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Warp drive theories inspire new spaceship design

NASA researcher, Harold Whit,e and Star Trek graphic artist,  Mark Rademaker, have used their expertise to theorize the appearance of a warp drive space ship. The graphics were revealed at a SpaceVision 2013 conference, and have been posted on Rademaker’s Flickr gallery and Facebook account. Rademaker introduced the images as “NASA’s New Design for a Warp Drive Ship,” on an io9 sci-fi website on Tuesday. The graphics immediately sparked interest on the Internet.

“The Flickr views went from 119 yesterday to 2 million today,” Rademaker said.

The futuristic illustrations were designed by Rademaker, a Dutch artist who has frequently produced graphics inspired by the Star Trek Saga. White, on the other hand, has been researching the Alcubierre warp drive, which explores the ways in which spacetime can be manipulated to allow an object to travel faster than the speed of light. Rademaker has studied and revolutionized White’s research, which was done at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

“I could have walked away, but I wanted this to be really good, so I put in an extra three months of spare time, with the new images as the result,” Rademaker wrote NBC News via email.

The artist’s creation, called the IXS Enterprise, was originally contributed to the Star Trek Ships of the Line 2014 calendar. Rademaker decided to take the idea even further and alter the appearance to reflect warp drive capabilities such as a ring-ship design, a structure that might aid an Alcubierre warp drive. These projections have yet to be classified as realistic, however, as scientists have not found a practical way to warp spacetime. However, officials at NASA’s Johnson Space Center reported last year that White and his team could soon create a warp-drive interferometer capable of finding tiny warp bubbles in spacetime.

More information about the project can be gathered from some of NASA’s presentations and papers, and from reading about the 100 Year Starship mission.