While I have blogged before, about the story that NASA has been doing investigation and limited proof of concept experiments in "warp drive", and while I have also blogged about DARPA's goal to have the USA be "warp capable" in 100 years, this story shared by Mr. J.K. caught my attention because of one significant detail which is the occasion for today's "high octane speculation." Granted, the story has been around for a few years, but this one little detail, if true, adds something very unusual and potentially significant to it.
The story, datelined March 24th of this year, is, as I have said, not new. Searching for "Harold Sonny White" or "Warp Drive" on this website will pull up those earlier articles and blogs for you; there are quite a few. See particularly:
The article with which we are presently concerned, however, states this:
In 2010, NASA physicist Harold White revealed that he and a team were working on a design for this faster-than-light ship, and this is the most recent design of what such a ship might actually look like. As you can see in the image, the ship rests between two enormous rings, which create the warp bubble.
This too, is not new news, for indeed, the slide shown in the article is, if my memory serves me correctly, from one of Dr. White's slide presentations summarizing the work he is doing for NASA in the area. The "ship" with its ring-like engines has been shown before, in various configurations, and by Dr. White.
What is new here is a detail mentioned in the very next paragraph. And when I say "new", again, I am basing this on memory: I do not recall this detail being mentioned elsewhere, or in previous articles in which I have blogged about this story. It may indeed have already been mentioned, but at the time, I did not appreciate its significance. If it was not previously mentioned in any article about NASA/DARPA's warp drive research, then a little more of the veil has been pulled back.
In either case, the detail is significant in my opinion:
Artist Mark Rademaker worked on the project with White. In the release, Rademaker asserts that he spent over 1,600 hours working on the design. The ship is called the IXS Enterprise, and it is meant to fit the concept for a Faster Than Light ship. Mike Okuda also brought input, and designed the Ship’s insignia. (Emphasis added)
What we're being asked to believe is that 1600 hours was spent in artistic design. I can believe that, truly, for such design can be time consuming. But what I'm really wondering here is what Mr. Rademaker may have been working off of: clearly, the one feature common to Dr. White's presentations and to this most recent version are the "circular engines." The concept, in other words, is consistent over time. It is this feature, plus the amount of time Mr. Rademaker spent with it, which suggests to me that besides doing limited proof of concept experiments in the area, actual design studies are already being made, based upon Dr. White's modifications to Alcubierre's equations. The design, we are told, is meant to fit the concept, and this suggests the concept is much further along in terms of the practicalities and layout than meets the eye.
Let that one sink in for a moment: the basic design concept has - at least of this moment - been ascertained, time consuming designs are being done to the point of getting artist's renditions. This implies not just sketches, but blueprints, computer-aided-design printouts, studies, commentary, and so on.
And all of it is, of course, very very secret.
All of this is very very speculative, and based on a rather close parsing of the words of the article. But the bottom line is, those words are very suggestive.
And all of this, in turn, requires lots and lots and lots of money... missing money, perhaps...
See you on the slip side...