Physicist Harold White has been working on a real-life warp drive concept that was revealed publicly back in 2012, but as the idea has progressed towards (hopefully) eventual reality, the “Enterprise” ship has seen a really impressive redesign.
The new design is as much for practicality as it is for looks, according to White. The original’s two giant rings — which would generate a space warping bubble and allow the Enterprise to break the rule that nothing can travel faster than light — were positioned offset from the ship’s main module.
However, that would mean wasting energy by generating a much larger warp bubble, so the ship was redesigned to put the bulk of the ship inside the ring. (It doesn’t hurt that it also takes inspiration from the fictional Enterprise with the bridge disc.) You can see the rest of the ship’s sleek design in 3D artist Mark Rademaker’s Flickr album.
The ship would eventually be able to get us to Alpha Centauri, which is over 4 light years away, in about two weeks’ time. According to SPLOID, White claims that would be accomplished without “tidal forces inside the bubble, no undue issues, and the proper acceleration is zero. When you turn the field on, everybody doesn’t go slamming against the bulkhead, which would be a very short and sad trip.”
Yeah, it would be much better if the trip was short and everyone arrived intact. To hear White explain more about the warp drive and the ship’s design, watch his talk at Spacevision 2013.
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