Warp Drive Ship

In 2012, physicist Harold White announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a hypothetical faster-than-light spaceship. He stunned the aeronautics world back then with his theoretical findings on advanced propulsion, and has done so again with the unveiling of new 3D renders of the concept ship:

NASA's Warp Ship Concept

What a beauty. These images were rendered by digital artist Mark Rademaker with artwork and inputs from graphic designer Mike Okuda (who are not surprisingly, STAR TREK aficionados). Sleek and awesome design with components described with such exciting terminology. Pretty neat stuff NASA, but please don’t tear open any terrestrial wormholes while generating your negative vacuum energy experiments. Real-world proof-of-concept is great but not at the expense of getting eaten alive by telekinetic aliens, thank you very much. 😛 I like how you read that and knew I was joking. I just think it’s unfortunate that many people wont see the same improbability in these awesome pictures.

Cool images and cool ideas being discussed by some of the world’s smartest minds is a wonderful thing, but the key word from any article on the topic of faster-than-light-travel should be the words ‘hypothetical’ and ‘theoretical.’ I love science fiction, but I don’t use it to sugarcoat my expectations of reality. I love ideas about the fabric of our universe for what they are, but I don’t believe anyone alive in this century will unlock the mysteries of space enough to traverse its unknown vastness; unless someone unbelievably clever develops a way to create atoms to fuel from thin air / light

I have no idea about the mass of this ship, but being pragmatic; say a model of it weighs 500 kg and this is what we want to send through warp space, from my understanding (and I don’t understand much), the mass-energy equivalent of that 500 kg, requires 250 kg of antimatter combined with 250 kg of matter for the warp-bubble to happen, and the current cost of producing 1 gram of antimatter is close to $100 trillion! It would take the collective income of the world over 40 years to produce $2.5 quadrillion dollars worth of antimatter needed to turn this ship’s warp engine on. The word ‘feasible’ doesn’t quiet cut it. To clarify; when matter and antimatter collide, their mass is converted to kinetic energy in keeping with Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence formula, E = mc2.

Whatever your thoughts are on interstellar travel, there is no denying that it is thanks to STAR TREK that the word “warp” is now practically synonymous with faster-than-light travel. Well played, science fiction, well played.

Second from the right

Second ship from the right — Matthew Jefferies’ 1960 concept of the ‘XCV-330 Enterprise’
“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” (1979)

Cool pictures; 100%. Current, real-world probability; 1%. Sorry to be so negative. The positive side of this story however is that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration‘s findings are never for naught; and science fiction is fucking awesome!

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~ by Fionnlagh on June 17, 2014.

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