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Building The Enterprise

According to the fictional television show Star Trek, a real-life U.S.S. Enterprise space ship will one day be designed and constructed by the year 2245. Fortunately for Trekkie fans, this may happen 200 years sooner than predicted if an engineer known as BTE Dan has his way.

Dan imagines constructing a fully-operational Enterprise within 20 years, using current and near-future technology. He refers to his design as Gen1, or first generation. Dan has made the layout available on his website, and hopes that others will join him with financial backing and construction support.

His website claims that the spaceship will be able to make the trip to Mars in 90 days, and travel to the Moon in 3 days. It will operate using an ion-propulsion engine with a 1.5 Gigawatt nuclear reactor. It will also contain a 0.3 mile diameter saucer that spins to create 1G of artificial gravity.

Dan’s envisioned purpose for this giant ship is that it will act as a space station/spaceport with which humanity will travel and explore the stars. He says that a next generation ship will be built every 33 years, with new technology and new travel plans. Dan believes that the U.S.S. Enterprise’s original design, as seen on the popular TV show, is “quite functional.”

His plan is to slightly raise taxes across the board for everyone, and use that small increase towards funding the project. He asserts that the tax hikes will “barely be noticeable”. He has also challenged other engineers to find flaws with the technical design scheme, aside from the monetary and political portion of his plan.

“If someone can convince me that it is not technically possible, then I will state on the BuildTheEnterprise site that I have been found to be wrong.” writes Dan. “In that case, building the Enterprise will have to wait for, say, another half-century. But I don’t think that anyone will be able to convince me that it can’t be done. My position is that we can — and should — immediately start working on it.”

An undertaking of this magnitude has long-term and short-term benefits for both technology, and for the future sustainability of our planet. The amount of research that would be, and is currently being vested into building and designing ships such as this, net many breakthroughs in a variety of scientific fields. For example, the 3D printing industry, rocket engines, horticulture and green living, human psychology, and others all mutually benefit from projects like Dan’s.

While building the Enterprise may be a pipe dream in reality, envisioning the possibilities and seeing them through will help us all prosper in the long run.



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