This is what the ship that allows us to explore the galaxy will look like, according to NASA scientists.
The concept is still in the very early experimental stage, but if these 3D renderings are anything to go by, we’re already SO FREAKING EXCITED.
Dr Harold “Sonny” White is working on the warp drive program at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, and came up with this concept with 3D artist Mark Rademaker, Jesus Diaz reports for Sploid. You can see more of their amazing images here.
As Rademaker explained to io9, the design involves “a sleek ship nestled at the center of two enormous rings, which create the warp bubble”.
White has spent his career working on ways to propel spacecrafts to faster than the speed of light, and this model would do so by bending the space around it, making the distance shorter.
This means, Diaz writes, that the Enterprise wouldn’t break Einstein’s theory of relativity, as within its little bubble it wouldn’t be moving faster than light.
And it turns out, White and his team are closer to this goal than you might think.
As Gizmodo explains, they’ve already starting experimenting with tiny warp bubbles:
Working at NASA Eagleworks—a skunkworks operation deep at NASA's Johnson Space Center—Dr White's team is trying to find proof of those loopholes. They have "initiated an interferometer test bed that will try to generate and detect a microscopic instance of a little warp bubble" using an instrument called the White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer.
White believes that if his work is successful, it will create an engine that could get us to Alpha Centauri in two weeks. He's created the road map below of steps that need to be taken.
OK Dr White, we’re in.
Watch a fascinating talk by White given at the SpaceVision 2013 conference below.