This is the amazing design for NASA’s Star Trek-style space ship, the IXS Enterprise


NASA engineer and physicist Harold White announced a few years ago that he was working on a potentially groundbreaking idea that could allow space travel faster than the speed of light. Yes, like in “Star Trek.”

And now, to boldly go where no designer has gone before, Mark Rademaker — who is collaborating with White — has created a CGI design concept for the “warp ship.” They’re calling it the IXS Enterprise.

“We wanted to have a decent image of a theory conforming Warp ship to motivate young people to pursue a STEM career,” Rademaker said in an e-mail interview. “It does have some Sci-Fi features that might never transfer to a possible final design, unless we really want to.”

A warp ship such as the IXS Enterprise could allow travel to interstellar space in a matter of weeks rather than, say, centuries. And the science behind why it might be possible is truly mind-boggling.

An over-simplified explanation is that the concept seeks to exploit a “loophole” in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity that allows travel faster than the speed of light by expanding space-time behind the object and contracting space-time front of it. Io9 explains more:

Essentially, the empty space behind a starship would be made to expand rapidly, pushing the craft in a forward direction — passengers would perceive it as movement despite the complete lack of acceleration.



For this one, we’re REALLY going to need a lot of :popcorn:


As I always thought during the trekkie days, you’re one speck of dust in your path away from total destruction!

Goona take a lot of additionaltech before this works, but its fun to speculate.

Personally, I would be pushing the star trek medical facilities, more achievable and helpful to humanity…


In my best Scottish-accented English: “Laddie, what do ya’ think the deflectors are for? I canna guarantee the engines wont explode but we ain’t gonna let a wee bit-o-dirt hurt 'ya”


I researched this for a school project last year. The theory and design was in fact first proposed by a French physicist in the 80’s, but further research and development into the idea came to a halt when it became clear how laughably unfeasible it was.

As stated, the design doesn’t actually involve faster than light travel. It doesn’t depend on a loophole in Einstein’s relativity but is theoretically possible because of it. We know from relativity that space isn’t constant–along with time it expands and contracts depending on the matter or energy withing in it. Being able to manipulate this ourselves–to effectively contract space between two points of travel, either requires impossible amounts of energy or utilization of matter with negative mass, which may not exist.

In other words, while it might work well for motivating young people, don’t hold your breath.


Dang it, Style, I’m a doctor (of pharmacy), not an engineer


I can’t resist being the first to say it: “Beam me up, Scotty!” :smiley:


Ok, add deflectors to the list of inventions needed (also inertial dampeners…)

This ainna gonna be no picnic laddie! :smiley:


Yes, a lot of things would be needed to keep humans aboard safe from the effects of such travel. One episode of Voyager had Tom Paris break the transwarp barrier only to have him evolve into another life form. :rolleyes: It’s more likely that people would be “spam in a can” without protection from the forces that would be exerted on the human body. Still, it was once believed that man couldn’t go past 30 MPR without dying, and many thought man would never fly, but adventurers proved them wrong. Still, this isn’t simply a matter of mere speed or of navigating air currents, it’s physics on a whole other level.


I’m normally in support of a more aggressive space program, but the costs to even do feasibility studies on this would be inestimable.


We humans tend to be more creative than reality will let us be, aren’t we? In ancient times man dreamed of flying, of being like the gods in power. We’ve come a long way technologically, but we’re generations, if not centuries away from anything like this. I can’t see NASA or anyone else doing feasibility studies at this time–not when it just can’t be done until and unless we know a great deal more than we do.


It would be great to see such a space ship come to fruition but I think we have a long way to go before we see a space ship of this nature.


Well Star Trek is set (depending on which series we are talking) 150-350+ years in the future, so we have a while.


look back just 100 yrs to see how much we have changed, fast forward 100 yrs, I bet we would not recognize many of the common things in that time!

Really, they just need the next big ‘leap’ forward in technology to make all this stuff happen, like when computers technology jumped ahead fairly quick, cell phone technology, vehicles, etc. There are more than a few secret R&D labs out there, doing all kinds of crazy things, Im sure they are more advanced than they let the public know about. Who knows what they can really do. I heard a mechanical engineer from NASA once say, “if you have seen it in any sci fi movie, we probably already have done it in deep black R&D labs”, the trick is making these things practical for public use without giving them ‘too much’ technology.


Sounds like the premise for the TV show Eureka to me. :wink:



Might there be someone named Cochran on the team? Just sayin’.




I once did a bit of research into how much antimatter would be needed to propel a starship the mass of the Titanic to 5% the speed of light enabling it to reach Alpha Centauri in about 87 years. Answer: about 50 tons. It would, according to a 1999 estimate by NASA, cost about $62.5 trillion to produce a gram of antihydrogen, So the total cost of the required antimatter would be $62.5 trillion x 1000 000 x 50 = $3125 quintillion. The combined economies of the Earth could not produce a fraction of the necessary fuel.

Antimatter is the only fuel with a mass/energy ratio sufficiently high to supply the kind of power needed to propel a starship to the incredible speeds necessary whilst remaining compact enough to be feasibly stored on the ship.


Fascinating .


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