Engineer plans to build real-life version of Starship Enterprise within 20 years
Capt. Kirk explored the universe in the USS Enterprise around the year 2250. But at least one engineer thinks it can be done this century.
Tue, May 15, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Trekkies brace yourselves — this might just be the best news you've ever heard. A systems engineer who purportedly works for a Fortune 500 company has revealed realistic plans to build the Starship Enterprise within 20 years, reports Universe Today.
The detailed plans not only include meticulous blueprints on how to build it, as well as specs about the ship's first series of missions, but they also showcase a plan to get the project funded as part of NASA's budget. You can view the designs and plans by visiting BuildTheEnterprise.org.
So why should we build the Enterprise, other than to satisfy the unrealized dreams of Trekkies everywhere? Well, the intention isn't just to build a model of the Enterprise. This would be a fully functioning starship that would perform practical missions throughout the solar system; For example, it would be a research vessel for visiting other planets.
Because some of the technology showcased in "Star Trek" is still science fiction, such as warp drives and teleportation devices, some necessary altercations had to be made to make the designs feasible. For instance, the ship would be driven by an ion propulsion engine powered by a 1.5GW nuclear reactor, rather than an anti-matter device as it was on the show. Travel distance and time would thus be limited. The ship would take roughly 90 days to reach Mars, and three days to reach the moon.
Also, some of the layout of the starship had to be changed to make the design more practical. For the most part, though, a modern-day Enterprise would look and function much like the fictional version.
"The Gen1 Enterprise will be the same size as future Enterprises or larger. It will have 1g gravity like the future ships and ample comfortable living space. It will have a bridge with 1g gravity where the captain and key crew members will often work," wrote BuildTheEnterprise.org's author, a man who goes by the name of BTE-Dan.
"While things get moved around quite a bit inside the Gen1 Enterprise when compared to the ships from Star Trek, they are not moved around upon a whim. They are moved around because the Gen1 ship’s technological capabilities demand certain changes," he added.
Gravity will be achieved by building a gravity wheel, as showcased in the following animation:
The ship could be capable of hosting hundreds, if not thousands of occupants at a time, which could include visitors and tourists as well as the captain and necessary crew. And BTE-Dan doesn't think we should stop at building just one starship, either. He thinks we should build a whole fleet. According to his plans, one ship could be built every 33 years, or three per century. This will also allow the ship designs to be upgraded as technology advances over time.
While the plan is impressive and appears legitimate, one of the big question marks is the cryptic identity of BTE-Dan himself. He claims to be a systems engineer whose job involves trialing new technologies. He has not responded to emails, however, and the website can be difficult to connect to, frequently timing out.
Even so, it's an exciting vision on par with Elon Musk's plans with SpaceX to mine asteroids and explore neighboring planets. That the plan is inspired by one of the most popular science fiction shows of all time might help it to get funded, but who knows?
And in case you're wondering: there's no word yet on whether William Shatner will be available to be the ship's first captain.