And speaking of interstellar spacecraft...

In 2012, NASA physicist Harold White revealed that he and a team were working on a design for a faster-than-light ship. Now he’s collaborated with an artist to create a new, more realistic design of what such a ship might actually look like.  See the images in his Flickr gallery.

Pretty.  Probably downright impossible… but pretty.

I hate to say “downright impossible,” being a man of science and all that.  But I’m also a practical man, and a realist; and so many of the things that would make this ship work are based on theoretical properties of theoretical particles that arise if they can be manipulated in theoretical ways…

It’s as if I postulated:

1. IF there were ghosts;

2. IF the ghosts of musicians all hung out in the same part of Heaven (assuming that they are all in Heaven);

3. IF I could communicate with that particular part of Heaven;

4. IF I could ask those ghosts to compose a beautiful piece of music for us on Earth;

5. IF the ghosts weren’t too busy doing other stuff they can do in Heaven (feasting, drinking, lounging, sex, haunting musicians who are better than they were, etc) to honor my request; and

6. IF I could then receive their music and play it on Earth;

…THEN we’d have ourselves a damned fine piece of music.

And we can’t even prove there are ghosts.

Bottom line: No, I don’t believe it’s possible for humans to traverse space at or faster than the speed of light; and any speed less than that is pretty pointless, considering the distances involved.  So the spacecraft design above may be great for a future movie or TV show—I think it makes for a cool-looking space freighter—but I don’t believe it will ever be workable.

But don’t fret: So far, no one’s proven that there aren’t any ghosts…