Physicist and artist unveil designs for warp-speed spacecraft

The technology needed to create a faster-than-light spacecraft doesn’t exist yet. Will a spacecraft like this one someday carry humans to the stars?

Credit: Mark Rademaker/Mike Okuda/Harold White/NASA.

What a ship with warp drive might look like. Credit: Mark Rademaker/Mike Okuda/Harold White/NASA.

Outer space is big. Really, really, really big. And that’s why NASA has no plans at present to send a spacecraft to any of the 1,795 known planets (as of June 6, 2014) beyond our solar system. Using current technology, a trip to another star system would take hundreds of thousands of years. But what if we would travel faster than light? A couple of years ago, Dr. Harold “Sonny” White – who leads NASA’s Advanced Propulsion Team at Johnson Space Center – claimed to have made a discovery which made plausible the idea of faster-than-light travel. He’s been working since then to investigate these ideas further, and, this week, he unveiled images of what a faster-than-light ship might look like.

Artist Mark Rademaker based these new designs on White’s theoretical ideas. He said creating them took more than 1,600 hours.

See all the new warp-speed spacecraft designs on this Flickr page.

Daily Kos has a great post about the ideas leading up to NASA’s new warp drive ship design.

NASA has a whole area on its website about faster-than-light travel.

The video below presents Harold White’s talk at the SpaceVision 2013 Space Conference last November in Phoenix. He talks about the concepts behind his design and progress in warp-drive development over recent decades, with the goal of reducing travel times in outer space from thousands of years to just days.

Deborah Byrd