The year 2245 is just too distant — we should build and commission a real USS Enterprise right now, cracking the champagne across her hull within 20 years, according to an enterprising engineer. The gigantic ship would use ion propulsion, powered by a 1.5-GW nuclear reactor, and could reach Mars in three months and the moon in three days. Its 0.3-mile-diameter, magnetically suspended gravity wheel spinning at 2 RPM would provide 1G of gravity, and the thing looks just like the "Star Trek" ship of lore.
This project is the brainchild of an engineer who calls himself BTE Dan. As in "Build The Enterprise," which is also the name of his brand-new website.
"We have the technological reach to build the first generation of the spaceship known as the USS Enterprise – so let's do it," BTE Dan writes. He even sifts through the federal budget and proposes tax hikes and spending cuts to cover the $1 trillion cost.
Though the "Star Trek" connection lends the project an air of sci-fi fun, BTE Dan is hardly the only engineer dreaming up a next-generation spaceship to the stars. DARPA's 100-Year Starship project is designed partly to foster ideas just like this one, from a project planning roadmap to a real ship.
The so-called Gen1 Enterprise would be built in space and would serve a triple function, as a space station, spaceport and traveling spaceship "all in one!" BTE Dan says. It won't cruise the galaxy at light speed, unfortunately, but it could explore new worlds right in our own neighborhood, providing a constant acceleration to reach distant targets much more quickly. Its first missions would be to the moon, Venus, Mars and maybe Europa. Universe Today notes the ship's onboard laser would be used to sear through the moon's ice crust to allow a ship to drop into its oceans. Three additional nuclear reactors would provide electricity for this laser and other ship needs.
BTE Dan also crunched some numbers to prove he's really serious. He proposes a matrix of tax increases and budget cuts in defense, health and human services, housing and urban development, education, energy and more. But he promises they will be small cuts and small tax increases, Universe Today notes. "These changes to spending and taxes will not sink the republic," BuildTheEnterprise.org reads.
BTE Dan identifies himself as a "systems engineer and electrical engineer who has worked at a Fortune 500 company for the past 30 years," Universe Today says. He is on Twitter as @BTEDan and he says he's setting up a Facebook page where you can all go and like his project. His website keeps crashing, but we'll let you know if we hear back from him.
[via Universe Today]
this is just what we need to push exploration in our solar system towards being routine, get private enterprise (all pun intended) involved and off to the races, cheers
I find it hard to believe that this would only cost the meager $1,000,000,000,000 Dan calculates.
I still like it - a lot - but I think it would have to be a globally cooperatively built project. Also, I have concerns that cost overruns would possibly exceed the world GDP, thereby causing global chaos, and the dismantling of human civilization as we know it.
It's worth a shot, though!
Great Wall is the largest thing built by humanity. This isn't even close.
We need those asteroid mining dudes in orbit and in operation first. Then its a piece of cake.
No new tech needed at all.
Perhaps, but the great wall is not one continuous structure, and it's not in space, so I'd say this is still pretty damn ambitious.
Ambitious or not, I'm all for giving it our best shot. Anyone here agree with me on that?
PS... ya it costs a LOT. Then again, think of the jobs that would be created for making it. Food for thought...
i am nerding out right now.
also why not ask for donations.
I sincerely hope this plan fails. Such a massive project would merit extreme safety measures untested thus far due to its scale.The least of which could result in mass death. This is not an episode of star trek. This is real life and people die very easily.
And who says this is the most efficient design to mitagate the effects of solar radiation on the body in deep space? Or for that matter, to maximize sustainability for long term missions?
We need to start somewhere. I agree with BoronMoron that we can't jump into it recklessly. We need to think about it economically and safely. If I may point out though, this would be built in space. And it certainly is not the first thing to be built up there. So we already have some idea of how to build junk in space. This would just be a really big one.
It is about time. I am sure that every nation on Earth will want in on this endeavor (if you can prove to them that you are serious and this will work in their behalf.), or at least the smart ones will. I may be over zealous, but I am sure the greedy ones can see the profit in the VanAllen Belt between Earth and Mars. Even if it cost 5 trillion, I do not think you will have any problem getting the money or workers if you just ask the right way. Get President Obama to speak for your project and it will take off like a jet. I would even volunteer to be part of that great adventure; what a wonder that would be. I am a space loving nut and I would give my eye teeth to get off this planet and explore everything that is off this planet. I am down on my knees praying that this is the greatest thing the world has ever done together.
Agree with BoronMoron a bit. Why would you ever build a spaceship in that design. In real life there are going to be so many issues with the design and it just seems incredibly dangerous. If anything we should build a sturdy ship like something from Star Wars that is fully connected, not something with appendages that could snap off during take off. And if they are building this on the planet there are so many other issues they're going to have to face.
I liked it... Right up until he suggested stealing from me to pay for it.
A Borg Cube.
