Star Trek might be just a TV show for many of us, but some believe that such high-tech space exploration might soon become a reality. An engineer known simply as “BTE Dan” believes that with the technology currently available, it would be possible to create afull-size replica of the USS Enterprise, but instead of dilithium crystals, it would be powered by nuclear power.

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The plans, which have been put online (on Build The Enterprise), are incredibly detailed and even show a real-life version of the famous starship would feature a rotating saucer in order to simulate Earth’s gravity.

It is important to note that this doesn’t appear to be the crazy ramblings of an over-enthusiastic fan. BTE Dan is apparently a systems engineer/electrical engineer who worked at a Fortune 500 company for the last 30 years. His experience has lead him to believe that a real-life USS Enterprise is not only plausible, but could be created in a mere 20 years (a lot better than waiting till 2245).

BTE Dan’s plans for the starship (dubbed “Gen1”)  would see the installation of an ion propulsion engine powered by a 1.5 gigawatt nuclear reactor. There would also be three additional nuclear reactors to create the electricity necessary for the entire ship. The ship’s saucer will be 0.3 miles in diameter and rotate as a suspended gravity wheelso that 1G of gravity is created allowing the crew to perform their tasks as they would under Captain Kirk.

But once the ship is built – what then? We haven’t invented warp drive, so we can’t exactly head off to Alpha Centauri. BTE Dan believes that with a nuclear powered propulsion system, the USS Enterprise Gen 1 would be able to reach Mars in 90 days and the moon in three days.

In between interplanetary missions, it will also be able to act as a space station and assist in asteroid mining. Equipped with a high-power laser (note: not phasers), the Gen 1 will be able to cut through the ice on moons such as Europa to reach the ocean’s underneath. The plan will also see new variants of the craft built, so that each new generation will become more technologically advanced than the previous – just like the Enterpise-A, B, C, D and E!

Now the big question – how the hell do we afford it? BTE Dan is confident that through tax increases and by spreading out budget cuts to certain areas like education, energy, defense and health and human services, the tax increases will “barely be noticed.” “We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise — so lets do it,” he says. “It ends up that this ship configuration is quite functional.”

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

Are you an engineer? Is this possible? Comment below. If not, I propose we boldly go where no man has gone before.

+ Build The Enterprise

via Daily Tech / CS Monitor