Updated: NASA Shows Off Gorgeous Concept for a Real-Life Enterprise

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Updated: NASA Shows Off Gorgeous Concept for a Real-Life Enterprise

Yes, the theoretical warp-ship is actually named the IXS Enterprise.

Update: Now for your viewing pleasure, a Redditer by the name of Oldnumber007 has recreated the IXS Enterprise inside Kerbal Space Program. He had to use a few mods to do it, but it looks pretty impressive.

Original Story:Despite some arguments to the contrary, NASA is set on keeping its eyes on the stars. With current propulsion technology, placing a man on Mars is a huge endeavor, and anything past that is almost unthinkable. There's a team inside NASA who thinks that that "next step" requires a warp drive. Not only have they started building one, but they've also designed a ship for it.

Dubbed the IXS Enterprise, the concept ship replaces the sci-fi standard warp nacelles with huge rings that projects the warp field. This concept was created by artist Mark Rademaker, who worked closely with NASA to design a ship that fits all our current theories on warp technology.

It's no secret that NASA has been working on a warp drive for many years now. The current theory involves bending space in a way that doesn't actually move the ship so much as all of time and space around it. According to researcher Dr. Harold White, this works by exploiting a possible loophole in the universe. While no objects break the speed of light, the universe around the ship is expanding and contracting at ridiculous speeds. Pulling that off requires astounding amounts of energy, but White and his team think they've found a way to do it more efficiently.

If everything works as planned, the IXS Enterprise could make the 4.3 light-year trek to Alpha Centauri in only two weeks. Since the ship doesn't actually accelerate, NASA doesn't have to worry about turning the crew into chunky salsa, which is always a plus.

If you're interested in learning more about how this warp drive is supposed to work, you can watch this talk by Dr. Harold White, where he goes into all the gritty details.

Source: Mark Rademaker via Gizmodo

Permalink

Warp drive vessel design: Check!

Remotely feasible warp drive design: ...

Even theoretically possible warp drive design that doesn't require not only new technology, but new physics: ...

This needs to be a thing. Before I die. Please.

Also, IXS?! That's only one S off from ISS, or.. the Terran Empire! That does not inspire confidence..

As usual. NASA... toss a bone to the sci-fi fan-crowd and justify your paycheques for another year.

It's getting a little predictable now you guys. It's always concept art of some new design or artists rendition at a speck 500 light years away that may be a planet.

But whatever I'm down with this.

FIrst order of business. FIre everyone at NASA and and close the space program down for 20 years.
Next. All the funds that would have gone into NASA sink it into training teachers and building more schools.
Next. The firstwave graduates are placed and allocated to key areas to create the new maths, materials, biochemistry and compueters needed for the lofty goals.
Lastly Restart NASA.

Pyrian:
Warp drive vessel design: Check!

Remotely feasible warp drive design: ...

Even theoretically possible warp drive design that doesn't require not only new technology, but new physics: ...

About sixty years ago, some very smart people thought that it would never be feasible to build computers smaller than an a house.

That is beyond beautiful. Its so stunning that I am nearly speechless.

BigTuk:
As usual. NASA... toss a bone to the sci-fi fan-crowd and justify your paycheques for another year.

It's getting a little predictable now you guys. It's always concept art of some new design or artists rendition at a speck 500 light years away that may be a planet.

But whatever I'm down with this.

FIrst order of business. FIre everyone at NASA and and close the space program down for 20 years.
Next. All the funds that would have gone into NASA sink it into training teachers and building more schools.
Next. The firstwave graduates are placed and allocated to key areas to create the new maths, materials, biochemistry and compueters needed for the lofty goals.
Lastly Restart NASA.

Better yet:
Shut down the US military. They use almost as many funds in one day as NASA does in a year. Think of the resources the education system and reseach could get for that amount of money.

The current theory involves bending space in a way that doesn't actually move the ship so much as all of time and space around it.

That's... exactly how the Spaceship in Futurama works.

Exactly how it works, and that's quite scary.

Exterminas:
About sixty years ago, some very smart people thought that it would never be feasible to build computers smaller than an a house.

Shall I list the technology they thought we would have, but don't? For I assure you, it vastly outnumbers the one technology that has surprised people with its continual improvement.

Hero in a half shell:

The current theory involves bending space in a way that doesn't actually move the ship so much as all of time and space around it.

