Space & Astronomy
Can humanity afford a real life Star Trek ?
May 23, 2013 | 79 comments
Image Credit: CC 3.0 Julo
The starships of the Star Trek universe seem a long way off both technologically and financially.
[!gad]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. Yet the real-life U. S. space agency finds itself strapped for cash these days. With federal budgets tightening and NASA feeling the pinch, some space advocates are asking, "Can humans afford to reach the stars?"
Source: Yahoo! News
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