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Warp Speed Tests: NASA Advanced Propulsion Names Latest Model 'Enterprise' After Star Trek

First Posted: Jun 22, 2014 04:01 PM EDT

NASA has not developed warp speed capability, but the agency is closer to it with the artistic rendering of a warp drive spaceship unveiled this month.

An artistic rendering of a spaceship with a warp drive may get NASA closer to reality than it was in 2012. Artist Mark Rademaker drew the ship and even named it "IXS Enterprise," The Verve reported. The IXS Enterprise is similar to the "Star Trek" Enterprise, as well as NASA's real-world space shuttle. Rademaker worked closely with NASA's Harold "Sonny" White to come up with the visual concepts of the IXS Enterprise.

Click here to see Rademaker's breathtaking artwork.

White has been working on the warp drive concept since 2010. He heads NASA's Advanced Propulsion Team, and he spoke about the conceptual starship at a conference last fall, CNN reported. Rademaker based his drawings on White's designs, which showed a high level of technological detail.

Rademaker spent more than 1,600 hours drawing and detailing the aesthetically pleasing and realistic artwork.

White, like Rademaker, is excited about not only the artistry, but also the science. At the 2013 SpaceVision Space Conference in November in Phoenix, Arizona, White expanded on his design, its concepts and the technology's breakthroughs since 1994, CNN reported.

At the conference, White discussed space warp, calling it a loophole in the theory of general relativity that would allow massive distances to be traveled quickly, thus decreasing space travel time from millenia to days, CNN reported.

White has called space warps "faraway galaxies that can bend light around them." They could also bend space behind and ahead of a spaceship, expanding the spacecraft backward and forward at the same time, like an escalator or moving walkway.

Rademaker's spaceship design idea came from White, and White's idea came from Miguel Alcubierre. In 1994, Alcubierre theorized a mathematical model for a warp drive that could bend space and time; while studying Alcubierre's equations, White came up with his own reimagined version of the Alcubierre Drive, which is in the drawing, CNN reported.

Amid the warp drive talk, NASA says there's no evidence a warp drive can exist -- but it's going forward anyway.

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