The Science of Star Trek

Albert Einstein on a bike

I used to watch a lot of star trek because it helped me avoid farm work.  We didn’t have DVR’s in those days so naturally I told my father when a favorite show was on so I could take a break and watch it.  Would you rather watch star trek or fork tons of cow manure onto a manure spreader? They didn’t really make many episodes of the original star trek but I have seen them all many times.  Amok Time is my favorite episode and my wife has forbidden me from watching it while she is in the room.

The warp drive is a staple of star trek and NASA has done some recent conceptual designs of a warp drive ship that basically stays still and warps space around it in order to reach its destination.  At least some of the bright boys and girls at NASA believe it is possible to travel faster than light in space and they have made some preliminary drawings of how it might look.  I tend to doubt the warp drive space ship will be built in my lifetime but it does make me curious what we could find in our universe using such a ship.

NASA made the ship look somewhat similar to the fictional Star Trek ship but this seems a little expensive, risky and silly to me. Why design such a ship to carry humans at all?  An automated robotic ship would obviously be the way to go initially.  An automated ship could be much smaller, cheaper and would not risk any human lives.  It could be programmed to return with close up images, scientific data and possible samples. The expense might even be reasonable enough that it could be done within our lifetime.

Why should we explore space at all when there are such severe human needs on earth?  In my opinion we should continue to explore space but we should put a much greater emphasis on exploiting space by private enterprises for useful purposes.  Satellite aided weather prediction alone by itself has easily paid for our space program many times over by eliminating unnecessary human deaths and property damage.  Energy generation in space, mining of asteroids, mining of the lunar surface and industrial space processes should be increased by helping private enterprise get into space near earth.  Exploration in more distant places than the asteroid belt by humans is not cost effective at this time.  Automated robotic ships are definitely the way to go for landing on planets or deeper areas of space because they are less expensive and human life is not at risk.  Putting humans instead of robots on Mars would just be a tremendous waste of money at this time.

Star Trek is a pleasant illusion and we should not decide how to spend taxpayer dollars based on whimsy.   The science of Star Trek may be sound but lets face it, the philosophy of Star Trek is illogical.


Warp Drive Theory

The Science of Star Trek

Source: The Science of Star Trek


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