Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fact Follows Fiction

Hey, remember that last Star Trek tv show? The one that was a ‘predecessor’ to the Original Series, and thus to all of the Star Trek shows? Earth had just built its first warp-drive spaceship, and sent Capt Archer out to explore the galaxy with a Vulcan First Officer.
I recently stumbled across a news article that pretty much blew my mind and made me think of that show. It seems NASA scientists are designing a warp-drive space ship. Yes, the disk-shape that is so familiar to Trek fans is part of the design. And yes, it is called Enterprise. The IXS Enterprise, to be exact.

I’m not sure how well they can design a warp-drive ship when they haven’t figured out warp drive yet. How much room will they need for engines / warp drive, and how will that equipment need to be distributed around the ship?
In the meantime, scientists are working on warp drive. They think they’ve found a possible ‘loophole’ in the Law of Relativity (which says you can’t go faster than light.) I can’t really explain this ‘loophole’ because the physics are way over my head, but just the thought that they are exploring the possibility is exciting!
Of course, this isn’t the first time that the fiction of Star Trek has become real life fact. If the first ST show hadn’t had those cute flip-top communicators, we might not have cell phones. Their electronic ‘clip-boards’ might well be a predecessor of ipads and ereaders. Cloaking devices? Almost perfected, although not yet ready to be used on starships. And 3-d printers could be a step toward replicators.
Next week - or maybe next month - I expect to hear that some scientist thinks he can make transporter beams. Although, I’m kind of with Dr McCoy on that one. I’m not sure I want my atoms ripped asunder and then reassembled in a new place.

How about you? What science fiction technology would you like to see them start on?

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