That's... exactly how the Spaceship in Futurama works.

Exactly how it works, and that's quite scary.

Uh, that's not scary. The general idea long predates Futurama.

Hm. This sounds familiar.

Are we quite certain it's not going to leap outside the known universe and into another dimension, a "dimension of pure chaos, pure evil?" I'm just sayin', if it returns in a decaying orbit around Neptune do not board to search for survivors.

Elijah Newton:
Hm. This sounds familiar.

Are we quite certain it's not going to leap outside the known universe and into another dimension, a "dimension of pure chaos, pure evil?" I'm just sayin', if it returns in a decaying orbit around Neptune do not board to search for survivors.

I FEEL THE WARP OVER TAKING ME!

OT: Sounds pretty awesome, hopefully nothing goes wrong. Also hope to see something amazing happen in my lifetime if they get this working.

I have been following the stuff related to the Alcubierre drive for a while especially when they found it would be possible without being the size of Jupiter. However wasn't the major problem that it could potentially turn the ship into some kind of devastating space cannon that could wipe out all life, etc at the target destination.

Hero in a half shell:

The current theory involves bending space in a way that doesn't actually move the ship so much as all of time and space around it.

That's... exactly how the Spaceship in Futurama works.

Exactly how it works, and that's quite scary.

Thats exactly what I always think when I read about Nasa's research into this - next stop planet express ship.

Elijah Newton:
Hm. This sounds familiar.

Are we quite certain it's not going to leap outside the known universe and into another dimension, a "dimension of pure chaos, pure evil?" I'm just sayin', if it returns in a decaying orbit around Neptune do not board to search for survivors.

this ship is stunning but where we are going we wont need eyes...

Hopefully we as a species can get some of these things up and running so we can have interstellar colonies sooner rather than later

SerBrittanicus:
I have been following the stuff related to the Alcubierre drive for a while ...

Been following it for a while, myself. It was proposed the last year I was a physics major. :)

The problem with the Alcubierre drive is that it requires negative mass and a shit-ton of energy. The energy we can get. The negative mass? Eh, well, hopefully someone at the LHC can help figure that one out. Anti-Higgs Bosons, anyone?

Addendum: The Wikipedia article yadda yadda unsuitable reference badda bing lookit the math:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive

I'm torn between the idea that this could be wonderful if it worked and a vague concern that a misfire might not wreck the ship, but the universe (or at least the vicinity of Earth.)

I hope whoever is in charge next decides to make the 'economically stupid' decision to set our sights to the stars.

BigTuk:
As usual. NASA... toss a bone to the sci-fi fan-crowd and justify your paycheques for another year.

It's getting a little predictable now you guys. It's always concept art of some new design or artists rendition at a speck 500 light years away that may be a planet.

But whatever I'm down with this.

FIrst order of business. FIre everyone at NASA and and close the space program down for 20 years.
Next. All the funds that would have gone into NASA sink it into training teachers and building more schools.
Next. The firstwave graduates are placed and allocated to key areas to create the new maths, materials, biochemistry and compueters needed for the lofty goals.
Lastly Restart NASA.

How about: keep NASA open, and close down that other thing that costs 1000 times as much, the Pentagon. NASA gets about a billion dollars a year. The Pentagon gets 750 billion dollars a year. So we can kill brown people all around the world. Let's decrease the military budget by 90% and we'll have enough money to pay for everything else including all our debt in about a month. Keep the space program. Get rid of the killers. Oh, and if you're one of those people who actually worry about terrorists? All those terrorists organizations that supposedly hate us were created and trained by the CIA. Yeah.

But, just looking at how we human beings treat each other even this far into the 21st Century, if we do create a working FTL drive, the rest of the universe needs to be very afraid, because we are all insane.

Outcast107:

Elijah Newton:
Hm. This sounds familiar.

Are we quite certain it's not going to leap outside the known universe and into another dimension, a "dimension of pure chaos, pure evil?" I'm just sayin', if it returns in a decaying orbit around Neptune do not board to search for survivors.

I FEEL THE WARP OVER TAKING ME!

OT: Sounds pretty awesome, hopefully nothing goes wrong. Also hope to see something amazing happen in my lifetime if they get this working.

Mankind will finally recognise the True Powers, For the Dark Gods!

K so Im no physicist. But I do have a question for the ones present. So it is impossible for matter to achieve lightspeed let alone FTL. But this warp bubble allows te movement of space around the bubble. Which would allow the ship to arrive faster then light would at the destination. Now the fact that you move from point A to point B. Doesn't that mean you are time traveling in a sense? Time slows down outside of the bubble relative to what is inside. Since the bubble is moving faster. I know it is not actually moving. Space around it is but still... That would slow down time in the space around it? Urgh i gave myself a headache...

Its like a train moving at near lightspeed and then someone in the train runs forward. Time would slow down for that person compared to the other passengers on the train. Wouldn't it? Isn't this the same thing?

Its the reading the letter before you wrote it thing... Please... Someone... Help me

EDIT: does it come with guns? Railguns? Phasers? Photontorpedos?

I'm crying.

Feasible in the near future or not, THIS is why I'm getting a Physics degree, despite the hiccups. And the math. THIS is why I want to be an astronaut, or at the very least a theoretical astrophysicist.

LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS. *sobs*

gridsleep:

BigTuk:
As usual. NASA... toss a bone to the sci-fi fan-crowd and justify your paycheques for another year.

It's getting a little predictable now you guys. It's always concept art of some new design or artists rendition at a speck 500 light years away that may be a planet.

But whatever I'm down with this.

FIrst order of business. FIre everyone at NASA and and close the space program down for 20 years.
Next. All the funds that would have gone into NASA sink it into training teachers and building more schools.
Next. The firstwave graduates are placed and allocated to key areas to create the new maths, materials, biochemistry and compueters needed for the lofty goals.
Lastly Restart NASA.

How about: keep NASA open, and close down that other thing that costs 1000 times as much, the Pentagon. NASA gets about a billion dollars a year. The Pentagon gets 750 billion dollars a year. So we can kill brown people all around the world. Let's decrease the military budget by 90% and we'll have enough money to pay for everything else including all our debt in about a month. Keep the space program. Get rid of the killers. Oh, and if you're one of those people who actually worry about terrorists? All those terrorists organizations that supposedly hate us were created and trained by the CIA. Yeah.

But, just looking at how we human beings treat each other even this far into the 21st Century, if we do create a working FTL drive, the rest of the universe needs to be very afraid, because we are all insane.

How bout we dont' do any of the stupid extreme "solutions" and just you know fund the space program again. Maybe make cuts in a few budgets that are bloated and move some money around. Maybe even go a little international and bring in some EU and Asian countries to help out with costs and Research. Guess they'd just be crazy..

Seriously would be nice to get NASA up and going again as quite frankly people are dubious of it as is due to ignorance and mistargeted ideals. I'd love to see something like this built in my lifetime.

Pyrian:

Exterminas:
About sixty years ago, some very smart people thought that it would never be feasible to build computers smaller than an a house.

Shall I list the technology they thought we would have, but don't? For I assure you, it vastly outnumbers the one technology that has surprised people with its continual improvement.

Hero in a half shell:

The current theory involves bending space in a way that doesn't actually move the ship so much as all of time and space around it.

That's... exactly how the Spaceship in Futurama works.

Exactly how it works, and that's quite scary.

Uh, that's not scary. The general idea long predates Futurama.

I would be very interested in that list, thank you! Could you substract any technologies that were merely considered science fiction at the time?

SerBrittanicus:
I have been following the stuff related to the Alcubierre drive for a while especially when they found it would be possible without being the size of Jupiter. However wasn't the major problem that it could potentially turn the ship into some kind of devastating space cannon that could wipe out all life, etc at the target destination.

From what I remember that's one of the things they believe to have fixed. Hard to tell exactly without a working model, but supposedly fixed! Biggest problem still is the requirement for some sort of negative mass and massive (though seemingly doable) energy requirements.

iseko:
K so Im no physicist. But I do have a question for the ones present. So it is impossible for matter to achieve lightspeed let alone FTL. But this warp bubble allows te movement of space around the bubble. Which would allow the ship to arrive faster then light would at the destination. Now the fact that you move from point A to point B. Doesn't that mean you are time traveling in a sense? Time slows down outside of the bubble relative to what is inside. Since the bubble is moving faster. I know it is not actually moving. Space around it is but still... That would slow down time in the space around it? Urgh i gave myself a headache...

Its like a train moving at near lightspeed and then someone in the train runs forward. Time would slow down for that person compared to the other passengers on the train. Wouldn't it? Isn't this the same thing?

Its the reading the letter before you wrote it thing... Please... Someone... Help me

EDIT: does it come with guns? Railguns? Phasers? Photontorpedos?

From what I remember, there's no time travel involved. Time dilation from extreme speeds wouldn't apply, because the ship isn't moving at high speeds. The bubble around it is...not moving, but changing location would probably be the best description I can think of. The ship thus ends up having changed locations, without moving at fast speeds, so no time dilation, nor time travel.

iseko:
Now the fact that you move from point A to point B. Doesn't that mean you are time traveling in a sense?

The Wikipedia article touches on this. There are basically two schools of thought: 1) Yes, the Alcubierre could be used to create closed timelike curves which would allow travel back in time; and 2) No, quantum effects would prevent this possibility. So, basically, the jury is still out on this one.

abominableangel:

LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS. *sobs*

Very pretty, yes, but completely impractical. :)

With the Alcubierre drive, you're not moving through space, space is moving around you. So the nice, smooth, streamlined design presented here is pointless. You don't have to worry about slipping through the interstellar medium (that 1 hydrogen atom every cubic meter). So an open framework design would be better.

And for the best volume-to-materials ratio, you'd want to build a sphere. Which lends itself to encircling with rings quite nicely.

Human starships will most likely be framework spheres. Peter Hamilton portrayed this quite nicely in his Neutronium Alchemist series.

but what are its weapons capabilities?

Exterminas:

Pyrian:

Exterminas:
About sixty years ago, some very smart people thought that it would never be feasible to build computers smaller than an a house.

Shall I list the technology they thought we would have, but don't? For I assure you, it vastly outnumbers the one technology that has surprised people with its continual improvement.

Hero in a half shell:

That's... exactly how the Spaceship in Futurama works.

Exactly how it works, and that's quite scary.

Uh, that's not scary. The general idea long predates Futurama.

I would be very interested in that list, thank you! Could you substract any technologies that were merely considered science fiction at the time?

The Alcubierre drive concept was first proposed in 1994 but one of the main reasons it has been considered infeasible was because the hypothetical calculations required more energy than the entire solar system was capable of producing (including the sun). It has gained more popularity, now that it has been proposed that a ring designed drive can reduce the energy cost to the annual power production of USA (still huge amount of energy but considerably more feasible than earlier estimates).

P.S.

Can't help myself from humming the star trek theme, while looking at the pictures.

Regardless of the theory, it truly is a gorgeous design. Too bad none of us will live long enough to see anything like it be built.

Inappropriate/racist humor sense tingling...gaaaaah! Phew. Sorry about that. I just realized that two unrelated things are the case: 1) Warp drives have had a number of malfunctions over the many incarnations of the Star Trek series, and have had fictional engineers in the series curse them quite frequently. 2) Miguel Alcubierre is from Mexico, and it would not be entirely incorrect to say that his brilliant warp drive design is of Mexican origin. But again, these two facts are completely unrelated and no cause for humor of any sort. [It hurts. It hurts so bad.]

I might have been looking at something else, but if I recall correctly one major issue with the new design was that even with the size and energy requirement issues dealt with, traveling faster than light using this technology would subject any living passengers to ridiculous amounts of deadly radiation such that they could not possibly survive a trip of any worthwhile duration. Obviously communication would also be impossible in-transit without something on the level of quantum teleportation, and I have absolutely no idea what hopping outside the light cone would do temporally speaking. So, y'know, hurdles to get over. Still amazing and rad science stuff.

Exterminas:
I would be very interested in that list, thank you!

Ironically, human interplanetary space travel was supposed to be common by now. Nuclear household appliances like vacuums. Android servants. Machines that could legitimately pass the Turing test, also ironically. Cure for cancer - and the common cold. Regenerating limbs. Instead of washing, you apply a depilatory each morning and just peel off a layer. ...Ew. Storms would be predicted and destroyed or diverted before they got powerful.

I can't help noticing as I browse that your silly "computers will never be smaller than a house" prediction was NOT the mainstream opinion at all. Programmable kitchen appliances (with punchcards lol - it cracks me up how they predicted all sorts of computing advances but expected them all to be done with punchcards), fax machines, videoconferencing, and pocket cell phones, were all widely predicted in the '50's.

