Interstellar space travel has been the dream of NASA scientists and science fiction fans for decades, and now it’s one step closer to reality thanks to this new concept design from the brainiacs responsible for the United States' space-exploration program.
New pictures emerged this week of a futuristic looking vehicle dubbed The Enterprise (in an obvious nod to Star Trek), a spacecraft that if built could travel between stars and galaxies at roughly the speed of light. Warp factor 5, if you please, Mr. Sulu.
Dr. Harold White, who works on ion engines and plasma thrusters (and has a much cooler resume than I do), came up with a series of equations that would, theoretically, allow a vessel to travel faster than the speed of light. We hear the science guys in the back – they’re all shouting about Einstein’s rule that we can’t travel faster than the speed of light. They’re right, but White and NASA are looking to circumnavigate the rules by figuring out how to make the Alcubierre Drive – which allows a warp drive ship to shorten distances by “bending” space around the vessel without changing the speed locally – feasible. Don’t ask us to explain any of this beyond that.
Of course, even if White and NASA have figured out how to get us safely to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, we’ll probably never actually go. First off, no one seems all that interested in funding NASA these days, and building something like a giant spaceship with a warp drive that looks like it came right out of Star Wars (can it do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs?) would assuredly cost huge amounts of money. Second, this sort of warp drive would require obscene amounts of power – probably way more than we have currently. Too bad – we were all ready to become a modern version of Captain Kirk and enroll at Starfleet Academy. Maybe our great grandkids can do that instead.
MORE FROM AROUND THE WEB: