A White House Petition to Build a Real-L

January 06 [Sun], 2013, 21:01

An engineer going by the name of BTE Dan has uploaded a petition to the White House "We the People" site asking that NASA begin the design of a spacecraft that resembles in form, if not in function, the iconic Starship Enterprise,

The odd petition, similar to ones the proposed toand , is within sight of gaining 25,000 signatures needed to require an official White House response.

Petition to build the USS Enterprise

The : "We have within our technological reach the ability to build the 1st generation of the USS Enterprise. It ends up that this ship's inspiring form is quite functional. This will be Earth's first gigawatt-class interplanetary spaceship with artificial gravity. The ship can serve as a spaceship, space station, and space port all in one. In total, one thousand crew members & visitors can be on board at once. Few things could collectively inspire people on Earth more than seeing the Enterprise being built in space. And the ship could go on amazing missions, like taking the first humans to Mars while taking along a large load of base-building equipment for constructing the first permanent base there."

As of this writing, the petition is 21,000 short of achieving the 25,000 necessary to require an official White House response.

Enterprise to be an interplanetary craft

The Enterpriseis not, strictly speaking, the Enterprise as depicted on "Star Trek," except in appearance. The ship being proposed has the saucer section, the two nacelles, and the main module to which they are attached. However, the Enterprise being proposed in the petition is a nuclear power craft that uses advanced ion thrusters to travel throughout the inner solar system, especially to Mars, which is claimed to be 90 days away using this spacecraft. A wheel around the rim of the saucer section spins at two rotations per minute, providing artificial gravity.

An Enterprise with a real warp drive

While NASA is not likely to have the budget or the inclination to embark on building a spaceship the size and scope of the Enterprise, it is working on a crucial technology from "Star Trek" -- the warp drive.that a group at NASA's Johnson Spaceflight center is working on technology that might lead to a real-life warp drive, capable of moving space-time around a starship, in effect moving it faster than light to other star systems. The concept has been around since 1994, with both the math and physics supporting the idea. A recent breakthrough also suggests that the energy requirements might be doable. The only problem may be an idea that a ship traveling with such a warp drive might destroy any star system it is headed toward. The work being done consists of small-scale lab experiments, so a real-life starship Enterprise is still far in the future, though no longer in the realm of complete fantasy.

Mark R. Whittington is the author ofand . He has written on space subjects for a variety of periodicals, including The Houston Chronicle, The Washington Post, USA Today, the L.A. Times, and The Weekly Standard.



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