Exterminas:
Could you substract any technologies that were merely considered science fiction at the time?

I did, but I don't agree with those terms. This ship is merely science fiction right now, and for good reason - in addition to the fact that we can't feasibly create the positive-energy part of the wave, it also requires somehow harnessing enormous amounts of negative energy. Pure hypothetical.

I like the look of the ship.

BigTuk:
As usual. NASA... toss a bone to the sci-fi fan-crowd and justify your paycheques for another year.

It's getting a little predictable now you guys. It's always concept art of some new design or artists rendition at a speck 500 light years away that may be a planet.

Yes, because all they do is create concept art. They don't actually do any work.

FIrst order of business. FIre everyone at NASA and and close the space program down for 20 years.

Considering the technological advances which have spun directly out of NASA and space travel, this would be a stupid idea.

Next. All the funds that would have gone into NASA sink it into training teachers and building more schools.

If you think that adding NASA's budget to the US education budget would fix the problems in American schools then you not only don't understand what the education problems in the US actually are, but seem oblivious to the fact that throwing more money at it wouldn't necessarily be the solution. And even if it was, NASA's budget isn't large enough to fix it. You want to trim a budget to fund education start with defense. They already blow billions on things like new tanks which get parked in the desert and never actually used. But I guess trimming the defense budget would require the US government to admit that a huge chunk of it is wasted on being little more than a jobs program for some companies and states and doesn't actually contribute to the security and defense of the US.

Next. The firstwave graduates are placed and allocated to key areas to create the new maths, materials, biochemistry and compueters needed for the lofty goals.

If you close down one of the major government organizations which directly and indirectly creates jobs in those fields, you're going to have fewer people studying to go into those fields. People don't generally study something on the slim possibility that the government which dramatically defunded and crippled their desired profession will suddenly decide to refund it.

Lastly Restart NASA.

Or, you know, don't skip the opportunity for 20 years of exploration and scientific advancement in the vain hope that NASA's meager budget will magically fix education and that people will be attracted to studying to go into a field that will have been gutted and nearly destroyed for two decades.

So...was anyone else curious what that gray square on the side of the ship is covering up? It's "censoring" some kind of logo in the same place in all the pictures.

abominableangel:
I'm crying.

Feasible in the near future or not, THIS is why I'm getting a Physics degree, despite the hiccups. And the math. THIS is why I want to be an astronaut, or at the very least a theoretical astrophysicist.

LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS. *sobs*

Are... Are you me?

Exactly the same reason I'm studying Physics. Though my hiccup is having to repeat the first year, due to some personal issues screwing up the first attempt.

Hey Paramount you keep talking about a new Star Trek TV series well here's your Enterprise ship design so GET ON WITH IT!

iseko:
K so Im no physicist. But I do have a question for the ones present. So it is impossible for matter to achieve lightspeed let alone FTL. But this warp bubble allows te movement of space around the bubble. Which would allow the ship to arrive faster then light would at the destination. Now the fact that you move from point A to point B. Doesn't that mean you are time traveling in a sense? Time slows down outside of the bubble relative to what is inside. Since the bubble is moving faster. I know it is not actually moving. Space around it is but still... That would slow down time in the space around it? Urgh i gave myself a headache...

Its like a train moving at near lightspeed and then someone in the train runs forward. Time would slow down for that person compared to the other passengers on the train. Wouldn't it? Isn't this the same thing?

Its the reading the letter before you wrote it thing... Please... Someone... Help me

EDIT: does it come with guns? Railguns? Phasers? Photontorpedos?

Actually. Yes! The drive system involved in this called the Alcubierre drive only works in this regard where the Einstien equations allow for what is effectivly time travl, however if theories of Quantum Gravity are proven that do not match up to the Einstien field equations then this doesn't work.

Oh and this can actually be used for full scale time travel backwards if it works:

wikipedia:
Calculations by physicist Allen Everett show that warp bubbles could be used to create closed timelike curves in general relativity, meaning that the theory predicts that they could be used for backwards time travel. While it is possible the fundamental laws of physics might allow closed timelike curves, the chronology protection conjecture hypothesizes that in all cases where the classical theory of general relativity allows them, quantum effects would intervene to eliminate the possibility, making these spacetimes impossible to realize

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive

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