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.
Someone using the fills-you-with-confidence name of “BTE Dan” is in fact hellbent on making an interplanetary service vehicle. All he needs is 0.27% of American GDP and a few spare nuclear reactors.
buildtheenterprise.org seems to be having some downtime today, but PhysOrg talked to him at the first link about his plans for a machine that could reach Mars in ninety days. It’s quite interesting, really, insofar as he’s probably right about most of the technological knowledge and expertise already being in place. (Most: I suspect that some of the things he wants onboard just couldn’t happen within twenty years of today, and sticking a megawatt laser on the front is just boy’s-toys.)
The two real kickers that he thinks he’s solved however, are these – a full Earth gravity onboard and constant acceleration.
Obvious area of fascination: taking a fictional object and attempting to make it real as a historic feat of mega-engineering. Something that started out as a plastic model on a stick in a tv studio becoming the most expensive single object of all time. And the kind of perverse, idee-fixe-bound imagination that takes a fictional spaceship that could travel the galaxy and make it a real spaceship that can do local tours of the solar system.
Still. BTE Dan isn’t frothing at the mouth, and it’s kind of a charming idea, in its way. Worth a look.