Appendages would not snap off during take off if the ship was built in space. Any ship of that size should be built in space anyway. It's just a waste of fuel/energy to have a large starship take off from a planet. It should be built in space. So Humanity needs to build a starship construction facility orbiting Earth.
err Space Dock...couldn't think of the word...but yeah having one of those orbit our planet would help a lot....and we should definitely have an established space mining facility too.
"mike 13323". You really should read the article. It will not be built on Earth, but in space, and you really do not need government funding (or raising taxes) except from the governments that want to be a part of history. There is enough energy companies, and other companies, on Earth that can provide one million dollars to get in the pack that would excel the 1 trillion cost far beyond the projected cost that you could live in luxury on the ship. I think this is not a project to hurt society, but to benefit it. Quit being a republican and get on board. A lot of people have waited their whole life for this project, every since the first Star Trek movie came out, and you can go straight to Hell if you think you can spoil this for us space adventurers, and I think the USS Enterprise would be a great name for the first Earth ship that will explore our solar system. This is fantastic and I am really freaked out and I hope this project gets off the ground and out in space.
I would rather have a space elevator, or (relatively) cheap access to space.
Does it seem scary to anyone else that the overall design of this future spacecraft is based on an artists drawing from 1966.
This cracks me up funny, ROFL. This article has only been posted a short time and we have already high count of Star Trek kiddies posting... Now what cracks me up the most is I come home and turn on the TV\Netflix and had already turn on Star Trek prior to turning on my laptop...
Oh how we all wish to travel the stars!!!
Science sees no further than what it can sense, i.e. facts.
Religion sees beyond the senses, i.e. faith.
Open your mind and see!
Why not build it on the moon?
I think, to avoid loosing the plot, the discussion has to remain on the current basics
a. as ghostr points out is access to space which at present we suck at.
b. What the purpose of this thing other than to prove it can be done. (yes, I saw the proposed uses in the original thread)
c. How it is funded. Corporations don't do things unless there is a reasonable expectation of profit based on sound research. At the moment that equation has too many unknowns so don't expect that to happen in any serious way anytime soon.
Importantly and to reiterate the above, we're not to bad at being and even building things in space but getting things into space cost effectively with the necessary capacity, efficiency, frequency and safety is a showstopper with current tech.
I for one wouldn't strap my ass to one of today's rockets on a daily basis to get to work to build this thing unless I had a death wish. These machine are simply too violent and too inefficient. The shuttle was 77 tons and took over 1700 tons of fuel to manage a 200 mile flight to orbit. That would be funny if it wasn't such a sad commentary on the state-of-the-art.
That said, and to be somewhat optimistic; with the Internet, online tools, social media and crowd sourcing I see a real possibility that the general public could in fact do this. I am confident if 7 billion people (or even 10% of that) put their heads together they could not only come up with an out-of-the-box earth-to-orbit solution that is boring and not a thrill ride and do so at a cost of billions as oppose to trillions.
I like the idea mentioned elsewhere of a floating balloon space station at 60,000 feet and then from there using ion engines to slowly move spacecraft into orbit. Don't know the feasibility of this but it is gradual, safer, cheaper probably and has a cool factor of polar proportions.
We need a space elevator or another way to reduce cost to orbit by 90% before we can even thick of anything like this. Also we need a more practical design, the Enterprise is pretty but it has a lot of structural weak points. My starship design feature two counter rotating "gravity wheels and a non-rotating hub that houses the engines, shuttle bays, ect. Thus there are no net gyroscopic forces to deal with. It looks vaguely like the old Cylon baseship. The tricky bit is how to build a radiation shield that can cover such a large cross section that does not require an absurd amount of mass. I'm also working on how to shield the ship from the heat generated from aero breaking during Earth orbit insertion-may need to make the gravity wheels collapsible.
This is a brief article and very simple sketches, but judging from these, I'm not clear why we would need to build anything besides the "saucer section" of this ship. Is the rest just dead weight to make it look the like the Enterprise from TV?
This is the most ridiculous design for an interplanetary space ship with our current technologies that I have ever seen proposed, and I'm a long-time Trekkie from the 60's. Why? It's so wasteful. There would be so much dead weight that propelling this ship would be incredibly expensive and getting it into Martian orbit would be almost impossible. I'm all for nerdiness and the like, but this wouldn't work.
Put it on Kickstarter!
Hay poeple like JamesDavis in the process with a "Big maybe ALL LIFE ON EARTH WILL BE KNOWN AS THE UNSC" makes sence dosn't is huhhh we will never know yet.
I think we should be building space habitats rather than fanciful Star Trek knockoffs.The people that plan to mine the asteroids could supply the raw materials.See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internal_view_of_the_Stanford_torus.jpg
This article and especially the comments gave me the giggles.
Anybody who thinks that there is any possibility that this thing will get built is crazy.
Barely journalism, but good for a chuckle.
I would like to point out one, that is your opinion. Two, unfortunately, with all success there always has been and always will be, a great risk. If you looked up "space disasters", you would find several shuttle missions that failed and people were lost. But without the risk, we will not get anywhere with technology.