Budget cuts and difficult economic conditions have stymied America’s space program over the last couple of years. During that period, we’ve seen the Space Shuttle get mothballed, and plans for manned missions to Mars get put on the back burner, along with other projects that would allow mankind to explore the Universe around us.
But that doesn’t mean the brilliant minds at NASA have stopped dreaming about a potential future in which interstellar travel is a real possibility. Yesterday, they took the wraps off a concept vehicle, that may someday carry us to other star systems. Of course, it is just a 3D rendered design, but it is based on real ideas for what a ship like this could look like in a functional form, as the rocket scientists at the Johnson Space Center continue to work on possible warp drives.
NASA actually has a theoretical scientist by the name of Dr. Harold White whose full time job is to work on future propulsion systems. He spends his days thinking about ion drives and plasma powered rockets that could be used to take astronauts to other planets. His work has even overcome some theoretical issues with potentially even being able to travel faster than the speed of light some day. Of course, that is a long way off at this point, but the ground work has to begin somewhere, and NASA is already thinking in terms of generations in the future, where space travel might become cheap, safe, and very common.
Unsurprisingly, this concept vehicle is named Enterprise, which seems fitting considering its design and inspiration. You can read more about Dr. Whtie’s work, and see further images of this concept spaceship, in this article at Gizmodo. We could be looking at the future of exploration.
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