Could we really build Starfleet’s USS Enterprise?

Normally I prefer to ridicule any article written for MSLSD, er MSNBC, because, well, their idiots. But this time they have a genuinely thought provoking article up on their site.

Spaceship Enterprise in 20 years? Beam me up!

By Nancy Atkinson
Universe Today
updated 5/12/2012 12:13:38 AM ET

In Star Trek lore, the first Starship Enterprise will be built by the year 2245. But today, an engineer has proposed — and outlined in meticulous detail — building a full-sized, ion-powered version of the Enterprise complete with 1G of gravity on board, and says it could be done with current technology, within 20 years.

“We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise — so let’s do it,” writes the curator of the Build The Enterprise website, who goes by the name of BTE Dan.

A little background here is perhaps in order. In the 10th grade in high school I started taking college credit physic’s class, by the time I got to college I already had 2 years of college credit physic’s. I spent the first three years of my college experience as a physic’s major. I changed my major after it became painfully obvious that the Three Mile Island accident had pretty much killed the nuclear industry in America. So I switched my minor and major around a ended up with a B.F.A in music.

In 2005 one of my dreams finally came true and I was hired by an Aerospace contractor where I worked on a number of spacecraft, Communications Satellites and other project’s including a number of International Space Station projects. I am a member of an incredibly small fraternity, individuals who have interplanetary graffiti to their credit. That’s right, my name and crude artwork can be found between the layer’s of carbon-fiber composite that hold together various object either in orbit, such as the robotic grappler arm on the International Space Station or the petals on the landing platform of the Mar’s Rover Spirit .

Was I a fan of the Television Series “Star Trek”, absolutely, was I a Trekie? No, not by a long shot. Am I an advocate of manned space exploration, you bet your life I am. Unlike some people I fully understand the value of the Space Program, it isn’t a mulitbillion dollar boondoggle. You can thank the Space Program for things like, Personal Computers, Cell Phones, Satellite TV, 3D Sonograms and dopplar Radar. In fact, the space program may quiet possible be the only federal government funded program to ever give the public an actual return on it’s investment, which is currently estimated to be between $12.00 and $20.00 returned on every dollar invested.

If BTEDan is right, and my own experience in the Aerospace industry suggests to me that he most likely is, not only can we build the first Starship Enterprise, but we should. I guess one of the things that really hit’s me about this is that BTEDan isn’t the only person thinking along these lines.

Your next job: asteroid miner?

But the entrepreneurs behind Planetary Resources have a track record of profiting off space ventures. Diamandis and co-founder Eric Anderson pioneered the idea of selling rides into space to tourists, and Diamandis’ company offers “weightless” airplane flights.

Investors and advisers to the new company include Google CEO Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and (James)Cameron, the man behind the blockbusters “Titanic” and “Avatar.”

“The pursuit of resources drove the discovery of America and opened the West,” Schmidt said in a statement on the site. “The same drivers still hold true for opening the space frontier.”

Anderson says the group will prove naysayers wrong. “Before we started launching people into space as private citizens, people thought that was a pie-in-the-sky idea,” Anderson said. “We’re in this for decades.”

Think about that for a few minuets and let it sink in. Do you really want Google building and owning the Starship Enterprise?

Build the Enterprise


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