Last month, Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan unveiled his next science-fiction blockbuster.
Called Interstellar, it envisages a future where travel to other stars is not only a possibility but a necessity, and tasks actor Matthew McConaughey with leading the main mission.
But a Nasa scientist claims such a mission isn’t necessarily just something reserved for science fiction – and has revealed a Star Trek-style ship that could make interstellar travel a reality.
Dr Harold White is famous for suggesting that faster than light (FTL) travel is possible.
Using something known as an Alcubierre drive, named after a Mexican theoretical physicist of the same name, Dr White said it is possible to ‘bend’ space-time, and cover large distances almost instantly.
This, in essence, would allow a spaceship to travel almost anywhere in a tiny fraction of the time it would take a conventional spacecraft.
The ship in Nolan’s Interstellar movie, as well as those in Star Trek, employ a warp engine.
And, in a series of new renders, Dr White reveals how a real spacecraft dubbed the IXS Enterprise could do the same thing.
The images are based on the artist who created the original look for the famous USS Enterprise ship from Star Trek – Matthew Jeffries.
To make the latest renders Dr White employed the help of artist Mark Rademaker and graphic designer Mike Okuda.
Although the speed of light is seen as an absolute, Dr White was inspired by Miguel Alcubierre, who postulated a theory that allowed for faster than light travel but without contradicting Einstein.
Alcubierre’s theory was published in 1994 and involved enormous amounts of energy being used to expand and contract space itself – thereby generating a ‘warp bubble’ in which a spacecraft would travel.
Allowing space and time to act as the propellant by pulling the craft through the bubble would be like stepping on an escalator.
Despite Dr Alcubierre stating his theory was simply conjecture, Dr White thinks he and his team are edging towards making the realm of warp speed attainable.
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