Friday, 18 May 2012 02:08
May 18, 2012
Devotees of Star Trek are sometimes known for their borderline obsession with the long-running television and film series. One engineer recently showed his undying devotion to the science fiction institution by meticulously developing an ambitious – and some could say ill-conceived – plan to construct a manmade version of the one of the show's most enduring symbols.
Popular Science reports that an as-yet unidentified engineer has launched an online campaign calling for the construction of the U.S.S. Enterprise, a vessel that served as the roaming headquarters of such iconic figures as James T. Kirk and Spock. While the ship was capable of feats that broke the laws of physics, the engineer, known only as BTE Dan, contends a replica spacecraft could rely on a host of engineering tools to boldly go where no man has gone before.
In an interview, the ambitious engineer largely swatted away concerns about the scope of such a project. He said that construction of the Enterprise would take approximately 20 years, and he posited that scientific advancement over the course of the next two decades would enable the ship to travel to Mars in only 90 days.
"Mainly I have tried to show feasibility by scaling up technologies that have already had quite a bit of research done on them," he said. "Where possible I show the calculations for scaling things up to show feasibility. For example, you can scale up the masses of the systems in proposed missions to Mars such as for a mission using an ion propulsion engine. So you scale everything up, like the on-board nuclear reactor to power the engines, and so on, and you can arrive at a ship the size of the Enterprise."
The technical principles underlying the engineer's proposed design are sound, scientists noted. However, one of the most significant obstacles to actually building a spacecraft more than 3,000 feet in length is the cost, which BTE Dan estimates at $1 trillion. Amid ongoing budget deficit talks in Washington, the project is not likely to gain traction.
Still, scientists have embraced the site, BuildTheEnterprise.com, if not for its plausibility then for its attention to detail. BTE Dan, who claims to have more than 30 years experience as an engineer, lays out a meticulous plan for designing the Enterprise on his site.
While he expounds on the intricacies of design and the future of engineering research in an interview on his site, BTE Dan's response to critics embodies the very essence of the Star Trek mythology: "Live long and prosper."
|< Prev||Next >|