Saturday, June 14, 2014

NASA's Advanced Propulsion Team - IXS Enterprise

A spaceship set inside two dumbbells fore/aft.  This is the shorthand description of Harold White's starship vision.

Artist Mark Rademaker has created some stunning computer generated images of what NASA physicist Harold White has in mind for a real warp drive vessel.

Harold White is the head of NASA's Advanced Propulsion Team and he recently spoke about his conceptual starship design at a conference last year.  But new interest in the project reached new heights with Mark Rademaker's images of what White's starship will look like.

Rademaker said that creating the images took over 1,600 hours to create.

As a tip of the hat to Star Trek fans, Harold White has named his starship fittingly enough "the Enterprise" - although in this case, its the IXS Enterprise.

The SpaceVision 2013 Space Conference took place last November in Phoenix, Arizona.  And it was here that White talked about his design.  The concepts that went into it.  The theory of a special loophole in general relativity that will allow for the idea of generating a "space wrap."

Quoting the CNN edition article:  ...White described space warps as faraway galaxies that can bend light around them. They work on the principle of bending space both in front of and behind a spacecraft. This would essentially allow for the empty space behind the craft to expand, both pushing and pulling it forward at the same time. The concept is similar to that of an escalator or moving walkway.

"There's no speed limit on the expansion and contraction of space," White said at the conference. "You can actually find a way to get around what I like to call the 11th commandment: Thou shall not exceed the speed of light."  end quote.

This an outgrowth of physicist Miguel Alcubierre who in 1994 was first to theorize a mathematical model of a wrap drive that would allow for the bending of space and time.

The wrap drive that White and his team are working on "would literally transcend space," thus shortening the distance between two points and allowing the craft to break the speed of light barrier.  Thus, there will be no speed limits for spaceships.

While existing technology will not allow for the construction of the IXS class of starship - yet, Harold White based his design on EARLY concept drawings by Matthew Jeffries 1965 designs of the Enterprise from the future "Star Trek" tv series.  Quote:  In his design, White says he drew from Matthew Jeffries' 1965 sketches of the Enterprise from "Star Trek," saying parts of that ship were mathematically correct. He worked with Rademaker and graphic designer Mike Okuda to update the math and produce what he believes to be a viable spacecraft. end quote.

1.  "What an Enterprise! NASA physicist, artist unveil warp-speed craft design" by Caitlin Schmidt. June 12, 2014.  (
2. Mark Rademaker images that went with the article.