Saturday, June 2, 2012
It’s been 43-years since NASA landed men on the moon in 1969. While the moon landing was one of the greatest achievements in human history, since then we’ve lost our way when it comes to big projects for putting humans into deep space.
One man, a systems and electrical engineer who goes by the name BTE-Dan, has a vision for space exploration in the 21st century that NASA sorely lacks. BTE-Dan has launched a website called BuildtheEnterprise which lays out a logical argument for building the first generation USS Enterprise based on the science fiction version of the same name.
We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise. The ship can be similar in size and will have the same look as the USS Enterprise that we know from Star Trek. The ship configuration is quite functional. This first generation Enterprise can have 1g artificial gravity and ample living space. It can be as comfortable to live in as being on earth. A thousand people can be on board at once – either as crew members or as adventurous visitors. While the ship will not travel at warp speed, it can travel at a constant acceleration such that the ship can easily get to key points of interest in our solar system. The Gen1 USS Enterprise would be three things in one: a spaceship, a space station, and a spaceport.
The Gen1 USS Enterprise would be big — really big:
The Gen1 USS Enterprise could get to the moon in three days; Mars in ninety days. It could hop from planet to planet dropping off robotic probes, rovers, special-built planes, and satellites. It could use its extensive on-board sensors to map and explore planet surfaces and examine whatever it encounters in space. It could deliver a hydrobot on Jupiter’s moon Europa after using its laser to bore a hole through the thick surface ice. The hydrobot will then drop through the hole in the ice and descend until it reaches the water below, beaming video images back to earth so that we can watch as the hydrobot explores Europa’s vast, hidden ocean. It could hunt down asteroids that may threaten earth and divert them long before earth is in danger.
And with all things related to space, the price tag doesn’t come cheap. BTE-Dan argues America is an affluent nation with 27% of the world’s GDP. The $50 billion per year to fund the Enterprise program – out of a $3.6 trillion federal budget – is well within reason that such a program could be funded given enough enthusiasm from a public who cares about space exploration.