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Can humanity afford a real life Star Trek ?

Posted on Thursday, 23 May, 2013 | Comment icon 80 comments

Image credit: CC 3.0 Julo

The starships of the Star Trek universe seem a long way off both technologically and financially.

When the adventures of Captain Kirk and crew first hit TV screens, the idea of traveling to distant star systems seemed like a pipe dream. These days however such a concept is a little bit closer thanks to advances in technology that have seen everything from humans walking on the Moon to robots visiting the outer planets and beyond. Cost, however, remains one of the single most restricting elements of space exploration.

Even if we did have the technology to build a starship, could we actually afford to do so ? NASA has recently been subjected to serious budget cuts while economic problems continue to plague many of the world's nations capable of manned spaceflight. Rough cost estimates for a Star Trek style ship capable of reaching Mars within 90 days suggest such a vehicle would cost $1 trillion while a single trip to Alpha Centauri, our nearest neighbor, could cost more than $130 trillion.

"The public has no shortage of enthusiasm for fictional spacefarers, as this weekend's box-office win by the newest "Star Trek" film proves."

  View: Full article |  Source: Yahoo! News

  Discuss: View comments (80)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #71 Posted by danielost on 4 June, 2013, 19:15
Not the irs video.
Comment icon #72 Posted by bzykillnzombies on 5 June, 2013, 11:26
there's better things to do with $1 trillion... feed half the entire planet maybe?
Comment icon #73 Posted by Capt Amerika on 5 June, 2013, 14:34
Then what? Feed them again? and again? At what point do you ensure the survival of the species by becoming interplanetary? One good size asteroid and the human race is extinct. But at least we fed the people who kept procreating even though they couldn't afford to feed themselves.
Comment icon #74 Posted by danielost on 5 June, 2013, 20:16
The usa throws away enough food to feed the world. If you add in what families and restraunts throw away maybe feed tge world twice. Then the congress passed a law making us turn a percentage of the corn crop into fuel. Some of the third world nations don't have the infrastrucher to get food from the docks to the people. This includes the indian reservations that got government checks. Further if they borrow money from the imf, they can't spend it too makethings better for their peopl. Then you have thedictators that use hungry to control the people.
Comment icon #75 Posted by Dark_Grey on 5 June, 2013, 20:20
There's better statements to be made with your first 2 posts here. Good on you for being humanitarian about this, but long-term...
Comment icon #76 Posted by DieChecker on 6 June, 2013, 0:41
Watch any TV show with Chef Ramsey... Trashcans full of good food tossed out every episode. ..."NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!".... If the food is slightly burnt, or slightly raw, he throws it into the trash can.
Comment icon #77 Posted by DieChecker on 6 June, 2013, 0:44
I think that first it needs to be established that humans can live and breed and survive indefinately in open space, with minimal gravity/exercise and minimal resources. If humans can survive in low gravity and create new generations of humans there, then it should be OK to start preparing to send millions of people out.
Comment icon #78 Posted by danielost on 6 June, 2013, 19:20
The problem here is you have to send people out to do, in order to test it. And w can do one artficail gravity trick just spin the station. Tge current space staton can't do this because it is designed wrong.
Comment icon #79 Posted by DieChecker on 7 June, 2013, 4:38
YEah, I recognize that. It's going to have to be vollintary in action. But I see it happening sooner or latter.
Comment icon #80 Posted by danielost on 7 June, 2013, 17:48
There is the dutch company, with a one way trip. Doesn't need to be since we can get there and back with my modular ship.

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