The new update has far less empty space than the first concept model, making it more efficient overall. Work is still ongoing, and obviously neither the spacecraft nor the warp-drive technology exists at this point.
A warp drive requires a lot of energy,
An Alcubierre drive relies upon a dual ring structure made of extremely dense exotic matter that surrounds a central pod where the crew and cargo reside. When supplied with enough power, the Alcubierre drive can create a bubble of stable space around the craft while warping it in front and behind. This would allow the ship to move at sub-relativistic speeds, but cover incredible distances in real space.
The ship would eventually be able to get us to Alpha Centauri, which is over 4 light years away, in about two weeks’ time. According to SPLOID, White claims that would be accomplished without “tidal forces inside the bubble, no undue issues, and the proper acceleration is zero. When you turn the field on, everybody doesn’t go slamming against the bulkhead, which would be a very short and sad trip.”
Energy requirements have also come down sharply, from Alcubierre’s initial calculation that planetary-sized power sources would be required to more recent data that suggests we could build a ship with a power source the size of Voyager 2 — if we can create the necessary effect at the appropriate scale.
ixspreparation2 by yard2380, on Flickr
[Edited 2014-06-11 14:33:08]